Page 1329 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 5 April 2011

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MR CORBELL: There is nothing unexceptional about contraband occurring in the prison environment—nothing unexceptional at all. The only thing that is exceptional is the naive belief of those opposite that it is an unusual occurrence.

The fact is that drugs get into prisons. They get into prisons in New South Wales; they get into prisons in Queensland; they get into prisons in South Australia; they get into prisons in Victoria; they get into prisons in Tasmania; they get into prisons in the Northern Territory; and they get into prisons in Western Australia. Shock, horror, Mr Speaker: they get into prisons here in the ACT.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, one moment, thank you. Stop the clocks. I simply want to remind members that the minister’s answer is not an opportunity to give a running commentary. I have asked members to stop interjecting. I expect to be able to hear the minister’s answer. Minister Corbell.

MR CORBELL: My understanding of what the Burnet report has said is that supply reduction will not, in and of itself, deal with the issue of contraband in prison. Well, shock, horror, Mr Speaker: supply reduction strategies by the Australian Federal Police do not prevent all drugs from entering Australia. That is the context in which we are having this discussion, and it is the extraordinary naivete of those opposite, who are prepared to assert that drugs can be eliminated from the prison environment, that should be held to account in this debate. They are the ones who should be held to account in this debate, because they are the ones asserting a myth, asserting an untruth—that there can be no drugs in a prison environment when it has been proven otherwise everywhere else in the developed world.

Mr Seselja: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, as entertaining as this is, the question was very specific and I ask you to ask the minister to come back to why the policies currently in place are ineffective in reducing the amount of drugs entering the jail. He can go on all he likes about what the opposition might have to say, but the question was very specific, about the policies which are ineffective.

MR SPEAKER: Minister, you still have a minute and a half to deal with the question. Just focus on the question.

MR CORBELL: I am focusing on the question. We have a range of supply reduction strategies in place. But the question is: why don’t those work? What I am saying is that no supply reduction strategy will be 100 per cent successful. The only ones who seem to believe it will are those opposite. The question must be asked: why do they persist in asserting this naive and misleading position that supply reduction will achieve a drug-free prison when it has not been proven to be the case in any prison in Australia or any prison internationally?

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Doszpot.

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