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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2435 ..


Clause 2(a) of today’s motion implies that my response to an incident on 6 May 2016 was dismissive, using a two word quote taken from media reporting. I have reviewed the response I provided to the Canberra Times from which the quote is taken. It was a fairly long and comprehensive response that was printed in part and therefore did not convey the full meaning of my response. I acknowledged there had been a “serious incident”. The full response starts:

The matter was reported immediately and the incident was referred to ACT Policing, the official visitor and the Public Advocate.

It goes on to provide some information on the processes followed by the directorate around staff matters and then says:

As noted by official visitors, the centre is operating in an efficient and constructive manner and this was an isolated incident.

So yes, I used those two words in the context of advice from official visitors about the overall operation of the centre.

Clause 2(b) states that the directorate sought out the author or authors of the emails received earlier this year. This is true. The matters raised in those emails were extremely serious. Some of the incidents referred to were readily identifiable by directorate officials who were able to brief me on the background. In other cases allegations were vague in terms of time frames and specifics.

Given the very serious nature of the allegations, I and the senior executive of the directorate were keen to ensure that these matters could be fully investigated. A number of the emails had, in fact, been directed to me and/or senior officials in the directorate. So yes, the directorate responded to those emails to try to elicit further information in order to follow a process that would enable the matters to be fully investigated.

A concern I raised in the Assembly related to one particular email which was sent not only to Mrs Kikkert but also to at least one person outside the Assembly and the ACT government which identified a young person who was or had been in youth detention. As members are aware, protecting the privacy of young people in the youth justice system is extremely important. This is why it is so critical that people who have concerns raise them with bodies, such as the Human Rights Commission, that have the legal authority to investigate.

Clause 2(c) relates to a statement I made in May. To correct the record, I did not say in that statement that the Human Rights Commission was looking into all matters raised. The Human Rights Commission was and is looking into some of the matters raised, and I have welcomed that inquiry. I also noted in my statement that a charter of rights for young people at Bimberi was being finalised. I was pleased to release the final charter earlier this week.


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