Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2445 ..
In conclusion, there is no justification for this censure motion being brought before the Assembly today, none whatsoever. It should not be supported by members of this place. It is all about politics and headline grabbing. It is disappointing that this is the way those opposite seek to approach these issues, and Ms Le Couteur was absolutely right in calling it out for what it is. But are we surprised, Madam Speaker? No, we are not. Will we be supporting this motion? No, we will not. Will we treat it with the contempt with which it deserves? Yes, we will.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.55), in reply: What we have now is the government, including the Greens, turning a blind eye to serious allegations of neglect. We have not moved this motion lightly; we do not frequently move motions of censure or of no confidence. Very rarely do we move motions of this level of seriousness. But when there are serious allegations about bullying, violence, corruption of processes and power, neglect, lack of leadership and, most importantly, child welfare, if these circumstances do not warrant a censure motion then what does? If the right of the government and the responsibility of the government and the Assembly is to protect its citizens, that must include the most vulnerable citizens: young people and, in particular, young people in care.
These kids have gone to this facility because they need to be rehabilitated. Unfortunately rehabilitation seems to be a distant priority for this government and everyone will face the consequences for this lack of rehabilitation. Of course, the young people themselves will pay a very high price. Their families will pay a very high price, and the community at large will pay a very high price when kids have potentially been at a crime school rather than a place of rehabilitation. It is tragic to think that there are kids coming out of Bimberi more hardened than when they went in. These are kids that are perhaps coming out with more potential for crime rather than less.
The government seems to hang its hat on the fact that they now have a charter of rights for young people. If that is going to make an impact, if that is going to make a difference, what part of that charter has not been in place to date? What part of that charter has the government been neglecting? What part of that charter is new? If that charter has not been in place to date under this government’s administration then surely it warrants a no-confidence motion in the entire government. This government is collectively responsible for the problems at Bimberi, and the fact that they think this charter of rights is somehow going to magically fix all the problems is either delusional or it is a very serious development with regard to the activities at Bimberi to date.
What impact did the 2009 charter of rights for out of home care have? Is that still current? What about the July 2016 model charter of rights for children in youth justice, the one that was released a year ago? Is that one still current or has that one been thrown out as well? What is actually new about this charter of rights? What is the new level of care the government is going to offer through this charter of rights that they have not been aspiring to offer in the past? Have they not been aspiring to rehabilitate? Have they not been aspiring to keep the children safe? What is the new element this government has fallen short of?