Page 3336 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017

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is for that reason that the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah wrote a letter to the editor in today’s paper saying:

While disappointing, it was no surprise to read that the Minister for Corrections would not provide any detail of the circumstances of the bashing or of the response of AMC management to its failure to once again keep Aboriginal detainees safe.

The Minister’s Office is reported as saying that there will be no further information provided because the matter is subject to a police investigation.

How convenient.

Ms Tongs goes on—

Mr Gentleman: A point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker, I am listening to Mr Coe’s debate and reading through the motion and his comments seem to have little relevance to the motion. Standing orders call for debates to be relevant to the motion. I ask you to ask him to be relevant to the motion at hand.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Lee): Minister Rattenbury’s motion is about detention, and Mr Coe is addressing that as well. He has addressed comments to the international issues and is now going on to detention generally. There is no point of order.

MR COE: Thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker. Of course if we are going to discuss relevance, surely the issues I am discussing today are of prime relevance to the ACT Assembly.

Ms Tongs, the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service, concluded her letter in today’s paper saying:

Despite the damning report of Phillip Moss into the bashing of Steven Freeman, it seems nothing has changed.

These are people in detention under our watch here in the Assembly.

Further to that we have the outrageous situation in Bimberi, again, a detention facility under our watch here in the Assembly. Somehow we are in a situation in the ACT where we cannot keep a dozen children safe in our own facility. That has to be a cause for reflection. On 15 March it was reported in the Canberra Times that three young people attacked youth workers, with three youth workers being sent to hospital. We heard there was a brawl in Bimberi on 16 July this year that saw a youth worker who intervened being injured. We also heard Amnesty International calling for the minister to take responsibility. We also heard that staff have been gagged and are not able to speak out about this. All this is in our youth facility.

Of course, as I have already said, we sympathise with the plight of all those in detention. It is a serious issue. But we have to make sure we are also doing what we can a little bit closer to home. We have a responsibility to all those in detention here

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