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Speech: Correctional Services (Accountability and Other Measures) Amendment Bill

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:07): I wish to break with tradition and indicate that I oppose the adjournment motion. I do so for the reasons that the Hon. Rob Lucas just outlined, in that we are not debating the correctional services bill today. This is a bill that precedes not just the current minister in this Marshall Liberal government but originally had the content of it with the previous minister, Minister Malinauskas. The reason I am so outraged that we are not debating this bill today, which has now languished, is because a very important part of that bill is the provision that prison officers would have to comply with the direction of the chief executive of Corrections.

As members would know, that was something that I was gravely concerned about with the death of Wayne Fella Morrison, and it came to light and to the fore that this was utterly inadequate. This is a year where we have just seen a pandemic, but we also have a pandemic of racism, and we know that Aboriginal people are the most incarcerated people in the world. We just had Commissioner Roger Thomas in the other place give those first steps towards a voice in parliament but this parliament does not even make the time to ensure the basic human rights and the basic expectations that we should be affording people in correctional services—that very important issue that this government has finally brought to this place and that three ministers have now had carriage of—will be enacted.

I was sitting here today waiting to debate that bill, only to be told that the Labor Party thinks it will take too long. I have to say it has already taken a very long time. It has already taken years for the content of this bill to make this place. There were also amendments that the Greens had put up for the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture which we believed had the support of the crossbench and the government to be implemented.

For those who say that black lives matter and those who say that they care about Aboriginal affairs to say that they do not have the time in these last minutes on the last day of parliament this year to debate the correctional services bill, something that has now languished not just this year but in previous years, is utterly contemptible. Therefore, I will be opposing the adjournment.

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