Corrections Minister absent during crises


Shadow Minister for Corrections Elizabeth Kikkert is calling on the ACT Government to be transparent in its response to the latest series of prison bungles and to be clear on what circumstances led to them.

It has now been 11 days since the Hollywood-esque escape of a detainee, and the minister has still not come clean on why a vehicle deemed “unsuitable” by the Inspector was being used to transport detainees.

“I don’t expect the minister to reveal details that would undermine the security of the prison or the safety of corrections officers," Mrs Kikkert said.

"What the minister has done, however, is throw a blanket of secrecy over the entire incident and give almost no substantial details.

“By stonewalling the media and ignoring calls for transparency, the minister is only succeeding in confirming to Canberrans that this government’s management of the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) is a shambles.

“We already know the Inspector found the Camry unsuitable. The minister must explain the reasons he chose to ignore the Inspector’s findings,” Mrs Kikkert continued.

“And just today we have a new situation where the government allowed a detainee to simply walk free, no parole, bail or escape necessary.

“If Canberrans need further evidence that this government cannot manage a prison or its detainees effectively, they need only to look at Mr Herceg’s response to the government when told to hand himself in.

"He said he would “try” to attend court as soon as possible. Is the minister in charge here or not?

“An investigation must be conducted to look into how this happened and how it was only by dumb luck and a chance discussion between two lawyers that the detainee’s premature release came to light.

“The minister cannot continue his habit of secrecy. He must come clean on the circumstances that allowed both these incidents to occur or risk being seen even more as an absent minister,” Mrs Kikkert concluded