No confidence in Corrections Minister following human rights breach


Shadow Minister for Corrections Elizabeth Kikkert will today move a motion of no-confidence in Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman for the second time in two months.

The no-confidence motion follows a scathing report from the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services that found the human rights of an indigenous woman had been breached during a strip search at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).

Mrs Kikkert said the breaching of just one human right is a serious issue but unfortunately this is not the only area where the AMC is in breach of human rights or territory legislation and corrections policy.

“Australia has created its own standard guidelines for Australian prisons. The Nelson Mandela Rules were used as a basis for these guidelines,” Mrs Kikkert said.

“Subsequent revisions also took OPCAT into consideration which Australia ratified in 2017 and is due to have fully implemented by January 2022.

“Breaches at the AMC including untried prisoners being kept with convicted prisoners and no system incentivising good behaviour are just some examples of other standards not being met.

“This Labor-Greens Government has shown that in its current state, it is incapable of enacting the change necessary at the AMC to be fully human rights compliant not just with international standards, but our own.

“We are rightfully proud that we are a human rights-based jurisdiction. We shine in areas such as high cleanliness and liveability; however, the state of our prison is a black mark,” concluded Mrs Kikkert.

Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee said as Minister with the responsibility of overseeing our corrections system, Mr Gentleman is ultimately accountable for what happens in our prison.

“The Inspector concluded that there was no doubt that the strip search and the manner in which it was conducted would have been a highly traumatic incident,” Ms Lee said.

“The report also found that there was a clear breach of the Corrections Management Act and Human Rights Act, an Act that this government had promised to uphold.

“As a Legislative Assembly, it is our duty to restore the public’s faith in the government’s management of the AMC.

“While there is clearly much to do, all members of the Assembly need to stand up and say that the ongoing failures of this Minister are not good enough; that they will not be tolerated,” concluded Ms Lee.

A motion of no-confidence in the Corrections Minister was put forward by the Canberra Liberals in August following a litany of failures including; Riots; inmate escapes; mistakenly releasing an offender into the community and using unsafe vehicles to transport prisoners.