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Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 25 March 2021

Tags: Ashley Youth Detention Centre

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, it is offensive and slightly nutty of the member who has just spoken to imagine that the sole purpose for the Greens bringing on this urgency motion today was to gazump the Government's private member's time. Ms Ogilvie has made those comment too. What an offensive point of view.

It just goes to show how politically they are seeing this, rather than understanding that what we have in this Liberal Government is a minister who does not even have the strength of his convictions and the commitment to the children for whom he is responsible in this portfolio to stand up and talk to this urgency motion - to argue why it should not be a matter of urgency today.

He is sitting there. Are you going to stand up, minister? Are you actually going to respond to this? You have failed to indicate that you will respond today to the House, which is why this is a matter of urgency.

The questions that Ms O'Connor, the Leader of the Greens, asked in question time, the serious issues which are on the table, that the department knows about, that the department has had information about for more than a year, more than two years, depending on the questions, we asked the question: will the minister come back into the House and give us some evidence that there is anything that has changed in the toxic culture of management, and mismanagement, of Ashley Youth Detention Centre? The minister refused to answer that question.

We have to have this debate now. We cannot let another day, another week, go by where there is no responsibility by this minister to do what needs to be done to look after the care of those very young vulnerable people who are locked up in a hellhole, the Ashley Youth Detention Centre. In 2016, five years ago now, the independent Noetic report, made it abundantly clear that the Ashley Youth Detention Centre is failing young people. It is not a therapeutic model. It is a model which trains young people to put them on a pathway to Risdon Prison. Of the the children who come out of Ashley, three-quarters of their lives are not supported. There is no therapeutic justice. They are worse than broken while we hear and we keep bringing to the minister, they are brutalised, they are raped, they are attacked. They are verbally harassed, they are hounded and they are neglected. These are awful stories.

The minister knows that his department -

Madam SPEAKER - Order, I have to focus you on the urgency of why the leave is needed.

Dr WOODRUFF - Madam Speaker, with respect, this is exactly the point. The point is that the Greens have raised these issues now for years, but these specific matters that we are talking about, were raised late last year. They are raised again today. We must have a response from the minister today about what his department is doing. All the information that we have is that nothing has changed. While there may have been three people who have been stood down or moved aside, temporarily, the fact is that that is not where these acts of brutalising and neglect are occurring. They are happening at an operational level. There is a culture and it is the culture which is so toxic and dangerous for young people. So, the minister has to respond today. We must understand what actions he is taking.

Mr Ferguson - That is a different issue.

Dr WOODRUFF - It is the issue. This is the point. There is nothing more important for this parliament than to have an answer from the minister on this critical issue of safety for vulnerable young Tasmanians. We know there is evidence of awful acts being done to very young people. The minister must provide us with a response to the questions that Ms O'Connor asked this morning. We must have the amswer today.

Tasmanians deserve to know that this minister is acting to protect vulnerable young people. Until we have that information in here today. there is no more urgent business that we should be going on with than hearing from the minister right now.