The Bimberi brawl

johnboy 8 February 2011

Now that the Liberals have found the keys to their website and posted their statements we can start exploring the issue of the Bimberi youth detention inquiry.

It started with Vicki Dunne who is angry because the ACT Commissioner for Children and Young People, Alasdair Roy, used the name of an informant in correspondence with her.

On one level this is slightly farcical, taking high dudgeon over being fully informed. On the other hand the initial complaint to Ms Dunne was over breaches of whistleblower confidentiality so the casual use of the informers’ identity rather confirms earlier suspicions.

For context remember the Liberals were already angry Mr Roy was conducting the inquiry rather than a full blown judicial review.

Minister for Children and Young People, Joy Burch, doesn’t believe in doing media releases in response to opposition statements so we don’t have her response. But at some point she has said Alasdair Roy has her full confidence. Which has further excited Ms Dunne:

The Minister was reported in the media as saying the Commissioner has her ‘full confidence’ to conduct the inquiry, but has refused to answer questions about what inquiries and investigations she or the Attorney General have made into the Commissioner’s conduct,” Mrs Dunne said.

“Has Ms Burch made her own investigations into the conduct of the Commissioner before she wholeheartedly backed his role as lead investigator? Or does she simply not care and is trying to downplay the concerns put forward by a staff member of the correctional facility she is responsible for?

In response Attorney General Simon Corbell is trying to calm the horses:

“I have reviewed the claims made by the Opposition in relation to Mr Roy’s conduct as part of the review,” Mr Corbell said.

“I am completely satisfied that Mr Roy has acted appropriately and with due regard for the reputation and privacy of those who have contacted him regarding the provision of youth detention services in the ACT.

“I have discussed the matter directly with Mr Roy and my department and it is quite clear that Mr Roy has acted professionally and with good faith at all times.

“Mr Roy is an asset to the ACT community and is a well-respected commissioner advocating for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

One suspects it all depends on whether you think things are best settled quietly, or out in broad daylight.

But when we’re talking about the wellbeing of the most disadvantaged children in our society, already well off the rails, it would be nice to be able to have some confidence in the process.

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