Closed-door meeting trivialises broken youth justice system

Nov 22, 2022 | David Honey MLA, State News

The Opposition has condemned the Premier for trivialising the problems at Banksia Hill Detention Centre by holding a closed-door meeting with select stakeholders, instead of conducting an independent inquiry.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies was scathing of the Premier’s decision to cap his secret meeting at just 90 minutes and then admitting there was no agenda for the ‘summit’.

“The so-called ‘summit’ being held on Wednesday is a short meeting with a hand-picked select few,” Ms Davies said.

“The Premier continues to stick his head in the sand when it comes to the problems plaguing the Banksia Hill Detention Centre, instead of listening to the experts who want to help.”

Ms Davies used Parliament to reiterate calls for an independent inquiry into the failed youth justice system.

“The Premier’s arrogant refusal to conduct an independent inquiry prevents those with expertise in the youth justice system, community leaders, victims of crime, custodial officers and the community to have their say,” Ms Davies said.

“We are failing to keep people safe in the community by churning out kids through a revolving door that makes them better at breaking the law and behaving badly.

“We have an arrogant Premier who thinks he knows better than the experts and community leaders when it comes to youth justice.”

Leader of the WA Liberals Dr David Honey said the Premier is trying to deflect blame for his Government’s Child Detention scandal by being “tough on crime.”

“Since COVID-19 is no longer the Premier’s trump card, he has to be the strongman on another issue,” Dr Honey said.

“No-one is saying that young offenders who commit serious crimes shouldn’t be detained. We know some young people particularly in regional WA, are terrorising their communities.

“However, we live in a civilised western country and in our system of Government, we do not condone cruel and unusual punishment.

“When you have children in detention – even children who have committed serious crimes – we need a focus on rehabilitation, not punishment.”