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Greens - Victory on independent inspectorate

31 May 2005

Greens win victory on independent prison inspectorate

The Green Party has won a significant victory for human rights with the Government agreeing to set up an Independent Prison Inspectorate in exchange for support on Phil Goff's Prisoners and Victims Claims Bill, Green Party Spokesman for Justice Nandor Tanczos confirmed today.

The Government was under pressure from United Future, which wanted to remove basic human rights for prisoners by disallowing financial compensation for those who have subjected to abuse while incarcerated. The party stepped in to stop United Future from hijacking the Bill, which will make it easier for crime victims to sue offenders who have had payouts, after an approach from the Government for help. "United Future had begun to make increasingly bizarre threats to the Government during the second reading of the Bill.

"The Government refused to be held to ransom by the extremist views of United Future, which threatened at the last minute to pull the plug on the bill if the Government didn't support its amendment to remove the right for prisoners to claim compensation for abuse.

"That would have been a fundamental breach of international law and would have left the door open for abuses in the corrections system to continue," Nandor says.

"We are pleased to have both prevented the Bill from being made much worse under the influence of United Future and to have gained a significant victory in the agreement for an independent inspectorate to monitor prisons. The Greens are also negotiating a sunset clause to the Bill and further work on improving support for victims of serious crime.

ENDS


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