Pollies facing off on justice centres

Ms Morton announced last year the facilities would be built in Caversham and Kiara to house a maximum of 20 people with intellectual or cognitive disabilities, charged with, but not convicted of an offence.

Since the announcement, Mr Kelly and Ms Morton have publically argued the reasons behind the centres’ locations, with both accusing each other of misleading the public.

On Thursday, March 13, Mr Kelly resorted to Facebook to update his status about a conversation earlier that day he had with Ms Morton in the Parliament corridor.

Mr Kelly said Ms Morton had told him the reason she did not want the centres next to schools was not to protect the children but to protect the centres from what the children might do.

‘She also forcefully said that the centres would go ahead, they would ‘win’ and that once the Senate election was out of the way the bulldozers would go in,’ he said.

‘The minister pulled the first two sites in 2012 because we were in the lead-up to the 2013 State election, so it is true to form that they have timed the development of first site in Caversham to occur after the April Senate election.’

When contacted in relation to the Facebook status, Ms Morton did not acknowledge it but said Mr Kelly concocted the connection between the timing of the centres and the Senate election.

‘Building is expected to begin in May 2014, following demolition works in the next few weeks,’ she said.

‘The timing of the Senate election is not and has never been a factor.

‘Comments from Mr Kelly on disability justice centres are often incorrect and show his lack of understanding of the planned centres.

‘He appears to be totally at odds with his colleague, John Quigley, who is advocating for a better option than prison for people unfit to plead due to intellectual or cognitive impairment.’

Mr Kelly said the comment about the Butler MLA was a ‘red herring’.