Suspended prison guard Kylie Muscat.A prison officer who was stood down after raising safety concerns about the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre has been loudly cheered by Queensland Labor Party members.
United Voice union delegate Kylie Muscat was suspended on full pay after speaking out about violence in the prison since a smoking ban was introduced on May 5.
Ms Muscat was at the ALP Queensland state conference on Sunday, where members backed a motion that a future Labor government would improve staffing levels and facilities in state prisons.
Ms Muscat’s bid to be restored to her job is now before a Fair Work Australia hearing.
Labor members gave Ms Muscat two standing applauses as United Voice prisons co-ordinator Michael Clifford promised the party would support her.
“She is measured, she is principled, she has integrity, she has got a steely resolve and she’ll speak out for her members and her delegates,” Mr Clifford said of Ms Muscat.
“We will support Kylie Muscat. We will support her, legally, any way we can.
“We know that the law often fails us so we fall back to what we do well and that’s giving support to each other. Solidarity, comrades!”
Ms Muscat was suspended after an interview with Fairfax Media earlier this month.
She said rising prisoner numbers led to overcrowding, and that there were more assaults on prison officers since the smoking ban was introduced.
“Unless something changes soon, we suspect we’re going to see increasingly violent assaults on workers at Arthur Gorrie and that’s completely unacceptable,” she said.
The following day Ms Muscat was stood down by Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre’s managing company GEO Group for “breaching company policy”.
A government spokeswoman said there did not appear to be any link between a recent attack at Arthur Gorrie and the smoking ban.
She also said Corrective Services had “the ability to cater for as many prisoners as required and adapt accordingly”.
“Corrective centres in Queensland are fully scalable to ensure prisoner numbers – which fluctuate for a range of reasons – can be accommodated at any given point in time,” the spokeswoman said.
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