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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2343..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Are you aware that the Labor Party's policy statement promised that these extra police would be deployed to parts of Canberra-and I quote from your policy-"where the crime statistics indicate that they are needed the most". Minister, how did you identify that the DNA unit was an area in which extra police would be deployed?

MR QUINLAN: I think you have to accept, Mrs Dunne, that the human race makes progress, technology and science make progress, and policing and crime investigation make progress. Examination of DNA and DNA databases are progress within policing.

Let me reassure you that when we came to government the number of police available to be on the beat was below 500. I believe that there were some difficulties in signing the contract. The number was very low. I can happily advise the Assembly that 22 new members of the police force commenced in April. In fact, there is likely to be in the order of 200. By the time we get to the end of this year, the increase in police available to be on the beat in the ACT is likely to be in the vicinity of 200. Because we have allocated funds to do so, they will also be using modern techniques. They will be using DNA sampling and DNA identification. Yes, it takes people to do that. Unfortunately, it takes people to conduct that. It might be a wild assumption, but one assumes that if you put people on this and you have access to DNA sampling and testing then you might gain significant efficiencies in crime detection.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, is it not the case that the DNA unit could be staffed just as well by non-sworn officers and that this commitment to the DNA unit, a sudden and new-found commitment on the part of the Labor Party, is an abrogation of their election promise?

MR QUINLAN: Yes, Mrs Dunne, we are moving forward. Things change. New? Yes, new. Involved in it? Yes. Things do change, things do develop, and we do want to assist our police force in staying as modern as is possible in what they do. If you want to call that abrogation, knock yourself out. Applying resources, not only man power resources but the wherewithal, to do DNA sampling and testing is a step forward and is likely to make Canberra much safer overall.

Budget-education spending

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the minister for education, Mr Corbell. Minister, I refer to an article in the Canberra Times today in which the federal Liberal minister for education criticises the ACT government on education spending. Can the minister inform the house why Dr Nelson has clearly failed basic economics?

MR CORBELL: Yes, I am very pleased to provide some advice to members in relation to Dr Nelson's comments. Mr Speaker, the federal minister has-

Mr Cornwell: Mr Speaker, he will not be offering an opinion, I trust. Under standing orders that would be out of order, would it not?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell will be responding to a question about some claims by a federal minister. That is what he was asked to do.


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