Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (27 September) . . Page.. 2760..
MR PRATT (continuing):
months, I would like to believe—I would hope—that that targeted operation has been in place for quite some time. We did not have confidence in that, of course, because when I asked the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services here in this chamber in the last sitting what actions were underway, what measures were in train, what was the government doing, he did not say that there was a targeted police operation underway at all. He simply mused, "Well, maybe we have to spend half a million dollars on protecting buses."Well, I agree with him. I want him to spend half a million dollars on reinforced windows on buses as an immediate, concrete step and a confidence-building step that he can take right now to show our bus drivers that we support them and to impress upon our passengers that we will protect them if they get onto those buses. But the minister did not know about the policing operation. Why did he not say, "My colleague Mr Corbell has the following actions in train"? If he had said that, perhaps we would have been a little bit more comfortable than we are in this place today.
Mr Speaker, we have talked about the amendments. Now that it is clear that our motion will not get up, I will implore the minister—even though we did not vote to support his amendment—to go away and look at what he proposed in his amendment, which is the establishment of a dedicated, expert inquiry into this behaviour. If he does that, then the opposition will be very pleased. I implore him to at least follow through and do that.
It would have been much better, though, Mr Speaker, if the minister had agreed to Mr Smyth's amendments to the minister's amendment to marry up his proposal with the opposition's proposal to identify a select committee. Why do I say that? Because, Mr Speaker, a select committee can be launched fairly quickly; it can report in a reasonable time frame. A select committee can cover the broad range of disciplines which we believe need to be exercised in addressing this issue, this scourge of rock throwing at buses and the dropping of concrete blocks onto young ladies' cars. Because the problem is multi-disciplined, you therefore need a select committee.
I think we have the talent and the capabilities in this Assembly to be able to address these sorts of issues. We would like to see both. We have adjusted our position today. Yes, we will accept the government's expert inquiry, but we would like to see it operating in tandem with a select committee. I would simply ask that, at the 11th hour, the government come on board and support our proposal for a select inquiry and, of course, marry that up with the expert committee that they are now talking about.
Mr Speaker, it is very, very important that we take clear steps to attack this growing trend. It is not simply a matter of locking people up. Much more importantly, it is necessary to identify why it is occurring in the first place. I thank Mr Corbell for his contribution on that issue. We would like to see the government now take action to address this matter.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (1l.44): I move: