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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 5163..


As the minister points out, police are amongst a select few who choose to place themselves in the face of harm in order to help preserve the standards of community life we hold dear. That does not, however, diminish the rule of law, the need for accountability and cautious concern about how police use force. Whilst we in the government weigh the considerations of making law, it falls to police, amongst others, to enforce those laws. We should not second-guess the split-second judgement call often required by police at a moment's notice. There are more than ample accountability measures in place to review the reasons why police respond in a given situation as they do.

This is why I support the amendment to the motion by Mr Rattenbury to reflect more accurately the situation as it specifically relates to the ACT and the undertakings already given by the minister to the Assembly and the community with regard to the review of taser use by ACT Policing.

It is often said that the use of a pistol will do permanent damage. There is no maybe about it. It will. One of my best friends has just been a subject of a police shooting and his life is completely and forever wrecked. And so it would be very easy for me to say I support the expanded use of tasers to replace the pistols on the officers' belts. But it is not, I do not believe, for me as a member of this place to dictate, without proper academic research and evidence-based decision making, the promotion or diminution of the use of tasers or any other use of force option.

It is up to us, I believe, the police as an operational expert and the minister to have a look at all of the writing on this subject and make sure at that point that what we actually do is consider that. We need to be very careful that we do not just say: "It looks like a good idea. We will do it."The streaker's defence, I am afraid, does not cut it for me. "It seemed like a good idea at the time"does not work.

We need—and I have heard this said by those on the crossbench time and time again and I actually support this position—to be a bit more all-encompassing in the evidence that we use to apply to ourselves in this decision making. And when we are talking about possibly somebody's life at stake, we need to be doubly cautious. So I support the minister's position. I support the minister's amendment and I would ask respectfully that the chamber follow suit.

Debate interrupted.

Visitors

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Members, I draw your attention to the presence of David Lamont, a former member of this Assembly, in the chamber.

ACT Policing—tasers

Debate resumed.


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