Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 668..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
investigation would be kept in-house and only ... findings and recommendations revealed".
In addition to demonstrating a strong reluctance to be transparent on this matter, you failed to release any report-part or whole-for an extraordinary eight months after the incident. The community did not know what to think given your lack of action on this matter. Minister, why did you allow a black cloud to hang over the police for such a long time through failing in your duty to see that the report was promptly produced in order to alleviate community concerns?
MR HARGREAVES: It is an interesting question from the acting Leader of the Opposition about the black cloud that hung over the police. What was particularly important was that the proper investigative procedures be undertaken with propriety. Indeed, such was our commitment that that would be the case, there was the involvement of the ombudsman. There was a whole range of reasons why the report was delayed. But there was no black cloud over the police, other than that imposed upon them by the opposition.
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, why did you originally decide to keep the full report of the police investigation secret, given the public concerns over the issue?
MR HARGREAVES: From day one I said that the findings and the recommendations would be released as soon as they were available. That was the fact. Consistent all the way through the period, that is what I said: that the findings and the recommendations would be released.
There were two concerns that I had: the first one was that operational procedures for the police, which may in fact aid or assist the criminal element, should not be released; the second-and most importantly-was that there were many, many witnesses that came forward. We had no right to expose their names in the public arena. Thirdly, there is an overlay to that, with respect particularly to those people charged: we had to be absolutely certain that we did not break the law with respect to the Children and Young People Act. I was ever cognisant of those three things.
Policing-report on hit-and-run incident
MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. On 24 March the Chief Minister stated on radio, regarding the investigation into the Civic hit-and-run incident, that he shared some of the frustrations of the family and believed the full report should be released. However, as recently as Sunday, 26 March, Minister, you were saying that the report would not be released. Why did you attempt to prevent the release of the report when the Chief Minister had stated that the full report should be released?
MR HARGREAVES: In my previous answer I indicated that we were awaiting legal advice as to whether or not this government would be breaking the law with respect to the Children and Young People Act. I had no intention of breaking the law-with or without the encouragement of the opposition.