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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 November 2011) . . Page.. 5374 ..


It is worth reflecting on some of the reports. I have quoted these in speeches before, but it is worth reiterating them. We had an article on 31 July entitled “Another attack on police”. It said:

A police spokesman said that at about 4.15 am yesterday, members of the ACT Policing city beats team had intervened in a disturbance outside the London Burgers and Beers Cafe Bar in Civic, in which one man was seen punching the window glass of the premises.

“When police approached the group of four people and sought to move them on, the alleged offender an 18-year-old-man from Page, lashed out and punched an officer in the face” … “Although he was then restrained, he remained extremely aggressive, swearing and violently resisting arrest.” Police allege that while the 18-year-old was being held, another member of the group, a 20-year-old woman from Reid, attempted to intervene and kicked the arresting officer.

Another one said:

At about 2.15 am on Sunday police had approached a small group of people causing a disturbance outside a nightclub, with one man in the group bleeding heavily from his nose.

But when police approached, the man began acting aggressively towards both police and other members of the public. When police attempted to arrest the man, he allegedly deliberately spat blood and saliva at the eyes and mouths of two officers before he could be subdued, handcuffed, and taken to the ACT Watch House.

These are the sorts of things that police are dealing with often—far too often. And that is the other part of Mr Hanson’s amendments, talking about the number of assaults. The Greens say, “You have got to put that into context because it is only 48 this year and it was 57 in other years.” Let us just put that 48 into some context. Forty-eight assaults on police is almost one a week. This is a regular occurrence. And this is one of those things that may even be under-reported, because police know that it is difficult to get a conviction. Hence the discussion we have about the need to make this clearer.

This happens too often. If you talk to police officers, as I often do—to friends and acquaintances or in a formal way—this is one of the things they raise often. They say to me: “We are happy to do that job. We are honoured to do that job on behalf of the community. What we are looking for is just that the law-makers back us up.” Mr Hanson’s amendments do exactly that. They say that, as a matter of principle, this Assembly says that they should get better backing than they are getting at the moment.

We support that; the Greens and the Labor Party are choosing to vote against that today. That is disappointing. That is disappointing for our police. That is not the kind of support that they deserve when they go out there on the front line and deal with these violent people—when they deal with these violent assaults and when they deal with these assaults on them, almost one a week.


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