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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 870 ..

MR HANSON: That is all he has got. If Dr Paterson wants to make slurs against me and Mrs Jones, that is fine. But saying that this is all just a politically motivated issue and is fear-raising goes directly to the comments that we are hearing from the community, including her own community council president.

Dr Paterson also said that I misrepresented the fact that the ACT has the lowest number of police per capita in Australia. Well, a fact is a fact. Statistics in this case are reported in the Report on Government Services, and I refer her to that. Per 100,000, the ACT has 206 frontline sworn officers. New South Wales has 240, Victoria has 307, and Australia-wide the average is 281. We have the lowest. We have the lowest per capita in Australia, and that is a fact.

The accusation is that we are comparing apples with oranges. I do not buy into that argument. We are surrounded by New South Wales; we are an island within New South Wales. I do not see why we should have fewer police officers per capita than places like Yass or Queanbeyan, Wagga Wagga and so on. But even if you want to accept that argument, let’s compare ourselves to ourselves of a decade ago. Let’s compare the ACT of today under Minister Gentleman with the ACT of 2012: we have fewer frontline officers. Despite the significant growth of Canberra in that period we have fewer frontline police officers now than we did back then. And in terms of funding we are spending significantly less per capita.

So even if you want to buy into your apples and oranges argument—which I do not—how do you argue that? How do you justify the fact that under this government we are reducing the number of frontline police officers and we are spending less on police? If Mr Gentleman wants to argue the fact that he was there cutting the police budget with his ministerial colleagues in the 2013-14 budget, I will look forward to that as well.

Mr Gentleman also talked about Mr Coe and Senator Seselja—I am not quite sure why, but he likes to do that—and that that is conservatism writ large. Is caring about workers a conservative value? Is caring about our police and their welfare and listening to their union a conservative value? I am happy to wear that. I am happy to be the man that cares about his frontline workers, who listens to the union and who will litigate their case.

There is Mr Gentleman ironically arguing the line of the boss here—ignoring what the AFPA is saying and ignoring the plight of the frontline police officer. He is there with the bosses, arguing against the union and the frontline members. They are a bit selective, aren’t they? You have to look at which are the ones affiliated with the Labor Party and the ones that give the buckets of money to the Labor Party and the Greens. I bet my bottom dollar that the minister would be in here championing the workers, championing the union for standing up for their members, as he should. But he only does it if they are affiliated and if they make a nice, generous donation at election time. As I said, if caring about community safety and if listening to the community council are conservative values, well, I am happy to wear it.

I conclude by thanking members for their contributions. It has been quite enlightening. I am sure the Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley communities will be very interested

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