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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1878 ..

Police Portfolio

MR OSBORNE: I am loath to ask a question of the Chief Minister, but I will do so in her capacity as Treasurer. In view of the events of the past couple of months regarding the forced restructuring of our police force by Commissioner Palmer and the fact that it has become increasingly more obvious over the last few months that the Federal Minister, Duncan Kerr, is really the Minister for Police in the ACT, will you consider saving some money by dissolving the role of Police Minister until such time as we have our own statutorily appointed commissioner?

MRS CARNELL: I thank Mr Osborne for the question. I suspect that we will be talking about this at length on the MPI a little bit later. I can guarantee, Mr Osborne, that I will not be relieving Mr Humphries of this job. I believe that it is an incredibly important job. I am sure that we will elaborate on this substantially very shortly.

MR OSBORNE: Chief Minister, what has your Government done in light of the recent Legal Affairs Committee report on that matter?

MRS CARNELL: I will pass that question to Mr Humphries as he has responsibility for that.

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you, Mr Osborne, for the question. I assume that this is the same Legal Affairs Committee report that Mr Osborne, in a press release last week, said that he was expecting to be released soon - the same one that was released, in fact, three weeks ago in the Assembly. I am not sure whether he is quite aware of what report he is talking about. The report that was presented three or four weeks ago in the Assembly is the one that this Government is now considering for a response. We will consider sympathetically, as I have indicated already to the public and to Mr Connolly, the suggestion of a separate ACT appointed police chief because we view that as an appropriate way of strengthening the degree of ACT control over our police force. I have made no secret of the fact that I consider it unfortunate that the ACT does not have total control; but I also consider it fortunate that the ACT is able to call upon the services of the Australian Federal Police.

I, for one, would not accept, and I rule it out right now on behalf of the Government, any immediate proposal to turn towards a separate ACT police force. In the circumstances, since we are contracting a service, there are some limitations on what we can achieve by way of control. As part of the process of assessing whether we can have a separate ACT appointed police chief, we will assess whether we can generate a greater degree of control without losing the benefit of interaction with, and involvement by our ACT police with, a wider structure of the Australian Federal Police.

Mrs Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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