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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1886 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

police portfolio is more like a player who is sitting on the bench and not allowed to get into the game, or the player who gets a run on the wing when the game is well and truly won, and only because he is good and comes to training all the time. It is like carrying a popgun with a little cork stuck in the end of it when the rest of the boys have bazookas.

Who is making all the police policy decisions in Canberra? Who has the say in where our police dollars are being spent? Would the real Minister for Police please stand up? I am left thinking about why we have Assembly committees when their unanimous recommendations are disregarded by the police. This leads me to ponder why we should bother having an ACT police portfolio at all. In our current Clayton's portfolio, there are no decisions to make, so why continue with the farce?

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (3.30): It is interesting to hear what Mr Osborne says. I note that he quite properly stated at the start that what he was saying was not a slur on my colleague Mr Humphries or Mr Palmer. That is most appropriate, because both of them are doing a very good job. I am glad that Mr Osborne drew that distinction. Mr Osborne came to Canberra in the early 1990s. He was not here when the Assembly started. The Australian Federal Police was formed on either 19 or 21 September 1979 through amalgamation of the Commonwealth Police and the then ACT Police Force.

I can certainly recall the first election in 1989. At the time I had just ceased being a prosecutor. I knew most of the police and talked to a lot of police about the hoary old chestnut of whether they wanted their own police force or to be part of the AFP. There was a lot of angst initially when the AFP was formed. It took a number of years for the "plastics", the Commonwealth police, and the "reallies", the old ACT police, to start to work together, but work together they did. They have become a very effective police force, one that is admired not only in Australia but throughout the world.

The considerations of a committee of this Assembly have given rise again to the question of the ACT having its own police commissioner. Mr Humphries will say more on that. I think he feels that that has considerable merit. Obviously, it would take time. I suppose that presupposes that eventually we may have our own police force again. We may. That is obviously something that everyone needs to consider. But at present we have a very effective police force which, as Mr Osborne has indicated, is doing a very good job in the Territory. I appreciate that he is an ex-police officer who wants to help our police in any possible way he can. That is most commendable.

A lot of our police benefit from being in the AFP. The national part of the AFP is very helpful to our police. It gives them the opportunity to go on assignments overseas and serve time in other States of Australia. From this they gain a lot of expertise. Similarly, police who come to Canberra from interstate gain experience in general duties police work and the more State-type police duties. There are a significant number of police in Canberra who started here or came here very early in their careers and who do not really want to move anywhere else, except perhaps for a tour of duty in Cyprus or two or three years in an office in Sydney or Brisbane. Such assignments are one of the

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