Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1894 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, Mr Osborne referred to the goings-on in Sydney - presumably the police royal commission. I think what is going on there is a very serious indictment of policing in New South Wales. Unfortunately, it has even touched the Australian Federal Police. The structure that we have provided for the Federal Police in this Territory is expressly designed to avoid the kind of corrupt practices which have been so much in evidence before the Wood royal commission. That structure in New South Wales is precisely the product of the select, elite, cocooned specialist squads and units which have so much been a part of policing in the past in this country but which in the future will not be part of policing in this Territory. That is a very good indication of how we can avoid corruption occurring in the ACT police.
Mr Connolly spoke about the wonderful injection of capital funds by his Government over the last few years. It was a great pity about the concomitant 9 per cent reduction in recurrent expenditure which meant that the area it was important to have money for - police on the beat - was cut back by the former Government. I think it is wonderful to have a nice brand spanking new Winchester Centre and a nice brand spanking new Tuggeranong police station; but, unfortunately, you cannot actually use police stations to go out and catch criminals. You need the police to go out and do that. The 9 per cent cut imposed over the last four years on recurrent policing functions in the Territory caused the problems in policing in this Territory. Even if we had been able to carry forward a promise to deliver more money for policing, we, first of all, would have had to soak up those unpaid bills left to us by the former Government for furniture and fittings at the city police station, for the operation of the Winchester Centre and for other things outside the policing budget.
Mr Speaker, Mr Connolly accused me of a backflip on abolition of the Fraud Squad and the Drug Squad. I have never supported the abolition of those two squads. If you can find where I said it, I will shower you in gold coins. You find where I said that I wanted that to happen or I supported it happening or I was contemplating it happening, and I will shower you with gold coins. Mr Connolly, I will keep my money.
Mr Speaker, I stand by the changes which are occurring in the Australian Federal Police. They are designed to make our police force responsive, less corrupt than other police forces in this country and more cost-effective. They are designed to get more police out on the beat, where they should be and they always should have been. Those changes are positive ones. Let us debate that if we have a problem with it, but let us not joust with windmills. I cannot affect the fact that we do not appoint our own ACT police chief. I would like to, but I cannot. In the circumstances, we have to accept that that is our lot for the time being and get on with having a better police force. Let us debate the changes. That is what we are concerned about. That is not the debate we have had today, however.
MR MOORE (4.04): I could not let an opportunity like this go by without drawing attention to the Alliance Government's original acceptance of the police contract that was signed by Bernard Collaery. At that time I think I took a great deal of time to say that it was a silly contract; that it was inappropriate; that it ought not to have been signed. However, it is something that we have been left with. That mistake is still with us. The problem that Mr Osborne raised of not having an ACT police commissioner results from the failure of the Alliance Government and particularly Bernard Collaery - - -