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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2734 ..

Chief Police Officer

MR OSBORNE: My question is directed to the open and consultative Minister for Police, Mr Humphries. I will try not to hurt your feelings again like I did this morning.

Mr Humphries: I will try to reciprocate, Mr Osborne.

MR OSBORNE: Thank you. Minister, I read with interest in the Canberra Times this morning of the imminent appointment of Commander Bill Stoll as Canberra's new chief of police. My question, I might add, is not about the man appointed but about the process. Minister, is this another interim appointment, as we heard Mr Allen was at the start of the year? Were you informed of the change, or did you once again find out through the Canberra Times? What input did you have in the selection process?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Osborne for the question. The article in the paper today was not an announcement by the Government. You prefaced the question with the sarcastic comment about being open and consultative. The fact that that article appeared in the Canberra Times at all was a product of discussion and consultation within the ranks of the Australian Federal Police. That is why that name appeared in the Canberra Times today.

Clearly, the Government is moving towards taking up the suggestion made by the Legal Affairs Committee, of which you, Mr Osborne, are a member, to appoint an ACT nominated and appointed chief of police in the Territory.

Mr Osborne: Police commissioner.

MR HUMPHRIES: Police commissioner, chief of police, whatever phrase you want to use. That has not been a matter that I have formed a view about yet. You may have a view, but I have not formed a view about that yet. The Government does wish to take seriously the recommendations made by the Legal Affairs Committee; and it is not too late. The issue is there. It is the Government's view that we should be moving towards appointing such a person. I hope to be able to discuss, in due course, with Mr Osborne and others in the Assembly the appropriate structures for being able to appoint permanently an ACT police commissioner or chief of police, whatever it might be. When that happens, I will be very willing to take on board Mr Osborne's view, Mr Connolly's view and the views of other members of the Assembly who have already expressed some opinion about this matter. It seems to be quite appropriate that we should be moving towards having a locally based appointment, even on an interim basis.

There was criticism at the Estimates Committee of the fact that Commissioner Palmer was not able to attend the Estimates Committee. There was a clear indication by the Assembly that it wished to see a greater nexus between the person responsible for policing in the Territory and the ACT Government. That was a clear view expressed by the Assembly. That is what this is all about. I cannot help the fact that the article appeared in the Canberra Times today. I am very happy to talk to Mr Osborne and others about the appropriateness of making that appointment. In due course we will be making it permanent through legislation.

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