Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 672 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
business buying security for your shop, you would not put up with a provider who ignored your needs. You would take your money elsewhere. The way this contract works now is not good for the ACT, and it is certainly not good management for the Government to sign a contract which leaves it with so little say in the service.
I want to make it perfectly clear that nothing I say in this place today should be taken as criticism of the police force that we have here in the ACT, because clearly I do not want to be belted by my colleague sitting next to me. I think we are blessed with a very good police force. Our police are very well trained, and the incidence of crime in Canberra is relatively low compared to most other cities and towns in Australia.
Mr Corbell: Do not mislead the house now.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Corbell claims that I am misleading the house. I hope that does not come back to haunt him at some stage.
Mr Corbell: No. I just said to be careful not to mislead the house.
MR OSBORNE: You did not say that?
Mr Corbell: No, I did not claim that you had misled. I just said that you have to be careful not to.
MR OSBORNE: Okay. With confidence and the right kind of legislative support from this place, we can ensure that we cut off problems before they get out of control, as they have elsewhere in Australia. My criticism here is aimed at the Commonwealth for ignoring the strong wishes of this place to give us more say in the policy direction of ACT policing and at the ACT Government for not being tough enough in its negotiations with the Federal Government. It is time for the Justice Minister to force the issue with the Commonwealth, and I call on him by way of this motion to refuse to sign any new agreement that does not include provision for the Territory to appoint its own police commissioner.
As I said at the outset, I have made this call before, and I will continue to make it until something happens. I would hope that all members would agree with this motion, as they have in the past. Given that we are in contract negotiations with the Commonwealth, the timing is right. I look forward to support from other members.
MR HARGREAVES (4.56): Mr Osborne summed it up pretty succinctly, even if it did take 15 minutes to do it succinctly. He encapsulated many of the things that we have all been talking about and that no doubt he has been talking about for the last three or four years. From our side of the house I want to underscore a couple of points that he made. He mentioned that he was making no reflection on the quality of service we currently receive from the police in the ACT. It is a superb service that we get from the police in the ACT. The real issue is whether we are getting the services that we as a community think we need. My view on this is that we probably are, to the best of the police's ability; but it is not something which emanates from an examination of our needs.