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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 974 ..

MR SPEAKER: It is 25 to 11, and if we continue with this it will be 25 to 3 and we will not be any further advanced. I would simply caution you, Mr Stanhope, about your comments concerning the police. I am sure you will understand.

MR STANHOPE: If I had been allowed to say what I meant to say, Mr Speaker, we would not be in this knot. What I said, and I will not resile from it, is that it cannot be denied that police do on occasions bully people, and they do. Who in this room, Attorney-General, will actually deny that? Will you?

Mr Humphries: That is not the point you were making. You were making a generalisation about police.

MR STANHOPE: That is the point I was making. That is the point I was making until Mr Osborne began to interject, when Mr Osborne insisted that all police were actually lilywhite. But that is not the point. It is a real distraction and it actually allows us not to get to the nub of this debate. It was a distraction and I regret that I was distracted by it. It diverted me from the very important point that this sort of legislation does not address the cause of those problems which, perhaps, lead to our youth, to our sons and daughters, to our neighbours, to all those young people in our community, being at some risk. It does not do it. It is just a bandaid. The point I make is that it actually allows us to ignore all those important things about what we need to do to create safer communities.

I have spoken with Mr Rugendyke about my views on community policing and the style of community policing. I discussed with Mr Rugendyke how often he, as a community policeman, would have had to resort to a move-on power had the power been available. I asked Mr Rugendyke, as a community policeman, how often he, in his day-to-day work, felt that his work was inhibited by the fact that he did not have a move-on power to back him up in his responsibilities. I will allow Mr Rugendyke to speak for himself, but Mr Rugendyke advised me that in his work as a community policeman he could not actually remember when he could not handle a problem by simply negotiating a response. If a policeman is actually concerned enough to negotiate, most people will respond and we actually get a much better result. We do not get the 2,600 alienated people. Every one of those people that was moved on went back and complained to somebody, to a parent or to a mate, saying, "I was pushed around. I was not doing anything wrong and I was made to go somewhere else. I was doing nothing wrong. I was not committing a crime". That is what these kids say. They always say, "I was doing nothing wrong; yet I was told to go somewhere else".

Of course, there are people within our community that actually do claim to suffer particularly under laws of this sort. Everybody saw the representations made - I do not know whether they were made to members individually - by the local Aboriginal legal services about their concerns as to how their clients are particularly targeted by this sort of legislation. That is a real concern in terms of the particular disadvantage that indigenous Australians suffer in their relationships with the law. I do not know whether they have spoken to other members about it, but they have made representations to me about their serious concerns as to the impact of this law on their people. That, in itself, is enough to cause us to stop and think.

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