Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 680 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Committee in the previous Assembly, where issues of this kind were also canvassed, at least incidentally to other inquiries. In particular, the issue of the appointment of an ACT police commissioner or chief police officer and the knock-back that the ACT has had from the Federal Government on that question has given rise to a real issue of whether we need to consider some different arrangement, including the possibility of a separate ACT police force.
Mr Speaker, on the question of the reports in the Canberra Times, my comments in the Canberra Times on Sunday or Monday, whichever day it was, were consistent with my comments on the earlier occasion - the comments that appeared on the Sunday as opposed to the comments on the Monday. What I was hosing down, Mr Speaker, was the false expectation that might have been taken by some people, based on the comments by Mr Hargreaves, that negotiations between the Commonwealth and the ACT had broken down. They have not broken down, Mr Speaker.
Mr Hargreaves: They must have, otherwise you would not be dumping them like this.
MR HUMPHRIES: I do not know how Mr Hargreaves reaches that conclusion. They have not broken down; on the contrary.
Mr Hargreaves: You have dumped them.
MR HUMPHRIES: No, that is not the case, Mr Speaker.
Mr Hargreaves: Just own up to it and get on with it.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR HUMPHRIES: I know what I need to do, Mr Speaker. Let me make it clear: The fact is that the negotiations have progressed, and they have progressed to the stage where it is clear that separation is a real issue which we have to address. It is not because of the negotiations having broken down that we have come to that conclusion; on the contrary. It is the fact that the negotiations have reached a stage of maturity that has led to that particular option having crystallised further and having provided that the Government should put that on the table. So, Mr Speaker, I tell members of the Assembly quite plainly - and Mr Hargreaves can go and check with the Federal Government if he wishes - that the negotiations have not broken down, they are still on foot, they are no less real or less fulsome than they were two months ago or six months ago, and they will continue. If Mr Hargreaves has any proof of this wild assertion that they have broken down, I invite him to submit that to the Assembly or anybody else for that matter. But, of course, he has not because it is not true.
Mr Speaker, on the question of consultation: We are back into the old bind here. There has been no consultation except for the Government having flagged the issue very clearly some time ago and having raised it in succession with a series of stakeholders in this area, those stakeholders being - - -
Mr Hargreaves: That is gobbledegook. "Stakeholders" is gobbledegook.