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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2604 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Today in question time I asked the minister about the resourcing. People ought to be concerned about this because it is about money. For every extra dollar that physically emerges to the AFP another uniform can emerge. In March the minister said the extra cost to go to the AFP for on-costs is $7 million. Three months later it goes to $14.5 million. I asked him where is that other $71/2 million? The answer is this: either there is an additional appropriation or it comes out of the AFP funds. I want to know what part of the AFP will suffer the cuts if that $7 million is not found.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, finally I want to go on the record as congratulating the police on a magnificent effort with their 20 per cent reduction. They far exceeded it. I have no qualifications about that congratulation at all. I do not congratulate the government. I congratulate the hardworking officers at the AFP. I understand that Mr Rugendyke is going to move an amendment to this motion. I hope Mr Rugendyke is going to move to congratulate the police and not the government. I think the congratulation has to go to John Murray and to the officers who serve under him. That is where we start with the congratulations, and then we work downwards. People in this place do not deserve a thing.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (4.52): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is sad to see this very uncharacteristic approach being taken by the Labor Party towards the question of crime. The Labor Party, certainly over many years when we were in opposition, argued consistently that it was extremely important for members of this place not to exploit or misrepresent crime figures. It was particularly important not to use figures about crime to argue that the community was unsafe; that the ACT community was a place where people fear to go out at night and fear to walk alone. Phrases like that were jumped on from a great height by the Labor Party when it was last in office. It argued that members of this place have a responsibility not to alarm people through the use of figures, particularly so as to distort the reality of what is happening. They argued again and again and again that the most important point about crime in the ACT was that the ACT remained the safest place in Australia; that its levels of crime across the board were lower than other jurisdictions, and it should be seen as a safe place relative to other parts of Australia.

Mr Hargreaves: Except for after dark.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): Mr Hargreaves, you were heard in silence. The Chief Minister has the call.

MR HUMPHRIES: What we have from Labor is a return to those days of exploitation of the fear factor in crime. I am very disappointed to hear that. We heard in Mr Hargreaves' speech a moment ago simultaneous praise for the police in reducing levels of crime and acknowledgment that some of the lines that have been run on crime, about Canberra crime being out of control and things like that, cannot be sustained any longer, and that the police deserve credit for having reduced crime. Yet woven into the midst of this language were phrases like: "We live in a place where it is not safe to walk to your car", "Woman held up at knife-point", and "Mother and child abducted in their car".

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