Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 914 ..
Mr Quinlan: I am prepared to withdraw the answer, if you like.
MR SPEAKER: I do not think that would serve much purpose, Mr Quinlan. We might as well move on.
MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the police minister. In providing an answer to a question from Mrs Dunne in relation to the ALP's commitment on police numbers on 7 March, Mr Quinlan said:
During question time I took a question from Mrs Dunne in relation to the number of police committed. I understand that before the election the Liberal Party promised an additional 10 policemen. At a later date, about 2 October, the then Treasurer issued some updated estimates figures, which became the basis for debate during the election campaign.
As I understand it, the 20 that Mr Gerritsen was referring to are a marginal 20 over the 10 that you had committed. Therefore, 10 plus 20 equals 30. It ain't rocket science.
Mr Quinlan, we have checked the forward estimates issued by Mr Humphries on 2 October 2001, and there is no mention of 10 extra police. The commitment in the Labor Party policy issued on 12 October 2001 is for 20 extra police, and this is what Professor Gerritsen costed. The incoming government's brief refers to an additional 20 police.
Minister, do you stand by your claims in this place of 7 March 2002 and 12 December 2001 that the ALP's election commitment was to increase police numbers by 30 officers, or do you wish to correct the record and acknowledge that the ALP's election commitment was in fact for an additional 20 officers?
MR QUINLAN: No, I will not stand by those statements, just in case. What you are saying, I think, Mr Stefaniak, is: "You said you were going to provide 10 extra policemen, but you did not cost them." Is that what you are saying? That is what I am hearing. I am hearing: "The Liberal Party promised 10 extra policemen but did not include them in their forward estimates. They did not count them and did not cost them. They were just going to appear." Is that what you are saying?
I will concede I could have made the mistake of believing that if you made a promise of 10 extra policemen you would have included them in the costing of your election promises, your update. We started our estimates with your revised bottom line, a bottom line we have just been discussing. If I have made the terrible mistake of assuming that the Liberal Party promised 10 policemen and meant to deliver them, then I would have to apologise to the house. But that would be the only circumstance I can imagine in which I would be apologising.
MR STEFANIAK: In that case, Mr Quinlan, I ask whether you remember the response you gave in this place on 12 December 2001: