Page 480 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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trying to do their best, embroiled in a matter before the Coroners Court. That could be any public servant. Some of them are volunteers. Some of them are there in a voluntary capacity. What is the signal that has been sent—

Mr Smyth: Which ones are there in a voluntary capacity?

MR STANHOPE: Members of parks brigades volunteer to be members of a parks brigade.

MR SPEAKER: Order! We are getting into a discussion of the relative merits of particular persons involved in this matter and I would not want members to stray into that area.

MR STANHOPE: I take your point absolutely, Mr Speaker. I will paint a hypothetical situation. Imagine, then, we are not talking about the fire; we are talking about another similar circumstance. Say young police constables are engaged in a pursuit of a vicious criminal—a rapist, a murderer or a drug dealer—and there is an incident; the car crashes and the matter ends up in front of the Coroners Court. The attitude that we see here, the Liberal Party attitude is, “Look, boys, you’re on your own. You’re in the Coroners Court now.” Say Bill Stefaniak is the Attorney-General. There is a question of justice that needs to be pursued to ensure that these young police constables actually receive the protection that they deserve, that there is no suggestion or perception of bias in a matter in which they are involved, and Bill Stefaniak, as Attorney-General, says, “Well, look, boys, I would like to support you in your application to ensure that you receive justice, but it would be seen by the people of Canberra as an attack on the coroner. So, boys, you’re on your own. I really appreciate what you were trying to do, chasing down suspected murderers, but you’re on your own.”

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member’s time has expired.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Policing—criminal investigations

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. As you would be aware, the ACT currently has a number of unsolved murders on its books, such as the Grosvenor murder, and other serious criminal investigations underway. The police annual reports show that in recent years apprehension rates for offences against the person have declined.

Page 5.50 of the productivity commission Report on Government Services 2005 shows that spending per person in the ACT on criminal investigations has declined from $90 per person in the 2000-01 financial year to just $54 per person in the 2003-04 financial year. Why has the spending per person on criminal investigation in the ACT declined so dramatically?

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