Page 2199 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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better. He must be able to get this information from his department. I undertook the simple task of going to the ACT Policing annual report 2001-02 to find out how they had spent it. If I can do it, then surely he can do it. Surely it behoves us to make sure that, when we put facts to the Assembly, those facts are correct.

The problem now is that, if it is passed and the Labor members vote for it, this resolution will then be sent to the minister as the opinion of the Assembly. I suspect that you, Mr Speaker, will get to sign that and send it off to the minister. If this Assembly passes the amendment moved by Mr Hargreaves it is saying it is okay for Mr Speaker to write to ministers on our behalf and tell them things that are factually incorrect.

I think that, if I stood up and said something that was misleading, I would be asked to withdraw it, as is appropriate. I believe that to have the figure of $68 million in this document as tabled is misleading; it is factually incorrect. As to the rules on misleading, we all make mistakes. You can only assume it is a mistake. The minister has not performed well in the portfolio; he never answers his questions; he is not across his brief; he does not know. He has persistently told this Assembly that we have more officers than ever before; and yet in estimates we were told by his department that we do not. So we have got to know that Mr Hargreaves is like this.

When it is brought to your attention that something you have said is incorrect, it does behove the individual responsible, at the first occasion, to withdraw, apologise to the Assembly and correct the record. If Mr Hargreaves had the wherewithal to follow the convention he could do that now and that would be fine. Then you, Mr Speaker, would not send something that was factually incorrect to the minister responsible.

The problem for us is that the weight of numbers will mean that this goes down and that we will perpetuate things that are not true. In the annual report, in paragraph 8, Mr Hargreaves asserts that it has increased from $68.2 million in 2001-02, yet the ACT Policing annual report for 2001-02 shows total expenses for the Australian Federal Police of $73,147,000. So clearly there is a difference; somebody is wrong. If Mr Hargreaves is willing to tell me, or tell this place, that the annual report tabled by the police minister was wrong, then that will be fine, but I think it is important that he corrects the record.

Mr Hargreaves: I seek leave to speak again on the amendment. I have moved the amendment and spoken on both the substantive motion and the amendment. I ask leave to address the issues Mr Smyth has raised.

Leave not granted.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.48), in reply: The minister has spoken at great length in estimates and here again today about AFP FTE police numbers and the agreement the ACT has with the AFP to purchase a service with productivity or performance outcomes, rather than purchasing an actual police strength. That is a system we have all been stuck with for some time. I understand that this arrangement has been in place for the period of a number of governments. I sympathise with the minister in having to manage that, with all the inconsistencies and moveable measuring factors this entails.

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