Page 3564 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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MR HARGREAVES: First, I will let Mr Pratt know that I have been the minister for police for only a year. Secondly, I am aware, through reading the report in the Canberra Times this morning—as I do every morning, hoping not to choke on my Weeties; but I always read it—that Magistrate Somes had some concern about police handling in this case.

I believe that Magistrate Somes is writing to the Attorney-General with his concerns. As yet, I have not seen any of the detail. It is the afternoon of the same day—I have not received any correspondence on it. But when I do, I will treat this with the utmost seriousness. Nobody likes to see this sort of thing reported, let alone whether or not it is true. I will also have the magistrate’s concerns raised at my regular meeting with the Chief Police Officer.

At this stage it is unwise to jump to conclusions based purely on today’s report. I have the greatest confidence in the work and the professionalism of the ACT Police. I do not spend my whole day looking through bits and pieces around the traps to denigrate the work of our police. The shadow minister for police has not had a good thing to say about anything that the police have done in living memory.

I am looking forward to the MPI this afternoon when Mr Pratt will congratulate our police officers for the sterling job they do. I am looking forward to the litany of congratulations that he comes out with this afternoon when he joins with the government. I cannot wait for this one. Alternatively, we will see another litany of negativity and demoralising comment on this police force. He must absolutely have licked his lips this morning when he read the Canberra Times and thought—

Mr Stanhope: Belt the coppers again.

MR HARGREAVES: He thought, “You little beauty. I can go and belt the coppers again.” It made his day.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Under standing order 118 (b), the minister cannot debate the issue, which he is clearly doing now. Can he please come back to the subject matter of the question.

MR SPEAKER: He was asked a question about police—

Mr Pratt: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order—

MR SPEAKER: One thing at a time Mr Pratt. He asked a question about police administration of their duties, and he asked Mr Hargreaves to respond.

Mr Smyth: Thank you for your wisdom. But the minister did say that he did not know the answer to the question and that he would find out on Monday when he has his regular meeting. Why he goes on when he clearly does not know the answer is clearly against the standing orders.

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is the second question. Mr Pratt, what is your point of order?

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