Page 4099 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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of members of this side of the house in their approach to these types of matters. Let us talk about the Greens’ values when it comes to community safety and support for the police. The Greens’ values are that criminal behaviour can always be excused to the nth degree, that people who make the decision to commit a crime or take the risk of committing a crime should not have to take responsibility for their actions. These are the values of the Greens.

The third landmark value expressed here this morning by the Greens is, of course, that the civil liberties of criminals and the individual rights of people who may be intending to commit a crime, who make that risky decision, come before the rights of the community to be protected. No wonder police are frustrated by the Greens, from Bob Brown down to Dr Foskey. How much confidence can you get out of the Greens’ philosophy as to what constitutes good order and conduct in any community in this country?

I commend Mr Stefaniak’s bill. Whilst the government’s bill is heading in the right direction and is to be generally supported, Mr Stefaniak’s bill adds significant steel to the government’s bill. It address a couple of major issues, particularly the issue of how well our police are supported. ACT police have a very important job to perform on behalf of our community. I call upon the government to take note of that. The government’s first duty of care is to defend the safety of our community. That means making sure that the police have the instruments of power and authority to be able to protect the community. The government’s bill today does not provide that. Mr Stefaniak’s bill today does provide provisions to strengthen the government’s rather watered down bill.

Our police are very important. They are our most valued asset when it comes to how a government exercises community safety. The police are our front line. We as a community and the government as our representative impose significant responsibilities on the shoulders of our police. If we are going to do that, we need to make sure that our police are backed up. This government has not done that here today. In respect of how we see the government’s general lack of support for policing, as illustrated particularly by the government’s bill today, and the government’s behaviour over the last four years, one has to say that this government is soft on criminals but hard on our police.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (11.37), in reply: I am always amused when I hear Mr Pratt speak about civil liberties. We continue to hear the bleating of his wrongful, as he tells it, detention whilst he was off acting in what was Yugoslavia and I find it remarkable that a person in this place who pleads constantly about his wrongful detention would actually dare to raise civil liberties.

Mr Pratt: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think there is an implication in what the Chief Minister is saying. I understand that this issue is before the courts anyway. I would suggest that the Chief Minister should withdraw his comments. Does he wish to pursue that as some way of deviating from his lousy debating?

MR SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order.

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