POLICE SERVICE (INSPECTOR GENERAL) BILL
Debate resumed from 12th November.
Mr ANDERSON (Liverpool) [7.50]: The Opposition supports the legislation and will not divide on it. My remarks will be brief by normal parliamentary standards, and even by my standards. Everyone is well aware of the purpose of the bill, which is to formalise the creation of the position of inspector general and the appointment of Mr Donald Wilson to the position. It is worthy to note what my revered and honoured colleague in another place, the Hon. R. D. Dyer, said in his contribution to the debate there. He said:
We now know that the legislation was necessary, and the Opposition is happy to support it, particularly as it relates only to the three-year appointment of Mr Wilson. It is worthy to note also that at the time of the creation of the position of inspector general the Minister for Police attempted to justify the position on the basis that it was a recommendation in the Lusher report. It was not. The Lusher report recommended an inspectorate. Until about 1929 the title of the head officer of the police force was Inspector General of Police. It was then changed to Commissioner of Police. The Police Board believed that the creation of this office would assist it in carrying out its role in the interest of the Police Service. I hope that will be so. There was much speculation about the appointment, and that has continued. In the Bulletin of 13th August, Lenore Nicklin said of a lengthy interview with Mr Wilson, "There is speculation that Wilson will end up eventually with the commissioner's job". In the August edition of the New South Wales Police News Mr Lloyd Taylor, the Secretary of the Police Association, reported on an interview with Mr Wilson. He said of Mr Wilson:
Earlier this year when the Minister announced that the office of inspector general was to be established and Mr Wilson was to be appointed to that position, I asked the Minister in a question without notice whether legislation would be necessary to give effect to that office. The Minister answered in the negative.
That will remove much of the concern. In the same article Mr Wilson supported the claim that police officers charged with offences arising from their duties should be given legal assistance. I am pleased to read that that is Mr Wilson's view. I wish it were the view of the Government. It certainly is part of Labor Party policy. Mr Wilson probably did not endear himself to the Minister for Police when in the Sunday Telegraph of 24th November and in the Sydney Morning Herald of 25th November he was quoted as saying that volunteer police were not a goer. Anyone who read those articles would see why Mr Wilson came to that conclusion and why that concept ought to be rejected. The Police Service Weekly of 19th August carried an article about Mr Wilson. The article made the point that, as a member of the Police Board, Mr Wilson is located on the 19th floor of the Avery Building in College Street, which formerly was known as the police headquarters; that the office of the Minister for Police is on the 20th floor; and that the office of the Commissioner of Police is on the 18th floor. As a matter of history in the New South Wales police force, the Commissioner of Police has always occupied the top
floor of that building. I said in response to a remark by the Minister for Police in the parliamentary dining-room in front of his guests, and I state categorically to you, Mr Acting Speaker, to the House and to the police force, that my first act as the Labor Minister for Police - which will be sooner rather than later given the way things are proceeding in this State - will be to return the keys to the office of the 20th floor to their rightful owner, the Commissioner of Police. Members on the Government side of the House might ask me where I will locate my office. I will locate it where it ought to be located, where 44 per cent of Sydney's population lives - in western Sydney. My office will be at Liverpool.
Mr Rixon: In a new building?
Mr ANDERSON: No. In my six and a half years as a Minister I was never located in a new building. I was more than happy with whatever I was allocated. Indeed, I had the oldest ministerial office in Australia; I had Sir Henry Parkes' office for 1,588 days. I was the first Minister to open that office to the public of New South Wales so that they could see part of this State's history. I do not believe that it matters what sort of office or benefits you have; you are a good Minister because of what you do, not because of where your office is located. Policy is what is important. I made that point about the Commissioner of Police and the Police Board because it is important, particularly in the context of this bill. The Commissioner of Police should be located on the 20th floor of the Avery Building and the Police Board should be located on the 19th floor. That is what will happen when Labor is returned to government. The article in the Police Service Weekly quoted Mr Wilson as follows:
He indicated that he was not really disappointed in missing the job of "Commissioner" and realised the position was best filled by someone who really knew the local scene and was part of it. He stated he had no intention of seeking the position at any time in the future and was delighted with his current position which he has been contracted to for three years.
I certainly hope that Mr Wilson, a man who has had a distinguished law enforcement and public service career in another part of the world, will be able to say at the end of his three-year term as inspector general that he gave the same service to the public and the Police Service of this State that he gave in Canada. I wish him well. I hope that at the end of the three years he will be satisfied that he has given effect to the sentiment he expressed. His is not an easy task at present. On behalf of the Opposition I have much pleasure in supporting the bill.
Mr MOORE (Gordon), Minister for the Environment [7.57], in reply: I thank the honourable member for Liverpool for his contribution. I have only two comments about offices. I have every confidence in the integrity of the honourable member for Liverpool that he did not use the secret staircase in Sir Henry Parkes' office for the same frequent purpose that Sir Henry used it: to usher his lady friends from the building when his wife was coming through the main entrance. I understand that the Avery Building has a refurbishment cycle of about 10 years. I am sure that by the time of the second cycle, if the position of Minister for Police is vacant, the honourable member might be considered if he is still a member of the Parliament. I am pleased to have bipartisan support for this legislation. The expressions of good wishes to the inspector general for the role he will play for the Police Service will assist him in the knowledge that they have been extended from both sides of the House. I commend the bill.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read a second time and passed through remaining stages.
In terms of my personal achievement goals, I simply wish to be a positive influence in the growth of the Police Service, and to justify the confidence shown in me so far.