Mr ANDERSON: I wish to ask a supplementary question. In view of the answer just given by the Premier, and Treasurer, in which he did not concede that the former Minister for Police and Emergency Services misled the Parliament, why did he not seek to have Parliament remove the Commissioner of Police?
Mr FAHEY: No matter how many times one tells them, nothing is very clear to those on the Opposition benches. It simply never gets through, because Opposition members have so many blind spots that it is impossible for them to believe anything that has occurred that might make some common sense and which does make sense to the great majority of people in this State.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Smithfield to order for the second time.
Mr FAHEY: What has occurred is a breakdown in communication between the former Minister for Police and Emergency Services and the Commissioner of Police. It was not in the interests of the people of this State for that breakdown in communication to continue any longer than was necessary. Steps were taken to overcome that problem. As a result of those steps, there has been a change of responsibility for the police portfolio, as the whole world knows. In regard to the second part of the question, the events of the past few days have been canvassed at considerable length, particularly in
another place. I can add nothing further to that other than to say that I do not believe the former Minister for Police and Emergency Services misled the House. I do not believe that in the circumstances he did anything other than show his genuine concern for the family of a boy who was involved in an incident.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Riverstone to order.
Mr FAHEY: The Minister's concern was for the family of a boy who, as a result of events 14 months ago in a police cell at Milton on the South Coast, ended up being brain damaged and committed to a hospital. Because of that genuine concern, he raised the issue and sought to get information to the family of that boy. That is the main issue. Those opposite should forget the Minister, and forget the commissioner. They should think about what occurred in the Milton police cell.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Liverpool to order.
Mr FAHEY: It is vital that that information comes forward in a comprehensive fashion through the proper channel, which is the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman's report will come to the Parliament in due course.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Coogee to order for the second time.
Mr FAHEY: I will pay particular attention to that report, and I hope all members of this Chamber will pay particular attention to it. Let us then judge what the issue is and what the position is in regard to the administration of that particular matter. It does not matter whether the former Minister for Police and Emergency Services was in Melbourne or elsewhere at that time. What matters is that he properly brought to the surface and into the public arena a matter which should concern every member. To continue to play side games clearly indicates how bereft the Opposition is, as I have said on other occasions, when it comes to the real concerns of the people of this State. Their real concerns have much to do with the Opposition's colleagues in Canberra.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is far too much interjection from the Opposition benches. The Premier has the call. I call the honourable member for Port Stephens to order.
Mr FAHEY: As I have said, the matters that are of vital concern to the people of this State include what is happening in the administration of the nation by Federal Labor and the pain that government has caused so many Australians.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is far too much interjection from both sides of the House. Such conduct does little to enhance the dignity of Parliament. The Premier has the call. As members well know, interjections lengthen the answers given by Ministers and, in the long run, reduce the opportunities of members to ask questions.
Mr FAHEY: The Federal Government is causing pain to many Australians because of the way it is maladministering this nation.
Mr Whelan: On a point of order. The question was simple. It related to the straightforward issue of whether the Commissioner of Police or the former Minister for Police and Emergency Services has lied. The question did not relate to the financial viability of the Federal Government. The question has no relevance to any issue other than the truth of the statements made by two senior people.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! In the past I have upheld points of order based on relevance. As the Premier is straying from the essence of the question that was put to him, I ask him to either answer the question or resume his seat.
Mr FAHEY: When it comes to integrity, I have absolutely no doubt about the integrity of the former Minister for Police, who is now the Minister for Justice.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Smithfield to order for the third time. I call the honourable member for Newcastle to order. I call the honourable member for Heffron to order.
Mr FAHEY: I suggest that honourable members opposite would have grave doubts about the integrity of the Federal Treasurer, for example, who, in the course of delivering a budget, was dragged into the open -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Chair will not tolerate this continuing barrage of interjections. I have recorded a number of members as having been called to order. I now deem all members who have been called to order so far on one, two or three occasions to be on three calls. Any of those members who attracts my attention from now on will leave the Chamber forthwith. I ask all members to co-operate in allowing question time to proceed in an orderly fashion.
Mr FAHEY: As I have indicated, the Federal Treasurer was dragged into the open on the question of -
Dr Refshauge: On a point of order. The Premier is obviously disregarding your ruling to the effect that the Federal Treasurer has nothing to do with whether Commissioner Lauer lied or whether the former Minister for Police lied. I ask you to direct the Premier to answer the question or resume his seat.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Though the Premier is addressing matters which I believe he considers go to the question of integrity, the scope of the question does not permit him to discuss matters of integrity in a broad frame. The Premier will either answer the question that has been asked or resume his seat.
Mr FAHEY: The question was about integrity. I have indicated I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever about the integrity of the former Minister for Police. By way of comparison, all members of the House would have to question the integrity of the Federal Treasurer -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I cannot allow the Premier to continue in that vein. I ask him to resume his seat.