QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
ASSAULT OF Mr MICHAEL STACK
Mr COLLINS: My question without notice is directed to the Premier. Has the Ombudsman upheld complaints against four police who failed to properly investigate an alleged bashing of Irishman Michael Stack by a bouncer employed in one of the police Minister's pubs? Will the Premier instruct the Minister for Police to table the Ombudsman's report, which has resulted in departmental charges against one officer and which the Minister has withheld for nearly six weeks?
Mr CARR: I am not privy to the status of the Ombudsman's investigation.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Eastwood to order. I call the honourable member for Davidson to order.
Mr CARR: There sitting opposite is the coalition's marginal seat specialist! He has never won a marginal seat; he only loses them!
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Wakehurst to order.
Mr CARR: The honourable member for Parramatta is confirmation of his campaigning skill.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Vaucluse to order.
Mr CARR: He was in charge of the Liberal campaign for Parramatta and of marginal seats in the last campaign.
Mrs Skinner: He's hit the button.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for North Shore to order. The House will come to order.
Mr CARR: Wow! The Opposition is a cheerful lot! I recall that during the great debate about whether the coalition would stand a candidate in the Port Macquarie by-election the honourable member for Murrumbidgee said that the Liberal Party frontbench was the most mediocre bunch of politicians in the Commonwealth!
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Vaucluse to order for the second time.
Mr CARR: While I am talking about things that were said during the dispute over Port Macquarie, I ask honourable members not to forget that after all the ruckus that tore asunder the closest coalition in Australia, the Leader of the Opposition has decided not to run a candidate in the Port Macquarie by-election. He is on the phone to the members of the Liberal executive saying, "Don't run. It's too tough. We can't win."
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Northcott to order.
Mr CARR: That is his message.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Northcott to order for the second time. I call the honourable member for Myall Lakes to order.
Mr CARR: The Leader of the Opposition has had two months of coalition members feuding, fighting, wrecking furniture, pulling curtains down and flinging cutlery across the room. Now we are told that both the Liberal Party -
Mr Hartcher: On a point of order. The answer must be relevant to the question. The House has now heard a dissertation on Port Macquarie, the Liberal Party State executive and various other issues. I ask that you draw the Premier's attention to the standing order to make his answer relevant to the question.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I draw the Premier's attention to the question that was asked.
Mr CARR: Mr Speaker, your ruling is very helpful -
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Mr CARR: It is helpful because in light of all the temptations that Opposition members present it is useful that I be drawn back to the subject of the question. I was going to say something about the honourable member for Northcott, but we can save that for later.
I saw him eating a can of baked beans. He has a can of baked beans with him over there.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the honourable member for Northcott feels that he has been misrepresented, he will have an opportunity to make a statement at the appropriate time.
Mr CARR: My objection is that he will follow it up with a Magnum ice-cream. The question is a complete insult -
Mr Hartcher: On a point of order.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Premier will return to the answer.
Mr CARR: The question is an insult to the Ombudsman, Irene Moss. The matter has been raised in Parliament and it is now the subject of a criminal trial. I am advised that the Ombudsman has been kept abreast of the Police Service inquiry. The honourable member, as a former Chairman of the Committee on the Office of the Ombudsman, knows that the Ombudsman is independent of the Police Service and of me.
Mr Tink: Table the report.
Mr CARR: I know that Opposition members are slow and the wires and other conduits do not always work the way they do with other people but, as I said earlier, I am not privy to the Ombudsman's investigation.
Mr Tink: Why not?
Mr CARR: Because the Ombudsman is independent of government. If the honourable member is concerned, he should approach the Ombudsman directly. I have not received any correspondence from the Ombudsman in relation to this matter.
Mr Hartcher: How come you have a prepared answer?
Mr CARR: I have received no correspondence in relation to this matter. The Ombudsman is completely independent of government. If the Ombudsman is unhappy with any action or inaction on the part of the police, honourable members know that she has the power to present a special report to this Parliament outlining her concerns. It is not up to me, the Minister or anyone in this Government to determine whether the report is presented to the House. That is solely the right of the Ombudsman. Opposition members ought to familiarise themselves with the legislation, but of course they will not do that because they are too focused on Port Macquarie.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Burrinjuck to order. I call the Deputy Leader of the National Party to order.
Mr CARR: Opposition members should resolve their differences and determine once and for all whether the State will have the joy and pleasure of an official Liberal candidate running in the Port Macquarie by-election.