Cronulla Riots Report
Mr PETER DEBNAM: I direct my question to the Minister for Police. It has been 10 months since the Cronulla riots and revenge attacks, and the public have a right to know why they suffered one of the worst breakdowns of law and order in New South Wales. Given that the police report was completed at least six weeks ago, will the Minister explain why he is trying desperately to delay and bury the report?
Mr CARL SCULLY: Perhaps Opposition members can give me a copy of that report and I will consider its contents. They know that the report process has not yet been completed so they have invented a story where none exists. It sounds good—Watergate, Nixon, cover-up and conspiracies. It all makes for good copy. But before the Leader of the Opposition starts inventing stories about our side of the House, there are stories on his side of the House that are not mythical and need to be fixed. We heard about—
Mr Peter Debnam: Point of order: Under Standing Order 139 the issue is very clear. The Minister for Police himself said that the report was finished by the end of August. The Minister himself said that it went to Cabinet by the end of August.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. The Minister is answering the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat and allow the Minister to continue his response.
Mr CARL SCULLY: The story of the day is that the Leader of the Opposition is not fit to govern because he is not fit to run his own party. That is the story of the day. Turning to the Cronulla riots: Yes, it was a conflagration. A lot of people did a lot of silly things. We put a score of them before the courts and a number of them went to gaol. Quite reasonably, when an incident such as that and the revenge attacks occur the police review the causes and contributing factors and, most importantly, consider how they might improve their operations. But the Opposition is interested in making sure that it can pour another bucket on the cops. I have to disappoint Opposition members. I have not even seen the report because my advice is that it has not yet been completed but, personally, I think the cops did a great job. Could they have done it better? Probably. Might there be room for improvement? There always is.
Mr Peter Debnam: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 139. The Government is simply rewriting the report. That is the fact of the matter. Why does the Minister for Police not stand up and say so?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. He knows that he is totally and completely out of order. His point of order is nothing more than a blatant attempt to disrupt the Minister's reply.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for East Hills will come to order. The Minister for Police has the call.
Mr CARL SCULLY: When that right-wing extremist started peddling these myths about a report I contacted the Commissioner of Police—who, by the way, is overseas and will return in a few days. I rang him a short time ago and asked him about the status of the report. His advice was that the report has not yet been completed. I asked him when it might be finished and his advice was that former Assistant Commissioner Norm Hazzard had still to interview some operational police before he could finalise it. When I receive the report I will consider it. The Redfern report and the Macquarie Fields report were released for public consumption and my preference would be to do the same in relation to the Cronulla riots. I will make a decision when I receive the final report.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister has the call.
Mr CARL SCULLY: The Opposition offered no thanks to the police. Did they not do a fantastic job last summer? It is quite appropriate that they should review their operations. Opposition members are hoping and praying that the report will be an almighty bucket job on the cops so they can jump on the bandwagon they have been on for years now and get stuck into the cops.
Mr Peter Debnam: Point of order—
Mr CARL SCULLY: Why do you hate the police? That is what I want an answer to. They have had a gutful of you.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister will resume his seat. The Leader of the Opposition has the call.
Mr Peter Debnam: I find that offensive. I find the Minister's words offensive. Why is it every single time you get up on your hind legs you fall into the gutter?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition is clearly contravening the standing orders.
Mr Peter Debnam: What is it about Carl Scully that drags you into the gutter?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition cannot take a point of order merely because he does not like the Minister's response. The Minister has the call.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Government members will come to order. The Minister has the call.
Mr CARL SCULLY: I am the Minister for Police and he is the Leader of the Opposition against police. That is the reality. When one calls the Commissioner of Police a "clown" one must face the consequences. I sit in the meal rooms with police officers. They have absolute contempt for the Leader of the Opposition. He cannot bag the commissioner. Police officers treat the Commissioner of Police with deference and reverence—as they should treat an officer of 41 years standing. The Leader of the Opposition cannot go around calling their chief executive a "clown" without the troops viewing it as an attack on them.
An attack on the Commissioner of Police is rightly seen as an attack on all police officers. But it is not just about the Leader of the Opposition's attacks on the Commissioner; the Leader of the Opposition is looking around every corner for opportunities to attack the police. The report processes have not yet been completed. When they are finished obviously I will be presented with the report by the Commissioner of Police. Then, as occurred with the last two reports into riots, the Minister of the day—in this case, it is me—will read it, there will be a discussion with the Premier, the report will be presented to Cabinet and then it will be released. I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question.