Police Amendment (Death and Disability) Bill 2011



About this Item
SpeakersSpeaker; Robertson Mr John; O'Farrell Mr Barry
BusinessBill, Questions Without Notice, QWN



POLICE AMENDMENT (DEATH AND DISABILITY) BILL 2011
Page: 7991

Mr JOHN ROBERTSON: My question is directed to the Premier. Given that 90 police officers sat in the public gallery to listen to debate on the Police Amendment (Death and Disability) Bill 2011, why did the Premier deem it not important enough to speak to?
    Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: For the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition—and to save him another question—there was no meeting of The Nationals today. I want to make that clear in case the member for Maroubra has been giving him questions again. I have to say it is fantastic to see Mr Gulaptis here. He scored a 56 per cent primary vote in the Clarence by-election last Saturday—a by-election that the Leader of the Opposition said was, amongst other things, a referendum on the police death and disability changes.
      Ms Noreen Hay: Why didn't you say that when the police were here?
        Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: That is precisely what the Leader of the Opposition said ahead of the by-election but he did not repeat it from Saturday night onwards. I have said twice this week that the people of Clarence and of this State understand that, thanks to the changes that those opposite made to the police death and disability scheme when in government, it became financially unsustainable. The scheme was meant to cost taxpayers $2.5 million a week and it had blown out to $15.5 million a week.

        Ms Linda Burney: They just want a bit of respect, Barry.

        The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Canterbury to order.

        Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: The member for Canterbury does not know the meaning of the word "respect", as evidenced by her service in this Chamber. As I have said repeatedly in Parliament and outside Parliament, this is but one of the tough but fair decisions that this Government has had to take. This is one of the messes that we have had to clean up after those opposite.

        The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Shellharbour to order.

        Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: It still means that we have the most generous police death and disability scheme in the nation. It still means that those police who are unfortunately and disgracefully murdered or killed on the job have their current entitlements. It means those who are permanently and totally disabled get their lump sums.

        The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Wollongong to order.

        Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: Importantly for the others, including those who the Auditor-General this week said went out with psychological claims, those people for the first time as a result of this Government will be assisted to get better, to recover from their injuries—psychological and physical—because we will not do what those opposite did, which is simply give them a cheque and push them out the door and not think about them again. The police deserve better than that. It is a tough decision; there is no doubt about that. It is a tough decision but it is a decision that had to be made by the police Minister, who, other than the member for Mount Druitt on the other side, knows more than anyone about what police are going through. We have two police on this side of the House; there is only one opposite. I do not believe the police Minister made lightly the decisions that he took. I thank him and the Treasurer for their work in ensuring that we have a financially sustainable police death and disability scheme for those people who join up this year, and those people who join up in the future.