Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Talking Heads -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) about breaking some barriers I think that was important could do many things. and saying women I've had a real commitment I think as I went on in the police, to child abuse issues to domestic violence issues and having them dealt with and to bringing them out far better than they had been.

it's been an amazing career So, yeah, look, opportunities to make a difference. and I think there has been between Australians and the police. There's been a curious relationship first Australians were convicts - We started as convicts or many descended from the Rum Corps, the New South Wales Police there was Ned Kelly, whom we revere.

had the relationship with police It's not exactly...we've never that say, Londoners do with bobbies. the Ned Kellys and the heroes Yeah, we do revere with things, those sorts of things. that are the people who get away We often praise them. And the police, I think, though, relationships with the community. have often had difficult conflict what we have with the community, But, you know, I think over time "Do they trust the police?" if you ask them population will tell you they do. Then about 85% of the

You were lots of firsts, Commissioner of New South Wales including first Assistant and first Commissioner in Victoria - of an Australian Police. first Commissioner being a role model for women? What's it like Sometimes it's a bit...you know, that people are watching you. you realise a bit more publicity, perhaps, I think sometimes I attract than other people might. that if I can do it, But you also know as a woman would - not as a bloke if I can just do it but as just a woman would... and not as someone else - I think there's a big difference. What's the difference? of looking like the blokes I think some women adopt the model and behaving like the blokes, the right way for women to progress. and I think that's not I try and just be me. And so as a role model as someone that, I hope that women see me then I can do it too." "If Christine can do it too far down the track Before we go early days growing up in Sydney. let's take a look back at your 52 years ago in Manly Hospital. CHRISTINE: Well, I was born on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Pretty much born and bred a pretty nice place to live. It was in fact We belonged to the swimming club. We spent a lot of time at the beach. and the dunny-cart man used to come. And we had tank water Right. We came here about 1950. every afternoon, you and Len, Mum used to bring you down here and buy you an ice-cream and walk you up and down the beach and then go back home. is always a bit of a concern. And having a father as a policeman if I got into trouble I used to think I'd probably say I was an orphan, my father find out. rather than have seeing the realities of life. Well, she was certainly brought up home to go to the scene of a murder. 'Cause I would be called out from they were pretty grisly at times. I would bring the exhibits home when And she became used to it. in fact, 13 or 14 years of age So that when she was who had seen violence, she'd lived with somebody practically the whole of her life. and the results of violence, for

of being involved in the church My mum had a long history and so that was important. and working with the community. There was a sense of giving back joining the police When I thought about more than anything else, I talked to my mother about it should tell Ross," my father. and then I thought, "OK, we him and he wasn't all that happy. Anyway, we kind of broached it with That's not something you want to do. And he said, "No, no. "It isn't a job for you." there was no career path for women. I could see at that time that They were treated as second class.

any investigative role, They were not given except with children. I kind of convinced him Eventually, though, probably a good thing to do that this was and he became very supportive. walking through these doors In about October 1972, I remember the New South Wales Police Academy. into what was then It was a pretty amazing day. in New South Wales That year in policing six women altogether. I think they'd only hired were just incredibly strong The women in those days at what they did and under-utilised. and incredibly good at least I'd be allowed to do that, And I thought it was important that to be able to show and hopefully other women,

work in operational policing. that women could in fact BY PAUL KELLY PLAYS 'FROM ST KILDA TO KINGS CROSS' Darlinghurst Police Station, We went to

in the Southern Hemisphere which was the busiest police station at the time. all of the facets of the work We eventually just took on and it worked. then stuck with saying, And so they were pretty much

can work in operational policing. "Well, gee, maybe women going to build careers, "And if they're "they should go through that." at the those early days, Christine, when we look back your dad was a leading cop the church and other things too. and your mum was involved in I mean, what were their values? and they were very clear to us. They had very strong values and about integrity My mother was about honesty commitment to the community. and about a

And I guess Dad was very similar. there were a lot of temptations, He worked in an environment where to move away from those I think, and he managed that he wasn't involved. and make sure One of the interesting things the same house for almost 50 years. is they've lived in Yeah, it is. people move about, I guess these days they lived in Manly but for a very short time and moved up to Allambie Heights and then they went where they still are.

And they won't change. And they won't move. I think it says a lot. What does that say about them? about their sense of community. I think it says a lot I can do a lot of the things I do I often think that the reason incredibly stable background. is because of a very

I grew up in a street where there were 50 other kids. And so that sense of community, the church, the school, the golf club for my dad, they're all part of their involvement in a local community. And no matter what we've tried to do, even to knock over that house and build another one, they don't want that. That's their house. That's where they're comfortable. They have a lot of friends around, and it's just part of the life that they see it. Well, let's transfer from their values to your values. What's uppermost in your mind when you think about them and how it's left you? What imprints have they made on you? I think it's about hard work. It's about not shirking taking on challenges. I often think to myself, "I'd like to just stay in bed sometimes. "And pull the sheet over my head." Don't we all. I often say to myself, "No. What would my mother say?" She'd say, "Get out of bed and get on with it.

"You got yourself into it, get yourself out of it."

When you were a kid, what about your imaginings? What did you play? Did you play being a policeman? No. No, I didn't, actually. I think the sort of limits was really around probably being a teacher. I mean, we're back in the '60s and for women, even then...and the life you lived is really quite a confined kind of environment. But I did take charge of things. I sort of ran things at the church. I was the superintendent at Sunday school when I was about 15. Superintendent? Now, there's a good word. It was very important. I was about 15. Well, you did convince the police along with other women that you should be given an operational go. And they put you into Darlinghurst, which might be the toughest beat in Australia, might it? Oh, I think in those days it was. It was, and I always assumed that we were sent there just to make sure we failed. The blokes thought we were the spies

or this was only going to be a short time and the women would be gone. But, look, there were women in policing and they were very tough in those days. And they could have done anything. And so... What do you mean by tough? Well, to have been working criminal investigations, some of them did that. They worked with young girls and women. But they were just pretty tough women to have survived. There were very few of them but they could have done anything. And often I think they underestimated how talented those women were. But as women started to infiltrate into this operational area, how did it change policing? They're less prepared to put up with violence and certainly I found that when I worked there we...the prostitutes... We used to arrest about 80 prostitutes a night. We'd come into Darlinghurst Police Station and they were much more comfortable and safer. There was a calmer environment when we there.

Same with the old drunks. It was a similar sort of thing. I think that started to change. And a lot of the police officers, I think, lifted their behaviour while the women were around. And I know, certainly, the prostitutes would ring us up and tell us if they saw young girls on the street. We developed quite a positive relationship with them. Can you remember your first experience of coming face to face with corruption? I was never really exposed to corruption. It's often a drug dealer or someone who might suggest to a police officer, "Look, if you forget this I'll give you $50." You see other situations where police officers go to a search of a house and they're in a room with a drug dealer and the drug dealer will offer them $40,000. And say, "Well, if you walk out the door "then we'll just forget about it. "You can keep the money."

But I think the vast majority of police officers that's a temptation too far. understand that avoid and they won't be involved in. That is something that they will

small number of police officers, And there are just a very these days at all not the systematic corruption in the old days. that people talked about

your career as different What marked out was your embracing of education. you did things, tech at night. You went through Sydney University,

is where I met you, first of all. You went to study in America which So what, other than pieces of paper, the way you thought about policing? what difference did it make to Look, I went to Macquarie University left-wing politics area at the time, and studied a fairly radical a lot about politics. and it taught me It taught me to understand the world and the theories behind and philosophy as well. And when I went to Harvard, I obviously got to see the world in a much bigger picture. And met many people who were experts in policing and criminal investigation and a whole set of areas that I then was exposed to. And also about big-picture policing. Where was policing going in the future? you applied for and became Then in 2001 Chief Commissioner in Victoria.

Thanks. Let's take a look at that. for the Chief Commissioner's job. In 2001, in January, they advertised "There's a job for you." My father rang me up and said, And I went, "Get serious." it was a wonderful ceremony. I remember when I got sworn in And I remember going, "Oh, my God." a sea of faces in front of me There was just

to become the Police Commissioner. and I was about to take the oath peace to be kept and preserved. I will see and cause Her Majesty's She was the standout candidate for her vision, her leadership and her views on modern policing, experience as a police officer,

of course, and impeccable integrity. Following my daughter's career, I'm surprised at nothing. for the first time Because she's done many things that no other woman has ever done. I think the reason I got it was really to do with Victoria looking for a change, looking for someone who was a bit different, and perhaps to leave some of the past behind. I felt that going out and meeting the members the two important parts for me. and also meeting community were

You guys have a great job, you know? of the women's movement. I'm a product very much

and to the rights of women, I'm very strongly committed to women that they should be able to achieve of minority communities. and, again, with many members

BY THE PET SHOP BOYS PLAYS DO THIS KIND OF THING' 'I WOULDN'T NORMALLY The gay pride march was a classic. One of the headlines said, to Melbourne." "Don't bring your Sydney ways Good grief! old Jewish woman who said to me, I've got a lovely line from an "Christine, I saw you march be the same again." "and things are never gonna that you will in fact support people She said, "I trust you "no matter who they were."

14,000 people in it. Victoria Police now has In the early times as we came to understand a lot of the issues that needed to be dealt with. And put taskforces into place to figure out the responses. We also obviously came to a couple of major concerns or major issues. One was the corruption allegations in the drug squad. I we are able to find evidence we will certainly charge people. The other part of it is really about

the Purana investigation, what became of murders in the underworld. which was really a number And since about 15-16 months ago another underworld murder. we haven't had to reassure the community So it was a matter of trying that we were able to deal with it. that we had hold of it, But it was a pretty tough time. the gay pride march some time ago Well, we saw you there at and also out in the community a lot. from what the community wants? I mean, what are the key takeaways involved in their own protection. They were keen to be able to be They wanted us to pay attention will see as small and minor things. to sometimes what policing People racing up and down roads. The graffiti. The kind of environment they live in, which is a bit different sometimes to what policing might think it should be focussing on. That was part of it. The second part was to understand from within the police what were the issues that were stopping us being the best we could be. And so talking with them - and I still try and do that members and they send me emails. and try to get out to talk with the member can write to me and they do. I have an open email policy and any How many do you get? when they're really fired up, Oh, on occasions I'll get 200-300 email responses. You try to reply to those? Yeah, it's really hard to deal with. Yeah, I do. I do my very best. they'll write back and say, And sometimes "You haven't answered in two days." "What do you think I'm doing?" And I think, was to the government. The final part, I guess,

the police to do?" To say, "What do you want And so once you put that... What do the government want from you?

choose you, an outsider, I mean, why did they from New South Wales of all places? Of all places, yes. I thought that too, really. to bring the organisation together, I think they wanted me to be able to bring it close to the community.

The work had been going on in policing but there'd been quite a bit of conflict and controversy, and numbers had been cut.

And so the government gave us what will turn out to be 1,600 additional police officers during my time. to make people feel safer. They also...they wanted us in the community There's this whole issue it's very dangerous. about people feeling like older Australians, are afraid. Quite a few people, particularly Yes. going out at night. They're afraid of a Police Commissioner do about that? Now what does who are so afraid, as you've said. Well, we have people So, what we've been doing

how do you make people feel safer. is trying to figure out and being police is one of those, And that's about seeing police and understanding that. and being with the police It's empowering older people. It's also empowering communities. We run a program called 'Confident Living', which is about older people feeling more comfortable. Taking steps that make them feel, like,

"Yep, I can go outside. I can catch the train." This is a tough issue across the world, actually, for policing,

and one where we've seen since success in different communities where people are feeling safer. They're being involved, part of Neighbourhood Watch, Safety Houses, different programs. to some people Confidence is coming back

in Victoria. in different communities bring it all together. We just kind of four years ago, When you took on this job did you anticipate the two big things most headlines in the four years, that have made and also corruption. have been the gangland killings were getting yourself into? Did you anticipate what you about policing across Australia I think that I understood enough

there would be corruption problem. and across the world that I was looking for to start with. And that was certainly something The gangland murders, no. I mean, I don't think anybody could have imagined that. And as the number of murders grew and the community concern grew then I think that was when we really started to say, "Look, we need to do something about this now "and we need to do something that will sustain into the future." And sometimes you've gotta make unpopular decisions. And I've had to do that as well. And so, not everybody in Victoria Police thinks I'm fantastic or the Victorian community. They do. Well, some say you're naive. that you're not really accepted. And it's also said Maybe no one's ever fully accepted, you're not really fully accepted. but it's often said that about leadership for me But I think there's a line that I think's really important it's not about rank. and it's not about privilege,

but it is about responsibility. It's not about popularity others might say different things. And some people might say naive, I listen. It doesn't bother me, actually. I think we're on the right track. I hear what people have to say, but And it's looking good. I mean, this gets lost a bit about all of the gangland murders. in this discussion We haven't had a gangland murder for 18 months. And the corruption matters are now before the court. So, I think we've dealt with those, they're big challenges, but, more importantly, we're putting systems into place to prevent it happening in the future. Let's just stick with corruption for a moment. No matter what you do, corruption's endemic, systemic, really, isn't it, in any police force when you've got 14,000 people? it's endemic nor systemic. No, no, I don't think practices in place to prevent it. You've gotta put systems and So we have in place now new systems to deal with informers. We have new systems to deal with searches for when you're dealing with drugs. So, you can minimise corruption, you can never actually say,

"We're never gonna have it in this organisation."

What do you feel about trust? Do you think public trust is as high? Higher or lower? It's different in different places, but across the organisation I think the community still does trust us. I think they understand it's a tough job being the police. We'll make mistakes - not a lot, but a few, and everybody's gonna make them. But if you make them, you're honest, you get on with it, you get onto the next phase and do the job. Then I think that's all anybody can ask. Well, believe it or not, a Police Commissioner has time for a personal life. (Laughs) Let's have a look at that. I met Christine 15 years ago and we've been together ever since.

And it's been one of the most wonderful things that's happened in my life, really. I think she's got an enormous sense of compassion. She understands that the world is not a perfect place, that people aren't perfect. And she's far more tolerant than the average person would be. She very rarely rushes to judge people. And she's totally passionate about the idea that people should not suffer from violence or will be preyed upon.

He's a great friend and someone I clearly love.

He's just a great person to be with. He understands a lot of the type of the job it is. Yeah, he's the optometrist but he's got a grand piano in there too. So, he really loves his piano. He's a good sounding-board. He doesn't give me gratuitous advice. He'll occasionally just say, "Maybe you might want to think about that." The job I've got is one that is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week job.

So, I took a bit of time with John and to assess my life and figure out how I was gonna get a bit of balance. (Reads) "And in 1977, policewomen were issued with pistols. "They were expected to keep them in their handbags "as it would detract from their appearance." (Laughs) We decided we were gonna buy a farm here so we looked around for something not too far away from the city. It is just a nice chance to put on your worst clothes - ones you never want anybody to see you in - and to just enjoy it. It's really nice. The other one, the media issue which is on the agenda today is about the release of the crime stats. That's right.

It's a job that I started four-and-a-bit years ago. And it's a job that I still haven't quite seen through yet. Burglaries are down. Residential burglaries down 36% in that time. And aggravated burglary down 34%. I mean, it's over a few years. It's taken a little longer than I imagined, but I think we're on a good track. Today you begin your career with Victoria Police. A career which I can guarantee you has many challenges but a great many more rewards.

I also believe that the time will come when I know that it's time for me to move on. Life is about a series of goodbyes, in many ways. And that, for me, is important to say other people will come with energy, with enthusiasm, with commitment and knowledge. And I hope there's a number of those in Victorian Police already who will come forward to take my job after me. But you've gotta know in an organisation when to move on.

And if you stay too long you can harm yourself and you can harm the organisation. I'm pretty sure I've got enough people around me who will tell me when it's time to go.

Well, what happens to you when you go down to that farm? We acquired some Clydesdales after a drought in New South Wales, and they're just wonderful horses. And so you learn all about looking after them and you learn about how much money they cost you, and you kind of learn all of that. It's a lovely environment, though. It has river and we have cattle. And so it's just part of it. But I get to go and do some craft things. You get to invite friends just to have chats over time and to stay. And so it allows you just to be away, but not too far away. So it takes you away, totally mentally and emotionally, does it, from the job? I don't think you are ever mentally and emotionally away. You have breaks of things but it gives me time to think. Does the phone keep going all the time? Yeah, the phone keeps going. You have to have the phone. It's part of the job. It is a 24-hour-a-day job. And so something can happen - a member could be killed or injured, some serious issue might arise - and so you've gotta be in contact. But you do get time down there to just walk the horses for a couple of kilometres or just to do some... I've taken up mosaics. I never did that before but it's quite fun. And that allows you to just to sort of use other skills and get away. What does the marriage bring to you?

Oh, I think it's a great relationship and it's been a really important one. I didn't marry or even get really seriously involved until I was late in life. And so it's been a nice, a great addition really, to me. It's a balance. I still have my parents. My dad is on the Internet and will call me up and tell me when he thinks I've done something wrong or right. And they're always in contact.

My mum comes down and visits, my brothers do. Just in terms of life balance, I mean with someone like John - John's somewhat older than you and his career is in the past. I mean, in a sense he can focus on actually giving you support. That's quite an unusual relationship, really. It is. And it's probably one of the reasons it's sustained, that it continues. I would be a real challenge to be with, I think. Well, someone who is competing, in a sense, for emotional space and time and energy in a relationship with you would be very difficult to sustain. Yeah, it would. And so would having had kids. And so, I mean, all of that would have been very hard to manage. And I think I admire women who manage that and often competing with partners as well as managing kids and all of that. I'm just incredibly admiring of those women who can do that.

I mean, I haven't had kids and for me that's allowed me to study or allowed me time to focus on the job. But in John's case he's just a great partner and a great support. Let's do a review of 30 years of policing. If you listen to the talkback jocks

you'd get the sense that we live in a community where a majority of people want to see crime being treated more toughly.

What do you feel about that? Yeah. I think the vast amount of people who get into trouble, young people, do so once and the way they deal with the criminal justice system, so it teaches them a lesson, they get on with their lives. Those who come in further contact are often got real problems. They've got either psychological problems or they've got drug problems. They've got family issues, they've been abused. So, you're dealing with people who are pretty fragile and pretty broken in many cases, and so you've got to think about that along the way as well. So I often say to the community, "Look, there's a balance here. Did you ever not make a mistake?" All of us did and many of us got on with our lives and got past that. And I think you can see the difference in the way we're trying to work with people in rehabilitation. But some people are never gonna be rehabilitated and they get the longer sentences and hopefully they stay there. Now, what about you? You've got time for another career if you want. You job comes up next year, doesn't it? Oh, yes it does. Are you going to apply? Er, I don't know if I have to apply, actually. I think we have discussions in about November with the government about extending. And I've certainly been thinking about doing that. I have a great team around me at the moment - a big management team. There really just great people coming together really strongly. And I'd really like to see some things put into place and then perhaps it's a couple more years, something like that - There's an issue with the government as well - and then think about moving on. Well, if it weren't policing, what else would you do? I have a great interest in public policy, going back all the way to my time at Harvard. And I teach, occasionally, when I can, for the Australian/New Zealand School of Government, which is just a fantastic institution. And so I like to do some work with them. I'd like to go back and spend some time at Harvard, perhaps teaching in public policy. I'd like to work with an organisation and perhaps do some coaching, sort of as a broad organisation. Perhaps I'll write. I think the book would be an interesting one. Perhaps I'll share the lessons I've learnt and perhaps the mistakes I've made. And so all those things, I'd like a bit more freedom to do those things.

It's a very interesting mid-term report. Christine, thank you very much, indeed. Thanks, Peter. Next week on Talking Heads - Toni Lamond. WOMAN: There's an old saying, you know, "We make plans and God laughs. "And I can hear him laughing like heck up there now." (Sings) # Que sera, sera. # JUDY TIERNEY: Tomorrow night on Second Opinion. The very popular reiki. Also, a boy with learning difficulties visits a chiropractor. And fed up with a chronic lack of energy, a young mum turns to holistic medicine. Closed Captions provided by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd .