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Victorian Police Commissioner announces resig -

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Victorian Police Commissioner announces resignation

The World Today - Wednesday, 5 November , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Jane Cowan

ELEANOR HALL: In Victoria the state's chief commissioner of Police Christine Nixon has announced
she's quitting.

Christine Nixon has ended months of speculation by revealing she'll step down at the end of her
contract in March.

She was the first woman to head a police force in Australia and the Victorian Premier John Brumby
has declared her the best Chief Commissioner the state has ever had.

Jane Cowan reports.

JANE COWAN: To a room packed with Melbourne's media, Christine Nixon picked a few minutes of air
time between yesterday's Melbourne Cup and the US election to reveal her plans for the future.

CHRISTINE NIXON: After several months of consideration, today I am announcing that I will not be
seeking another term as the Chief Commissioner of Police.

Despite the offers from the Government to continue, I believe it's time that I hand over.

It's been an incredible journey, it's been a privilege and it's been an honour to lead such a fine
organisation.

I hope I haven't let you down, I remember Steve Bracks, at one stage when he appointed me said he
thought that I was a bit of a risk, I didn't think so.

JANE COWAN: The Victorian Premier John Brumby is glowing in his praise of the chief commissioner's
almost eight years at the helm.

JOHN BRUMBY: I think back and look at all of the chief commissioners we've had in this state, all
of them have had different strengths, different personal styles, but I think Christine has been the
best Chief Commissioner that we've had in Victoria.

JANE COWAN: Christine Nixon became chief commissioner in 2001 and her tenure has been a tumultuous
one. Her time at the helm has been characterised by efforts to root out corruption, the fallout
from Melbourne's gangland war and most recently revelations that some of her closest officers
within the organisation had allegedly plotted to unseat her and leak confidential information.

The chief commissioner admits it hasn't been a quiet time and that she could have enjoyed a much
quieter life if she'd let many things go by.

She agrees corruption has been major issue while she's been chief commissioner but says the ethical
health of the organisation has improved dramatically.

CHRISTINE NIXON: And I think our culture has changed, I don't think it's ever going back, and there
are some who said they would outlast me, and some of them might, but I don't think that they will
be able to go back to what is was like previously.

JANE COWAN: Recently Christine Nixon came under fire for accepting a free luxury flight from Qantas
to Los Angeles, an airfare she later repaid.

But she says the Qantas controversy didn't figure in her thinking when deciding to leave.

CHRISTINE NIXON: It wasn't anything like that, that's just a matter, I mean, you think of all the
things that have happened over the last eight years in Victoria Police, it's a very minor matter in
comparison to the very many significant issues we've been challenged with over the last while.

JANE COWAN: Christine Nixon has also had a testy relationship with Victoria's Police Union.

She's particularly butted heads with the organisation's former secretary Paul Mullett who accused
her repeatedly of interference.

Today she had these parting words for the union.

CHRISTINE NIXON: We certainly had our ups and downs, but I respect the role that the Police
Association plays but I think that we are on the same track, and that is to make it better for our
members in Victoria Police.

JANE COWAN: When asked about the toll the last eight years have taken on her, it was the relentless
media attention that sprang to mind.

CHRISTINE NIXON: I have to say my favourite is one that was, I happened to go overseas for four
days and was, and my media director said don't go swimming, and I didn't. But there was a cartoon
of me in my uniform on a float, in the hotel pool.

JANE COWAN: Listening in the crowd were a throng of senior police and Christine Nixon's parents.

CHRISTINE NIXON: They've been great supporters to me and often people have said to me how do you
manage to survive, and I said well if you had parents like mine, you too would survive.

I have a mother who occasionally, you know, when I think about staying in bed I hear her saying
Christine, you got yourself into it, get yourself out it, get up and get on with it. And she still
says that.

JANE COWAN: As far as successors are concerned, Christine Nixon's Deputy, Simon Overland has always
been named as a contender.

But today the Premier John Brumby and Christine Nixon were both careful not to give any indication
of anointing him, indicating there will be a wide national and international search for a
replacement.

ELEANOR HALL: Jane Cowan reporting.