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Tuesday, 30 November 1976
Page: 3002

Mr JAMES (Hunter) -Mr Deputy Speaker,the matter I raise tonight has caused me some degree of mental concern over the past few weeks. I would like to think that all honourable members of this national Parliament would believe that the backbone, the richness, the integrity and the honesty of any government depends first and foremost on the integrity of its police force. I have known the former Queensland Police Commissioner, Mr Whitrod, for 35 years.

Mr Armitage - He is a most honourable man.

Mr JAMES - He is a most honourable man. I served with him in the New South Wales Criminal Investigation Branch when he carried out exchange duty there during the war years from 1943 to 1945. He is a dedicated police officer. He is a scrupulously honest man. He went to Queensland, after serving as Police Commissioner in Papua New Guinea, to serve the Queensland Police Force, the Queensland people and the Queensland Government. He went to Queensland to clean up the evilness which existed in the Queensland Police Force at that time and which continued for many years after he took over.

Mr Baillieu - They would not give you that job.

Mr JAMES -He failed because of a lack of government support. The honourable member can make humour out of something that seriously affects the Queensland people. You are not worthy of being a member here.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Hunter that he should continue his remarks without answering interjections and that he should restrain himself in the remainder of his speech.

Mr JAMES - And, with respect, Mr Deputy Speaker, you restrain the interjectors.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I will do that for the honourable member for Hunter.

Mr JAMES - Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Mr Whitrod as Police Commissioner was a man of integrity and complete honesty. He tried to reform the Queensland Police Force and bring it to a degree of efficiency comparable with the South Australian Police Force, which is one of the cleanest police forces in Australia. I am in a position to know because I regularly conferred with members of the police forces of the different States of the Commonwealth before I was elected to this Parliament.

Mr Whitrodwas determined to clean up the Queensland Police Force. He has failed in his objective to serve the Queensland people by developing Queensland's Police Force to a level of efficiency of which the Queensland people would have been proud. He failed as a result of interference by the Queensland Premier who frustrated Mr Whitrod 's endeavours. On the Cedar Bay incident, Mr Whitrod wanted to charge a number of police officers departmentally because of the aggressive attitude they adopted in the course of their investigation. He was frustrated by the Queensland Government in his endeavours to carry out the proper duties of a commissioner of police. He wanted to charge a senior police officer for excessive use of a baton against a woman in the course of a demonstration. Departmental charges were frustrated by the Queensland Government. In utter disgust, Mr Whitrod has resigned from the Queensland Police Force. The only people who will suffer to any great extent following his resignation are the people of Queensland as a whole. I served on exchange duty in the Queensland CIB in 1945-46. 1 was able to detect things there, such as men on the same salary as I was being able to spend twice as much as I would spend on recreation. My attention was aroused; I saw that something was radically wrong with the Queensland Police Force, even as far back as the end of the war years. It is very difficult -

Mr Sullivan - That is when you started the SP book.

Mr JAMES - I hear that voice. I remember that voice. I am sure that I chased that voice out of a Sydney toilet late one night.


Mr JAMES - Let me say this: I hope that the people of Queensland will stick loyally behind Mr Whitrod and bring about the downfall of the Queensland Premier who has interfered unduly with the administration of one of the most honest police commissioners that Australia has ever had.

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