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Wednesday, 17 October 1973
Page: 2234

Mr RUDDOCK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address my question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. With reference to the proposed amalgamation of the Australian Capital Territory Police, the Commonwealth Police Force and other law enforcement bodies, will members of the Australian Capital Territory Police be interrupted in the performance of their present duties? Will members of the Australian Capital Territory Police enjoy the same promotional, labour and allied conditions as they do at present? Will members of the Australian Capital Territory Police be subject to transfer throughout the States and/or territories of Australia?

Mr ENDERBY (Minister for Secondary Industry) - The proposals that go to the establishment of an Australian law enforcement agency do involve the Australian Capital Territory Police, the Northern Territory Police and various other law enforcement agencies throughout Australia. As I understand the proposals there should be no dislocation such as has been touched on in the honourable member's question. One of the great advantages of the proposed system will be an increase in mobility by way of advancement and promotion in the new system that will come into being. The honourable member who asked the question and other honourable members will be aware that one of the disadvantages of a small police force - in saying that, I am not decrying the Australian Capital Police because it is small - is lack of promotion. It is well known that the A.C.T. Police has an extremely high morale, a lot of elan and professionalism that is the envy of many other police forces in the country; it is to be commended. However, with the rapid promotions that have taken place in the A.C.T. Police in recent years because of its small size, yet rapidly growing numbers, there is a danger that a lid will be placed at the top levels which will stop other young men coming up. The proposed system should overcome that problem.

As a rider to the answer I add that a very good and desirable feature that we hope to incorporate into the new system will be an independent tribunal set up outside of the law enforcement agency to investigate complaints against policemen. It has often been thought by citizens who feel aggrieved by allegations, false or otherwise, or by alleged intimidation and sometimes corruption by policemen, that as the resulting investigation takes place within the force itself the appearance of justice does not emerge. This is not good. It is proposed to have an independent tribunal outside the law enforcement agency to investigate complaints of that sort. Separate divisions within the law enforcement agency would exist for the Australian Capital Territory Police and the Northern Territory Police.

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