The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:23 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Police a question regarding SAPOL corporate programs.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: On 6 September this year, I took part in a radio interview with Ali Clarke on ABC 891, which also included input from the minister and the officer in charge of the SAPOL reform project, Superintendent Bob Fauser. During this interview, in response to a question from Ali Clarke, and I quote:
So, you're saying that police officers will continue to be involved in Neighbourhood Watch, Su icide Watch and the Blue Light d iscos?
the superintendent responded, and I quote:
I'm saying that they will be involved in those SAPOL corporate programs with Blue Light and Neighbourhood Watch. Suicide prevention is not necessarily a SAPOL corporate program.
Given this, my question to the minister is: will the minister outline all the SAPOL corporate programs to which the superintendent was referring?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:25 ): Of course I recall the radio interview that the Hon. Mr Dawkins refers to, because concerns were raised in the paper that morning regarding the continuation of programs like Neighbourhood Watch and Blue Light discos, or Blue Light events generally. I am more than happy to reassure South Australians that SAPOL, as an organisation, remains committed to both the Blue Light program and Neighbourhood Watch generally.
As I outlined on that radio interview, the government's commitment to Neighbourhood Watch is best represented by the fact that this state government has contributed $2 million to a Neighbourhood Watch reinvigoration program, which remains well underway. I am advised that the Commissioner of Police has approved the newly developed state community engagement section to assume responsibility for programs regarding Blue Light. SAPOL's commitment to these activities and their longevity is resolute.
The Blue Light program and its partnership approach with Blue Light Incorporated are currently being reviewed to ensure that it meets contemporary and professional business requirements. This will provide assurance that both entities can work together delivering the programs into the future, providing enriching activities in safe environments to assist young people in their development.
The organisation reform team within SAPOL assures me that the change will create greater work flexibility for officers to actively engage in community programs, such as Blue Light or other programs, as is appropriate, and that may well be programs regarding mental health, to which I know the honourable member is a committed advocate.
With respect to the specific part of the honourable member's question in terms of corporate programs, I don't have a list available to me, but if there is such a list I am more than happy to take that on notice and, if it is appropriate to do so, share it with the honourable member.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:27 ): By way of supplementary question: I thank the minister for committing to bring that back, if it is available. In doing so, I would be grateful if he could clarify the situation relating to secondary student driver training, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and a program called North on Target, and advise whether they are part of SAPOL's corporate programs.
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:27 ): I am happy to undertake that; if a specified list is available to be shared, we can do that. Of course, if that list can be made available to the Hon. Mr Dawkins he can look at those particular programs. My understanding, at a higher level, is that SAPOL as an organisation is very committed to making sure it is actively engaged with the community, both in formal and less formal ways.
I know that part of the restructure that is going on within SAPOL specifically has its eye to the fact that proactive policing very much requires effective community engagement, and that may well be through the sort of programs and causes to which the Hon. Mr Dawkins has referred, or it may not be.
Of course, police officers in their own time are more than able to take up whatever causes they see fit, and many do. Many police officers go above and beyond their specific call of duty in their own time, but others are able to do it through the course of ordinary events, where it is appropriate to do so. If there is a prescribed list that potentially could identify some of the organisations to which the Hon. Mr Dawkins has referred, I am happy to make inquires on his behalf with SAPOL and share any information that he is after, if it is appropriate to do so.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:29 ): By way of supplementary question: given that the minister unexpectedly called in to the Ali Clarke radio interview, over the top of a SAPOL superintendent who was responding to my concerns, which related to issues of an operational nature, can we now expect to receive more fulsome answers on these subjects from the minister in this place?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:29 ): Let me seek to clarify some of the Hon. Mr Dawkins remarks in regard to the radio interview. I did not call in—
The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: You rang in over the top of the officer.
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: I didn't call in over the top of any officer.
The PRESIDENT: No debate on the floor. The minister is answering a question.
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: I was invited by the ABC radio program to come on that morning, as I understand it, and do an interview, and being a minister of this government I am all too happy to be accessible to the media to answer important questions they have. What I will not do, though, is abuse my position of authority with the aim of inciting fear within the community about how reforms will have a detrimental impact upon community services.
I will not abuse any office, whether it be a minister or a member of the backbench. I will not be abusing any officer for as long as I am lucky enough and fortunate enough to be in this place, with the objective of trying to create fear within the community that services will be cut when that is not the case. Instead, of course, I will make myself available to the media to ensure that facts are inserted in any debate, but I want to correct the Hon. Mr Dawkins in his suggestion that somehow I was calling in over an officer. Of course, I would never do any such thing. I have undertaken to seek the information the Hon. Mr Dawkins is after, and I will do everything I can to make that information available to him, despite his protestations and fearmongering within the community.
The PRESIDENT: Before I call the honourable minister, the Hon. Mr Dawkins, a little while ago you got up and made a point of order about people interjecting while ministers are on their feet. Now, you have just done the same on a number of occasions since that point of order. I think it is important that you lead by example, and I would now like to hear minister Hunter.