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Right to Silence

Friday, August 17, 2012
For far too long in this state alleged criminals have managed to manipulate the legal system to their own advantage by abusing the privilege of the 'right to silence' when faced with serious indictable charges. But not for much longer. I moved an urgency motion in NSW Parliament last week in support of the Government's commitment to toughen 'right to silence' laws. The measures to be introduced will enable juries to draw adverse inferences against an alleged criminal who refuses to speak to investigating police. Often in these cases evidence is produced at trial by the alleged criminal in a last minute bid not to be found guilty of the offence. I have drawn upon the many cases I investigated in my 22 years in the police force, brought before the courts where there would have been a better outcome for the community had the amendment had applied.

John Robertson has again shown how little he values regional communities since he is more concerned with boosting police numbers in metropolitan Sydney at the expense of ensuring regional NSW receives adequate police resources. Police numbers were debated in State Parliament last week where the Premier highlighted the Labor leader's position on regional policing numbers. Interviewed on radio in April Mr Robertson stated that police needed to be back in Sydney not located in regional NSW where the Premier had directed additional police resources. John Robertson's attitude toward regional policing is appalling. The NSW Government has delivered a significant boost in the number of police officers since coming into office. Some 315 police officers graduated last year and 60 more are due to graduate this month, in total there will be over 16,000 police officers on the books, many of whom will be based in regional communities like Dubbo.
The NSW Government is working hard to place downward pressure on rising power prices.

It’s crucial that households and small businesses are aware of how much Labor’s carbon tax and green schemes are contributing to power price rises. The combined impact of the carbon tax and the RET adds $270 to NSW household and business electricity bills. The NSW Government has implemented a number of reforms to help reduce the impact of rising power prices in NSW, including increased assistance measures, the closure of Labor’s unsustainable Solar Bonus Scheme, and the commissioning of a review into reliability standards imposed by Labor which are a key driver of rising network costs.

A second community forum for people to have their say on the development of a new Aboriginal affairs strategy for NSW will be held in Dubbo on 31st August. The public meeting is part of the consultation process as part of the NSW Government’s Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs which is designed to improve education and training, employment and service delivery. According to the latest Census, there are more than 8,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Dubbo – or about 11.5 per cent of the total population. This Government is determined to work in partnership with the Aboriginal community to achieve better results in closing the gap and ensure Aboriginal kids have more choice and opportunity in education and employment.

Gambling is a source of significant problems for both individuals and families in Aboriginal communities resulting in financial hardship, family discord and contact with the criminal justice system. That's why I support the NSW Government's strategy to target problem gambling in NSW Aboriginal communities. The million dollar Gambling and Aboriginal People Strategy will include community engagement, education and awareness, problem gambling screening, counselling and support services, training, and a cadetship program for Aboriginal problem gambling workers. A further $192,940 for a six-month extension to the NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling Service program run by former Newcastle Knights footballer and problem gambling counsellor Ashley Gordon and currently being provided to more than 30 communities. The NSW Government is committed to helping address this important social issue through programs that effectively meet the specific needs of Aboriginal communities.



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