Minister for Police and Counter-Terrorism
(Censure Motion, 18 October 23023, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
Motion by Member for Cronulla > HERE
Alex Greenwich: The world is going through a terrible time. The unspeakable horrors that we are seeing in the Middle East are breaking hearts around the world. The terror and trauma that the horrific attack by terrorist organisation Hamas on Israel created and the lives that it ended are unspeakable. We know today that in Palestine a hospital full of innocent people has been bombed. How is the New South Wales Parliament dealing with this? We are dealing with a censure motion in which the evidence is reporting from a third-hand source that the Leader of the Opposition would be embarrassed to use in a court of law. We are dealing with a motion that is seeking to stoke further division in our own community at a very difficult and tense time.
In consulting a number of my Independent colleagues on the crossbench, we are horrified by what we are witnessing in this place every question time. Our Parliament should be coming together, showing leadership, bringing people together and supporting communities in need. Instead, the Opposition is engaging in a great deal of political point scoring, and that comes at a cost. The protest referenced in the censure motion occurred in my electorate. I have a great deal of faith in the NSW Police Force and in its ability to manage protests, which happen all the time in our global city. I have participated in protests and I have been protested against—
Member for Hornsby: It's about the police Minister.
Alex Greenwich: I do not need to be interrupted and lectured to by the member for Hornsby during debate on this very intense censure motion.
[An Opposition member interjected.]
The SPEAKER: Order! This is the final warning for the member for Hornsby.
Alex Greenwich: The interjections by the member for Hornsby are an example of exactly the behaviour that we should not be seeing at this time, and many members of the crossbench are completely disgusted by it. As I was saying, we know what happens in protests in the city. We know the difficult role that the NSW Police Force has to undertake on any given day. When there is a protest linked to an international conflict where there has been a terrorist attack, the Police Force is under increased scrutiny at an increasingly tense moment. The police did a great job, as best they could, in de-escalating the situation. But what we are not saying is that things could have been a lot worse.
We know that angry and aggravated people were a part of the protest that occurred. Although the scenes we saw at the Opera House were horrific, the things that were said were horrific, and the burning of a flag should always be condemned, what happened could have been much worse. We certainly do not want a situation where the forward commanders who are dealing with the crowds are somehow compelled to constantly call the police Minister to seek her approval and guidance. We have to be able to trust our police to deal with these difficult situations in difficult times.
What we need from this place is more of the leadership that we saw from people like the member for Davidson in his motion last week. We need the leadership that we saw from the member for Oatley in his question today. We need the leadership that we saw from the member for Riverstone in his private member's statement last night, which I urge all members to read. We need the leadership that we saw from the Minister for Multiculturalism.
In reflecting the views of the member for Wakehurst, the member for Wollondilly, the member for Wagga Wagga, the member for Orange and the member for Barwon, the one thing that this censure motion does do is give us the opportunity to express our confidence in the police Minister, to show our confidence in the NSW Police Force, and to call on all members of this Parliament to put politics aside and to promote harmony. The world is going to become a tougher place. The images we are going to see will be more horrific and heartbreaking. We have to raise the tone for the sake of our communities.