Question: Schools, Random Drug Searches & Police Commissioner Protocol


Mr MALINAUSKAS (Croydon—Leader of the Opposition) (14:46): A supplementary question to the Premier, and I thank the Premier for his previous answer and reiterating his intention to instruct. The supplementary question is: when will the Premier be seeing to the minister tabling the instruction to the police commissioner, as is the requirement under the Police Act?

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order.

The SPEAKER: Point of order.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:47): I thank the member for the question. As previously identified, the Stop the Scourge in Schools policy falls under the responsibility—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: He is answering the question.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —of the Minister for Education.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: He is answering the question.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: As the leader would know, if he had more than five days' experience in the house—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: I think he is answering the question.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —any member of the cabinet can answer the question, especially when the member of the cabinet is the one responsible for delivering the outcome.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: When those opposite were in power, there were ministers who didn't answer a question for several years.

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order: this is debate, sir.

The SPEAKER: This is debate. Just to clarify for newer members, any minister can answer a question put to any other minister, but with all respect—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! Order! The minister will return to the substance of the question. Minister.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: I am very pleased to. I thank the leader for the question. It's a question that was asked on the first sitting day, or the second sitting day, perhaps, and I will give a similar answer. It is a matter of responsibility for the Minister for Education to deliver this policy. We had a meeting with the police commissioner, with the CE of the education department—

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order.

The SPEAKER: Point of order—let's hear it.

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: Standing order 98: relevance, sir.

The SPEAKER: Yes, minister. Again, I ask you to return to the substance of the question please, minister.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: Well, the question is: when are we going to be speaking to the police about it. We spoke to them on 12 April.

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order. The question was very specific: when will the Minister for Police table his instruction?

The SPEAKER: I think the minister has finished. Member for Davenport.

Mr ODENWALDER (Elizabeth) (14:58): Supplementary: does the Premier's protocol development require an instruction from the police minister?

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:58): I have answered this question in other forms but, to be clear, the police commissioner, the police minister, the CE of the education department and I met and we discussed it. Subsequent to that, representatives of police have met with representatives of the independent school sector, the Catholic school sector and members of my department. We are currently working with police on developing the protocols. It is quite clear that this policy will be delivered by this government. I note the outrage of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. It's confusing to me because when the Labor Party was in power—

Mr Koutsantonis interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Point of order, let's hear the point of order.

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: This is debate.

The Hon. J.A.W. Gardner interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Morialta will hear the point of order.

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order, sir: the minister is not responsible for the motives or the reliance of the opposition.

The SPEAKER: Yes, that is right.

Mr KOUTSANTONIS: He should keep his remarks to what the government is doing.

The SPEAKER: That's right. The minister will not respond to interjection.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: Okay, I take your guidance, sir, and I'm very pleased to receive it.

The SPEAKER: You're on two warnings.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: I am even more pleased for the reminder. The fact is that the operations of police visiting schools have happened before. When we announced the policy that we wanted to have the opportunity for police dogs to visit schools, particularly those where the police thought that there was a benefit from doing so, the outrage of the Labor Party at that stage was confusing because there were schools where this process had taken place. We want to make it easier for schools and the police to work together. We want to have a clear set of guidelines and understanding of how these processes can operate.

There were a number of points that were raised and discussed when we met with the police commissioner. In fact, the police were very happy to work with the education department in developing these protocols. They raised questions that we were able to provide answers to, about what the government's desires were in relation to achievement of this policy, and we were able to respond within the framework of the policy that we took to the election and which the people of South Australia voted for. Why those opposite seem so intent on blocking the intent of the South Australian people is beyond me.

Mr Koutsantonis interjecting:

The SPEAKER: This is debate. I think the minister has finished. Member for Elizabeth.