Police union blasts ALP claim of video 'intimidation'
THE Queensland Police Union has labelled the Opposition Leader's allegations police intimidated her during a Gold Coast community meeting as an "outrageous disgrace".
Annastacia Palaszczuk, rising on a matter of privilege, told the Legislative Chamber on Tuesday morning that their conduct could be questioned under the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 and she wanted the parliamentary ethics committee to investigate.
She said police were "openly and blatantly" filming her listening to residents' concerns about a proposed quarry development and meeting with teachers which "is clearly amounting to intimidation".
"This is an extremely serious matter, namely the intimidation of members of the opposition in the performance of their duties as members of this house," she said.
"Standing Order 266 provides examples of contempt, one of which is intimidating a member acting in the discharge of the member's duty.
"One effect of such conduct can be to dissuade people from talking publicly with members of Parliament, thus interfering with MPs freely performing their duties."
QPU president Ian Leavers said he would think this "despicable" move was an April Fool joke "if it wasn't so serious".
"Police have long attended Community Cabinets in both uniform and civilian attire and have monitored crowds and attendees that have gathered," he said.
"It certainly happened under former premier Anna Bligh particularly during the massive anti-privatisation protests that occurred during her term as Premier.
"The police actions at the recent Gold Coast community cabinet were exactly the same.
"I demand Annastacia Palaszczuk withdraws her baseless criticisms of police immediately and apologises for making such ridiculous allegations against police under the protection of parliamentary privilege.
"This attack on the hardworking men and women of the Queensland Police Service is an outrageous disgrace."
Ms Palaszczuk said she would be writing to the ethics committee and to Police Commissioner Ian Stewart.
Mr Stewart said he looked forward to responding.
"The police regularly do this and have done for many years to ensure the safety of not only the crowds but also of the members of parliament who attend," he said.
"Our job is to make sure that we take proactive intelligence steps to identify those people who might be there to do harm to any member of parliament or any other person who is trying to attend.
"Certainly lawful protest is a hallmark of our community.
"It's something that we understand and certainly agree with."