Police Association NSW 2024 Biennial Conference

Liberal NSW

Mark Speakman

Leader of the NSW Opposition


I thank Dr Jodie Edwards for welcoming us to country, and I acknowledge the Dharawal people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.

The NSW Police Force has faced a challenging 12 months.

We’ve seen an increase in crime in many parts of our state.

We’ve seen social cohesion degraded, fuelled by international events, and the rise of antisemitism – meaning Australians feel less safe in their schools, workplaces, places of worship, the streets, and even homes.

We’ve seen continued gang warfare.

We’ve seen the escalation of youth crime in our regions.

We’ve seen much publicised and debated cases of domestic and family violence.

We’ve seen major incidents that have tested our state’s resolve, and in particular, the NSW Police Force in ways we don’t often experience.

The Bondi Junction tragedy – where the actions of NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott, who offered our community a brief glimpse of the heroism and professionalism exercised by our force day in and day out. Her actions ensured that many more lives weren’t lost – and will forever be remembered as shining example of the actions undertaken by the men and women of the NSW Police.

The Wakefield terrorism incident – where police and paramedics confronted unthinkable challenges while simply trying to do their work.

Regular protests about events in the Middle East.

Throughout all these incidents the NSW Police have carried themselves with distinction utmost professionalism.

I acknowledge your tireless work and dedication – the men and women of our force on the front line – confronting the horrors most of us only see or read about in the news.

Our entire state owes you a debt of gratitude.

These challenges require a timely and proportionate response from Government.

I’m pleased to lead a team that’s led the debate and put forward the ideas to ensure that you’re supported.

I want to make sure that you have the tools and powers you need to succeed in your jobs.

I lead a strong Coalition between the Liberals and Nationals – and I acknowledge my Parliamentary colleague Paul Toole, the Shadow Minister for Police and former Minister for Police.

In Government we delivered what remains record investment in real terms for Police – but I’m not here today to talk about our record.

I want to look at the constructive role the Opposition has played since the last election.

And our efforts to ensure that this Government builds on the many achievements of the Coalition in Government.

That’s the role of a good, strong Opposition.

Regional crime

Both the Liberals and Nationals are proud to represent the regions across our state.

We know that in the past 12 months we’ve seen an escalation of crime in the regions – in particular, youth crime.

When the Government initially refused to address the issue, we did. We never gave up calling for the next 6 months for an inquiry into regional and rural crime, backing in our communities, the Country Mayors Association and most importantly the calls from the Police Association.

That’s why many of my colleagues wrote to the Premier, demanding action to address youth crime in the regions.

We’d seen and heard enough of the constant stories that were filling the front page of newspapers, how violent crimes were being committed with weapons like knives and machetes, how the offenders could be as young as 10. We knew that something had to be done.

We’ve launched a website where people can submit their stories. To date we’ve received nearly 250 submissions – each a story that shouldn’t be, and can’t be, tolerated in our state.

Knife crime

The NSW Opposition will support reforms to reduce knife crime and improve community safety.

That’s why we were the first to propose new wanding powers to be used by police anywhere at any time.

This backs in the call from the Police Association, along with the Retail Association, that these powers need to be broad.

I recently met with Brett and Belinda Beasley, the parents of Jack Beasley – who supported the need for these laws to be introduced as quickly as possible, and for them to be wide ranging as possible.

I know that people right across our community will support these actions – because at the end of the day people want our streets safe. They want these knives and weapons off our streets. Just like random breath testing reduced drink driving and so the road toll, random wanding can reduce the carrying of knives and therefore knife crime.

We welcome the first step taken by the Government, but we’re disappointed that the proposed laws don’t go further as we have called for. We’ll be pursuing this further, to back in our police and keep our communities safe.

The NSW Opposition will seek to have these new laws reviewed in the future to determine if they’re sufficient and strong enough to keep our streets safe.

Bail reform

Like Jack’s Law, the Opposition has also led on the need for commonsense bail reform here in NSW.

We know that the Government’s response to violence against women and children needs to be holistic and far broader than just bail reform, but bail reform now is an important start – and the time to act is now.

Reform is needed to keep the most serious of domestic and family violence offenders off our streets – or under strict electronic monitoring.

We know electronic monitoring works. In 2016 we started the Domestic Violence Electronic Monitoring Program for convicted offenders on parole or intensive corrections orders. After we left government, last year BOCSAR published its analysis of around 1,000 offenders and found that electronic monitoring was associated with a 33% reduction in domestic violence reoffending. It now makes sense to extend it to bail – and it’s critical that we act now.

So earlier this month the NSW Opposition introduced into Parliament our Bail Amendment (Serious Personal Violence and Electronic Monitoring) Bill 2024, to strengthen bail laws in NSW. It proposes electronic monitoring for those on bail charged with serious domestic violence offences, a stay of the grant of bail for those on bail charged with serious domestic violence offences and magistrates not registrars dealing with bail for serious personal violence changes.

We’re pleased that the Government’s subsequent announcement on bail reform picks up those ideas. We’re happy to have our homework copied. However we’re disappointed that the Government didn’t support our efforts last week to suspend the business of Parliament to work constructively with it to pass their new bail laws.

We sincerely hope that consideration of these new laws are the top priority when Parliament resumes next month.

We know that too much of your time is taken up responding to cases of domestic and family violence.

The Opposition stands ready to work constructively to get these new laws passed – both in response to knife crime and domestic violence.

It’s what people expect of their Parliament – and it’s the least we can do to ensure you have the tools and powers to do your job.


To conclude, I can say with confidence that my team backs the Police 100%.

We value the important job you do.

We’re here to work with you.

And we’re here to ensure you can do the job to the best of your ability.

In politics we often talk about priorities.

The first priority of the Liberals and Nationals will always be to keep our citizens safe.

And you’re on the front line in that objective. We know this. And we’ll continue to support the NSW Police, every day.

Thank you again.

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