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Question: SA Police & Racism

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:03): We are going straight from a Labor question to a crossbench question.

The PRESIDENT: No, it was a supplementary, but thanks for checking on that.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Thank you, Mr President. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the minister representing the Minister for Police, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing in this case, on the topic of whether SAPOL has a racism problem.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: In 2016, the Equal Opportunity Commission was commissioned by SAPOL to do a review about the nature and extent of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour within SAPOL, and to make recommendations to address it, something they have now done after three reports. I note that the results state, in the media release from the EO Commission:

The review found that sex discrimination and sexual harassment of women—and anyone else that doesn’t fit the white macho male stereotype—is commonplace in SAPOL, including amongst supervisors and managers.

I note that in the past week we have seen two officers put on administrative duties post the event in Kilburn on Monday night, where a young Aboriginal man was punched in the head while being detained and then later released with no charge. I also note that this morning the police commissioner has had to apologise for the racist remarks made by a SAPOL officer to a Sudanese-Australian woman.

I note that each time these events have occurred the SAPOL commissioner and the police minister have both said that SAPOL does not have a racism problem. However, former SAPOL officer Ms Capponi told Ali Clarke on ABC radio late last year, as a former officer who had worked on Operation Mandrake, that SAPOL did indeed have a racism problem. She noted that she was treated quite appallingly, and to the point where she had to quit the police force because her partner was Aboriginal. She said:

I remember pretty much the first week of having graduated from the police academy, we were walking down Hindley Street, and I remember one of my supervisors at the time said 'It's not racism, it's stereotyping that we do'.

She went on to tell Ali Clarke, 'That stuck with me—it is racism—it's not stereotyping.'

Noting that while SAPOL has also rejected cross-cultural awareness training offered by Aboriginal leader Haydyn Bromley, and has stated that they prefer to do their cross-cultural training in house without Aboriginal leadership, my questions are:

1. Does SAPOL have a racism problem, and do they call it a stereotyping problem?

2. Do they racially profile, and will they undertake and commission the EO commissioner to do the same body of work to address this issue that they have done with the sexual harassment and sexist behaviour that SAPOL clearly had and is now addressing?

3. Will SAPOL admit they have a racism problem so that they can fix that racism problem?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:06): I thank the honourable member for her question. I will be quite up-front and say that this government and SA Police reject racism in every form. I will refer the honourable member's question to the minister and provide a response.

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