Serious Questions Raised By IPCA Report

The IPCA report on the parliamentary protest has been released and makes a number of points, but notably reiterates one important one.

Police knew and assessed that the original protest was legal and attended by a majority of legitimate voices.

This is the point when Members of Parliament with any modicum of courage and duty, should have done their jobs and listened to the legitimate concerns, and stopped the protest descending into the riot it did.

It was only when Speaker Mallard and every other Member of Parliament decided to ignore them, trespass them, spray cold water on them, call them terrorists and a river of filth, and allowed the violent trouble makers to seep in from around the country over the next few weeks, that things inevitably turned down the destructive pathway it did.

Having talked to the protesters we warned that this exact thing was going to happen.

An important question however needs to be asked of one of the report’s findings.

The IPCA found that Police would’ve known that they were ill-equipped and undermanned at the time, and trying to remove the protesters wouldn’t be successful. This is likely why even though Mallard had trespassed the protesters there was no attempt by Police to remove them early on.

It was only after the Police Commissioner was called into a meeting with the Speaker, Deputy Prime Minister, and Attorney General, whose “clear and strong views were expressed…at their high level of frustration at Police’s failure to intervene” that immediately after that meeting, the order was given by the Commissioner to clear parliamentary grounds within 24 hours. The Commissioner stated that at that meeting the Ministers made him feel “uncomfortable”. A meeting which the IPCA found has no detailed records of.

The IPCA noted that many officers held the firm view that the decision to conduct a Police operation had only resulted from “strong political pressure” - and that the direction to proceed with the operation “would not have been given unless Police had succumbed to political pressure.”

If you have the Speaker, Deputy PM, and Attorney General, all giving a clear and strong view about their frustration at the lack of Police action, which made the Commissioner uncomfortable and then immediately issued an order to clear parliamentary grounds…how on earth is this not raising a red flag for direct “political interference”?

The IPCA might not think it is, but perhaps the PM might want to run a ruler over the reasons Stuart Nash was forced to resign.