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Minns slams MP’s ‘reprehensible’ cop comments

Written by on May 16, 2024

NSW Premier Chris Minns has sacked a parliamentary secretary after the upper house MP refused to withdraw his comments accusing police of violence and unethical practices at pro-Palestinian protests.

Mr Minns said on Thursday he had asked Anthony D’Adam to withdraw the comments and revoked his appointment as customer service and digital government, youth justice and emergency services parliamentary secretary when he refused.

“Mr D’Adam did not raise his criticisms about NSW Police with me, the Police Minister or with NSW Police. The first we heard about it was his speech in parliament,” Mr Minns said in a statement.

“Mr D’Adam’s comments do not represent the views of the NSW government.

“I have formed the view that his actions and criticisms of the NSW Police, without at any time speaking with colleagues to convey his concerns in relation to this matter, are incompatible with his position as Parliamentary Secretary.

“The NSW Police Force does an incredible and extremely difficult job and they have the full support of the NSW government.”

Mr D’Adam, who is a member of Labor Friends of Palestine NSW, will remain in the upper house. He was elected at the 2019 state election.

Mr Minns had earlier labelled Mr D’Adams comments as “absolutely reprehensible,” however he said he didn’t want to “make a martyr” of the MP by sacking him.

It prompted calls from Opposition Leader Mark Speakman for the Premier to sack Mr D’Adam.

On Wednesday night, Mr D’Adam told the upper house he believed police had failed to “distinguish between real violence and pretend violence” regarding the “harmless” actions of pro-Palestinian protest attendees.

Mr D’Adam, said the actions of police had “made a liar” of NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb when she told budget estimates in February police operated under Peelian principles – the principle of policing with consent.

“The approach of the Public Order and Riot Squad at many Palestine protests makes a liar of the commissioner,” Mr D’Adam said.

“It used fear and intimidation as a means of obtaining compliance.

“We will not be intimidated, especially when we are trying to stop a genocide.”

During question time on Thursday, Mr Minns was asked by Liberal Vaucluse MP Kellie Sloane whether he would sack Mr D’Adam as the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services over his comments.

Mr Minns said he didn’t want to “make a martyr,” while blasting the Labor MP for his comments.

“I thought those comments were absolutely reprehensible I completely disassociate myself from them,” he said.

“We don’t want to make a martyr of anyone in this set of circumstances and I thought that the comments from the member were completely outrageous.”

In a statement, Mr D’Adams said he was “disappointed” at the Premier’s decisions, but held “no malice” towards him.

He said his comments made in the upper house were “not intended as a criticism of the government,” and rejected assertions he had been critical of Ms Webb.

“My comments made in the house last night were not intended as a criticism of the government, but to raise concerns about the approach that has been taken by a particular unit within the NSW Police and the incompatibility of that approach with the stated values of the NSW Police,” he said.

Mr D’Adams also said he was “concerned” at the trend of the curtailing of basic civil liberties and NSW protest laws.

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley also blasted Mr D’Adam’s comments as “offensive”.

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“(It was) nothing other than attack on the hard working police of NSW,” she said.

“Our cops work tirelessly, day and night to keep our public safe. They are not political. They do not take sides.

“To say otherwise. It is dangerous for our democracy.”