Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (10:01): I rise today to briefly speak to the retirement of the
Chief Commissioner of Police, Graham Ashton. Commissioner Ashton will vacate the role on 26 June,
a position he has held since 2015. It is no easy task leading an organisation the size and scale of Victoria
Police. I can imagine it is a difficult task for anyone needing to meet public expectation while dealing
with internal policing matters. I served in the force under Graham Ashton for a number of years, and
during that time I can say that his leadership was to be admired and the way he supported the troops
was to be commended.
Shortly after being elected, I organised a meeting with the chief commissioner. Amongst other things
we discussed the importance of a public sex offenders register and the need for better mental health
support for all police officers, two issues that he was personally sympathetic to and which I look
forward to pursuing during the remainder of this term of Parliament.
I recall in October 2018 Graham Ashton, along with Victoria Police Association secretary, Wayne
Gatt, completed a 1000-kilometre trek, raising almost $600 000 for retired police mental health. As I
have spoken of many times in this chamber, the mental health of all our emergency services workers
has been and remains to me a growing concern. The last few months have been particularly difficult
for Victoria Police, with a devastating fire season, a royal commission into police informants, the
outbreak of coronavirus and of course the tragic loss of four police officers’ lives on the Eastern
Freeway.
Despite the challenges, many would agree that the chief commissioner has provided very strong
leadership. I congratulate Graham Ashton on his term as chief commissioner and wish him all the best
in his future endeavours. To the commissioner’s successor, Shane Patton, I say congratulations, good
luck. You certainly have big shoes to fill.