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ACC's keynote speaker sends wrong message

13 October 2004

ACC's keynote speaker sends wrong message

Green MP Sue Bradford is questioning whether a criminal profiler is an appropriate speaker for an ACC rehabilitation conference.

"There is a widespread perception amongst ACC claimants that the corporation is far more interested in getting them off compensation rather than rehabilitating them back into meaningful work," said Ms Bradford, the Green Party's ACC Spokesperson.

"Hosting a speaker who is developing methodology for detecting fraud at a conference that is supposed to be about rehabilitation can only reinforce this concern.

Ms Bradford asked Ruth Dyson in the House this afternoon why Steve Longford, a former head of the Queensland Police's Violent Crime Analysis Unit who has trained with the FBI, is a keynote speaker at the ACC's 'Bold Perspectives, Shared Objectives' conference next March.

In answer, Ms Dyson said Mr Longford has expertise in family violence and that ACC had invited him after hearing him speak at an Australian injury prevention conference earlier this year.

However, the NZ conference programme promotes Longford as a specialist in behavioural analysis for intelligence and compliance agencies. (See http://www.boldperspectives.co.nz/speakers.html .) His seminar is titled 'Using behaviour intelligence to obtain more focused and direct results'. (See http://www.boldperspectives.co.nz/conference_programme.pdf , p5.) His seminar at the Australian conference was on 'deception detection'. (See http://injurymanagement.consec.com.au/program.html .)

"If Mr Longford's relevance is around reducing family violence, why does ACC's programme not mention it and instead emphasises his background in criminal profiling?" asked Ms Bradford.

"Just yesterday the media reported that ACC has been claiming people are 'ready to work' and no longer require compensation after being shoved through inappropriate courses and awarded bogus qualifications.

"It is unreasonable and unfair for ACC to presume that long-term claimants, almost by definition, don't want to get back to work. The vast majority, around who policy should be formed, are people who are more than willing to take whatever practical and realistic steps are needed to be rehabilitated.

"On the 'Bold Perspectives' homepage, ACC Chief Executive Garry Wilson proudly proclaims that ACC has been delivering on a 'bold experiment' for 30 years. The Green Party calls on Wilson and ACC to deliver on the original spirit of the scheme and start treating claimants as people to be helped and not statistics to be adjusted."

ENDS

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