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Wednesday, 13 May 1981
Page: 2323

Mr SPENDER(5.25) —In answer to what has been said by honourable members, I say that the provision contained in clause 12 gives very wide powers for the inspection of books where a contravention or a failure to comply with a provision of a relevant Act is thought to have taken place. Other circumstances are set out in clause 12 which are, if my recollection is correct, wider than those in existing laws. For my part, I think that businessmen are just as entitled to privacy as ordinary citizens. There should be no greater right of inspection than what is presently conferred by clause 12. Under that clause and in conjunction with the provisions concerning special investigations if it is in the public interest to investigate the affairs of the company, the widest of investigations can be carried out. Witnesses can be examined and books can be inspected and impounded. Taking those provisions together, there are perfectly adequate mechanisms in this Act for the inspection of books. I simply cannot understand how it can be said that to widen the inspection powers in clause 12 would in some way assist law reform. Law reform stems from the examination of a whole series of events. It does not flow from fishing around in the affairs of private businessmen.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 13 to 15-by leave-taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 16 (Privilege).