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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2613


Senator COLSTON —I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to an article in the Courier-Mail of 1 June about a suspect $1 coin which a Brisbane shopkeeper found in his change. It has been suggested that the coin, which has been stamped on a blank from another country, could fetch at least $1,000 from collectors. Is it correct, as stated in the Courier-Mail report, that the Australian Mint intends to keep the coin and send the shopkeeper a cheque for a dollar? Is the Mint acting lawfully if it does this?


Senator WALSH —The Mint is in possession of the coin described by Senator Colston . I am advised that it has been returned to the Mint for examination. On the advice I have received so far, which I suppose is guarded, the legal position is that it would appear that, under section 51 of the Crimes Act, the coin falls under the definition of counterfeit. Section 61 of the Crimes Act requires the forfeiture of all counterfeit coins to the Commonwealth. It was on those legal grounds that the coin was returned. Indeed, the Mint had no option under the Crimes Act other than to require the return of the coin.

I understand that the Mint has sent a cheque to the value of $1, on which I presume postage of 30c would have been paid, to the manager of the Brisbane store and the Mint is arranging to seek an opinion from the Deputy Crown Solicitor as to whether the coin should be forfeited under the Crimes Act. I will ask the Treasurer to ensure that the Controller of the Mint advises the store manager of the position when he is in receipt of that advice from the Deputy Crown Solicitor.