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Wednesday, 10 October 1984
Page: 1605

(Question No. 995)

Senator Bolkus asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 22 August 1984:

Has an officer of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation broken the rules over the use of the diplomatic bag as reported in the newspaper, the Sun- Herald, on Sunday July 15, 1984; if so what action has been taken as a consequence of this incident.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

I am informed that an ASIO officer who was overseas on official duty requested an ASIO officer at an overseas post to arrange for some personal effects which would not fit into his luggage to be sent back to Australia by non-diplomatic freight bag. Unknown to either officer, all bags dispatched from overseas posts are regarded as diplomatic bags. I am of the view that this matter resulted from a misunderstanding, and that there was no intention to avoid Customs examination of the goods, or to infringe the rules relating to the use of diplomatic bags.

The breach has been dealt with, by the Director-General of Security, as an internal disciplinary matter. He has taken what in my view is appropriate action . Further, ASIO members serving overseas have been advised of the restrictions placed on the use of air freight and sea bags dispatched from overseas posts.