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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 765


Senator BUTTON —In Question Time today Senator Chaney and Senator Archer asked me some questions about the Australian Customs Service and about a number of allegations that have been made. I undertook to try to get some further information. In the time that has been available I have been able to get some information. I am not saying that it is complete, but it is perhaps some improvement on what I was able to tell the Senate before. In regard to Senator Chaney's question, I have been advised by the Comptroller-General of Customs that it is believed that Mr Malkoun is aware of the identity of the ACS officers who have made allegations. Secondly, investigating officers in the Internal Affairs Unit are doing everything possible to identify those officers who have put their allegations and concerns to Mr Malkoun. While the Unit will seek co-operation in giving further details and substantiation from the officers making the allegations there is, of course, no power to force the officers to make their identity known.

With regard to the question I was asked by Senator Archer, yes, it is true that last year a Canberra Customs Service intelligence officer was involved in an incident in which, in essence, he apparently passed confidential information to members of the organisation known as the Hell's Angels in South Australia. Following investigation he was identified and charged with an offence. He is no longer employed by the Australian Customs Service. Secondly, there were arrests, of course, in Sydney in March involving two Customs officers. Charges have been laid in respect of those matters and they will go before the courts.

Thirdly, in relation to an alleged offence by a Customs officer here in Canberra, I think the allegation contained in Senator Archer's question involved a Queanbeyan Customs officer who was supposed to supervise the destruction of spoilt beer. When he was found to be selling it to carriers and passing spoilt beer to others, he was arrested. The officer was suspended from the Australian Customs Service and the case is presently awaiting trial in the courts.