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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2280

Senator VANSTONE (8.10 p.m.) —We do not support this amendment for some of the reasons offered by the government. I wonder whether Senator Spindler would like to comment on the case where someone's place is searched and the policeman picks something up and asks, `What do you say to this?' The person makes a statement. We are presuming that the police want that statement for use in the proceedings. If I were that person's legal adviser, I would be very sorry that I was not there when the person was asked that question.

  The Democrats are suggesting that when a person's place is searched—and it might not be with notice—the person will be asked a question. If the Democrats have their way, there will be a tape-recorder there, the answer will be taken down and the person will not have had the benefit of legal advice. The person should have that legal advice. It is appropriate to say—this is the standard line; Senator Spindler would have heard it from plenty of people—that the innocent have nothing to fear.

  I come back to the original proposition that it is the Crown's job to show that a person is guilty. I know we say that people are meant to know the law, but they do not. People can inadvertently get themselves into trouble by saying the wrong thing under pressure. A visit by the police is frightening as all hell to most people. Under those circumstances, I think we would find that there would be occasions when the consequence of this amendment would be exactly the opposite of what the Democrats are trying to achieve.