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Thursday, 9 December 1976


Mr MORRIS (Shortland) -The Opposition concurs with the amendments. I draw the attention of the Committee to clause 9 which, as a result of the amendment which substitutes the word 'or ' for 'and ' now reads:

(  

(a)   a person has possession, custody or control of an article; and

(b)   a notice applying in respect ofthe article is published in the Gazette under section 5 or 6, the person shall, within 30 days after the date of publication ofthe notice in the Gazette, give the prescribed notice to the Minister in relation to the article.

The other 3 amendments are welcomed by the Opposition. In another place Opposition senators, Senator Cavanagh and Senator Douglas McClelland, brought these matters to the notice ofthe Minister for Adminstrative Services (Senator Withers). It is good to see that the undertaking which the Minister gave there, that he would give consideration to the comments of the honourable senators, has been carried out and that these amendments have arisen from that undertaking. Senator Cavanagh in another place in relation to new sub-clause (4A) of clause 9, quite rightly drew attention to the fact that a person could have an article or object which had been handed down through the family or which had been given to him by another person. The owner of the article could be completely unaware that it was an article declared as being of historic value. That person could be completely innocent of any intention to contravene the Act. Even though it was pointed out in reply that advertisements would be published about such articles and so on, that is a valid point. I am pleased to see that the Attorney-General (Mr Ellicott) has taken this up and that new subclause (4A) of clause 9 takes account of that matter.

Likewise, in relation to the amendment to clause 17, sub-clause (2), a reasonable proposition was put in the other place. People could have reasonable grounds for thinking that notice had been given to the Minister and that they had complied with the provisions of the Act. The amendment to clause 23, the insertion of new sub-clause (SA), arose from a reference to clause 23 which deals with the powers of an inspector. This matter was dealt with at some length. It is worth noting the powers that an inspector has under these conditions. If we look at sub-clause (2) of clause 23 we see that it states:

Where an inspector has reason to believe that a person has failed to comply with a notice given to the person under subsection 11 ( 1 ), the inspector may make application to a Justice of the Peace for a warrant authorising the inspector, with or without persons and equipment to assist him, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the person has failed to comply with the notice-

(a)   to enter any specified land or premises; and

(b)   to search any land or premises so entered and to break open any cupboard, drawer, desk, box, package or other receptacle, whether a fixture or not, on the land or in the premises.

It was in the context of discussion on that clause about the powers of the inspector that the Attorney-General has quite reasonably brought forward the amendment at which we are looking. It brings into legislative form the possibility of self-incrimination as a reasonable excuse for failing to answer questions asked by an inspector. Under the circumstances the Opposition welcomes the amendments and supports them.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report- by leave- adopted.







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