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Wednesday, 7 December 1927

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) [8.48]. - The investigation branch is composed of officers employed by the Commonwealth for the gurpose of preventing breaches of the ommonwealth law, and for the protection of the revenue. Many inquiries have to be made in connexion with the administration of the various departments. When I was administering the Home and Territories Department, I found it necessary, on many occasions, to enlist the services of officers of this branch to inquire into attempts to defeat the Immigration Act. I presume Senator Needham will agree that it, is desirable to prevent any breaches of that law. It is necessary also to have trained officers to make certain investigations. In many instances the ordinary police methods are not successful. As far as possible we utilize the services of the State police, but very often, when we get advice of a conspiracy to defeat the Commonwealth law it is desirable that the investigations shall be carried out by specially trained officers. It happens sometimes when a special investigation has been ordered, that the officers of the State investigation branches are busily employed on other inquiries. Moreover, it is essential in some instances that outside authorities should not know what investigations are being conducted by the Commonwealth.

Senator Needham - What is the number of the staff?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - It totals 20, including clerical officers. I can assure honorable senators that the branch is doing very valuable work not only in preventing breaches of the Commonwealth laws, but also in protecting thf: revenue.

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