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Wednesday, 16 September 1942

Senator KEANE - There has been some increase of cargo pillaging in Australian ports. I recently convened a conference of the police commissioners of the various States and the Director of Security Services, Mr. Mackay. The conference extended over several days, and resulted in some interesting facts being ascertained. One is that there is no certainty in some instances whether the pillaging occurs in Australian ports. In some cases, it occurs while goods are in transit between other countries and Australia. In some instances, however, the pillaging has occurred between the export wharf and the destination of the cargo. Regulations are in course of preparation which will have the effect of placing the transport loading system on the whole of the waterfront under a body of civil police in each State. The cost of this work will be met for the time being by the Commonwealth Government, asI consider that the safe handling of materials, particularly war materials, is a matter of national importance. At the conference to which I have referred, the trade union concerned was also repre- sented, and it has been giving to the Government every assistance in this matter. In every section of the community, there are a few individuals who will not do the right thing, and therefore, at an early date, a squad of trained civil police, who are experts at crime detection, will be placed on the waterfront in each State.

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