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Tuesday, 11 May 1965

Senator ORMONDE (New South Wales) . - I would like to ask the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson), who is in charge of this Bill, a question which, I hope, is not outside the ambit of the measure. Recently, when I was returning from overseas, I had a rather sad experience at Fremantle. I am not opposed to Customs officials. I think they do a good job generally. I am not talking about their right to search the luggage and baggage of passengers. But I was rather horrified to see the Customs officials at Fremantle searching the people themselves as well as going through their pockets. I saw one man being almost stripped. His pocket books were taken out and the Customs officials went through them and tore the lining at the back. I do not believe that such action is necessary. I do not think any honorable senator would expect to see that sort of thing on the tarmac or in a Customs office at an airport. It would almost appear that sea travellers are regarded as rather lowly customers and as such are entitled to be searched. I got the impression that migrants from the south of Europe and other countries might be given the once-over, but the officials went further. They went through them with a fine toothcomb. My query is: How can people who have that experience at an Australian port - I am referring to Fremantle - be happy about settling down here? I should have thought that the authorities at the point of reception of the migrants would have sufficient knowledge of them to guarantee them at least to the extent that they would not have to be searched on coming into the country. A personal search is a great indignity. I raise this matter only because I think the Department should look into it. I do not think such a procedure would entice people to come to Australia or interest them in settling down here. It would prevent them having the right image of Australia.

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