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Tuesday, 13 August 1974
Page: 779

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) -I direct my question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. What action has been taken to punish the motor cruiser owner- either a knave or a fool- who illegally introduced into Australia 40 birds and 2 monkeys from Bali which had to be destroyed in conformity with Australian health laws?

Senator MURPHY (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) -On this general subject of the illegal smuggling of birds and other fauna, I point out that regrettably a good deal of it is still going on in the export field. Senator Mulvihill has asked me a number of questions on this matter. It seems that massive increases in export controls would be necessary to improve the rate of detection to any significant degree. However 1 am endeavouring to find some ways by which there can be legal exports of fauna to approved zoos which would cut this problem down and no doubt the same could be done in respect of the importing of fauna in order to take the profit motive out of the illegal activities which are going on. I have been advised that the case to which the honourable sentator referred involved a shipment of birds and monkeys to the value of approximately $100,000. 1 have with me a note which says that investigations are proceeding into the matter. Some people have already been charged under the Customs Act and it may be that further charges will be laid against other persons. As the honourable senator implied in his question, apart from the illegal smuggling aspect there is also the important question of health. The importation of fauna which come from areas where there are diseases does present a very serious risk to Australian fauna and livestock.

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