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Minister must account for officers' appalling behaviour



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M edia Release G e o ff Prosser M .P . FEDERAL M EM BER FOR FORREST

S h a d o w M in is t e r fo r Sm all Business, H o u s in g a n d Customs.

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3 May 1991

MINISTER MOST ACCOUNT FOR OFFICERS’ APPALLING BEHAVIOUR

The Shadow Minister for Customs, Geoff Prosser, has called for a full explanation on the raid of eight vessels anchored at the exclusive Lizard Island last year.

The dawn raid, conducted by the Australian Customs Service and the Federal Police, was based on information which indicated that illegal substances would be found during the Halloween period.

While Mr Prosser agreed that the ACS had a responsibility to prevent the importation of illegal substances, he said that the Banner in which the raid was conducted was totally unsatisfactory.

"I have received a number of complaints from the operators of the vessels concerned, regarding the rude and abrupt manner in which the searches were carried out.

"It is my understanding that the officers involved showed little curtesy and had absolutely no regard for the privacy of the passengers or crew.

"Indeed, one vessel Master described the Customs Officers' tactics as "Gestapo-like".

"As most of the vessels contained visiting overseas guests, this raid has done nothing for our reputation as an overseas tourist destination. It has been particularly damaging for the Lizard Island Resort and for the business of the vessels concerned."

According to Mr Prosser, the Minister for Customs must account for the appalling behaviour of his officers.

"I also am seeking from the Minister, at the very least, basic guidelines for the conduct of raids and standards of curtesy which must be observed by all Customs Officers."

ends - Canberra.

CONTACT: Geoff Prosser - 097 911 146 Karen Kuschert - 06 277 4717 (w) 286 5006 (h)

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