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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2286

Senator SPINDLER (8.39 p.m.) —I move:

15.Clause 4, page 14, proposed subsection 3T(1), lines 32 and 33, omit "an offence", substitute "an indictable offence.".

The bill provides that it is an offence for a person to refuse to give his or her name and address or to give a false name and address if a police officer believes, on any reasonable grounds, that the person may be able to assist in inquiries in relation to any offence which has been committed.

  This provision created a lot of concern amongst lawyers that appeared before the committee, as well as representatives from civil liberties and ethnic organisations. The concern was that this would give the police carte blanche to harass people that they felt they wanted to approach and wanted, on whatever grounds, to intimidate. I believe that we should be careful in balancing the justifiable demands of law enforcement procedures against the misuse that could be made of them. To achieve that balance, this amendment tries to contain that particular police power to indictable offences only. I commend the amendment to the committee.