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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1564

Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) - I preface my question to the Minister for Customs and Excise by saying that newspaper reports over the weekend indicated that two customs officers were involved in the seizure of a large quantity of drugs in Sydney. Can the Minister advise whether those officers were members of the Department's antinarcotics teams?

The PRESIDENT - Order! This involves a matter which is sub judice. Senator Murphy, in his capacity as Attorney-General and not in his capacity as Minister for Customs and Excise, will answer the question bearing this in mind.

Senator MURPHY -Yes. I inform the Senate that two customs officers have been charged in connection with drug seizures in Sydney over the weekend. These officers were not in any way associated with the anti-narcotics activities of the Department. I might, I think, safely inform the Senate conformably with your ruling, Mr President, that there have been 2 seizures of hashish and hashish oil imported in cargo, and that the total seizure represented the largest ever made of this type of drug in Australia. As honourable senators will realise, hashish and especially hashish oil, although produced from marihuana, are extremely more potent than is marihuana. I indicate also to the Senate that the Commonwealth Bureau of Narcotics of the Department of Customs and Excise is doing all it can and showing every vigilance in dealing with the importation of these extremely potent drugs.

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