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Thursday, 24 February 1977
Page: 411

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Administrative Services. Is the Minister aware that in the financial year 1975-76, 12 996 Commonwealth repatriation, social security and taxation cheques were handed over to the Commonwealth Police as cases of forgery and uttering cheques under section 67b of the Crimes Act 1 975 and that in most instances the cheques were stolen from letter boxes, from boarding houses or by finding as a result of misdelivery of mail? Is the Minister aware that in the first 7 months of that financial year 6912 cheques were stolen and that in the first 7 months of this financial year this figure has increased to 10 450, a 51 per cent jump in one year? Is the Minister aware that whilst it is hard to place a value on these cheques because these figures are not kept, a random selection of one hundred -

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman has given a great deal of information.

I now call upon him to ask his question.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Mr Speaker,I am trying to assist and I will sum up very quickly.

Mr SPEAKER - You certainly will. You will ask the question now or be ruled out of order.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) -Can the Minister confirm that 18 000 cheques amounting to some $3m will be stolen this year? Finally, does the Minister agree that with this crime rate category rising so rapidly, there is a good case for an immediate increase in the number of Commonwealth Police?

Mr STREET (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters) - I regret that I am not in a position to confirm or deny the honourable member's forecast, nor am I able to make a comment on the actual figures that he has quoted. However, I shall draw them to the attention of my colleague in the Senate. If they are correct, I suggest that they show that the Commonwealth Police has been doing an outstanding job in this area.

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