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Thursday, 29 March 1979
Page: 1361

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins (SCULLIN, VICTORIA) -The honourable member may be offending against the Standing Orders too.

Mr JAMES - Yes. I wish to emphasise one point. The honourable member for Phillip and I were overseas last year at the Commonwealth Conference in Jamaica. The honourable member, a barrister and a member of the New South Wales Bar, went into a bank in the United States to cash a travellers cheque. The American bank authorities insisted that he place his fingerprint on the back of the cheque after signing it. He readily consented because he was nearly broke and I was not in a position to lend money to him at the time.

I have two passports. One is an official government passport. My name is James, not Harry M. Miller. I am not able to get a diplomatic passport. We have been told in the House that Mr Miller obtained a diplomatic passport. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) has no doubt come into the chamber to deny or to confirm that story or to excuse himself for being a party- this was alleged earlier- to getting Harry M. Miller a diplomatic passport which ordinary members of this House are not entitled to get.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - You must be making this up.

Mr JAMES - I am not making it up. The Minister has come into the chamber. He is very selfconscious about the allegation made tonight. He has been conferring for about 20 minutes with the departmental heads present in the chamber. He is very worried, but he smiles through it all like a boy in the cemetery at midnight. Let me refer again to passports. I have my fingerprint on my official passport.

Mr Cohen - That does not look like a fingerprint.

Mr JAMES - It is a clean finger. Apparently it might not be as manicured or the same length as the honourable member's.

Mr Cohen - What are we talking about?

Mr JAMES - My fingerprint. I cannot see why all members of this House should not give leadership to minimising the corrupt use of passports by announcing to the Australian nation that they are prepared to have their own thumb prints on their passports. Although this will not eliminate the corrupt use of passports, I believe it will deter the would-be crook. I have my fingerprint on my passport in case I lose it.

Mr Bourchier - What about gold kangaroos?

Mr JAMES - I beg your pardon?

Mr Bourchier - What about gold kangaroos? They're pretty good.

Mr JAMES -I think you should -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I invite the honourable member for Hunter to ignore disorderly interjections.

Mr JAMES - The honourable member for Bendigo should see a psychiatrist; he is well on the way. I believe in all sincerity that the misuse of passports would be minimised if honourable members give leadership and voluntarily had their fingerprints included on their passports. This would deter the misuse and improper use of them.

Mr Graham - Would they accept it in Malawi?

Mr JAMES - Malawi, yes; but not Uganda. A statement was made in the Australian newspaper the other day expressing the concern of the Commonwealth Police.

Mr Bourchier - What is the exchange rate of gold kangaroos?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The House will come to order. I call the honourable member for Hunter and ask that he be allowed to proceed without interruption.

Mr Cohen - The honourable member for Hunter is making a magnificent speech and this goat keeps interrupting.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Robertson will resume his seat. I have already called the House to order and asked that the honourable member for Hunter be allowed to proceed without interruption.

Mr JAMES -This shows the lighthearted attitude that Liberals and supporters of the Liberal Party take towards the commission of corporate crime in Australia. When a serious debate is taking place in the House in connection with the soaring incidence of drugs and corporate crime, the honourable member for Bendigo tries to make humour out of members of the Opposition who are making serious speeches.

Mr Bourchier - I am not trying to make humour.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The House will come to order.

Mr JAMES - I will say something very offensive to him in a minute.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I ask the honourable member for Hunter to continue- I hope he may do so without interruption- and to speak to the Bill.

Mr JAMES - The honourable member is not a lawyer but I think that he has been a bit too long at the bar tonight.

Mr Bourchier - I raise a point of order. I think that that remark should be withdrawn because I am sure the honourable member for Hunter does not really mean it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Does the honourable member find the remark offensive?

Mr Bourchier - Yes, I do. I also think that the honourable member should look at the new trips that are available for South America.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The honourable member for Bendigo finds the reference offensive.

Mr JAMES - He can give it but cannot take it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I ask the honourable member for Hunter to withdraw the remark.

Mr JAMES - Out of respect to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, I withdraw it. I refer now to an article which appeared in the Australian today headed 'Spies, guerillas "forging way into country" ' and which reads:

TERRORISTS and spies are freely entering and leaving Australia on false passports, a police forgery expert claimed yesterday.

Mr JamesBuglio, of the Commonwealth Police Document Examination Bureau, said the passports were expertly forged and undetectable.

He added that it was known CIA and KGB agents used false documents.

Mr Buglio,who spoke at a forensic science symposium in Adelaide, said later he examined about 300 suspected false passports a year, most of them being used by illegal migrants.

He said the introduction of a standardised passport that included fingerprints could help minimise forgeries, and said greater use should also be made of forgery experts and special detection equipment at passport checkpoints.

I believe that members of this House should heed those wise submissions by a responsible police officer of the Commonwealth Police Document Examination Bureau in the hope, and in the interests of the community as a whole, that corporate crime and the illicit drug trade that is ruining the lives of thousands of young Australians might be minimised. We find that it is easy for Harry M. Miller to get a diplomatic passport from a government to which he has political allegiance. I remember the difficulty experienced not so many years ago by Wilfred Burchett, a dedicated Australian. He could not have his passport replaced after it was stolen from him- the Central Intelligence Agency was suspected- while attending a conference in Bandung.

Mr Cohen - He was never charged with anything.

Mr JAMES - No. He is a very law abiding citizen. Wilfred Burchett appealed to the Government for another passport to be issued so that he could go home to Victoria to see his dying 80-year old father. The Government by cruel and sadistic action refused Wilfred Burchett a passport. He was able to get to Noumea. A charter plane which had flown over from Cairns brought him to Australia from there. It was alleged that he had committed all sorts of crimes against the Australian Government and Australian people. He came back voluntarily and appealed to the law enforcement authorities in Australia to arrest him if he had committed any crime.

Anyone who knows Wilfred Burchett knows that he is a forthright and honest journalist. Because of his forthrightness he could not get a job with the Austraiian media. He would not write what the editors wanted him to write. He insisted on writing the truth as he saw it. The submission I make was prompted by the article in the Australian to which I have referred. I think that all Australian citizens voluntarily submitting to having their thumb prints put on their passports, in the latter part of the twentieth century, would be an onward step towards minimising the illegal use of passports by criminals, would-be criminals and drug traffickers. I support the proposed amendments to be moved by the Labor Party and the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

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