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Tuesday, 7 March 2000
Page: 14061

Mr WILLIAMS (Attorney-General) (6:17 PM) —I remain totally unconvinced of the need to deploy scarce Australian Federal Police resources to overlook the work of Customs officers. I am advised that the Customs officers who work in international mail exchanges do not work in isolation. A number of officers work together. In full view of others they screen and select suspect parcels for further examination. An officer then directs a parcel to an X-ray channel operated by two officers. If the X-ray indicates the presence of drugs, the parcel is removed from the system for opening and at this point the details are recorded. No single officer can handle postal articles in isolation.

What the member for Denison is really suggesting is that there are people who work for Customs or potentially work for Customs who are going to commit serious criminal offences. The consequences of undertaking the course of action that the member for Denison suggests needs protection against are so serious that I think anybody who contemplates it would be aware that they are running a big risk, particularly in an environment where they are not working alone. The government remains committed to opposing the amendments.