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Friday, 2 March 1984
Page: 310

Senator PETER RAE(11.18) —To the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 1983, I move:

Page 2, clause 6, proposed sub-section 214B (1), lines 13 to 19, leave out the proposed sub-section, insert the following sub-sections:

(1) For the purposes of the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Act 1975 an authorized officer may, with the consent of the occupier or in pursuance of a warrant issued under sub-section (1B), enter premises where there are kept any accounts, books or other records relating to goods exported to Australia or manufactured or produced, or sold, in Australia and may inspect any such accounts, books, documents or other records and make and retain copies of, or take and retain extracts from, any such accounts, books, documents or other records.

(1A) An authorized officer may make application to a Justice for a warrant authorizing the authorized officer to enter the premises to which the application relates.

(1B) If, on an application under sub-section (1A), the Justice is satisfied, by information on oath or affirmation, that it is reasonably necessary that the authorized officer should, for the purpose of exercising the powers of an authorized officer under this section, have access to the premises to which the application relates, the Justice may grant a warrant authorizing the authorized officer, with such assistance as he thinks necessary, to enter the premises.

(1C) There shall be stated in a warrant issued under sub-section (1B)-

(a) a statement of the purpose for which the warrant is issued, which shall include a reference to the matter in respect of which the authorized officer is conducting an investigation;

(b) whether entry is authorized to be made at any time of the day or night or during specified hours of the day or night;

(c) a description of the kind of things authorized to be inspected or copied or from which extracts may be taken; and

(d) a date, not being later than one month after the date of issue of the warrant, upon which the warrant ceases to have effect.

I refer honourable senators to my speech during the second reading debate and I will summarise the amendment. I will not take the time of the Committee to read it in detail. I thought-I am indebted to another honourable senator for drawing my attention to certain failures in the legislation, apparently last year, to ensure that the procedure was followed-that the battle had been fought in the late 1960s and the early 1970s to ensure that when the right of entry and search was given a warrant was required to be issued. Insofar as the former Government may have failed to do that I simply say that it was an act of negligence on the part of the Senate as a whole and on the part of some individual senators-one of whom I have to say is me-for having missed the fact that it slipped through the net.

I thought that we had established that procedure by deferment. I remember in particular the Mapping Surveys Bill of 1969. We were told that if we insisted on an amendment to provide that the right of entry and search in relation to national mapping surveys should require a warrant, the whole mapping survey of Australia would break down. At that stage we were nasty enough to insist by a majority in the Senate that we wanted that amendment. That Bill has never seen the light of day. As far as I am concerned the national mapping survey of Australia has never faltered. I would have thought that a fairly fundamental right of every citizen of a free democratic country would be that before his privacy is invaded a prima facie case for doing so should be made out to some judicial or quasi-judicial officer. I would have thought that that was a fundamental right. It was certainly warmly supported by the former Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Government in the Senate, now Mr Justice Murphy. It was warmly supported by a cross-section of members of the Liberal Party and, as it was then, the Country Party, later the National Party of Australia.

I will be bitterly disappointed if the Government does not accept this amendment without question. If there is something wrong with the form, I am quite prepared to accept any suggestions for its amendment. But the principle is one which the present Government firmly argued for in opposition and which, I thought, was established by a clear majority of the Senate. I hope that all honourable senators will support its introduction in this instance. If the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Senator Button) has some objection to the amendment I am quite happy to consider it. But as far as I know, the amendment is in a standard form.