Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 11 November 1985
Page: 1947


Senator REYNOLDS(11.00) —Mr President, I seek your indulgence also to make a comment on the detention of Senator Georges in Queensland. I think that the point that should be made concerns the question of fingerprinting a well-known Government senator. I would like to take the opportunity to quote from the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act under which Senator Georges has been charged. Section 43 in relation to fingerprints states:

Where a person has been arrested on any charge in respect of which the person may be arrested under this Act, or is in lawful custody for any offence punishable on indictment pursuant to `The Criminal Code', the officer in charge of police at the police station to which he is taken after arrest or where he is in custody, as the case may be, may take or cause to be taken all such particulars as may be deemed necessary-

I repeat that phrase: `may take all such particulars as may be deemed necessary'-

for the identification of such person, including his photograph and finger prints and palm prints . . .

I ask you, Mr President: Does anyone in this chamber, any reasonable person in Australia, or in Queensland for that matter, really believe that it would be deemed necessary to take the fingerprints of a well-known Queensland Labor senator? I think that the question of the enforcement of this fingerprint requirement-which has been virtually at the whim of the police officer in charge, remembering that Senator Georges has not yet appeared before a court-is the one that has had him forcibly detained in the watch-house this evening. Bail was offered, and because Senator Georges did not believe that it should be deemed necessary that his fingerprints be taken for identification purposes, as stated in the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act, he refused to comply with this condition. It is essentially a condition that has been imposed not by a court but at the whim of a particular police officer.

Of course, what must concern the Senate is how political was this action which has been taken today and to what extent precedent is being established in regard to the future detention of members of this place or members of this Government if it suited the political motives of the Bjelke-Petersen Government. I would certainly hope, Mr President, that in the light of further information that I am sure will come to your notice and the notice of honourable senators in the next 12 hours or so, the Senate will express very clearly to the Queensland Government that we will not tolerate the enforced incarceration of Senator Georges or any other member of this place, or indeed any member of the other place, for political purposes.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 11.05 p.m.