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Wednesday, 4 June 1969

Senator McKELLAR (New South Wales) (Minister for Repatriation) - The amendment moved by Senator Murphy, of course, says that we should not be doing what we are setting out to do, that what we do in these inspections should be done by means of a search warrant. Let us have a look at what this would mean. If the justice of the peace is satisfied with the information that there are grounds for issuing a search warrant what does he do? He may grant a search warrant that authorises any constable named therein, with such assistants as he thinks necessary-

Senator Murphy - That is not in my amendment at all.

Senator MCKELLAR - I am talking about the powers of a search warrant.

Senator Murphy - No. The specific amendment is to authorise a person-

Senator McKELLAR - 1 have your amendment here. It reads in part: . . a person authorised in writing by the

Minister to exercise powers under this section may apply to a Justice of the Peace for a search warrant.

This is what I am detailing - what he can do under a search warrant. This is what the honourable senator was asking for.

Senator Murphy - You will find in the amendment what he can do.

Senator McKELLAR - Anyway, rather than put the people - even if they are breaking the law or suspected of breaking the law - to the indignity of this we propose to have an officer go along and inspect the hatchery. If anybody can count 5,000 or 10,000 chickens then he is better than I am Gunga Din.

Senator Ormonde - I do it every night going to sleep.

Senator McKELLAR - I had not thought of that.

Senator Georges - There are methods used today which will give you an accurate count.

Senator McKELLAR - We have heard enough of the honourable senator. Clause 9 of this Bill confers inspectorial powers on persons authorised in writing by the Minister. Under the clause such a person is empowered at all reasonable times and on production of his ministerial authority to enter a hatchery or a place of business - and this is only done where a man has refused to co-operate or suspicion is entertained that he is not abiding by the Act - and these are the only occasions. The inspector can enter a hatchery or a place of business in which the authorised person has reason to believe there are books, documents or other papers relating to the hatchery business. Under the clause he may, if necessary, search for such books, documents and other papers and take extracts from or make copies of them. His powers are not wide enough for him to seize the goods and take them away as he would be able to do under a search warrant. The purpose of the clause is to enable persons, who would ordinarily be Commonwealth officers, to carry Cut, with ministerial authority and at reasonable times, routine inspections for the purposes of the Act in connection with hatchery businesses. The clause is expressed to apply only to hatcheries and places of business. In the case of going to the person's own home, this would only occur if the home was used as an office or a place where books would be kept. There is no question of going into a man's home unless the provision would apply to it.

The Opposition's amendment is to require a search warrant to enable the powers under the clause to be carried out. The amendment completely misunderstands the object and purpose of the clause. Indeed, in the day to day administration of the Act, the type of inspection of books envisaged by the clause would proceed with the complete co-operation of the hatchery proprietors concerned, and the need to make a search against the wishes of the proprietor with the authority of the section would only arise, I say again, where there was some obstruction or lack of co-operation on the part of the hatchery proprietor. What does the Opposition want us to do? Does it want a man who is evading the provision to be exempt from the clause of this Bill? Does it want him, even if he is found to be innocent, to suffer the indignity of a constable entering his premises? Is this what the honourable senator wants? We do not think- it is. The power to obtain a search warrant where an offence against the Act is suspected exists under section 10 of the Crimes Act and where necessary a search warrant under that section could be obtained which would give power to enter at any time - even at midnight or daybreak - to carry out searches extending far beyond the limited searches that could be carried out under the clause as drafted. In addition section 10 gives power to seize goods. The ability to obtain a search warrant under the Crimes Act in appropriate circumstances must be preserved.

However, the Opposition's amendment requiring the issue of search warrants would not only cut across the ordinary day to day inspectorial powers but could well be thought by the courts to replace section 10 of the Crimes Act in relation to search warrants for the purpose of the Bill. This is an additional ground for opposing the amendment moved by the Opposition as it confers powers much more limited than the Crimes Act. In particular it is limited to granting search warrants to be exercised only at reasonable times. It can authorise searches only in hatcheries or places of business and authorised warrants must be limited to searching for books, documents and papers and there is no power of seizure. 1 think this is important. Moreover, the grounds on which a search warrant can be obtained are narrower than those in section 10 of the Crimes Act. In depriving the persons responsible for collecting the revenue of the power to make routine inspections, it could well be that they could be deliberately deprived of the kind of information that would justify the obtaining of a search warrant in the way that the Opposition suggests. These are the main reasons why the amendment moved by the Opposition cannot be accepted by the Government.

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