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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 2155

Senator WHEELDON asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

(1)   Why was the meeting of members of the Miners' Federation, held outside Parliament House today, attended by policemen who took photographs of those present.

(2)   What is to be done with the photographs.

(3)   Why should these citizens be treated as criminals or potential criminals.

Senator COTTON-The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question: (1), (2) and (3) Well-meaning people who involve themselves in peaceful demonstrations have no control over elements unknown to them who may intrude, create disturbances or incite others to commit offences changing the character of the event. In preparing plans for dealing with possible eventualities, it is important for police to be able to identify these intruders so that the most effective measures can be taken in the hope that breaches of the peace will be prevented. Photographs taken at demonstrations provide a valuable aid to police in carrying out this function.

There is a careful distinction between such photographs taken on public occasions and police identification photographs of persons in custody and that distinction is preserved in the police records.

People attending peaceful demonstrations are not treated as criminals or potential criminals.

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