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Tuesday, 6 November 1973
Page: 1516

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) -I ask the AttorneyGeneral: What action can be taken against employers who require their staff to be fingerprinted as a condition of employment? I instance the famous Kentucky fried chicken chain in New South Wales.

The PRESIDENT -Is the honourable senator asking for a legal opinion?

Senator MURPHY - I saw an article on this matter in 'Nation Review'. It has raised some concern not only from the honourable senator but also from other people. It is no breach certainly of any Federal law to request such fingerprinting. It certainly would be a breach of the general law to force someone to supply a fingerprint. It goes counter to the general view of civil liberties in this country that employers should require such fingerprinting. The requirement for fingerprinting hitherto has been restricted to other purposes, principally relating to the criminal law. I would hope that legislation could be introduced to deal with such actions which, if carried out extensively, would seriously diminish the dignity of Australian citizens.

The PRESIDENT - I wish once more to point out to honourable senators that standing order 99 states that questions asking for a legal opinion shall not be asked. If honourable senators wish to have a legal opinion they can speak to the Attorney-General privately.

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