Title Drugs - Royal Commission of Inquiry - Report - Book B - Parts VI to IX
Source Both Chambers
Date 18-03-1980
Parliament No. 31
Tabled in House of Reps 18-03-1980
Tabled in Senate 18-03-1980
Parliamentary Paper Year 1980
Parliamentary Paper No. 26
System Id publications/tabledpapers/HPP032016007264

Drugs - Royal Commission of Inquiry - Report - Book B - Parts VI to IX

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia



Book B: Parts VI to IX

21 December 1979

Presented by Command and ordered to be printed 18 March 1980

Parliamentary Paper No. 26/1980


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stralian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs tEPORT BOOKB


he Government of The Commonwealth of Australia and the Governments of the States of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania

Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs Commissioner: The Hon. Mr Justice E. S. Williams


Book B= Parts VI — IX

Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra 1980

(c) Commonwealth of Australia 1980

ISBN for this volume: 0 642 04775 8 ISBN for set of volumes: 0 642 04778 2

Publisher's note

In order to make this volume available as rapidly and economically as possible the text has been reproduced from originals prepared as computer print-out.

The publishers recognise that this method has its limitations and regret any lapses in typographical quality.

Printed by C. J. T h o m p s o n , Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra



PART VI Organisations with a Direct Enforcement Role



Department of Business and Consumer Affairs

Chapter 1 Bureau of Customs

Drug-related Responsibilities

General Customs Responsibilities


Chapter 2 'The Preventive Service'

Organisation and Role

Personnel Management

The Inspection Concept

Measures to Detect Corruption

Preventive Procedures

Recent Operational Changes

Special Units and Activities

Relations with the Narcotics Bureau

Staff Levels and Deployment

Operational Effectiveness and Efficiency

Chapter 3 The Narcotics Bureau

History and Organisation


Objectives and Role


Methods of Operation

Chapter 4 The Narcotics Bureau : Criticisms and Responses

'Public Servants and Not Policemen1

'Too Narrow a Legislative Base and Too Small'

'Failure of Co-operation and Lack of Feedback Information'

'Narrow Career Structure'











Chapter 8

'Poor Leadership and Central Office Control, with Insufficient Regional Autonomy'

'Unwarranted Claims for Credit'

'Poor Training and Inexperience'

Seizures and Statistics

Management Review Report

Annex VI .1

5 Conclusions and Recommendations

Bureau of Customs and 'The Preventive Service'

Narcotics Bureau


Police Forces

6 Australian Federal Police

Conclusions and Recommendations

7 State Police Forces

Strength and Structure of Police Forces

State and Territory Drug Law Enforcement

Police Methods of Operation

Other Matters Relevant to Police Activities

Police Corruption


Police Criticisms of Legislation and Its Implementation

Conclusions and Recommendations

Health Departments

Commonwealth Department of Health

Controls Over the Legal Importation and Exportation of Drugs

Regulation of Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs

Regulation of Dispensing and Sale of Drugs

The Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System




















I State Health Authorities

Conclusions and Recommendations

Organisations with an Indirect Enforcement Role

L Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Conclusions and Recommendations

l Department of Foreign Affairs

Conclusions and Recommendations

3 Department of Transport


4 Department of Defence


5 Scientific Laboratories

Conclusions and Recommendations

6 Fisheries Protection Organisations

Commonwealth Role

State and Territory Fisheries Legislation

State and Territory Marine Surveillance Resources


Fishermen as Coast Watchers

The 200 Nautical Mile Australian Fishing Zone

Conclusions and Recommendations

7 Quarantine, Flora and Fauna Protection Organisations

Quarantine Protection

Fauna and Flora Protection

Conclusions and Recommendations

8 Australian Taxation Office

9 Department of the Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia

10 Postal and Telecommunications Authorities

















Chapter ]

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Coastal Surveillance

The Need for Coastal Surveillance

Unauthorised Intrusions

Importations of Illicit Drugs by Light Aircraft

Importations of Illicit Drugs by Boat

Importations of Illicit Drugs by 'Sea Drop'

Frequency and Location of Intrusions

Resources Available for Surveillance

Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS)

Customs Patrol Vehicles

Department of Defence

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Australian Navy

Australian Army

Department of Transport

Merchant Shipping

The Fishing Industry

Aircraft Pilots

Meteorological Radar

State Organisations

Volunteer Coastal Patrols

Suggested Acquisitions for Surveillance


Patrol Boats


Radar Installations

Remote Electronic Sensors

Customs Launches

1Coastwatch' Organisation

Other Acquisitions

Other Suggestions Relevant to Surveillance
















6 Conclusions and Recommendations

Importations by Light Aircraft

Importations by Small Boats

'Sea Drops'

Extent of Importation

Effectiveness of Surveillance

Reasons for Shortcomings

Recent Upgrading of Resources


International Initiatives

1 Activities of International Organisations

United Nations Organisations

Other International Organisations

2 Efforts in 'Production' and 'Transit' Countries

'Production' Countries

'Transit' Countries

3 Australian Efforts

Contributions to UNFDAC

Bilateral Assistance

Other Activities

Suggestions for Change

4 Effectiveness of International Efforts

Crop Substitution

Suppression of Trade

5 Conclusions and Recommendations















art VI

Organisations with a Direct Enforcement Role

Part VI Organisations with a Direct Enforcement Role

Depa rtment

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

Chapter 5 .

of Business and Consumer Affairs

Bureau of Customs

'The Preventive Service'

The Narcotics Bureau

The Narcotics Bureau: Criticisms

Conclusions and Recommendations

a n d R e s p o n s e s

Police Forces

Chapter 6. Australian Federal Police

Chapter 7 . State Police Forces

Health Departments

Chapter 8. Commonwealth Department of Health

Chapter 9. State Health Authorities

The present law controlling drugs is directly enforced by three different kinds of organisation. This Part con­ tains a short summary of the evidence received by the

Commission concerning each of these organisations, together with conclusions and recommendations directly relevant to t h e m .

The first four Chapters contain summaries of the evidence dealing with the Department of Business and Con­ sumer Affairs within which is located the Bureau of Customs. The principal task of the Bureau of Customs is the adminis­

tration of the Customs Act. Under this Act the importation of illegal drugs is prohibited and the summaries of evidence are concerned with how the Bureau of Customs acts to prevent

such i m p o r t a t i o n . In Chapter 5 appear conclusions and recommendations which relate directly to the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.

Chapters 6 and 7 deal with police forces. At the time

of writing, the Commonwealth Police Force, C o mpol, has in fact been amalgamated with the Australian Capital Territory



olice to form the Australian Federal Police. Chapter 6 deals with the Australian Federal Police although in p r e ­ senting the conclusions and recommendations the Commission has of course had regard to the evidence it received

relating to the two forces which were amalgamated to p r o ­ duce the Australian Federal Police.

The State police forces provide the backbone of Australian enforcement measures against illegal drugs. As the similarities among these forces greatly outnumber the differences among them, it is possible to deal with State police forces in one Chapter and to place conclusions and common recommendations at the end of the Ch a p t e r . For

c o n v e n i e n c e , when reference is made to State police forces as a group this will also include Territory police forces.

The diversion of controlled drugs to the illicit market is very important for the continuation of the 'drug scene'. This diversion occurs as a result of forged prescriptions, over4prescribing by medical practitioners and theft. The Commonwealth Department of Health assists to prevent circumvention of controls over these drugs and it is there­ fore treated in Chapter 8 as an organisation with a direct

enforcement role.

The State health authorities administer the controls imposed on drugs by State legislation. Dependence4producing drugs are included in the controlled drugs and the inspecting staff of the health authorities have therefore a direct enforcement role in the area of drugs. These Depart­ ments are considered in Chapter 9. References to State health authorities as a group also include Territory health authorities.



hapter 1 Bureau of Customs

Evidence outlined elsewhere in this Report clearly shows that most drugs illegally trafficked in Australia, other than cannabis in leaf form, have their origins outside Australia.

Of particular interest to the Commission, therefore, was the Bureau of Customs, the organisation within the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs through which the Commonwealth seeks to discharge its responsibility for enforcement of Federal laws prohibiting the

importation and exportation of drugs.


Speaking to the Department's first submission to the Commission in November 1977, Mr M. A. Besley, the Secretary of the Department, pointed out that Federal legislation directed against the illicit traffic in drugs is limited to three Federal statutes. These are:

* The Customs Act and Regulations

* The Narcotic Drugs Act

* The Psychotropic Substances Act

The principal legislation policed by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, and the Bureau of Customs, is the Customs Act and Regulations. As appears from Part V of the Report, 'Legislation', the powers given by the Customs Act to Customs officers, including officers

of the Narcotics Bureau, were not originally placed in the Customs Act for the specific purpose of controlling drug smuggling, but to give effect to the general and historic Customs powers of protecting revenue and community protection through import and export prohibitions and

restrictions. The powers of officers of the Bureau of Customs in respect of drugs are thus the special application to one commodity of the powers these officers have in relation to all prohibited imports and exports.

Mr Besley said that in carrying out its responsibilities in regard to drugs, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs performed the following functions:

- administrative control of drugs imported and exported for the licit trade;

- enforcement of legislation in respect of the illegal import and export of drugs and the distribution of illegally imported drugs;

- liaison and co-ordination of international convention requirements.



Besley identified the groups within the Bureau of Customs with responsibility for drug law enforcement as (OT 100T):

* The Narcotics Bureau

* The Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group and the Central

Information and Research Bureau (both of which were subsequently incorporated into the Narcotics Bureau in a departmental reorganisation)

* Those uniformed officers stationed at ports of entry throughout Australia whom Mr Besley described as 'The Preventive Service1.

In order to put the activities and responsibilities of the Narcotics Bureau and 'The Preventive Service' into perspective, the activities and organisational structure of the Bureau of Customs as a whole are considered first.


In discussing the role of the Bureau of Customs in its second submission to the Commission, in December 1977, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs pointed out:

The impression that a traveller arriving in Australia gains of the duties of a Customs Officer is far removed from the

reality. The traveller sees an officer engaged in a limited set of tasks. This visual picture is inaccurate for it

conceals the system underlying the officer's activities and overlooks the wider spectrum encompassed by the Department. It also conceals the administrative concepts and philosophy of control developed by the Department to improve efficiency and cope with soaring increases in workload volume without any corresponding increases in manpower.

The ubiquity of the Bureau of Customs in Australian public administration arises out of its extensive legislative powers over all imports, exports and excisable goods and the strategic location of its control points throughout Australia. There are few departments with which Customs does not have an ongoing involvement. The nature of this involvement ranges from routine administrative controls on behalf of other departments

(e.g. quarantine, immigration, fauna, foreign exchange), to consultation in areas of common administrative or policy interest (e.g. narcotics, by-laws and dumping).

A major area of contact arises out of the Bureau's law

enforcement function. These activities touch on the interests of such diverse bodies as Commonwealth and State Police Forces, and the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General's, Defence, Health, Transport, Science, Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Primary Industry, and Post and Telecommunications.




submission stated that all goods must be imported or exported through certain proclaimed Customs control points. The Bureau's 4500 officers carry out their duties at 68 proclaimed ports, 33 airports, 5 inland services sub-collectorates and eight Narcotics Bureau offices, the submission added. Extra control points have been added since the above evidence was received and there are now 69 proclaimed ports and 6

inland services sub-collectorates.

The submission referred to a confidential map entitled 1 Customs and Excise Control Points'. A similar but less detailed map entitled 'Australian Customs Network' which the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs published in its 1978--79 annual report is reproduced

on the following page.

The submission then referred to the dramatic increase in Customs work in recent years:

The number of air passengers arriving in Australia has grown from 408 786 in 1966--67 to 1 353 408 in 1973--74 (+231%); and totalled 1 576 252 in 1976. During the same time span, the number of passengers leaving Australia by air grew by 256%; and totalled 1 537 959 in 1976. Similarly, the number of cargo

lines imported have increased from 1 478 774 in 1970— 71 to 1 627 019 in 1976— 77 (+10%). (CT)

The December 1977 submission made the point that workload increases, increased use of cargo containers, the advent of wide-bodied jet aircraft and other factors had given rise to a new philosophy of Customs control. A '100 per cent check of everyone and everything' had been

replaced with a philosophy of control based on selective checks which, the submission said, 'has proved more flexible, better suited to modern practices, better able to cope with sharp increases in workload and is more effective'.

In detailing methods of control, the submission said:

The Preventive Service acts as a screen around Australia to ensure that its physical controls effectively deter illegal importations and exportations. Its role includes selective examination of passengers' baggage, the searching of suspect persons (including the crews of overseas ships), selective

searching of ships and aircraft and the surveillance of wharf and airport precincts.

Random physical checks of cargo are also carried out during unloading, storage, delivery and bonding at the wharf, airport or container depot. However, because of the huge volume of freight imported into Australia, physical checks can only be

conducted on selected items. The remainder of imported cargo is processed on a documentary basis.



N aracoopa

V Wynyard □ Port Latta ■ Burnie D Ulverstone ■V Devonport ■V Launceston

O Inland Services Sub-Collectorate

O Nuriootpa

Queensland Thursday Island B Horn Island V

Weipa B

Cooktown V Karumba □ Cairns BV Innisfail (Mourilyan) □

Lucinda □ Mt. Isa V Townsville BV

Bowen B Mackay B Hay Point □ Rockham pton (Port Alma) BV G ladstone B B undaberg B M aryborough (U rangan) B B risbane BV

New South Wales Ballina D Grafton □ Coffs H arbour DV Trail Bay D Narromine V Dubbo V

Newcastle B Richmond V Sydney BV Parram atta ♦

Botany Bay B Griffith O Port Kembla BS C anberra V»

Victoria Albury W odonga ♦ Rutherglen O M erbein o

Sale V M angalore V E ssendon V W elshpool D

W esternport (H astings) B Avalon V M elbourne 8BV G eelong B Lavftfton v _______ _

Australian Customs Network Northern Territory

V· Darwin G roote Eylandl V Tindal Wyndham D Yampi Sound (C ockatoo Island)

VB Broome Alice Springs Western Australia Port Hedland

Port Walcott Dampier Exmouth Learmonth □ C ape Cuvier

Carnarvon M eekatharra G eraldton V Kalgoorlie

E sperance Perth Fremantle Bunbury


South Australia

Thevenard V* W oomera D Port A ugusta Port Lincoln


□ Port Germein B Port Pirie

Legend Tasmania Wallaroo

□ Ardrossan

Shipping Port Staffed Full Time

□ Ballast Head □ Stanley Shipping Port Staffed Part Time □ Port GilesAirport Staffed Full Time □ Rapid BayPort Stanvac Airport Staffed Part TimeV Adelaide Inland Sub-Collectorate B Port AdelaideV Edinburgh


ith the increased use of cargo as a method of large scale illicit drug importation, special cells of officers have been formed in all States at sea and airports, to carry out

additional screening of ships manifests and airway bills prior to selecting possible 'high risk' cargo...

When risk cargo has been selected special squads comprising Examining, Prevention and Narcotic officers stationed at airports and wharves are directed to carry out a detailed examination.


The submission went on to say that the special cells of officers referred to above have available two on-line computer programs-- INSPECT and SEARCH-- and microfilm records to research details and regularity of previous cargo importations by suspect importers.

The Department's submission and subsequent evidence from

Departmental witnesses explained that INSPECT, or Integrated Nationwide System to Process Entries from Customs Terminals, was implemented to assist commerce by hastening the processing of import transactions. Original documentation is microfilmed while the information accumulated by the computer becomes part of the information bank for SEARCH.

SEARCH, or System to Select Entries and Report to Customs Houses, is an information retrieval system which enables the Bureau of Customs to investigate commercial data to detect areas of commercial fraud and/or negligence, especially in the light of the need for speedy processing of

cargo. Apart from its 'enforcement' or investigatory function, SEARCH is also used to study such commercial matters as effects of trade, tariff and pricing levels. SEARCH, the Department outlined in its December 1977 submission, contains a continuously up-dated, 12-month

history of two million entry 'lines' (types of cargo).

During its final sittings in Canberra in September 1979, the Commission visited the premises housing this section and saw SEARCH and INSPECT in operation.

A third computer system used by the Bureau of Customs is PASS, or Passenger Automatic Selection System. It is an identification system established to aid passenger checking at international arrival and departure points and is used in conjunction with several other Australian law enforcement agencies. The Commission heard considerable

confidential evidence about its operation.

A fourth computerised system, IRIS (Information Research and Investigation System), for which the Narcotics Bureau is directly responsible, became operational in 1979. The Commission also heard considerable confidential evidence about IRIS and this is dealt with in Part VI, Chapter 3.



Department's December 1977 submission said the importation of drugs, particularly heroin, through the post was growing in popularity. Regular consignments of small quantities were common, and efforts to apprehend persons using this method were hampered by restrictive postal

regulations. 'Until first class articles can be subjected to physical inspection by Customs Officers acting on reasonable grounds without the addressee's knowledge, little success will be attained', the submission said. It was pointed out that first class mail constituted 77.8 per cent of mail delivered.

In explaining methods used to check mail, the submission explained:

...a small cell of trained officers screens the mail...Items Singled out may be subjected to further external scrutiny by the examining officer or by an X-ray machine in an effort to detect any foreign enclosures. This operation is conducted with the co-operation of the Postal Commission. First class

suspect items are detained and the recipient is sent a card requesting his attendance or written authority for the articles to be opened by postal authorities. This is carried out in the presence of a Customs Officer and, if warranted, an officer from the Narcotics Bureau.



When Mr J. W. Cahill, First Assistant Secretary (Management Services) of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs was called on 1 March 1979 to describe the organisation of the Bureau of Customs and its general responsibilities, he explained that, although in its original form as the Department of Customs it was the oldest of

Commonwealth departments:

The Bureau is not a legal entity as such but is the

organisational arrangement in which all Customs activities are contained within the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. (OT 20877)

He then went on to describe in detail how the Bureau performed traditional Customs functions, such as assistance to industry, the collection of revenue, the collection of import and export statistics, the exercise of certain export controls and the protection of the community through import controls for reasons such as health, natural resource management and public safety. He added:

The Customs function is carried out at 116 control points situated throughout Australia. Each State and the Northern Territory forms a Customs collectorate with its head office in the respective capital city. The States are then divided into

a number of small areas-- known as outports or sub-

collectorates-- which are responsible to the Collector of Customs in each State.



n addition to its comprehensive Australian operations, the Department also operates overseas. A total of twelve officers on three year postings are stationed in London, New York, Tokyo, Auckland and Hong Kong. They undertake valuation and

anti-dumping investigations, advise exporters on Australian Customs procedures, conduct general enquiries on behalf of other areas of the Department and represent the Department at meetings of international bodies which impinge on the

Department's area of responsibilities. In addition two Narcotics Liaison Officers are stationed in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok and one in Jakarta.

An important by-product of Customs tariff protection is the revenue collected from Customs duties. During the 1977— 78 Financial Year revenue from Customs duties amounted to $1132 million. In addition, using the same administrative machinery,

the Department collected $64 million in sales tax on imports and $2734 million in Excise duties. The total sum collected by the Department represented 16.7% of total Commonwealth Revenue. (OT 20878)

Central Office

Mr Cahill explained that two Central Office Divisions in Canberra co-ordinated and directed the activities of the Collectorates to ensure legislation and government policy were administered uniformly throughout Australia. These Divisions were the Tariff Division, which consisted of

the Tariff, Quota Control, By-law and Projects Branches, and the Operations Division, which consisted of the Appraisements and Revenue Branch, the Inspection and Controls Branch and the Narcotics Bureau.

An organisation chart of the Bureau of Customs as at 1 March 1978 (OT 20882) was tendered in evidence. This chart, reproduced as Figure VI,2, in effect updated part of an organisation chart of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs as a whole which had been included in

the Department's first submission in November 1977 and is reproduced as Figure V I . 1. Both Figures are reproduced on the following pages.

Two tables tendered as Open Exhibit 545 during Mr Cahill's evidence showed that at 31 August 1978 the Bureau of Customs had a total

functional staff of 4516 throughout Australia, of whom 982 were deployed in Central Office and 3534 in the Collectorates. (New South Wales 1362, Victoria 964, Queensland 402, South Australia 294, Western Australia 351, Tasmania 88 and the Northern Territory 73).

The Commission noted Departmental evidence given in September 1978 (OT 16496) that staff ceilings of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs-- which includes other components as well as the Bureau of Customs— ;had been reduced from 5353 in 1975 to 4975 in 1978.

Subsequent evidence indicated that the Departmental staff ceiling proposed for the financial year ending 30 June 1980 was 5040. If the increase of 65 was approved, the Department said, some of the new staff

would be allocated to Customs anti-smuggling activities.





(Deputy Secretary)


(First Assistant Secretary)


TARIFF CONTROL BRANCH Classification Administrauon



Dumping and Bounties lmpon Quotas ‘A‘ lmpon Quotas ‘ B‘


Operations Projects Planning and Services

STAR OFFICES New South Wales Victoria Queensland South Australia

Weslem Australia Tasmania Nonhcm Territory



(First Assistant Secrealry)



Narcotics Bureau Special Investigation

INSPECTION BRANCH Operations Control


Imports/Ex ns Cargoand ommodity Accounting Revenue


(First Assistant Secretary)



Tarifl' Review General Tariff


Motor Vehicles and Mining Rural and Teniary


Prices General

(First Assistant Secretary)



London A ' ' pphcauons

New York Operations and

10"? d Standards

"2:18:10“! Techniqal Support

Ban kok lie-equipment

Kua a Lumpur




Personnel Management Finance and General Services Management Review

lnlemal Audit


(Depuly Secretary)

(First Assistant Secretary)





(First Assistant Secre‘ary)



Company Law Securities General Bankruptcy Policy


Companies Registration and Inspection Companies Investigation and Projects




Legislative Reviews Legislative Services Administrative Review



Figure Vl.2

(First Assistant Secreatry) OPERATIONS DIVISION


Administration Operations Information and Intelligence


Valuation and Bounlips Dumping Revenue Overseas Customs Posts. London.

New York. Tokyo. Auckland. Hong Kong


Inland Services Cargo and Controls Inspection Petroleum Subsidies


(Deputy Secretary)


New South Wales Victoria QuecnsIand South Australia

Western Australia Tasmania Nonhcm Territory

(First Assistant Secretary) TARIFF DIVISION


Classification Administration


Quotas ‘ A ‘ Quotas ‘ B ' Quotas ' C ‘


Operations Projects Planning and Services


Tarifl' Nomenclature Projects and International Agreements


e Collectorates

In outlining the activities and organisation of the Collectorates in his March 1979 evidence, Mr Cahill noted that variations occurred from State to State, generally because of volume of work or special regional demands. For example, the South Australian Collectorate was

particularly concerned with the wine industry.

In order to obtain detail about the workings of a Collectorate, the Commission invited Mr G . E . Sheen, the Collector of Customs for New South Wales and the senior Customs officer for the region, to explain the organisation and activities of his Collectorate.

Mr Sheen explained that apart from 10 Administration and Audit staff, staff were organised into three branches. These branches, as indicated in the organisation chart of the NSW Collectorate reproduced as Figure VI.3, are the Management Services Branch, the Revenue Control Branch and the Services Branch.

Mr Sheen explained the functions of these branches-- which should not be confused with the Central Office branches mentioned above-- in the following terms:

THE MANAGEMENT SERVICES BRANCH-- provides the necessary support services to the other Branches... Payment of salaries, allowance and accounts, recruitment and staffing, industrial matters, accommodation and furniture, transport, mail and messenger services, files registration, stores and uniforms, office machines, officer training and cleaning services... the maintenance of an advanced Automatic Data Processing

system...(are) the responsibility of Management Services.

THE REVENUE CONTROL BRANCH-- is primarily responsible for collection of Customs duty and the compliance with other statutory requirements in relation to imported goods. It is divided into two main areas of activity, vis Import Clearance and Revenue Control.

(The Import Clearance) Section is responsible for the processing and checking of import entries and documents from point of lodgement to duty payment in accordance with a system which imposes quality, specific or clear line checks. It is

responsible for a random physical check system which is computer controlled. All import documents are microfilmed to enable research to be carried out at any time after delivery of the goods.

By an entry selection file (ESF) system entries relating to a particular importer/supplier/commodity/etc., can be selected


F ig u r e V I J n e w s o u t h w a l e s c o l l e c t o r a t e

Γ ~ ~

Internal Auditor


(Assistant Collector) IM PORT CLEARANCE

(Assistant Collector) (Assistant Collector)





(Sub-Collector) PARCELS POST


(Sub-Collector) P A R R A M A T T A PA SS E N G E R S


(Assistant Collector) REVENUE CONTROL

(Assistant Collector)








SERVICES BRANCH (Senior Assistant Collector)


REVENUE BRANCH (Senior Assistant Collector)

E X A M IN A T IO N S P R E V E N T IO N * Other functions of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.


d subjected to a specific check imposed as a result of

intelligence received.

The Section ensures that import restrictions and community protection requirements are satisfied and that the correct duty is paid. It then authorises release of unimpeded cargo from Customs control.

This Section includes specialist groups to provide technical advice on complex issues relating to valuation and tariff nomenclature.

There are also groups to process refunds, the acceptance of securities and to give administrative support.

(The Revenue Control) Section is responsible for ensuring that the payment of Customs duty on imported goods is not evaded and that other requirements in relation to such goods have been complied with. This involves an effective appraisal of imports, importers and overseas suppliers. Where necessary, appropriate action is taken for the recovery of duty short paid, punitive or some other action...

THE SERVICES BRANCH-- is responsible for the Customs controls associated with the arrival and departure of ships, aircraft, goods and passengers. This branch is divided into four areas of activity vis-- Port Services, Sydney Airport, Inland Services and Special Services.

(The Port Services) Section is responsible for ensuring that legal requirements in relation to the following are complied with:

- the arrival and departure of overseas vessels including all small craft; - passengers and crew arriving by sea; - the discharge, examination and delivery of imported cargo

(including mail); - the accounting for both import and export cargo to the

satisfaction of Customs and other statutory bodies; - accounting for both import and export of ships stores and fittings. Control procedures are concerned primarily with the

requirements under Customs, Immigration and Quarantine legislation.

Except for the examination of passengers' baggage, which is a Special Services function, the responsibilities of the Section necessitate a wide range of activities including the boarding of ships, cargo examination, control and accounting, clearance of ships and cargo for export, control over ships' crews and



tores, the movement of goods subject to Customs control, mail and parcels imported by post.

The various outports also come under the control of this Section...

Sydney Airport-- the Customs activities at Sydney Airport are really a reflection of those undertaken at the Port of Sydney in relation to passengers and cargo arriving by ship.

Passengers are processed by officers of the Special Services Branch.

With some modification, e.g. the screening of air way bills, air cargo is cleared through basically the same import

clearance/revenue control procedures as are followed at the Port of Sydney. Moreover, procedures in relation to such areas as cargo accounting, control and examination only differ to the extent necessary to accommodate the changes in physical


(The Inland Services) Section is responsible for the control of warehouses, licensed under the Customs Act for the storage of imported goods, and premises licensed under Excise legislation for the production, manufacture and storage of goods subject to

excise duties...

(OT 20886--90)

(Evidence concerning the Special Services Section, which consists largely of officers with a 'preventive' or 'enforcement' role, is discussed in detail in the following chapters.)

In order to reflect the extent of some of the major Customs

activities in the NSW Collectorate, Mr Sheen furnished the following figures:

Excise Duty 1977/78

Customs Duty 1977/78

NSW Salaries and Allowances

* Includes Special Services

No. of staff as at 31.1.79

$1082 million

$ 515 million

$ 16.5 million*

expenditure of $4.9 million

1351 (OT 20892)



978 Reorganisation

The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs organisation chart of 17 November 1977 (OT 278) and the Bureau of Customs organisation chart of 1 March 1979 (OT 20882), already shown as Figures VI.1 and VI.2 respectively, illustrate the organisational changes which took place within the Bureau of Customs during the course of the Commission's


As outlined in the 1977 — 78 Annual Report of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs (Open Exhibit 480), these changes, announced on 24 January 1978, followed consideration by the Commonwealth Government of a 1 Drug Enforcement Strategy' paper prepared by the Department in which actions to improve the effectiveness of the national enforcement effort against illicit drug trafficking were proposed. In effect the reorganisation dismembered the Bureau of Customs's

Investigation Branch, created a new Inspection and Controls Branch, and elevated the Narcotics Bureau to branch status.

The result of the elevation and reorganisation of the Narcotics Bureau involved:

* Significant increases in the Narcotics Bureau's manpower resources, including considerable strengthening of its intelligence and administration sections;

* The incorporation of the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) and the Central Information and Research Bureau (CIRB) into the Narcotics Bureau. (Both CASOS and CIRB had been part of the old Investigation Branch, but separate in an organisational sense from the Narcotics Bureau).

Central Office responsibility for general oversight (but not day-toX day operational control, as is detailed later) of the activities of Preventive officers-- the other group identified by the Department as having an important role in drug law enforcement-- passed from the Special Investigations Section of the old Investigation Branch to the new Inspection and Controls Branch.

The results of this 1978 reorganisation and further restructuring and development of the Narcotics Bureau in 1979 are discussed in detail in Part VI, Chapter 3.

Public Service Divisional Structure

In examining the activities of the Bureau of Customs and in

particular matters related to 'The Preventive Service', the Commission received considerable evidence about the effects of Customs officers at the working level being employed in different 'Divisions' of the

Australian Public Service (particularly the Third and Fourth Divisions).



e Australian Public Service is divided into four Divisions, as provided for in the Public Service Act 1922. These Divisions are constituted as follows:

- The First Division includes the Permanent Heads of departments, and on occasions the occupants of other very senior positions, as determined by the Governor-General.

- The Second Division includes top administrative and management staff below Permanent Heads. L .

- The Third Division includes specialist, administrative and clerical staff. The general minimum standard of entry is based on

examinations held at the end of secondary schooling; specialist qualifications are, however, required for certain categories.

- The Fourth Division includes the remaining staff of the Service. There is no standard minimum level of education for entry.

Appointment to some designations (e.g. Labourer or Cleaner) requires no specific qualifications, while for other designations entry requirements based on educational level, training, aptitudes, skills or experience are specified.

Staff Associations

Representatives of three staff associations whose membership includes Bureau of Customs staff gave evidence at considerable length at the Commission hearings.

These associations are: the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association (ACOA), whose membership includes Third Division staff such as clerks and some officers who have operational Customs

responsibilities such as Boarding Officers and Examining Officers as well as senior managers in the Second and First Divisions; the Customs Officers Association of Australia (Fourth Division), whose membership includes Fourth Division officers such as Preventive Officers and

Investigators, and the Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division officers), whose membership includes Fourth Division staff such as Clerical Assistants and some Preventive Officers and Investigators.




Chapter 2 ‘The Preventive Service’

In its first submissions to the Commission the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs used the term 'The Preventive Service' to refer to those Customs officers with Australian Public Service designations of Preventive Officer. There are seven working levels of Preventive Officer and one training level. The Department informed the Commission

in September 1979 that the number of Preventive Officers employed at that time in the various levels were:

Designation No. of Staff

Chief Preventive Officer Grade 2 2

Chief Preventive Officer Grade 1 3

Assistant Chief Preventive Officer 8

Supervising Preventive Officer 51

Senior Preventive Officer Grade 2 60

Senior Preventive Officer Grade 1 143

Preventive Officer 437

Preventive Officer-in-Training 99

Total 803

(Departmental information also listed 96 clerical and support staff.)


Preventive Officers are deployed at ports of entry to prevent any unlawful importation or exportation of all goods, including drugs. In its second submission to the Commission, in December 1977, the Department listed the functions of Preventive staff as being to:

- screen arriving and departing passengers and crew;

- examine baggage and persons of passengers and crew;

- search ships and aircraft;

- patrol ships and aircraft, and waterfront and airport precincts and environs;

- investigate and prosecute breaches of the 'primary preventive screen' (i.e.illegal importation or exportation of goods detected at point of importation as a result of exercise of the above roles. Drug detections are an exception; pursued by Prevention only if the Narcotics Bureau elects not to take the case over).

The 1 Preventive Service' is not an organisational entity in its own right. Rather, Preventive Officers are deployed within Collectorate organisations under the administrative control of the Collectors. Their geographical distribution as at September 1979 is shown in Table VI■1■ Generally they are located in Collectorate 'Special Services' Sections

or Sub-sections. Mr J. W. Cahill, as Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department, explained to the Commission that there is an indirect or



able VI.1 Preventive staff deployment by region 1979

N .S. W. Vic. Qld

Designation Totals Sydney M elbourne Brisbane

M ain Ports— C /S /lnspector. . 7 2 1 1

C hief P.O. (2) . 2 1 1

C hief P.O. (1) . 3 1

Asst. C hief P.O. . 4 1 1 1

Sup. P.O. . . 35 6 8 7

Senior P.O. (2) . 1 1

Senior P.O. (1) . 89 22 13 19

Preventive Officer 286 84 52 67

P .O .-in-training . 93 20 22

Clerical and other 60 19 11 8

T otal Staff . 580 155 110 104

S .A .

W .A . Tas. N .T . Port

Fremantle H obart Darwin Adelaide



8 1





19 2 6 8

22 10 18 33

44 7 2 1



103 15 27 66



O utports— S /In sp e c to r. .

Asst. C.P.O . .

1 4 3

Sup. P.O. . . 16 6 1

Senior P.O. (2) . 59 35

Senior P.O. (1) . 54 22 4

Preventive Officer 151 60 20

P.O .-in-training . 6

O ther . . 36 17 1

1 6 1

24 19 1 1 1

I 40 6 5 2 3

6 2 1 1 2

T otal States Preventive Staff . 907 332 214 122



1 1

i r i l i

4 5

6 6

1 7 1 7 5 7

119 20 34 66

M AS . M ascot (Sydney K ingsford- Rich

Sm ith A irport) T U L L

N E W . New castle G L N G

PT K E M . P ort K em bla C R N S

R ichm ond T O W N ,

T ullam arine A irport, M elbourne G L A D .

G eelong PT W A L .

C airns G E R .

Townsville G ladstone P o rt W alcott G eraldton

D A M P D am pier

PT H E D . P o rt H edland

B U R N . Burnie

B R M E B room e


(Collector of Customs 1)

Administration 5 Internal Audit



Training 7 Finance 15

General Services 45 Office Services 28

Organisation and Systems Personnel 31

Review 9 A.D.P. Services 8


REVENUE BRANCH (Senior Assistant Collector 1)

Import Clearance Revenue Control

Assistant Collector 1 Assistant Collector 1

Administration 17 Investigation Groups 95

Import Processing 119 Prosecution 4

Appraisements 4 Bounties 2

Tariff 15 Support 16

Refunds 24 TOTAL 118

Securities 11


SERVICES BRANCH (Senior Assistant Collector 1)

Inland Services Air Services

Assistant Collector 1 Assistant Collector 1

Operations 62 General Services 12

Support Group 29 Cargo Examinations and Controls 48

Queens Bond 9 Import Clearance 69

TOTAL 101 Passenger Processing 142*

* (This figure includes 114 Special Services Staff) TOTAL 272

Port Services Special Services

Assistant Collector 1 (Chief Inspector 1)

Exports and Clearance 21 Detection 14

Landing 60 Prevention 96

Boarding 19 Dog Detector Unit 15

Cargo Control and Accounting 36 Marine Centre 23

Parramatta (incl.Villawood) 41 Administration 24

Parcels Post 51 Training 26

Richmond 2 TOTAL 199

Eden 1

Port Kembla 18

Lord Howe Island 1

Botany Bay 3

Griffith 2

Newcastle 57




dotted line' relationship between Collectorate Special Services Sections and a Chief Preventive Officer in the Central Office Inspection and Controls Branch, but that this officer's responsibility is to provide 'preventive expertise' in Central Office and not operative

control of Preventive Officers in Australia as a whole.

Some Preventive Officers in evidence to the Commission saw the absence of centralised control as a disadvantage in comparison with the centralisation of the Narcotics Bureau (to be discussed in the following Chapters). But the senior management of the Department did not consider this to be a problem. The Commission's attention was also drawn to a report prepared for the then Comptroller-General of Customs in 1973 by Mr A. J. Barge in which it was argued that Customs preventive activities

suffered from the lack of strong, uniform, Commonwealth-wide policy control.

Preventive Officers, because they are present in uniform at all significant ports of entry to Australia, provide the most visible element of what is commonly referred to as 'the Customs screen'. But Customs officers with other designations also have preventive responsibilities. These include, for example:

* Boarding Officers, who are responsible for completing documentation of a ship, its passengers and crew and their possessions; attending to Immigration requirements both inwards and outwards; sealing on board of higher duty goods which are not being landed; supervising and recording the landing of goods by passengers and crew; effecting liaison with 'Special Services' that is, Preventive Officers, to exchange information and intelligence and to call upon their services if necessary for examination of baggage;and

* Examining Officers who are responsible for the examination of cargo including unaccompanied baggage.

Mr G. E. Sheen, New South Wales Collector of Customs, was asked to estimate for the Commission the involvement of New South Wales Collectorate staff of all designations in 'preventive' work in respect of drugs. Referring to a list of staff employed in the Collectorate's three main branches (reproduced as Table VI.2). he commented that:

In the Management Services Branch, none of the staff had direct involvement in preventive activities, although Management Services staff provided support facilities for operational staff;

In the Revenue Branch, about half of the Import Processing staff of 119 and about 50 of the Revenue Control staff had some preventive responsibility (albeit slight in the case of Revenue Control);

In the Services Branch, while a 'fairly small' proportion of the 101 Inland Services staff had preventive responsibilities, almost all of the 313 Port Services staff and most of the 48 Cargo Examinations and Controls staff as well as the 142 Passenger Processing staff of



ir Services had preventive responsibilities. The Special Services Section consists almost entirely of Preventive Officer staff.


The questions of organisation of Preventive Officers and the extent of their role in 'the Customs screen* were matters of considerable contention between some Customs officers at the working level and Department management. Evidence included many examples of what Departmental Secretary Mr M. A. Besley described as problems typified by

'elitism, competing career structures, demarcation disputes between staff associations and insular thinking within specialist groups' (OT 16150).

Mr Besley attributed these problems to the 'enormous impact' of changing demands on the Bureau of Customs in recent years. They were particularly apparent in evidence concerning recruitment, training, career structures and working relationships between Customs officers of various designations.

The problems were discussed at length in the report of the National Review of Prevention Operations (NR0P0) Committee, a committee of senior Customs officers set up by the Department in 1976 'to advise on the objectives, operation and development of the preventive role in the

Australian Bureau of Customs' (OT 17898). The NR0P0 committee reported in April 1977. Its comments on the efficiency and effectiveness of the 1 Preventive Service1 are dealt with later in this Chapter. It is relevant to note here that although the principal NR0P0 recommendation for reorganisation of Customs prevention activities was not acted upon because of likely difficulties of implementation, the Department

instigated further studies on how to overcome the problems mentioned in the NR0P0 report.

These studies gave rise during 1978 and 1979 to the development of a new management concept, 1 The Inspection Concept1. This concept is also discussed later in this Chapter.


Virtually all Preventive Officers are recruited as Preventive Officers-in-Training. There is no formal minimal educational requirement for recruitment as Preventive Officer-in-Training, although in recent years an increasing proportion of recruits are in fact

eligible for entry to the Third Division. There are no mandatory physical requirements other than those required for permanent entry to the Public Service, although some weighting is given in the selection

process to eyesight and hearing acuity. Apart from this the Bureau of Customs has a free hand in recruitment and seeks to recruit applicants with an aptitude for 'law enforcement work'. The Bureau conducts one annual recruitment campaign and intake.



witnesses maintained that more frequent recruitment campaigns and intakes were necessary because, with the present system of recruitment combined with induction training, there was a lag of two years before new recruits effectively entered the workforce. This view was also expressed in the April 1977 report of the National Review of Prevention Operations (NROPO) Committee, the internal departmental committee of review described above.


Senior Customs officers gave details of Preventive Officer training courses. A 12-month Preventive Officer-in-Training course combines formal classroom and practical on-the-job work and includes emphasis on drug-smuggling activities as well as other specialised activities. This is supplemented by later specialised courses for 'graduate' Preventive Officers.

The Bureau of Customs has a Central Training Unit in Sydney

comprising three Chief Preventive Officers Grade 1 and four Supervising Preventive Officers. A Supervising Preventive Officer in each mainland Collectorate conducts training under guidance from the central unit.

Most witnesses spoke favourably of the Preventive Officer-inX Training course, particularly in relation to the teaching of searching techniques. Some witnesses suggested that officers of other

designations with preventive responsibilities suffered from the lack of this type of basic training. On the other hand, the NROPO Committee detected evidence of an over-emphasis on law enforcement in the induction training course and suggested that this could lead trainees to an unwarranted belief that they were an elite group. The Committee also suggested there was insufficient coverage of clerical duties such as reporting writing and interviewing.

Witnesses also gave details of the Investigator Aide Scheme whereby Preventive Officers are seconded to the Narcotics Bureau for short periods to gain practical experience in matters related to drugs.

The NROPO Committee reported an opinion among officers that the Investigator Aide Scheme was only a means of manning understaffed sections and of recruiting Preventive Officers to the Narcotics Bureau. While some Narcotics Bureau witnesses doubted the effectiveness of the

scheme for reasons such as the lack of adaptability or relative inexperience of Preventive Officers, a senior Customs officer said the benefit of such secondments was immediately apparent when a Preventive Officer returned to normal duties with a greater understanding of the demands of the Narcotics Bureau.

A persistent theme in evidence from representatives of Preventive Officers was that officers recruited as clerks in the Third Division of the Public Service, who eventually reached management level were often unfitted by training and inclination for preventive responsibilities and


thus for the supervision of Preventive Officer staff. This opinion was not endorsed by the senior management of the Bureau of Customs. Mr G. E. Sheen, the NSW Collector, and others, drew attention to the fact that the implementation of 'The Inspection Concept' would be accompanied

by the development of a broad Customs Officer training course which would equip Customs Officers to carry out all the functions now divided between Third and Fourth Division Customs staff.

Preventive Officer Career Structure

The Preventive Officer designations possess 'dual divisional status': that is, relevant positions may be filled by appropriately qualified officers drawn from either the Third or Fourth Divisions of the Public Service. However the majority of staff (some 85 per cent of all Preventive Officers) do not possess Third Division qualifications and hence are in the Fourth Division.

The various levels of Preventive Officer have been referred to previously. The most senior designations, Chief Preventive Officers Grades 1 and 2, attract salaries within the range applicable to Clerk Class 7 in the Third Division of the Public Service (about $17 000 a year). There are, however, only five Chief Preventive Officer positions

throughout Australia. The highest Preventive Officer designation to which an officer may realistically aspire is probably that of

Supervising Preventive Officer with a salary broadly equivalent to that of a Clerk Class 5 (about $14 000 a year).

A considerable body of opinion expressed in evidence indicated that Preventive Officers saw themselves as 'locked into' a relatively depressed Fourth Division, with a resulting limitation of career prospects and no way of directly influencing Departmental policies and philosophies, including those affecting 'enforcement', the area in which

they considered themselves qualified to make an effective contribution.

For Preventive Officers without Third Division qualifications, prospects for advancement to middle management and beyond are remote. The best prospect for continued advancement within the Department is seen to be by promotion or transfer to the Investigator group of Customs

officers and in particular to the Narcotics Bureau, most of whose operative staff are designated Investigators. The Investigator group, like the Preventive Officer group, has dual divisional status, and the great majority of its members are Fourth Division officers.

Investigators are employed mainly in police-type investigation of breaches of the Customs Act (other than commercial breaches). In the year ended 30 June 1979, 11 Preventive Officers were promoted or transferred to Investigator positions in the Narcotics Bureau.

Despite the interest which some Preventive Officers might have in becoming Investigators and the common interest in 'enforcement1 shared by the two groups, relations between the Preventive Officers and the Narcotics Bureau are not altogether harmonious, as later discussion




dustrial Issues

Friction among Bureau of Customs personnel involved was apparent in much of the evidence on 'preventive' work received by the Commission. Senior Departmental officers indicated that easing or elimination of this friction was an important Departmental objective.

The NROPO Committee reported that widespread friction, 'and in some areas open antagonism' existed between Preventive Officers and Third Division Officers. 'It is disturbing', the report said, ' that Preventive Officers-in-Training, after only six months probation, had already acquired this feeling or had it suggested to them. The major rationale appears to be the desire for a separate identity for

Preventive Officers on the basis that they are law enforcement officers and the Third Division officers are clerks' (OT 17847). The report added: 'This problem is a symptom of frustration and a lack of selfX esteem. Some of the complaints against the Third Division are real, but they are caught up in an emotional context'.

Staff association evidence and particularly that of New South Wales Branch representatives of the Customs Officers' Association cited examples of the alleged disadvantages of Preventive Officers being under the control of Third Division 'clerks'. While this evidence was supported by individual Preventive Officers and Senior Preventive Officers, middle-level Bureau of Customs managers rejected it as denying the real and substantial contribution made by Third Division managers and supervisors to the 'enforcement' activities of the Bureau of Customs.

Much of the evidence concerning the morale of Preventive Officers centred on the problems acknowledged by all parties as stemming from the Fourth Division status of the majority of Preventive Officers (particularly those officers with longer service) and their restricted career prospects. Another matter raised by a senior Customs officer was the lack of provision to employ gainfully Preventive Officers who, because of age or physical disability, could not cope with the rigours of shift work and the stress of normal preventive duties.

In Sydney, Preventive Officers were particularly critical of the practice of rotating Preventive staff between waterfront and airport duties. One officer asserted in confidential session that the expertise which a group of officers had developed in cargo and ship searching

techniques had been lost when one of the group had been transferred to Sydney Airport. In later evidence the NSW Collector of Customs, Mr u . E. Sheen, said that in 1977 the NSW Branch of the Customs Officers' Association had advised members not to reply to a senior officer's

request to submit suggestions about rotations. A new rotation system had been introduced on 1 June 1978 which took into account suggestions by Preventive Officers as well as Departmental efficiency requirements.

Some witnesses, including the (Federal) General Secretary of the Customs Officers' Association, Mr M.J. Gorman, attempted to divorce the



uestion of morale in general from more specific issues such as those outlined above. Mr Gorman said that apart from these particular questions, morale was good. A senior Customs officer said that although there was a general feeling of dissatisfaction in the Australian Public Service because of financial and staffing cuts, the 'Preventive Service' had been immune from this feeling largely because of what he described

as an 'esprit de corps'. In addition, as is pointed out below, the 'Preventive Service' has been largely insulated from the impact of Australian Public Service resource economies.


The Inspection Concept, as mentioned earlier, is a management concept developed by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs during 1978 and 1979 in response to the industrial and organisational problems outlined above and elsewhere in this Chapter. Senior

Departmental witnesses who gave evidence in Commission hearings in late 1978 and 1979 made clear that implementation of the concept would involve a substantial reorganisation of Customs preventive activities and resources. In summary an 'Inspection Service' would be created to encompass all the activities regarded as being part of 'the Customs

screen', including those duties now performed by Third Division officers outside Preventive Officer ranks.

In its 4 September 1979 submission to the Commission the Department summed up the main points of the concept in these words:

(a) the integration of the third and fourth division elements of Customs officers into a single classification stream with positions having dual divisional status;

(b) introduction of position classification standards for a broad category of Customs Officer;

(c) an inspection service with responsibilities which include all functions associated with the operation of the Customs screen, and basic training and development of all Customs Officers up to and including the Class 4 level;

(d) extension of the type of recruitment practices applied to Preventive Officer-in-Training to a wider category of Customs Officer (Trainee);and

(e) basic training over two years for new recruits and

retraining of existing staff to produce wider skills. (OT 23689)

The submission explained that, following an initial Departmental approach to the Public Service Board on 10 April 1978, the Public Service Board carried out investigations and advised the Department on 29 May 1979 that it formally agreed that work should proceed to develop

a detailed proposal demonstrating more efficient and economical utilisation of staff resources. The submission continued:



o achieve this, a Steering Committee was formed comprising a senior officer of both the Board and the Department, In

addition, a joint Working Party of Board and departmental staff has been established and is responsible to the Steering Committee for developing the full proposal covering the following matters in accordance with agreed terms of reference:

(a) Organisation and classification structures;

(b) Pay and conditions;

(c) Recruitment, training, placement and advancement of staff;

(d) Detailed benefits and costs studies;and

(e) A program for implementation. (OT 23689--90)

After pointing out that the Department's original approach to the Board had contained results of development work in most of the areas mentioned, the submission added:

The terms of reference require the Steering Committee to present the final report for consideration by 12 December 1979.

From the Department's viewpoint, it is hoped that recruitment under the Inspection Concept can commence in 1980 with no further Preventive Officer-in-Training intakes. Similarly, conversion training for current staff should be possible in 1980.

(OT 23690)

Senior Departmental witnesses such as Department Secretary Mr M. A. Besley and NSW Collector of Customs Mr G. E. Sheen saw the Inspection Concept as a way of eventually eliminating most of the causes of current morale problems. In terms of manpower effectiveness, a senior officer

saw the main benefit as a much more flexible Customs force better able to carry out the operational procedures outlined in the following sections of this Chapter.

Whether the concept would be approved by the staff associations was not entirely clear to the Commission, partly because some staff representatives gave the bulk of their evidence to the Commission before the concept had been refined. Executives of the NSW Branch of the Customs Officers' Association appeared to be in favour of clearly demarcated 'law enforcement' and 'clerical' career streams for Customs staff, but a majority of staff association representatives appeared in favour of the basic principle of integration involved in the Inspection Concept. It was clear to all parties, however, that the implementation of the concept would be a demanding task requiring considerable skill and resources. When speaking to the Department's September 1979 submission, Departmental Secretary Mr M. A. Besley indicated that


although there might be opposition from a Fourth Division staff association, the 'average view' was one of cautious optimism (OT 23693).


'Character checks' are made as a matter of routine before an

applicant is appointed to the Australian Public Service, to establish whether he or she has any police record. These checks are usually made through the appropriate Regional Office of the Public Service Board. Any post-appointment character checking and monitoring is the

responsibility of individual departments.

The Commission was advised that the screening of prospective appointees to the 'Preventive Service' is more rigorous than that normally applying to Public Service appointees. The Commission received no evidence of any systematic arrangement by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to monitor the character and activities of Preventive Officers after appointment.

Although some evidence referred to Customs officers convicted in the past of smuggling offences and a senior officer of the Department pointed out that illegal drug importers would aim to recruit people in 'strategic areas', few specific allegations of corruption involving

Customs officers were made to the Commission. Those allegations concerning Preventive Officers or officers with similar duties into which the Commission enquired produced no firm evidence of current instances of corruption. (The possibility of corruption involving Narcotics Bureau officers and means of countering it are discussed in

the following Chapters.)

In his evidence to the Commission in September 1978, Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department, stated that the Public Service Board was considering Departmental proposals to establish within the Department a small unit responsible for investigation of complaints

against Departmental personnel. The unit would report direct to the Secretary.

The Department subsequently advised the Commission that the Board had approved the establishment of an Internal Investigation Section with a total staff of three, including an Assistant Director (Class 11) as its head. The positions have been staffed and the Section is now





This section discusses the more important Customs preventive procedures applied to passengers and goods entering Australia and their relationship to the detection of illegally imported drugs. As noted earlier, not all of these procedures are the responsibility of Preventive Officers. Officers with other designations, such as Boarding Officer and Examining Officer, are also involved.

Much of the evidence summarised here was given in Commission hearings in 1978 and the first half of 1979. The Commission noted, however, that during 1979 significant changes occurred both in the volume of airline passenger traffic and in some of the preventive procedures adopted by the Bureau of Customs. These changes are

discussed later in this Chapter under the heading 'Recent Operational Changes ' .

Screening of Incoming Passengers

Preventive Officers at airports man the 'primary line' barrier, the point at which incoming passengers first encounter a Customs officer. At this point, arrival cards and Customs declarations are examined and it is decided what, if any, further checks are necessary for Customs and other reasons. The grounds for deciding to search a passenger's belongings are discussed in the passage devoted to baggage examination.

In the evidence received by the Commission there were differences of opinion between some officers at the working level and senior officers on the desirable balance between facilitation and control of passenger entry.

Much of this evidence concerned Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport where, witnesses pointed out, international passenger arrivals in 1978 reached levels of 5000 a day with peaks of up to 1200 passengers in an hour.

Some witnesses suggested that the Bureau of Customs had developed procedures favouring facilitation at the expense of control because of pressures resulting from long queues and waiting time at the 'primary line' barrier and their effects, for example, on tourism.

Customs officers in confidential sessions cited examples of aircraft passengers being moved through the 'primary line' stage so quickly as to seriously reduce officers' efficiency. A senior officer agreed there had been instances where the primary procedure had averaged 47 seconds a person and that passengers had then had average waits of 35 minutes to

collect baggage. While this officer pointed out that delays in baggage being available for collection could mean a longer time for drug detector dogs to 'work through' baggage on its way to collection points, he also agreed that in such circumstances, 'primary line' processing



ime could be extended. He thought three minutes more appropriate in the above circumstances.

The Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, Mr M. A. Besley, said much of the criticism about lessening control was well-meaning, but came from operational staff with routine and relatively restricted work experience. He said:

Because it is neither sensible, acceptable to society, nor even possible to patrol every kilometre of the vast Australian coastline, watch every isolated airstrip, search every passenger, examine every article imported, intercept all ships

and aircraft, large and small, a judgement must be made about the extent to which these activities should reasonably be undertaken, having regard to available resources of personnel and material, and government policies about their provision.

(OT 16122)

An experienced officer said in confidential session that given the methods of concealment used by illicit drug importers, an extremely competent officer would need half an hour to make one thorough routine search. At a peak of 1200 air passengers in an hour, 600 officers would be needed if a 'saturation search' were to be attempted. NSW Collector

of Customs Mr G. E . Sheen said a general intensification of

examination could result in considerable inconvenience to many law- abiding citizens, significant increases in costs to Government and airlines and a real possibility of only a marginal increase in drug seizures.

A Commonwealth Department of Transport witness indicated that major changes in airport Customs procedures could affect his Department's ability to facilitate passenger and aircraft movements.

Several Sydney witnesses in May 1978 drew attention to alleged deficiencies in the arrangement for 'primary line' Preventive Officers at airports to enter a coded indicator on an incoming passenger's Customs declaration. The indicator informs a Customs marshalling officer whether a passenger is to undergo a quarantine inspection or a baggage inspection or can leave the Customs hall without inspection.

Some Preventive Officers in confidential session claimed that the coding system was so well known even tourist group leaders were aware of it. The Preventive Officers saw an urgent need to make the system flexible enough to be changed quickly. The Commission also noted evidence given

to the NSW Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking that smuggling successes had resulted from 'cracking the Customs code1.

Mr R. P. McMahon, Chief Inspector (Special Services Branch) of the NSW Collectorate, subsequently gave evidence that a new system had been introduced at Sydney Airport in August 1978. He said that supervisory Customs staff had been reluctant to vary the coding because of possible

confusion to staff and extra on-the-job training requirements. He agreed the system should have been varied from time to time.



Customs officers saw as a direct loophole the procedure whereby an incoming air passenger was directed to a separate counter on declaration at the 'primary line' barrier that he or she had goods subject to duty or quarantine provisions. The officers said passengers at times could pass through this barrier because it was not constantly manned or could use the affirmative declaration as a device to avoid

risk of a more thorough search because of the policy not to proceed with any other type of search in these cases. Mr A. E. Hutchison, NSW

Assistant Collector of Customs (Air Services, Sydney), said secondary assessments resulting in further examination of passengers and their luggage could be made at any time during the clearance procedure.

Personal Baggage Examination

Evidence given by senior Customs officers indicated that between 10 and 20 per cent of incoming air travellers have their baggage and personal effects searched to some degree, varying from a 'search' for an item declared as liable for duty or quarantine consideration up to a

'100 per cent' search.

Witnesses in confidential evidence explained how the Customs officer at the 'primary line' barrier decided what type of search, if any, was required. The criteria employed includes previously-received intelligence and assessment of several factors such as the passengers’ nationality and last country of residence, appearance and stated occupation. Random searches and 'intuitive searches' initiated by other Customs officers were also carried out. The number of searches could vary between airports and flights because of workloads, flight origins and other factors.

Witnesses indicated that less than 10 per cent of incoming

passengers were subject to a '100 per cent' baggage search. A senior Customs officer questioned by the Commission about the feasibility of a 'saturation' search of all passengers and crew of an aircraft said that such searches had already been carried out for quarantine purposes. He

thought they could be used specifically for the detection of drugs and with suitable publicity would be a deterrent to drug smuggling.

On 30 August 1979 the first such saturation search was carried out on arriving aircraft. As had been expected some lessons-- particularly relating to the deployment of staff and logistics-- were learnt and were seen as being of assistance in reviewing future exercises. The operation was considered to be a success although there was a lack of what could be termed 'hard results'.

Most of the evidence criticising baggage examination procedures related to Sydney Airport. The main thrust was that too much pressure was being put on Preventive Officers manning personal baggage examination counters or 'channels'. Witnesses maintained that five or

six passengers waiting at one baggage examination channel was considered normal but that at times up to 20 passengers could be waiting. It was said that the system of nominating baggage examinations was continually



odified as traffic fluctuated to reduce undue waiting time for passengers, but that the Bureau of Customs' methods of expressing statistics were not designed to reflect the true incidence of


Senior Preventive Officers asked by the Bureau of Customs to comment on these assertions agreed with them in principle although they said they believed the figures quoted were exaggerated. They said that the records required from baggage examination officers were not being

completed correctly, so that seizure details were not available. NSW Collector of Customs Mr Sheen agreed there might be 'some validity' in the assertions about statistics.

Confidential evidence received in March 1979 indicated the Department was developing on a pilot basis new 'effectiveness surveys' for passenger processing at Sydney Airport. These are in the nature of sampling studies aimed at estimating by the use of statistical

techniques the number of declarants (passengers 'declaring' goods in their possession) detected with undeclared goods as a percentage of the estimated total number of declarants with undeclared goods. The results of an early pilot study were supplied to the Commission. It is

understood that the study methodology is continuing to be refined.

Unaccompanied Baggage Checks

A senior officer of the Narcotics Bureau in Melbourne pointed out that unaccompanied baggage could bypass normal airport Customs systems for processing passengers. This could be exploited by drug smugglers, for example, where a traveller thought he or she was regarded as a suspect and could be subjected to an intense search. The importer had the choice of not collecting the baggage, arranging for someone else to

collect it, or collecting it himself using a fictious name.

Commenting on the implications of this evidence, Mr R. J. Carmody, Collector of Customs for Victoria, said that the level of examination of unaccompanied baggage was high compared with that of accompanied baggage. He agreed, however, there was scope to strengthen

identification requirements within practicable limits.

Two senior officers from another Collectorate agreed there was scope for drug smuggling in unaccompanied baggage because of the question of identification. One said the Collectorate aimed at releasing about 80 per cent of unaccompanied baggage without inspection, the same ratio

applying to accompanied baggage.

Mr J. W. Cahill, First Assistant Secretary (Operations Division) of the Bureau of Customs, said that while Section 4 of the Customs Act provided for people such as licensed Customs agents to act on behalf of an owner and for documentary identification such as passports and motor

registration certificates to be produced before collection, routine testing of the authenticity of such documents was impracticable. He



said that, in general Customs risk assessment, unaccompanied baggage was accorded a higher risk rating than some other categories.

Ship Passenger Processing

Senior officers explained that because the majority of present-day sea travellers were cruise ship passengers and because of staff considerations and lack of appropriate wharf facilities, Departmental policy was to make an assessment of the risk potential of a ship as a whole, taking into consideration intelligence from the Narcotics Bureau and other sources, and such criteria as the ship's history and its ports of call. Selective examination of passengers' personal baggage by Preventive Officers proved more effective in present-day circumstances than the old method of routine examination of part or all of every passenger's baggage. Some criticism was made that this was not a

sufficiently versatile or thorough system, but a Narcotics Bureau officer said cruise ships were generally regarded as 'low risk' and senior Preventive Officers suggested that, while risk assessment of ships passengers might appear to be 'en bloc', total Collectorate staffing considerations and other waterfront activities such as search and patrols had to be taken into account.

Cargo Examination

All qualified witnesses who appeared before the Commission recognised the scope provided by cargo, particularly containers, for the illegal importation of drugs and the dimensions and complexities of policing cargo shipments in an attempt to stop the illegal importation of drugs. Most Customs officers irrespective of seniority or area of operation agreed that the volume of cargo entering Australia, the advent of containerisation and size of individual containers, and the incumbent problems of facilitating the removal of cargo from ports of entry to

their destination combined to give illegal importers what one Preventive Officer described as 'perfect opportunity'. One senior Customs officer who said that particular attention was paid to 'itinerant' shippers or importers who might form a company to import a few containers also agreed that opportunities afforded to a large shipper who might indulge in illegal importation was a matter of considerable concern.

A Customs officer with considerable experience in cargo work said in confidential session in May 1978 that all recent large narcotics seizures had been made in cargo. 1 Most finds have been in personal importations. We have knowledge of commercial consignments containing narcotics being missed because of lack of staff to follow up and perform examinations', the witness said.

In one of the Commission's earliest sessions, a senior officer of the Bureau of Customs indicated the size of the problem by pointing out in reply to criticism about lack of physical searches of cargo that, in 1976, more than 19 million tonnes of cargo arrived in Australia.



senior officer in the NSW Collectorate who stressed the need for better intelligence rather than simply increasing routine or random physical searches pointed out that 27 963 cargo examinations undertaken in Sydney in the first six months of 1978 for general Customs purposes

had not resulted in one drug find, while 3084 other examinations undertaken solely to search for narcotics had resulted in three drug finds. The latter 3084 examinations, the senior officer said, were carried out as the result of 'intuitive assessment' based on information

from Customs intelligence-gathering systems.

Witnesses drew attention to the 'under-bond' system whereby, pursuant to Section 40AA of the Customs Act, goods subject to Customs control could be moved from a port of entry to a licensed bond store, to another part of the port for transhipment or direct to an importer's premises. Witnesses including some Customs officers suggested this

system had two serious weaknesses. There was no effective control mechanism to detect or prevent a shipment being opened in transit. In case of delivery to an importer who then awaited Customs clearance or a Customs inspection, there was no way of ensuring a shipment had not been

opened at the importer's premises before such an inspection.

It was pointed out that Australian import requirements do not include a requirement to seal containers before importation. When asked whether it might be possible for Australia to propose an international standardised sealing system, a senior Customs officer said that

although many complaints might be made that it would impede legitimate shippers, it could be suggested for consideration at the international Customs Co-operation Council. Numbering of any such international seals would be important, the witness said.

A Departmental witness said special cells of officers with

experience in cargo matters such as documentation and knowledge of importers and exporters had been established at airports and sea ports in each Collectorate. A background knowledge of commercial freight information and computerised information programs were used to select

'high-risk' ships for search by special squads comprising Examining, Preventive and Narcotics Bureau Officers. In a confidential Commission hearing early in 1979, a senior Customs officer gave details of the progress of trials involving 'total saturation' search of FCL (Full Container Load) containers. In the trials, every precaution was taken

to ensure containers reached the importer with seals intact; five officers had worked on each container for a considerable time (six hours) and special borrowed equipment had been used. Importers had been co-operative but distressed about delays.

In answer to proposals that additional Preventive Officers be used to patrol container terminals, NSW Collector of Customs, Mr Sheen, said control at terminals was carried out by Examining Officer staff, and that consideration of extension of the role of Preventive Officers was being deferred because of possible implementation of the 'Inspection

Concept'. On the other hand, Mr Sheen thought there was a 'measure of truth' in assertions of lack of suitable training for Examination Officers involved in cargo work. Mr Sheen also referred to an



itiative of Senior Preventive Officers who had assembled data about containers into a manual for use in anti-smuggling operations. On 13 August 1979 Mr Sheen informed the Commission that the manual had recently become available. A copy was subsequently tendered in evidence.

The Commission asked a senior officer with experience in the matter to comment in confidential session on possible modifications to existing procedures or new initiatives the Bureau of Customs could consider. Emphasising that he believed any searches must be absolutely thorough and have the element of surprise, the officer said he thought three

initiatives could be investigated. These were:

- intensification of examinations to the extent of 1 saturation search' of 10 per cent of containers;

- improvement in search methods to incorporate such techniques as drilling of hollow sections, checking welds, using drug detector dogs and regular monitoring of technological advances to permit the use of x-ray or other devices as soon as possible;

- changes in procedures such as the use of a fool-proof seal for

containers selected for search and the establishment of a Customs compound which would be subject to strict security.

Selective Ship Searching

Departmental witnesses explained that the Bureau of Customs had departed from a traditional policy of searching as many ships as possible and ships were searched on a highly selective basis. Search selection criteria were similar to those used for ship passengers. Some

criticism that the policy had gone too far cited as examples the NSW ports of Port Kembla and Botany Bay. Senior Preventive Officers who referred to problems at Botany Bay because of lack of suitable launches also said ship searches at Port Kembla had increased because of intelligence reports concerning ships calling there. NSW Collector of Customs Mr Sheen pointed out that in the case of Botany Bay, tankers were considered a low-risk priority and, because of the use of

Australian crude oil at the Botany Bay refinery, the number of overseas vessels entering the port had decreased by 75 per cent between 1967 and 1977.

Aircraft Searching

Departmental evidence recognised there had been shortcomings in the searching of international aircraft. This, the Department said, had been due to lack of time and air safety considerations. However, aircraft search manuals prepared by U.S. Customs had been adapted for

local use and specialist training courses were being conducted.




As mentioned earlier, the Department's 4 September 1979 submission referred to changes in Bureau of Customs operations which had taken place during the course of the Commission's inquiry or were being investigated for possible future implementation. Speaking to the

submission, the Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, Mr M. A. Besley, drew the Commission's attention to the following extract:

Some changes have been at the Commission's initiative, others stimulated by contact with it and yet others as part of the continuing management process of reviewing departmental performance and upgrading activities.

(OT 23674)

Mr Besley agreed that his reference to 'contact' with the Commission referred to the reading of transcript of the Commission's open evidence supplied to the Department during the course of the Commission (OT 23699).

The Department's submission made particular mention of initiatives taken to improve control measures at international airports. It referred to the statement of 3 May 1979 by the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Fife) which foreshadowed more thorough detection methods being introduced and went on to explain:

Procedures are now in train at International Airports which include:

. programmed saturation checks on selected flights, using staff stationed away from airports to augment normal staffing as necessary;

. more attention to intuitive selections through

observations made by officers in the carousel area;

. concentrated use of investigation staff at airports to undertake specific lines of investigations; for example, security arrangements, air crew and modus operand! of smugglers;and

. saturation checks on air cargo to validate current control aspects and to continually monitor and evaluate risk assessments and procedures. (OT 23677--77A)

The submission said although the procedures had not to date resulted in any significant narcotics seizures, the Department was confident they represented appropriate measures 'within the confines of existing resources' (OT 23679). After referring to the increases in airline passenger traffic because of cheaper fares, the submission said.


Longer lines of passengers are observable at both inward and outward Customs passenger processing areas during peak times. Some additional staff has been deployed from other areas of activity to meet these peaks but the Department is looking at a

longer term assessment of the impact of cheaper air fares and the effect of the Inspection Concept before finally

categorising a demand for additional staff at international airports. In this context however there has been no lessening of control measures at airports despite the increased workloads and the initiatives mentioned earlier have been developed to augment Customs procedures.

(OT 23678)

The submission explained that the Department had stepped up its program to upgrade and extend systems for performance measurement in the Bureau of Customs. The submission said:

In the coming twelve months, the resources of the Management Review Section of the Department, a unit established for reviewing the effectiveness of operations of various management units, will be directed to the development of performance measurement techniques. Specialist resources in statistical

and methodology disciplines will be available to the Management Review Section for the project.

The areas established on a priority basis for inclusion in the current program are:

Import Clearance

Cargo Examination

Passenger Processing


Underbond Removals

Informal Clearance Documents

Cargo Control and Accounting

Parcels Post

Duty Free Stores

Export Returns

Export Concessions

Work has commenced on the import clearance performance measurement task and the Collector of Customs, New South Wales, proposes a pilot study in the cargo examination area in line with the program referred to above. Further improvement of



ffectiveness surveys which have been conducted in passenger processing at Sydney Airport for some time is also being attempted. (OT 2367S--76)


Of the specialist units and activities which the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs referred to as being part of the 1 Customs screen', considerable evidence was received concerning Customs coastal patrol activities comprising private charter aircraft flying with Customs officers as observers and the Customs launch fleet. These

activities are referred to in detail in Part VIII entitled 'Coastal Surveillance'.

The Commission also received considerable evidence about drug dog detector units and some evidence concerning the underwater search and recovery unit.

Drug Detector Dogs

The second submission to the Commission by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, made in December 1977, described the establishment in 1976 of a three-year Detector Dog Development Program in Sydney. Two dog-handler courses and two dog training courses had been completed by 1977 and 15 dog-handler teams were operating in

Sydney, mostly at Sydney Airport.

'The success of the Detector Dog Program after two years of its three-year program has been sufficient to indicate that the resource is well worth developing further', the submission said.

The Department advised the Commission in August 1979 that it had in operation at the time 14 drug detector dog teams in Sydney and five in Melbourne. In its September 1979 submission the Department told the Commission the following numbers of teams were planned for Australian

capital cities (OT 23699):

Sydney 16 Adelaide 2 Darwin 1

Melbourne 10 Perth 2

Brisbane 2 Hobart 1

Departmental evidence further explained that a total of 16 dogs and two officers each from Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria would begin a training program in Canberra in September and, depending on the failure rate of the dogs undertaking training, tne officers would return to their home State to establish units in these

States and to bolster the existing unit in Melbourne.

Witnesses were virtually unanimous in expressing the view that the dogs had proved their effectiveness, but some claimed that the success



f the dog unit in Sydney had created internal jealousies in some Customs areas. It was also contended that Narcotics Bureau officers in the NSW Collectorate did not fully utilise the unit in house searches.

Confidential evidence heard in May 1978 included claims that insufficient funds were available properly to establish facilities such as kennels. Attention was also drawn to what some officers saw as a lack of security in the Sydney kennel area and it was suggested the dogs' lives had been threatened by criminals. Subsequently, a senior officer of the NSW Collectorate said that the previous 'terrible conditions' at the Sydney kennels had been improved. New kennels and a small amenities room for officers had been installed.

Mr I. A. Foster, the officer appointed to administer the training of Bureau of Customs drug detector dogs, gave evidence concerning recommendations he had made to the Department following a visit to the United States Customs Service's dog training centre at Front Royal, Virginia in 1978. The recommendations included:

- establishment of a central training establishment with facilities and extra training staff to cater for an annual Customs requirement of 16 dogs and others for outside organisations;

- sources from which suitable dogs would be recruited to be broadened and dogs selected to be adults as in the U.S., not puppies as under the existing Australian Customs system;

- handlers to be recruited from throughout the Bureau of Customs and possibly from the whole Australian Public Service later;

- a familiarisation program to make all Customs staff aware of the capabilities of dogs and the circumstances in which they could be used;

- provision of kennels in adequate situations such as commercial establishments, a suitable van for each dog and its handler, and portable kennels for dogs during rest periods.

The 1979 training activities referred to above reflect the

implementation of certain of these recommendations.

This witness and Australian Army, RAAF and State police witnesses expert in the training of dogs supported the principle of establishing a centralised dog training institution to train dogs for all user organisations, with specialised training courses appropriate to various requirements including guard work. This evidence is reviewed in detail in Part XIII, Chapter 1.

Some senior Customs officers and other witnesses saw a potential for using dogs in the searching of cargo containers. One officer said trials conducted on the use of dogs in this fashion had shown the dogs worked well in this environment, although they had not detected any drugs during the trials.



nother possible use of dogs discussed with witnesses was that of having them on duty near incoming passengers and their baggage at airport and sea port terminals. Some senior officers argued that there was a need to proceed cautiously in allowing dogs to come into close

contact with the public. On 24 September 1979, however, the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Fife) announced that dogs would be used in the public areas of airports to screen the hand baggage of passengers, initially on a trial basis. (As will be seen later in this

Chapter, the use of dogs for this purpose commenced on 26 September 1979.)

State Government Ministers with responsibilities for police matters, asked by the Commission to comment on the use of dogs in anti-drug enforcement work, replied either that the dogs were a highly useful aid or that, at least, possible development of their use deserved further


Underwater Search and Recovery Unit

The submission made by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs in December 1977 said the diving unit based in Sydney comprised 'some half dozen' officers who had undertaken specialist training. The unit carried out searches for 'over-the-side1 drug 'drops' from ships,

and searches in ships' tanks and bilges and other places where auxiliary breathing apparatus was necessary. The Departmental submission said it was intended to develop Customs diving units further in the near future.

Mr R. P. McMahon, Chief Inspector (Special Services) of the NSW Collectorate, said in evidence in April 1978 that the unit recently had been increased and extra equipment purchased but, he added, the unit had not located any drugs in the previous year.

Some witnesses suggested the unit was in fact only 'part-time'. A witness in confidential session in May 1978 said one officer had been dropped from the unit because other work had prevented him keeping up training. Another witness questioned the adequacy of allowances paid

for diving work which he described as 'the most dangerous work in Australia'.

Senior Preventive Officers said in mid-1978 that, although since the early part of 1978, two divers in the unit had been rostered so a diver was on duty seven days a week, the situation warranted four full-time divers. Mr G. E. Sheen, the NSW Collector of Customs, said the success

rate of the unit and other priorities did not warrant 'at this stage' more full-time divers.


Preventive Officers and officers of the Narcotics Bureau have a common interest in drug law enforcement and some Preventive Officers



ok to the Bureau for promotional opportunities. Nevertheless, relationships between the two groups are not uniformly good.

Some Preventive Officers felt they had been 'left behind1 when the Narcotics Bureau was established as a separate entity within the Bureau of Customs with what was seen as a more advantageous career structure. Evidence concerning recruitment to the Narcotics Bureau given by a

senior Narcotics Bureau officer referred to 'picking the eyes' out of the 'Preventive Service'.

Several senior Collectorate officers maintained that good working relationships existed between Preventive Officers and Narcotics Bureau officers. They stated that both groups understood each other's roles in relation to drug smuggling and appreciated the need for co-operation. On the other hand, other Customs officers in confidential session expressed deep reservations about this assessment, and the report of the Department's National Review of Prevention Operations (NROPO) Committee

stated bluntly that the combination of similarity in objectives and differences in organisation had caused 'a number of problems'. These problems, the report said, included unclear lines of demarcation between routine and major drug investigations, jealousies in distribution of

information and intelligence, and recriminations when things went wrong.

Preventive Officers themselves in several instances said personal relationships with Narcotics Bureau personnel were good, but some said that this applied to Bureau personnel with relatively long Customs service, as distinct from officers recruited from 'outside'. Some commented unfavourably on what they saw as the freedom of the Narcotics Bureau to make public statements related to operational successes. Several Preventive Officers felt they were not being given credit where it was due. The NSW Collector of Customs, Mr Sheen, regarded what he saw as the tendency of the media to give prominence to one particular group as unfortunate.

Some Preventive Officers commented unfavourably on Narcotics Bureau officers 'taking over' drug investigations, but one senior Narcotics Bureau officer answered these comments by saying that, apart from management not being able to spare Preventive Officers from their normal duties, many Preventive Officers were not qualified for this work.

As indicated elsewhere, there were also claims that the Bureau did not always take full advantage of the expertise of Preventive Officers, for example, the drug detector dog-handler teams.

The Commission received confidential evidence to the effect that two Preventive Officers had worked as undercover agents for the Narcotics Bureau, one from 1974 to 1976 and the other still operating in 1978. The witnesses referred to what they saw as defects in this arrangement,

including poor allowances compared with what they believed full-time Narcotics Bureau officers received, failure to transfer agents to ports where they were unknown, lack of permission to carry a weapon or any


other means of protection, and what one witness saw as a lack of

communication between various arms of the Bureau of Customs working independently of one another.

A senior Narcotics Bureau officer said although Preventive Officers might occasionally be seconded to perform a particular task, Preventive Officers did not work undercover regularly. The senior officer said he believed no Regional Commander of the Narcotics Bureau would put an

inexperienced officer into a situation of extreme danger and that any officer doing undercover work had some form of backup.


The Commission became aware of the need for careful analysis of the statistics furnished in support of various comments about staffing by witnesses, partly because of varying definitions of which Customs officers have a 'preventive' responsibility and partly because preventive activities are organised at a Collectorate level according to varying local conditions.

In evidence to the Commission in September 1978, Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, said:

There have been no staff ceiling reductions in the primary enforcement areas of the Bureau of Customs. Overall preventive numbers have been maintained and recruitment has gone on despite general Public Service restraints.

(OT 16061)

While staff associations in general strongly urged increases in staff, particularly for duty at airports, Departmental evidence in the main suggested staff increases were not the simple or sole answer to problems arising from dramatically increased workloads.

A senior Departmental witness in confidential session appeared to sum up the attitude of the Department when he said:

The Department has aimed to keep the overall number of

preventive staff fairly static by taking control initiatives (like streamlining passenger processing; emphasising operational selectivity; developing drug detector dogs) that are designed to break the nexus between increases in workload and increases in staffing.


This same witness pointed to difficulties arising from the long lead time associated with recruitment and training, and the problems of attracting officers to remote locations. Despite mention of some local problems, several Collectors supported the Departmental view and in some

instances stressed the need for strengthening of intelligence and increased use of- technological aids.



n New South Wales, the Collector of Customs, Mr Sheen, stressed his belief that technological improvement had allowed a basically static staff establishment to cope effectively with workload increases and that further development of technology and intelligence gathering gave a better chance of future success than increases in physical resources 'at the gate' (OT 16315 — 16). But he also said:

I am...conscious that any further reduction of staff against the continually increasing workload must seriously hinder the capability of the Department to perform its functions unless offset by technologv not yet available.

(OT 16314)

Criticism concerning alleged staff shortages in the NSW Collectorate centred on Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport and included claims of:

- too much pressure on the first stage of passenger checking

procedures ('the primary line') and on personal baggage examiners;

- shortage of officers for tarmac patrol duty;

- inadequate aircraft crew examination.

All parties recognised that the clustering of arrival times of international aircraft, exacerbated the problem of coping with increased traffic. Mr Sheen said the Department would welcome 'very much' some spread in aircraft arrival patterns. Mr A. E . Hutchison, Assistant Collector of Customs (Air Services), said that on a typical day 25 per cent of overseas air passengers coming to Sydney arrived between 6 am and 8 am.

Senior Preventive Officers said there appeared to be a staff shortage 'at most times'. Mr Sheen subsequently produced figures showing the Collectorate staff with Preventive Officer designations had grown from 229 in September 1968 to 318 in October 1978 and had been accompanied by re-deployment of some staff into specialised activities such as drug dog detector and diving units.

In respect of Sydney Harbour, Mr B. J. Sullivan, the NSW Assistant Collector (Port Services), made a specific reference to staff levels affecting drug detection. He said that although the staff establishment for the Collectorate's Port Services Section was 326, Government staff ceilings had restricted the staff to 292 (OT 9549). 'Due attention is given to the possible presence of drugs during examination but manpower resources do not permit examination of all the goods covered by one entry', he said.

In Victoria, comments were made on the same lines as in New South Wales, especially in regard to Tullamarine Airport. Senior officers pointed out that Melbourne was at the end of long international routings and asserted approximately 30% of overseas flights, excluding those from New Zealand, arrived more than an hour late, resulting in peak traffic



uations. In addition Mr R. J. Carmody, Collector of Customs for Victoria, said that although Tullamarine had no curfew, 75 per cent of international services were scheduled to arrive between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (OT 2514).

In Queensland, evidence showed that the total Collectorate staff at 31 December 1977 was 415, 12 per cent less than the corresponding figure of 30 June 1974, namely, 471. A senior officer commented in

confidential session that although the detection of drugs was given top priority, staff shortages made the overall task extremely difficult.

One officer said personnel were being diverted from other functions to man the 'primary line' check points at Brisbane Airport because the demands on staff of the computerised automatic passenger processing system (PASS) grew proportionally with the number of passengers. Problems arose when flights were diverted from Sydney because of bad weather.

Another officer in confidential session said that, from 1 January 1977 to 31 March 1977, only 19 of 103 ships arriving in Brisbane direct from overseas had been searched. A former Customs officer said that, because of staff problems, crew members and passengers from large ships making their first Australian port call at Brisbane had 'a free rein'.

In South Australia, Collector of Customs Mr A. B . Luckman said the absence of regular international air services and a marked decline in that State’s shipping services had not placed the same demands on 'Preventive Service' staff as in some other Collectorates (OT 6581— 81A ). Some senior Customs officers expressed doubts about the

Collectorate's ability to handle any increased activity when the general state of the economy picked up. Operative Customs staff in South Australia as at 31 January 1978 totalled 306, compared with 343 in December 1975.

In Western Australia, Acting Collector of Customs Mr I. Olsen produced figures which showed that although the Collectorate's approved staff establishment was 398, the staff actually employed was 373 of which 353 were operational staff (OT 764). Mr Olsen was particularly

concerned about the growth of Perth Airport traffic.

In the absence of staff ceilings, an additional 21 officers would appear to be justified, Mr Olsen said. No staff cuts had been made in the Collectorate’s Special Services staff up to 1 December 1978, he said, but it was doubtful whether this could continue if more overall

staff reductions were instituted. A witness in confidential session said better searches were carried out at Fremantle Harbour than at Perth Airport because of better staff availability.

In Tasmania, a witness in confidential session said that the Collectorate's Preventive staff strength of 24 officers was minimal for



perational requirements, that it was impossible to have shift duty rosters and that 'essential extra work' had to be performed on an overtime basis.

In the Northern Territory, the Collector of Customs, Mr P. W. English, said Customs staff (and equipment) resources were inadequate for the Collectorate's long coastline and area to be policed (OT 5711). He said that at 7 March 1978 the Collectorate's operative staff was 72,

including those stationed at the 'outports' of Groote Eylandt (one), Gove (two), Alice Springs (one), Derby (one) and Broome (nine). The staff ceilings had recently been raised to 77 but he did not believe this was satisfactory.

In confidential evidence given in March 1978, a witness said lack of staff had led to rostering arrangements which meant there was no preventive cover between 10 pm and 6 am on Saturdays and Sundays, and officers had to be rostered on overtime on Thursdays and Fridays at Darwin Airport to meet airline scheduling. Overtime commitments were affecting performance and morale, witnesses said.


Althpugh most of the evidence concerning staffing levels related to the main sea and air ports, the Commission also received a variety of comments about the staffing of the smaller 'outports'. Many witnesses were critical of the level and lack of 'preventive' training of some of the staff provided.

In its December 1977 submission to the Commission, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs explained the deployment of Preventive staff to smaller outports in the following terms:

There are 48 Customs shipping outports, of these 13 have Preventive Staff. Those that do not have Preventive Staff are mostly one-man posts staffed by a Sub-Collector of Customs, a clerical/administrative classification rather than specifically a preventive classification, but one that connotes an overall local responsibility for Customs matters.

As the need arises, Preventive staff at outports are deployed beyond the outport at which they are stationed. (CT)

An example of this aim at flexibility in deployment of Preventive staff was indicated in Tasmania where a witness pointed out Preventive Officers were deployed in Hobart and Burnie but not in Launceston or Devonport because local experience had shown that it was better to move such officers about the State as necessary (OT 1154)


Examples of weaknesses in outport operations alleged by witnesses included:

- In New South Wales, coastal surveillance generally on the north coast was inefficient. Acting Officers of Customs at Ballina, Yamba, Trial Bay, Coffs Harbour, Lord Howe Island and Narromine and Dubbo Airports had received virtually no drug detection or general

investigatory training.

- In Victoria, Portland, an outport not manned permanently by Preventive Officers, was described as 'a pretty easy port as far as controls go'.

- In Queensland, the presence of Preventive Officers only at Cairns, Townsville and Gladstone was said to create difficulties in policing the State's long coastline. A Senior Queensland State Police officer saw serious weaknesses at northern ports such as Weipa and Karumba which do not have full-time Customs officers.

- In South Australia, the length of coastline and uncertainty of movements of chartered vessels had made maintenance of the

'preventive screen' difficult, and Government funding cutbacks had created further difficulties. No Customs officers were stationed at certain 'potential high-risk' fishing ports.

- In Western Australia, no Preventive Officers were stationed at Exmouth, Carnarvon, Esperance, Bunbury or Albany. Proposals for 'flying gangs' to police the Pilbarra ports regularly had not been implemented because of staff shortages. Confidential evidence

referred to Customs staff shortages at Bunbury producing a situation where a ship entering port late on a Friday might not have Customs inspection until the following Monday or perhaps even later. The Geraldton Port Authority referred to many small craft using that

harbour which apparently were not checked for drug trafficking.

- In the Northern Territory, witnesses in confidential evidence in March 1978 said the only Preventive Officers stationed at outports were six officers in Broome to crew the Customs launch Jacana and suggested more Preventive Officers could be stationed at Broome to

police the Kimberley region and at Gove.

A body of evidence established that the priority given to the Narcotics Bureau had had an adverse effect on staffing arrangements for the Bureau of Customs as a whole. Evidence showed that the staff ceiling for the Department-- the number of people which the Department

could actually employ-- had dropped from 5353 in 1975 to 4975 as at 30 June 1979, but that the number of Narcotics Bureau positions had increased during this time. A senior officer of the Department

explained the effect of the creation of 55 new Narcotics Bureau staff positions in 1978 in the following terms:

They (the Narcotics Bureau) have got the positions but we can't get the staff, so what we have got to do is reduce other

sections of the Department to provide men to put into the positions. The case only provides jobs on paper. The task of



ctually getting the human beings means a reduction in other areas of the department. (CT)

Departmental evidence also indicated that an increase of 65 in the Departmental staff ceiling had been proposed for the year ending 30 June 1980. If the increase was approved a proportion would be allocated to the 'Customs screen' and to the Narcotics Bureau, the Department said.


Evidence from other Customs officers, State police officers, other law enforcement officers and members of the public concerning the individual operational effectiveness of Preventive Officers was generally complimentary, particularly as to their searching skills. But a substantial body of evidence suggested that 'The Preventive Service' as a whole was not as effective as it could be. Factors blamed for this were various, ranging from lack of individual initiative by officers to problems of staffing and workloads, and Departmental policies and organisational arrangements which adversely affected Preventive Officers.

Messrs W. Peck and P. R. Paraggio, representatives of the

Administrative and Clerical Officers' Association (ACOA) whose membership includes Australian Public Service Third Division officers such as Boarding Officers and Examining Officers summed up the factors which they saw as reducing effectiveness (OT 12960) as:

. lack of essential training to a significant section of Customs staff;

. organisation faults which fostered internal differences;

. procedural faults which provided avenues for illicit drug


. legislative deficiencies.

Similar but more strongly worded criticisms were made by Messrs P. P. Bennett and R. G. Spanswick, representatives of the NSW Branch of the Customs Officers' Association of Australia whose membership includes Preventive Officers. They were pessimistic about any initiatives being taken by Bureau of Customs to develop efficiency and claimed that 'The Customs Bureau...tends to adopt an "impossible task" syndrome, that is, to attempt to solve the problem after it has passed the border'.

NROPO Report

The intra-departmental National Review of Preventive Operations (NROPO) Committee reported in April 1977 that 'the changes, both social and technological, that have taken place over the last decade have necessitated the Department effecting quickly, often too quickly,



in organisation and procedures, which have continued to submerge the proper preventive role'. The Committee went on to say:

Our investigations throughout Australia have shown that the Preventive Service is not meeting, or in many cases is not allowed to meet, the existing defined role. (OT 17845)

The Committee reported that issues and problems raised during its investigations included (OT 17846--47):

- the emphasis on procedures as opposed to control, particularly in evidence at airports, has a deleterious and frustrating effect on officers' approach to prevention;

- a number of people in prevention are not, and never will be,

professional law enforcers;

- the gulf between top management and the people entrusted with the preventive role;

- an unwillingness to carry out the mundane task and indeed to learn it;

- the emergence of a spirit of dissent with an emphasis on the

individual's rights and conditions; etc. Some of this is valid, but there are extremes;

J a degree of antipathy to shift work;

- the desire for immediate results with its accompanying

disenchantment at early lack of success;

- the widespread inexperience of staff;

- the dramatic emphasis at induction level and the subsequent letdown;

- the inordinate length of the POIT (Preventive Officer in Training) Course and the failure of training generally;

- lack of job satisfaction;

- ineffective communication, up, down and lateral;

- the career structure, or lack of it;

- the resentment engendered by minority specialist groups;

- the selection for promotion and training courses syndrome;

- the inadequacies of middle and lower level management, where imagination runs low, apathy abounds and pre-occupation with the past and an inability to change, go hand in hand;

- the continued friction between Third and Fourth Division;



the void between Prevention and Detection, but more particularly between Prevention and the Narcotics Bureau;

- the impact of amendments in Section 196 (of the Customs Act)

procedure and the accompanying frustrations, real or imagined;

- the impact of downtime on attitudes and morale.

The Commission considered evidence on all the points raised above. The Commission also noted evidence from senior Departmental officers that, although the NROPO Committee's principal recommendation for reorganisation was not acted upon because of likely difficulties of implementation, the Department, as detailed in evidence concerning 'The Inspection Concept', instigated further studies of how to overcome the problems reported in the NROPO findings.

The Commission was told by a senior officer of the Department in confidential evidence that the implementation of the Inspection Concept would not deal with all the difficulties and shortcomings identified by the NROPO report. The Commission felt that this was an accurate appreciation of the situation.



hapter 3 The Narcotics Bureau


The Narcotics Bureau is a separate unit within the Bureau of Customs which, as explained earlier, is itself part of the Commonwealth Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.

It is headquartered in the Department's Central Office in Canberra but has officers deployed throughout Australia who have been organised since 1975 on a regional basis-- north, south, east and west.

The Northern Region comprises Queensland, the Northern Territory and the northern part of Western Australia; the Southern Region comprises Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania; the Eastern Region comprises New South Wales and the A.C.T., and the Western Region comprises Western Australia less the northern part of the State which is part of the

Northern Region. Regional heads, known as Regional Commanders, are based in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth respectively.

The Bureau also has two liaison officers stationed in both Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok and one in Jakarta.

The Department has at different times used various names to identify the Narcotics Bureau. Apart from its present formal departmental title of 'Narcotics Enforcement Branch' the Bureau has been known as 'The Australian Narcotics Bureau', 'The Federal Bureau of Narcotics', and

'The Federal Narcotics Bureau'. The name 'Narcotics Bureau' is used for the most part in this Report as this is the name by which the unit is generally known in the community.

The Narcotics Bureau has its origins in initiatives taken following Australia's ratification in December 1967 of the international Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 which requires parties to the Convention to maintain a 'special administration' to apply the

Convention's provisions.

The Bureau's head at all times has been Mr H. Bates, now an

Assistant Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and who, since 1978, has had the 'local designation' (title) of Commissioner.

Initially the Narcotics Bureau was a small cell within the Special Services Section of the Revenue and Special Services Branch of the former Department of Customs and Excise. In December 1969, however, as part of a general reorganisation, the Narcotics Bureau was established as a separate unit of a new Special Services Branch, and a position of Director (Class 11) created for its head.




( A s s i s t a n t D i r e c t o r )




( A s s i s t a n t D i r e c t o r )


* A proposal was made to the Public Service Board that these positions be designated Chief Investigator G r ad e 2.



Administration & Support ( V acant—A d v e r tis e d )

Figure VI.5

Chief Inspector (Class 9) CASOS (P . J . S m ith —A c tin g )

Chief Inspector (Class 9) Administration (Z). C hippendale)

Chief Inspector (Class 9) Technical Support (£>. A sh m a n )


the time of the Commission's first hearings in November 1977, the Narcotics Bureau was a Section of the Bureau of Custom's Investigation Branch. This Branch also had a Special Investigation Section, which included two intelligence and information groups, the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) and the Central Information and Research Bureau (CIRB), of which more will be said later in this Part of

the Report.

Changes and Expansion

Organisation charts supplied by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and reproduced on the previous pages as Figures VI.4 and VI.5 illustrate the organisational changes and expansion of the Narcotics Bureau which have taken place during the course of this Commission.

A Departmental reorganisation announced on 24 January 1978 as part of the Commonwealth Government initiatives to combat drug smuggling and trafficking in effect dismembered the Investigation Branch, created a new Inspection and Controls Branch and elevated the Narcotics Bureau from Section to Branch status.

The effects of this reorganisation are illustrated in Figure VI.4, dated 1978. They included:

- substantial increases in the Narcotics Bureau's manpower resources;

- the introduction of the 'local designation’ of Commissioner, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, for the Bureau's head;

- the structuring of the Bureau into two Sections, known as

Enforcement and Operations, and Information and Intelligence. (The senior officers of both these Sections were given the designation of Director);

- the incorporation of CASOS and CIRB into the Narcotics Bureau. (CASOS became part of the Enforcement and Operations Section and CIRB part of the Information and Intelligence Section.)

The organisation chart shown as Figure VI.5 illustrates further reorganisation and development of the Bureau up to September 1979. According to this chart and other information supplied by the Department (per letter dated 21 September 1979), the Bureau now consists of three

Sections---National and International Enforcement, Information and Intelligence, and Administration and Support.

Other changes shown in the September 1979 chart included:

- the introduction of two new designations of Assistant

Commissioner-- an Assistant Commissioner (Operations) which in effect replaced the former title of Director (Enforcement and



perations), and an Assistant Commissioner (Information and Intelligence) which replaced the former title of Director (Information and Intelligence).

- a new position of Director (Administration and Support) to head the groups formerly referred to as Administration and Training and Technical Support but now consolidated into the Administration and Support Section.

The changes in the Narcotics Bureau staff establishment level which accompanied the organisational changes outlined above are indicated in the following statistics supplied by the Department:

- In 1970, when the Bureau became a Section, its establishment was increased to a total of 43 positions (including 33 operational positions and 10 clerical support positions);

- In 1977, at the time of the Commission's first hearings, the Bureau had an establishment of 130 positions (of which 105 were operational positions);

- In early 1978, subsequent to the Bureau being elevated to Branch status, an additional 55 positions were approved;

- Information supplied to the Commission on 2 October 1978 (Open Exhibit 485) listed a total Narcotics Bureau establishment of 228 positions (including three overseas liaison officer positions);

- In September 1979 the Bureau's establishment totalled 230 positions (including five overseas liaison officer positions).

The organisation charts and other information supplied by

Departmental witnesses demonstrate certain organisational arrangements concerning the Narcotics Bureau which are unusual within the Bureau of Customs.

Narcotics Bureau Regional Commanders are responsible direct to Mr B . C. Bates, the former Director of Enforcement and Operations and now designated Assistant Commissioner (Operations). Mr B . C. Bates is responsible directly to the Bureau's Commissioner, Mr H . Bates. This organisational arrangement differs from the general Bureau of Customs

regional organisation arrangements whereby officers serving in a region are responsible to the regional Customs head, the Collector, whose rank in the case of bigger Collectorates can equal that of a departmental First Assistant Secretary.

In the formal organisation structure of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs the head office of the Narcotics Bureau (that is, the Narcotics Enforcement Branch) is placed within the Operations Division of the Bureau of Customs. The organisation chart of the Bureau

of Customs which appears in the Chapter entitled 'Bureau of Customs' indicates that the head of the Narcotics Enforcement Branch (Mr H. Bates) is responsible to the senior officer of the Division, namely, the First Assistant Secretary, Operations, who in turn is responsible to the


Deputy Secretary in charge of the Bureau of Customs, and thence to the

Secretary of the Department (Mr M. A. Besley).

Evidence was given that the Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau is, for practical intents and purposes, responsible directly to the

Secretary of the Department. If this is so, it reflects the special status which the Narcotics Bureau has been accorded within the

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.

A reader unfamiliar with organisation of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs might be puzzled by the Department's use of the term "Bureau'. As the preceding material illustrates, the Central

Intelligence and Research Bureau (CIRB) is a component of the Narcotics

Bureau which in turn is part of the Bureau of Customs. The term

'Bureau' is not generally used in this way in the Australian Public

Service. It has no particular connotations of size but generally is

used to identify independent bodies with technical or research

functions, such as those of the Bureau of Statistics and the Bureau of Transport Economics, which fall outside the usual structure of

particular Departments of State. The use of the term in the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to identify operational areas of the Department is unusual, if not unique.


The two intelligence and information groups which came under the

administrative control of the Narcotics Bureau in the 1978

reorganisation---the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) and the Central Information and Research Bureau (CIRB)---do not have

roles exclusively confined to that of drug law enforcement.

Departmental evidence made clear that the Narcotics Bureau is only one

of the groups' client areas, and that the groups’ role is to serve the

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs as a whole.

CASOS was formed in 1974 to assist the Department's efforts in more remote geographical areas against smuggling generally. It seeks to

improve the Department's knowledge of the facilities in the northern half of Australia which might be used by smugglers and of the facilities there which might be used against smugglers. It has built up a body of

background intelligence with a high geographical content. Its staff

consists of a Chief Inspector (Clerk Class 9) and two officers in each

of its planning and intelligence teams. The role of CASOS is described

in detail in the Part of this Report dealing with coastal surveillance.

CIRB was created in 1970 to provide an information base and

intelligence support for the Department's law enforcement units and as such is the holder of smuggling intelligence, of which drug smuggling

intelligence is the major part.

' CIRB. is responsible for the operation of the computerised

1nformat1on and intelligence systems known as PASS (Passenger Automatic


Selection System) and IRIS (Information Research and Investigation

System) and its functions are to :

- receive, store and disseminate information for Customs operation groups;

- evaluate and analyse information and provide intelligence~ to

operation groups;

- provide reports to, and liaise with, local and overseas law

enforcement bodies.

The Department's law enforcement units have access to CIRB records by direct telecommunications links 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

CIRB has an establishment of 24 positions headed by a Chief

Inspector (Clerk Class 9).


In presenting the first Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission in November 1977, Mr M. A. Besley, the

Secretary of the Department, pointed out that Federal legislation

directed against the illicit traffic in drugs is limited to three

statutes: H

- the Customs Act and Regulations

- the Narcotic Drugs Act

- the Psychotropic Substances Act

The prime responsibility for the administration of the latter two rests with the Department of Health. The principal legislative provisions policed by the Narcotics Bureau are the Customs Act and Regulations as they apply to drugs, especially sections 233A and 233B of

the Customs Act. In essence, section 2338 makes it an offence, inter

alia, to bring into Australia prohibited drugs and to possess such drugs

without authority. The Act contains extensive forfeiture provisions.

A detailed exposition of the relevant sections of the Customs Act will be found in that Part of this Report dealing with legislation. However, it is relevant to note here that the Narcotics Bureau is able

to deal only with breaches of the Customs Act. Its officers have no

jurisdiction in offences involving locally produced drugs or their

trafficking; these are matters dealt with by State and Territory law

and police.



following citation from the Commission's transcript of evidence repeats the Department's statement presented by Mr Besley concerning the role and objectives of the Narcotics Bureau:

The acknowledged role of the Narcotics Bureau is as follows:

- Develop and oversight policies, administrative procedures and controls for effective enforcement against illicit drug importation and trafficking.

. conduct major investigations into illicit drug trafficking

. collect and assess intelligence on illicit drug

trafficking and importation

. co-ordinate and direct other departmental action against illicit drug trafficking and importation

. liaise with other Commonwealth and State government agencies on matters related to illicit drug trafficking and importation.

- Maintain and co-ordinate Australian government effort and participation and international enforcement against illicit drug production and distribution.

. establish and maintain liaison with overseas drug

enforcement agencies

. distribute, receive and assess operational intelligence at an international level

. develop, co-ordinate and participate in investigations overseas which are of significance to Australia

. co-ordinate and as necessary implement Australia's obligations under UN drug treaties

. maintain secretariat to the NSCC (National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence).

Based on this role the objectives of the Narcotics Bureau are:

- the interdiction of major drug trafficking into and

distribution within Australia

- wherever possible the extension of these investigations to locate sources of supply, production and distribution.

The day to day operational duties of the Bureau cover the following:

- collection and analysis of intelligence concerning major traffickers and their associates

- conduct of investigations designed to apprehend offenders and gain sufficient evidence for prosecution



advice and support to the preventive service in the

establishment of an effective control system to detect illicit drug importations not otherwise identified or prejected. (OT102-3)

Mr Besley further stated that since its formation the Narcotics Bureau has progressively increased the effort being directed towards major trafficking and traffickers. It has also given priority to those investigations concerning the so-called 1 more dangerous drugs' such as

heroin (OT200).


Government financial accounts do not distinguish all expenditure directly or indirectly attributable to particular programs or particular components of individual departments. It is difficult, therefore, to assess the full cost of the Narcotics Bureau. The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs did, however, at the Commission's request provide some details, including some 'calculated on a notional basis',

of expenditure on Narcotics Bureau salaries, overtime, travel and motor vehicles over the financial years 1975— 76, 1976— 77 and 1977--78.

During that period these expenditures rose by 60.2 per cent from $1,553 million to $2,488 million. By comparison, similar expenditures on the Customs 'Preventive Service' assessed on the same basis rose 20.16 per cent from $10,036 million to $12,059 million. It is important to emphasise, however, that neither singly nor in aggregate do these

figures represent the Department's total expenditure on drug law enforcement, and that the 'Preventive Service' also has other important responsibilities.

In evidence in September 1978 Mr M. A. Besley said that despite general Governmental restrictions on expenditure, the Narcotics Bureau had deliberately been given priority so that it could continue developmental work in support of its activities (OT 16137).

A departmental Management Review Team consisting of officers drawn from within the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs was commissioned in June 1977 to undertake a review of the Narcotics Bureau. The Team's report, and entitled 'Management Review Report on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Resource Utilization in the Australian Narcotics Bureau', is discussed later in this Part of the Report. However the Commission noted with some interest confidential evidence which explained that in the initial stages of its work, the Management

Review Team sought to break down various items of expenditure in an endeavour to estimate the 'cost' of the Narcotics Bureau.


Departmental evidence stressed that despite a reduction in staff ceilings of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs as a whole



le VI.3 Narcotics Bureau Establishment. (September 1979): Central Office

Administration and Support

National and Intelligence ----------------------

International and Technical

Designations and Grades Enforcement Information CASO S Support Training Administration

Chief Investigator, Grade 2 . . Assistant Director (Class 9) . Chief Investigator, Grade 1 .

Clerk (Class 8) . . .

Supervising Investigator .

Clerk (Class 7) . . .

Clerk (Class 6) . . .

Clerk (Class 5) . . .

Clerk (Class 4) . . .

Clerk (Class 2/3) . .

Clerical Assistant, Grade 5 . Clerical Assistant, Grade 4 .

Clerical Assistant, Grade 3 . Clerical Assistant, Grade 2 . Clerical Assistant, Grade 1 . Typist, Grade 2 . . .

Typist, Grade I . . .

Telex Operator . . .

Senior Technical Officer, Grade 2 Technical Officer, Grade 2 .

4 (3 overseas —

posts) 1 4

3 (2 overseas —

posts) — 1

5 4

— 4

— 1

1 1

— 2

3 (overseas 7

posts) 2 4

1 —

- 2

- 3



2 2




2 3







1 1

4 9


T able VI.4 Narcotics Bureau Establishment. (September 1979): Regional Offices

Designations and Grades Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Perth Adelaide Hobart Darwin Canberra

Operational Staff-Chief Investigator, Grade 2 (Regional Commander) Chief Investigator, Grade 1 Supervising Investigator . Senior Investigator . .

Investigator . . .

Clerical support— Clerk (Class 8) . . . 1 1

Clerk (Class 6) . . . 1 1

Clerk (Class 4) . . . — —

Clerk (Class 2/3) . . . 1 —

Typist, Grade 2 . . . 2 2

Clerical Assistant, Grade 4 . 3 3

Clerical Assistant, Grade 3 . 1 —

Clerical Assistant, Grade 1 . 1 1

T o t a l ....................................... 52 43 16 16 8 2 6 3


rom 5353 in 1975 to 4975 at 30 June 1979), no staff reductions had been made in the two groups the Department regarded as mainly

responsible for drug law enforcement, the 'Preventive Service' and the Narcotics Bureau.

Evidence outlined in the previous Chapter indicated that

Departmental policy had been aimed at keeping preventive staff levels fairly static. On the other hand, the establishment figures quoted earlier in this Chapter show that the Narcotics Bureau has grown substantially.

Tables VI.3 and VI■4 show the Narcotics Bureau's establishment in Central Office, the Regions and overseas in September 1979. The Department noted that in addition to the 230 positions listed, each of the Bureau's Sections was headed by a Director (Clerk Class 11) and the Bureau itself was headed by a Commissioner.

The Commission noted the evidence of several officers who made the point that in staffing matters, the Australian Public Service term 'establishment' did not necessarily mean all the positions mentioned were staffed. Staff ceiling limits, or staff turnover and wastage could affect total staff numbers. On the Commission's first day of hearings Mr Besley said:

In common with most enforcement agencies, the Narcotics Bureau has experienced a reasonably high rate of staff wastage. Over the past two years there has been a notable increase in

resignations particularly at a senior operator level. (OT 102)

However it was clear from the evidence that, in contrast to many other areas of the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs as a whole, the Narcotics Bureau has received priority in terms of staffing.

Recruitment and Training

With the exception of the calendar years 1970 to 1973, it would appear that recruitment campaigns for Narcotics Bureau staff have been conducted both inside and outside the Australian Public Service. The principal Public Service sources of recruitment for the Narcotics Bureau have been the prevention and detection groups in the Bureau of Customs, but there has also occurred over the years recruitment from police

forces (0T16107). Generally speaking, the Regional Commanders and in most cases their deputies, proved to be former police officers.

The Bureau of Customs' Investigator Aide Scheme whereby Customs Preventive Officers are seconded for a time to work with the Narcotics Bureau enables Narcotics Bureau officers to assess potential recruits from among the Preventive Officer ranks, but each applicant whether



within the Bureau of Customs or outside-- is considered on merit when vacancies arise, and Preventive Officers who have participated in the scheme undergo further training on transfer or promotion to the Narcotics Bureau. Evidence from the Department indicated the most

important qualification for appointment or promotion to an operational position in the Narcotics Bureau is a basic knowledge of, or experience in, criminal investigation work (OT 16107).

The Narcotics Bureau has for some time provided a number of short training courses for its officers. The Commission was told that 'advanced investigator training' is provided to all recruits, usually within 12 months of their joining the Bureau. The Bureau has also

organised, with the assistance of an outside agency, a specialist photographic course. In addition, a specialised six-week undercover training course is offered to selected officers.

Officers recruited from within the Bureau of Customs also attend various police detective training courses, and some Narcotics Bureau officers attend the annual Drug Enforcement Officers Course at the Australian Police College.

A number of Narcotics Bureau officers have been sent overseas for training. In 1978 eight officers attended a five-week special training course at the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Academy in Washington, DC. Also in 1978 two Narcotics Bureau officers were

detailed to plan and develop a drug law enforcement training program for the Narcotics Bureau and for other Customs officers and to assist with the training of overseas drug law enforcement officers. As an initial step these two officers were attached to the United States Drug

Enforcement Administration's Training Academy for 12 weeks.

The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission in September 1979 detailed further development in 1979 of other training courses and facilities for Narcotics Bureau officers and other Customs officers. These included courses for 60 officers in April and May of 1979 conducted after the visits of the two above-mentioned Narcotics Bureau officers to the U.S.

Equipment and Technical Services

The Commission received evidence from Mr H. Bates, the Narcotics Bureau's Commissioner, that the Bureau was now well supplied with a wide range of sophisticated equipment which its officers were trained to use effectively. This equipment includes various vehicles, special radio

communication equipment, special photographic equipment and various devices for use in surveillance. By and large, Bureau officers made no complaints to the Commission about the quality or quantity of its operational equipment. Mr H. Bates considered it compared favourably with that available in other Western countries.


The Bureau also regularly obtains specialised technical and scientific services from several outside sources to support its work. These sources include other groups within the Bureau of Customs, such as the photographic units for general photographic work and the drug dog detector units for drug searches; other Commonwealth departments, the Defence Forces, and the various State and Territory police forces.

Examples of this type of technical assistance include drug analyses carried out for the Bureau by the Commonwealth Department of Science and the Environment's Australian Government Analytical Laboratories, document examination carried out by the Australian Federal Police Document Examination Bureau, and police assistance with fingerprints. Witnesses pointed out that the priorities of these other organisations cannot always be identical with those of the Narcotics Bureau.


In order for the reader to understand the following Chapter concerning the effectiveness and efficiency of the Narcotics Bureau, it is desirable to outline first the evidence given by senior Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and Narcotics Bureau officers and other witnesses about the Bureau's methods of operation-- although some details and particular examples of these methods given to the Commission in confidential session are omitted for obvious reasons.

In describing the conduct of the various types of Narcotics Bureau investigations, the Department noted the importance of eliciting information from offenders and of examining documentation in their possession to build up intelligence for other Narcotics Bureau operations. The Department also commented on the necessity to obtain assistance from overseas law enforcement agencies and the delicacy needed in approaches for this kind of co-operation and assistance.

In general, senior Departmental officers emphasised that the investigations undertaken by the Bureau required all the investigative skills, techniques and support available.

Types of Investigation

The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs informed the Commission that before 1971 the operations of the Narcotics Bureau were largely reactions to day-to-day investigational requirements. With limited operational staff available for investigations of high complexity and long time span, continuity of effort could not be guaranteed in all cases. Following a review of the situation,

individual operational teams were established to undertake varying types of investigation, especially those requiring extended inquiry.

This team concept is still maintained, but with the addition of specialist support teams, such as the ’Q ' undercover/surveillance groups



hich have an independent investigational capacity or can act in a support role to other teams.

According to the Department's second submission to the Commission in December 1977, the Bureau divides investigations into short, medium and long term categories. Short term investigations, generally stemming from isolated items of information, have always played a part in the

Bureau's operations; but the emphasis has been shifted to the longer or medium term investigations in the hope of thereby intercepting drugs at or about the time of importation and (apprehending the principal offenders)or as near thereto as possible. The information gathered by

'reaction' or short term investigations may prove valuable for all types of investigations, and they may be upgraded at any point in the process should the situation warrant it.

The Commission was told that medium term investigations are usually initiated on confirmed information or intelligence reports of sufficient importance to warrant allocation of an investigational team for an extended period of time, the setting of specific objectives and

reasonably detailed planning. Such investigations normally commence well before importation takes place and are directed at known importers of whose outlets there is some knowledge. There is usually a

requirement for extensive surveillance and thus a high demand on manpower, communications, and transport resources. During the terminal stages there is often a need to seek co-operation for field

investigation by overseas law enforcement groups. Investigations of this type are considered the most productive and can make a large contribution to long term or major investigations, in whose support they may be initiated.

The Commission was told long term investigations are inevitably directed at individuals or groups of people suspected of being major offenders but who are unlikely to have any apparent association with drugs. The results of these long term investigations are often

inconclusive. Their duration and detailed nature, however, require an especially high and long commitment of continuous deployment of Bureau investigators. To meet this requirement and to ensure a continuity of

investigators familiar with the investigation, the Bureau uses the 'task force' concept, with the task force varying in strength from time to time but having a constant nucleus of at least two officers, one normally being an intelligence or research officer. The Commission was told there were unlikely to be more than three such long term

investigations under way at any one time.


The Department stated that informers are a major source of

information for the Narcotics Bureau. Narcotics Bureau officers categorised these informers broadly as drug offenders, criminal informers (not necessarily associated with drugs), and public spirited citizens. Of the three, Bureau officers said, drug offenders provided

the most information. But information from criminal sources was generally by liar .the most valuable, the officers said.


Provision exists for payment of rewards to informers. Such payments are based on results and take into account such factors as the type and quantity of drugs involved, the degree of involvement of the informers, and the risks taken by the informers as well as the value of the

information received.

The Department indicated that it considered there was some room for improvement in the Narcotics Bureau's current handling of informer operations.

Surveillance and Undercover Work

The Department stressed the importance of surveillance to all Narcotics Bureau operations, but particularly long term or in-depth investigations. The Department also commented on the time consuming nature of this work and the necessity for considerable skill and experience on the part of any investigator undertaking it.

The Department said the Narcotics Bureau attempts to maintain a balance in this type of work between the interests of the community on the one hand and the rights and privacy of the individual on the other. Although the Department asserted that the Bureau has and will make use of all means of surveillance legally available to enforcement officers, and provided the Commission in confidential session with details of the methods and techniques used, the Department also stressed that it

required officers engaged in surveillance to act within the framework of the law.

The need for the use, with appropriate safeguards, of telephone taps and listening devices was discussed by Departmental Secretary Mr M. A. Besley in his evidence of September 1978 (OT 16048--9). He indicated that an announcement earlier in the year by the Commonwealth Government that it would introduce legislation to enable Customs officers to use such devices and to tap phones had followed some five to seven years consideration of the matter.

Narcotics Bureau Commissioner Mr H. Bates told the Commission that undercover work for the Department is planned by the Narcotics Bureau and undertaken under its operational direction. Other evidence indicated most Narcotics Bureau officers at some time have been engaged in this type of work. Several undercover staff positions have been established in the Bureau since 1973 and undercover 'Q ' groups which could be involved in other information-gathering activities as well as surveillance have operated in Melbourne and Sydney and are supplmented by other staff as considered necessary.

Senior Departmental officers said that undercover operations are costly, difficult to staff, and very demanding on the officers involved because the long duration of some assignments could affect their domestic affairs and retard their career advancement. On the other hand, the Department said, experience had shown the value of maintaining



full-time undercover groups to collect information about criminal activity as a support to other operational Bureau groups.

The Department was of the opinion that undercover operations in themselves are unlikely to have major success against the high echelons of drug importing and trafficking groups and some senior Department officers saw problems in penetrating ethnic groups. Despite these

reservations, however, the Commission was told the Bureau will continue to use undercover operators, particularly against large-scale traffickers.

Bureau officers indicated the principal object of such operations would be not so much the penetration of the higher echelons of drug smuggling groups but rather the gathering of as much information as possible which could be used either in isolation or as a check on

information from other sources, such as criminal informers.

The Department also indicated that methods used in undercover work would be kept under continuing review.

Co-operation with other Australian agencies

Evidence made clear that the Narcotics Bureau's concern with the suppression of illegal drug importation involves a vast geographical area of operations and requires in many instances specialised skills and facilities not available within the Bureau itself.

Apart from the type of technical services already mentioned, many examples were quoted to the Commission of other agencies of the Commonwealth, States and Territories working in co-operation with the Bureau. These examples included both arrangements of some duration,

such as the exchange of information with police about criminal activities which might be associated with drugs, and arrangements for the execution of an operation directed against a particular drug importation or particular people involved in importation. A spectacular

example of this type of co-operation was the major contribution made by the Royal Australian Air Force in the Bureau's 'Operation Crest' in June 1978 when 2.7 tonnes of cannabis were seized in Australia from the yacht Anoa and another 1.9 tonnes were found on Pocklington Reef off the east Papua New Guinea coast.

International Liaison and Co-operation

Virtually all senior Departmental officers as well as Narcotics Bureau officers stressed the need for liaison and co-operation between international bodies attempting to combat drug trafficking.

In order to meet this need the Bureau's international activities have expanded considerably. As well as having its own officers stationed in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, the Bureau has developed



ithin its Operations Section various groups or sub-sections concerned with international liaison and, in some cases, the mounting of joint operations.

As mentioned earlier in this Chapter, the Bureau uses the

Commonwealth Police (now incorporated into the Australian Federal Police) as its link with the Interpol international police

communications network to liaise with those countries which themselves use the Interpol network as the preferred medium of communications.

Additionally, however, the Bureau also deals directly with many overseas law enforcement agencies within the South-East Asian Region and also with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the British Customs Service and New Scotland Yard.

Senior Departmental officers indicated that the stationing of Narcotics Bureau officers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia has facilitated close liaison and operational co-operation with the Bureau's counterparts in those countries. The Bureau also makes use of the services of Australian Customs representatives stationed in New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Auckland. In countries where there is no Bureau of Customs representation Australian diplomatic missions designate an officer to monitor local developments and liaise with local drug law enforcement bodies.

Particular mention was made of the liaison link with New Zealand. Bureau officers indicated there is virtually a daily dialogue between the Bureau's International Operations Sub-section and the New.Zealand National Drug Intelligence Bureau. Other evidence referred to the

development within this Sub-section of an embryonic intelligence capability designed to preclude the exchange of overmuch, low-grade or unassessed information.

Evidence outlined in Part IX which deals with international efforts to control drug abuse includes references to other Narcotics Bureau and Bureau of Customs involvement in international liaison and activities, such as representation at meetings of the Heads of Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies in the Asia region (HONLEA) and the recently formed Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting (CHOGRM) Working Group on Illicit Drugs.

Mr B. C. Bates, Assistant Commissioner (Operations) of the Narcotics Bureau told the Commission the HONLEA meetings had led to the

development of a 'stop and watch' list of suspected drug smugglers which is held by law enforcement agencies in South-East Asia.



hapter 4 The Narcotics Bureau: Criticisms and Responses

The preceding material is largely factual. It contains little

evaluative comment on the Commission's part, although some judgments are implicit in the organisation of the material. Its purpose is to

provide an introduction and a background to discussion of some of the more important issues relevant to the Narcotics Bureau arising in evidence before the Commission.

In summary, the Narcotics Bureau is a small, centralised

organisation operating throughout Australia as a largely autonomous unit within the Bureau of Customs. It has the principal role in all Customs efforts to prevent the illicit importation of drugs. It is also

responsible for services to the Bureau of Customs as a whole through its intelligence and information groups, the Central Information and Research Bureau (CIRB) and the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS), and to certain other agencies through its responsibility for

the PASS computerised passenger identification system.

The evidence left the Commission in no doubt that the Narcotics Bureau had been given a relatively high priority in the allocation of resources both by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and by the Commonwealth Government. This is not to say that the Commission is

satisfied that the Bureau has, or has had, the capacity or potential necessary to discharge its stated responsibilities.

Paragraph (e) of the Terms of Reference charges the Commission with examining the adequacy of existing law enforcement, including arrangements for co-operation among law enforcement agencies. It was thus necessary for the Commission to examine and assess the performance of the Narcotics Bureau in the role which it had been assigned.

Some criticisms of the Narcotics Bureau and its performance emerged from the evidence. The most frequent of these may be summarised under the following headings:

* Members of the Narcotics Bureau are public servants and not


* The Narcotics Bureau has too narrow a legislative base and is too small;

* Failure of co-operation and lack of 'feedback' information;

* Narrow career structure;

* Poor leadership and Central Office control, with insufficient regional autonomy; *

* Unwarranted claims for credit;


* Poor training and inexperience.

Many of these criticisms were voiced by witnesses giving evidence at hearings around Australia in the first six months of 1978. Witnesses who made them in both open and confidential session came from both inside and outside the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and Bureau of Customs.

While the criticisms concerned many aspects of the Bureau of Customs law enforcement activities in relation to drugs, the most trenchant were those directed towards the operations of the Narcotics Bureau.

Departmental Response Invited

In order to afford the Department and the Narcotics Bureau in particular the opportunity to rebut these criticisms, Senior Counsel advised Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department, by letter dated 23 June 1978, that criticisms had been made, and invited the Department to make a response. This and subsequent correspondence between the Commission and the Department outlined particular points of criticism

in order that the Department might have the fullest possible opportunity of being aware of them consistent with the Commission's obligation of not breaching the confidentiality in which many of the criticisms had been made. Matters mentioned included those listed above.

A special sitting of the Commission was held at Brisbane commencing on 19 September 1978 at which the following 12 officers of the

Department gave evidence:

Mr M. A. Besley;

Mr J. W. Cahill, First Assistant Secretary, Operations Division, Bureau of Customs;

Mr F. I. Kelly, Assistant Secretary, Management Services Branch, Bureau of Customs;

Mr H. Bates, Commissioner, Narcotics Bureau;

Mr B. C. Bates, Director, Enforcement and Operations Section, Narcotics Bureau;

Mr D. J. Scullion, Director, Information and Intelligence Section, Narcotics Bureau;

Mr D. J. Schramm, Assistant Director, National Enforcement Section, Narcotics Bureau;

Mr J. G. Keating, Chief Inspector, Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group, Narcotics Bureau;

Mr G. E. Sheen, Collector of Customs, NSW;



r J . G. Gallagher, Senior Assistant Collector of Customs (Services Branch), NSW;

Mr R. P. McMahon, Chief Inspector (Special Services), Bureau of Customs, NSW;

Mr D. J. Smedley, Director, Applications Section, Automatic Data Processing Branch, Central Office.

In addition to the evidence of these officers, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs made the third of its four written submissions to the Commission (the fourth was tendered on 4 September, 1979, during the Commission's last hearings in Canberra). During the September 1978 hearings, Mr J. B. Thomas Q.C. obtained leave to appear and did so for the above-mentioned Departmental officers and for other Departmental officers.

Evidence given by these witnesses in confidential and open hearings between 19 September and 4 October 1978 and in subsequent hearings is dealt with in the following sections of this Chapter.

The Commission felt that these Department witnesses, when speaking of the Bureau of Customs as distinct from the Narcotics Bureau, did sufficiently answer critics. While some of the criticisms expressed about the Narcotics Bureau were answered satisfactorily, many others were not.

In a letter dated 11 October 1978, Mr V. B. McMullan, Federal Secretary-Treasurer of the Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers), requested permission for Association officials to give evidence before the Commission on behalf of its members, which

included officers of the Narcotics Bureau. The Commission replied by letter dated 26 October 1978 that it welcomed the Association's interest and with Departmental Secretary Mr Besley's prior agreement, enclosed for the Association's information a copy of the 23 June 1978 letter to the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs summarising the

substance of the critical evidence given to the Commission in relation to the Bureau of Customs and the Narcotics Bureau in particular (OT 20813).

On 1 March 1979 the Association appeared before the Commission in the person of Mr G. R. Ihlein, the Association's Senior Industrial Research Officer, and Mr T. J. Mullaly, Acting Regional Commander of the Narcotics Bureau's Eastern Region, who appeared as an individual Association member. At the same time a written submission from the

Association was tendered in evidence.

The submission and supporting evidence concentrated on aspects of Narcotics Bureau officers' duties in a manner similar to the

presentation of a work value case in an industrial jurisdiction. It



hed little light on the question of the effectiveness of the Narcotics Bureau as a whole.

In the consideration which follows a number of heads are adopted to assist discussion. Inevitably there is considerable overlapping of the evidence among them.


It has become apparent that persons who, by any standards, would be classified as criminals are now deeply engaged in the illegal trade in drugs. The Department itself stated in its second submission to the Commission:

Increasingly those engaged in the drug traffic and its organisation are criminals; criminals well educated in the risks, their rights and the powers of enforcement. They shield behind their rights and carry on their activities obeying no rule of law whilst the enforcement officer is forced to counteract criminal activity within the bounds of law and administrative policy.

(OT 1762)

The evidence received from police officers at the Commission's concluding sittings in the capital cities of Australia emphasised not only an increase in the availability of heroin and an increased propensity to violence among those engaged in drug trafficking, but also

the increasing identification of known criminals being engaged in the illegal production, importation, and trafficking of drugs.

It is desirable that criminal activities be investigated by police and not by public servants. One of the reasons the Commonwealth Police (Compol) never developed into a first-class police force is that so many areas of Commonwealth criminal investigation are the preserve of public servants. This perhaps could be defended where the only criminal activity of a suspect may lie in the matter being investigated. It is indefensible where the suspects being investigated are clearly involved in other criminal activities. It was generally accepted that the work of narcotics investigators was of the kind generally performed in Australia by police. Although it does not lie entirely within the Terms of Reference of this Commission, this is a matter to which careful consideration must be given in the development of Compol's successor, the Australian Federal Police force. In the effort to find that force work it should not be made to investigate the one Commonwealth car

stolen this month in Sydney when the NSW State Police is investigating hundreds of car thefts a month. On the other hand, where breaches of immigration laws, quarantine laws, or any other Commonwealth laws, including the Crimes Act, are being committed by persons who are criminals, then the Australian Federal Police should have the responX sibility of undertaking that investigation.



rolonged specialisation in investigating one area of lucrative crime is bad for the officer concerned. Temptations will be great but the capacity of his superiors to transfer him to other areas of activity can remove him from temptation before he succumbs. If he is corrupt but it cannot be proved against him, he can be removed to an area where his suspected corruption can have a minimal adverse consequence. The Commission is satisfied that police disciplinary procedures are more suitable for preventing, identifying and dealing with corruption than are public service procedures.

A police force has many sections or squads which deal with

particular types of criminal activity. The information obtained by one squad may be most important to another although the only connection between the two is 'crime'. Policemen spend their working life

cultivating contacts useful in investigating crime.

Another matter which seems to the Commission to be worthy of

emphasis is that a policeman stands in law in a position quite different from a public servant. The law gives to every policeman certain special powers. Although the policeman and the public servant each have responsibilities to their superiors within their organisations, it is

only the policeman who has a dichotomy of responsibilities and duties. In the event of a conflict between his responsibility to his

organisation and his responsibility to the courts, the policeman must, according to the law, put first the discharge of his responsibilities to the courts. The community has the three classic organs of

Government-- the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. The community exercises control over the police by the operation of all three of these organs of government; the extraordinary powers which the policeman has have been given him only because they are regularly

supervised by the Judiciary.

The whole question of specialisation was fully investigated by the Commission. It seems particularly attractive to have specialists. On the other hand, the more criminals who engage in drug trafficking, the more necessary it is to have police to deal with drug trafficking. The police must be regarded as the specialists in dealing with criminals. An economy of effort then occurs in investigating the criminal

activities; non-drug crime as well as drug crime is grist to the police mill. Presently this does not happen in Commonwealth law enforcement.

There is a specialisation which Narcotics Bureau officers may never know. That is specialisation in police work. The advantage of a police background is considerable. Before a man becomes a detective

investigating serious crime in a State or Territorial force, he will have served in uniform and he will have usually served in a variety of places and fulfilled a variety of functions. Usually he will have investigated many minor matters and he will have given evidence in court many times. Before he becomes a detective his experience is many-sided.

His losses in court as well as his successes will have taught him a lot about interrogation, use of informers, preparation of statements and demeanour in court. He is attentive to any breach of the law, not merely to a breach of one special law. He has cultivated contacts



in crime investigation. On the other hand, the Customs

Preventive Officer usually has the law-breaker come to him on his home ground. Such an officer undoubtedly develops great skills in searching baggage and cargo and in gauging intuitively the correct subject for a search. If he detects a substance on a passenger, the importation of which is prohibited, there is immediately a strong case against the passenger. The only defence open to the passenger is that the substance was introduced into his belongings without his knowledge or that he has the substance independently of his will.

Specialisation has bred an unjustified elitism in the Narcotics Bureau. One of the worst consequences of this is the failure to share information with State police officers. Information is too readily labelled 'covert'. According to evidence before the Commission, a claim is often made by the Bureau that it has an ongoing operation and other agencies are therefore excluded from dealing with criminal activites originally identified by them. Efforts are made by the Narcotics Bureau to take over or direct operations of which it knows little or nothing.

A problem mentioned to the Commission in the context of comparing the Narcotics Bureau with a police force was the relatively narrow range of the Bureau's interests in crime in comparison with that of a police force. It was suggested that this limited the Bureau's perspective and did not promote the overall efficiency of law enforcement. One Narcotics Bureau officer, during a discussion concerning the Bureau's

charter, acknowledged that the Bureau could not follow through investigations that revealed criminal activity unrelated to imported drugs. Questioned on whether inquiries into other areas were pursued he answered:

No. We sort of delve into that, find that is going on, and shy off it, and get back into drugs. (CT)

He went on to explain that a system existed for supervising officers in the Bureau to refer cases outside the Bureau's charter to State police.

The questioning proceeded:

(Question) So it would be better if your charter allowed you to go into that investigation, whatever crime it might be; even though it is now proved to be not drugs, it would be better if you could continue with it?-- (Answer) Then you are creating an Australia Police.

(Question) Or something?-- (Answer) Like the term 'Australia Police', where we not only have the Customs Act to work under but we have other Acts?



uestion) Yes. It would be a much more efficient system, would it not?-- (Answer) Yes, it would be. But you would have to have a big Force. Even with our present Force you just

could not afford to do it. (CT)

The fact that the Narcotics Bureau is a public service unit rather than a police-type organisation was adverted to by numerous witnesses both in and outside the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs as an element impeding efficiency and effectiveness. Much of this evidence was given by present-serving officers.

Lack of Police Powers

A number of witnesses gave evidence that Narcotics Bureau officers, not being police officers, lacked powers that are given to the latter to execute warrants, arrest and detain suspects. Mr J. A. Travers, Regional Commander of the Bureau's Western Region, said:

It is also my view that officers of the Narcotics Bureau should have special powers. Although I have been created a special constable, Narcotics Bureau officers are not police officers

and suffer the following disadvantages:

1. They are unable to arrange their own extraditions.

2. They are unable to execute warrants which in most States can only be done by a police officer.

3. They do not have the wider powers of arrest of a police


4. In my view there is a need for discipline within the law enforcement section of the Customs Bureau in line with the type of discipline of the Police Force and away from the Public Service image.

(OT 641)

In confidential evidence some of the other Departmental witnesses agreed generally with these views. Another witness in confidential session pointed to the restrictions inherent in the fact that Narcotics Bureau investigators were not 'police', 'constables', or 'members of a police force' as defined in numerous Acts. As a consequence, many officers operating under the Customs Act have to seek the assistance of

the police to enter, search, arrest, and seize, and to use powers conferred on police generally.

Whilst the wide power to search given to Narcotics Bureau officers under the Customs Act was valued, the limited power of arrest was seen as a great disadvantage by virtually all witnesses.

The question of the esteem in which the Bureau was held by other law enforcement agencies both overseas and in Australia was the subject of differing views. 1 On the one hand, the Department of Business and


Consumer Affairs claimed that the Narcotics Bureau was highly regarded; on the other, witnesses from outside the Bureau, almost invariably, and some Bureau officers in confidential evidence, asserted that the Bureau was not held in high esteem by like organisations, basically because it was not a police force.

The Commission heard from many witnesses, several of them police officers and Narcotics Bureau.officers who were former police officers, that public service discipline is ill-suited to any organisation which is involved in a police function. As has already been indicated, one aspect of this contention which seemed to the Commission to have considerable weight was the ability within a large police force to transfer out of a particular section any officer whose conduct and actions showed he was ill-suited for the particular type of work in that section, or about whom the possibility or signs of corruption were becoming manifest.

In confidential session a senior public servant said:

Discipline, which is another point we touched on, and which I asked whether or not we might cover in this particular session: I think some would suggest that there is a need for a paraX military-type discipline in an organisation such as the Narcotics Bureau; and some would suggest, as I think was suggested in a note that came to us, that public service-type processes are inappropriate.


The Narcotics Bureau Police Handbook which contains instructions on conduct was tendered. It has no force of itself and breaches of the instructions can be dealt with only insofar as they are breaches of Public Service Regulations. Mr H. Bates stated that dismissal of an officer for breach of the Handbook's provisions was not an alternative to prosecution ( O T 6844B). In earlier evidence he said that the Bureau had developed a disciplinary code which was more stringent than the disciplinary provisions of the Public Service Act and was rigidly applied.


The Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, Mr M. A. Besley, described the primary task of the Narcotics Bureau as that of conducting major investigations into illicit drug trafficking. The second major task was to assess intelligence on illicit drug trafficking and importations. It was apparent to the Commission from an early stage in its proceedings that the Narcotics Bureau is founded on an

insufficient legislative base, viz. Sections 233A and 233B of the Customs Act. These two sections prohibit the importation of certain goods. Illegal drugs are prohibited imports. It is unrealistic to restrict an enforcement body to action against imported drugs. Traffickers in Australia do not usually observe any specialisation; they deal in locally-produced drugs as readily as they deal in imported



rugs. Most traffickers also engage in other unlawful activities quite unconnected with drugs.

Surveillance Manpower Demands

The discharge of the Narcotics Bureau's functions requires much surveillance of suspects. Surveillance consumes a great deal of time and manpower.

It was clear from evidence coming from more than one enforcement body that the maintenance of visual surveillance upon a subject moving about a city may require many officers. If the officers conducting the surveillance do not know any pattern of movement followed by the subject and if they may be required to follow and identify persons with whom the

subject makes contact, at least eight men at one time might be needed. Over a 24 - hour period, as many as 20 officers might be needed to

maintain effective surveillance upon a suspect. If one assumes that there are in different places in Australia three suspects requiring such surveillance at the one time, as many as sixty men per day could be required. This amounts to 40 per cent of the total investigatory staff, taken at 150, of the Narcotics Bureau. At the same time normal

investigations must be continued by other officers.

The Narcotics Bureau recently obtained an increase in its powers to intercept telephonic communications. This power does seem necessary to defeat drug traffickers. To maintain a telephone tap effectively for 24 hours a day requires three men if each man works a shift of eight hours.

The tabulation below sets out by State and Territory the population of Australia in relation to police force and drug squad strengths, as at 30 June 1977.

Police Drug

Population Force Squad

NSW 4 955 000 8959 35

Victoria 3 781 500 6663 12

Queensland 2 138 600 3744 20

SA 1 277 200 3216 22

WA 1 197 300 2345 19

Tasmania 410 700 1026 12

A.C.T. 208 500 549 9

NT 105 500 451 3

Australia 14 074 300 26 953 132

Although the total drug squad strength is listed as 132 it is not this statistic that must be compared with the Narcotics Bureau's 150 investigators. The true figure is 26 953, for the policemen not in a drug squad are of great importance in drug law enforcement. They obtain a large amount of information at 'grass roots' level and are dispersed over a large area.' They provide extra manpower where it is needed.



in 1978 totalled 2100 staff members but, as has already been remarked, this force was not allowed to investigate drug smugglers.

On 16 August 1979 the Eastern Region of the Narcotics Bureau had only 40 operative personnel. The rest were absent because of sickness or because they were on leave, while four were members of the Joint Task Force (an investigatory team set up at the initiative of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs and the New South Wales Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking). The Eastern Region has a specialist

five-man surveillance team, the 'S .Q .' unit, but as the Acting Regional Commander, Mr T . J. Mullaly, told the Commission on 16 August 1979:

...in a major twenty-four hour surveillance they just cannot cover it. (CT)

Mr Mullaly said that 10 of the officers in Sydney were working almost full-time on intelligence, five on the S.Q. Surveillance Unit, four at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport and a couple more at the seaports and at Parcels Post. He pointed out that fewer than twenty were

available for general operations. It must also be expected that officers will be required to spend a considerable amount of time about the courts once a charge has been brought.

A Senior Narcotics Bureau officer then stationed in Sydney gave the following evidence:

(Question) You just do not have enough men to do the job you are trying to do at the moment, that is what you are really telling us, are you not?-- (Answer) Well, I think you would find every law enforcement unit telling you that.

(Question) Yes, but I am talking about you, that is what you are telling us too?-- (Answer) Yes, that is right. (CT)

The Commission received evidence that there have been many occasions when lack of staff permitted some suspect to escape surveillance or contributed to some other operational failure. One such instance quoted in evidence occurred during January 1978. The Narcotics Bureau was then associated with investigations of three major importations of cannabis resin (hashish). On or about 3 January 1978, Michael Dzialowski's Renault motor car arrived in South Australia from Bombay in the Μ V Vishva Vibhuti and on or about 9 January Helmut Hanke's Renault, which was in the same vessel, arrived from Bombay in Melbourne (Open Exhibits

487 and 488). On 12 December 1977 the American 'grandmothers' Mesdames Bessire and Hayes collected their Mercedes Benz campervan in Melbourne. They drove north to New South Wales and during December and January travelled around parts of that State (Confidential Exhibit 313). The Narcotics Bureau desired to keep each of these three vehicles under observation to see whether contact occurred between the hashish detected

in all three vehicles and the persons who had organised the


importations; it was believed that Dzialowski, Hanke, Bessire and Hayes were not the masterminds of the importations. Some inept

investigational procedures by the Narcotics Bureau in the Dzialowski case were the subject of trenchant criticism made confidentially to the Commission. In response to the Commission's expressions of concern about the Dzialowski case, on 2 October 1978 Mr H. Bates defended the Narcotics Bureau's conduct in the following words:

(Question) Is there anything else you want to say?-- (Answer) No. I think on my examination of the Dzialowski case, I don't agree with the magistrate in respect of the vehicle being allowed to proceed to the South Australian/Victorian border. That was certainly not the choice of the investigators

concerned in the case. That was a direction that they had received, and that is clearly shown in the documents that I have examined.

(Question) Who gave them that direction?-- (Answer) That was coming from Melbourne, because they, too, were at that time working on the Hanke van and the objective of the investigation was to see whether the shipments were being co-ordinated by a

group in Sydney and that in fact the vehicles would end up in possession of the same people in Sydney.

(Question) If you are going to keep him under surveillance, let four or five days elapse while the vehicle is cleared; you follow him to the Victorian border; why pick him up then?-Why not let him go on to Melbourne?-- (Answer) The answer was

simple again on that, that staff resources ran out because at the same time the Hanke van was being moved and also the

grannies had started their activity as well, and so there was a limit.

(Question) You can't stand two importation investigations at once?-- (Answer) Not of that size.

Whoever was in charge of the operation decided that he couldn't provide the support necessary to maintain the twenty-four hours surveillance.

(Question) He would have to get that instruction from Canberra before he called that off, wouldn't he?-- (Answer) He may well have done.

(Question) Because if you had these three going at the one time?-- (Answer) 1 would think that the decision was that if


they were continuing overnight, there just wasn't sufficient resources to handle it. (CT)

■Although it was necessary that the surveillance be secret, the fact remains that it was merely necessary to ensure that three motor vehicles were kept constantly under secret observation for a period of certainly days and possibly weeks. The Commission was told that it is quite a common occurrence for police forces in Australia to undertake this type of surveillance. In keeping the movements of the American

1 grandmothers' under surveillance the Narcotics Bureau had the assistance of two Army helicopters. The fact that the Narcotics Bureau cannot cope with three operations of this nature at the one time is cause for great concern and suggests that smugglers would be well advised to import in groups.

The Commander of the Bureau's Southern Region, Mr D . J . Mitchell, was in nominal command of the Dzialowski operation, although it was being overseen from Canberra. In evidence to the Commission he offered no explanation why the assistance of State police was not sought in maintaining surveillance of Dzialowski. Mr D . J. Schramm, Assistant Director of National Enforcement, Narcotics Bureau, Canberra, had been overseeing the operation from Canberra. He explained in evidence (OT

17003 and following) that the reason for not arresting Dzialowski when he took possession of the Renault was to endeavour to discover the person to whom he would deliver the cannabis concealed in the motor vehicle. The reason for terminating the surveillance was not just that

the Narcotics Bureau did not have the resources. In addition he said: 'We lacked leads as to where it was going to go':

(Question) But that is the whole point. That is all the more reason why you want to maintain surveillance. If you had no idea where he was going to go, you would be very interested in following it. If you had a good idea where it was going to go, you would just go and wait at the other end? (Answer) Yes, but you have got to have some objective. One can follow a van around for a long time, and we were learning this ourselves with the other operation, that unless you have some degree of

intelligence to point you in a direction and give you an area in which you can concentrate your resources, you are tending to fly very much by the seat of your pants. ' (OT 17004)

Mr Schramm also furnished no satisfactory explanation for not enlisting State police assistance.


A police force cannot operate successfully without information or ' intelligence' as it is usually called. The Narcotics Bureau is no exception. It has depended heavily on other organisations for this assistance but at an operational level it has failed to cultivate those who provide it.


It must be remembered that the Royal Australian Air Force has borne a large part of the surveillance effort off Australia's coast. A senior RAAF officer gave confidential evidence in mid-1979 that little more was heard of information that RAAF Orion crews passed on to Customs. He


It was a major problem, and if we saw something of interest on a beach or on a reef, and we landed at an airfield that night, we would not be told to go back to that, but to proceed on our task as though no party had even received our red or our purple

form and yet the crew that was going out the next week would be briefed specifically to go to this reef to look for the target. So it was of some importance, although it did not appear so at the time.


He went on to discuss the disadvantages of this, particularly in relation to the morale of aircrew. He said that the situation had improved considerably in 1979 and that he had become personally very pleased with the feedback. (Other evidence available to the Commission demonstrated that this improvement had been caused by the work of an RAAF representative on the working party for the Department of Transport's Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre which is discussed below).

In the specific reference to the Bureau of Customs the RAAF officer said that Bureau tended to look at everything purely on a need-to-know basis and would not give any information unless it felt that there was a requirement for the RAAF to know it at the time.

Similar evidence was received about the Bureau's working

relationship with the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre which was set up in 1978 to improve the national capacity for surveillance of Australia's northern coast. The Department of Transport has the responsibility for running this Centre and the Bureau of Customs has a

critical interest in some of the information gathered by the Centre. However the Commission heard evidence that the Centre never received any intimation from the Bureau of Customs as to whether information

passed on to it by the Centre was of value or not. If this is correct, it is inimical to the proper conduct of a surveillance centre that the people who are passing in information are not advised whether such information is useful or not. They will never learn what to look for

and they will soon lose interest.

It must be stressed that although witnesses were talking about the Bureau of Customs, they were really referring to the Narcotics Bureau within which the Bureau of Customs' Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) is located. On numerous occasions the Commission received

complaints in ' confidential evidence from officers employed in other areas of the Bureau of Customs and from State police forces that they had received no reaction in respect of information they had supplied to the Narcotics Bureau.


A senior Narcotics Bureau intelligence officer at Central Office, in discussing the exchange of intelligence, was asked:

(Question) One gets the impression that unless information is two way it is very quickly cut off from both sources?--

(Answer) Yes, they feel you are just a free-loader on the market.

(Question) There are allegations and counter allegations coming from your Bureau that it is all one way traffic-- as I say, allegations and counter allegations?-- (Answer) I think that in Bangkok, largely due to the personality of a senior officer there, it is still very much two way.

(Question) I was talking more of Australia?-- (Answer) In Australia and I think with sister agencies outside Australia it has deteriorated definitely. I think we are being given castX off information whereas possibly three years ago we were being given current information.

(Question) Is that because you have not given back in

return?-- (Answer) I think so---either that or we have not indicated the use we have made of a previous supply and so they do not know whether we are making use of it or not. (CT)

In a confidential submission a witness from the Commonwealth Police Force drew attention to the lack of feedback received from the Narcotics Bureau in response to items of information which the force had supplied. For the period to which he referred, the force had received feedback on only 24 items out of a total of 66. In subsequent evidence the

Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau commented, without explaining the lack of feedback, that much of the information being supplied was of minimal value in practice.

A submission to the Commission by Acting Superintendent R. E. Dixon of the Commonwealth Police Force contained the following passage:

In the fight against drug trafficking it is of primordial importance that all law enforcement activities be co-ordinated at a national level and it is only when national effort is fully co-ordinated that any real success can be achieved in the international field.

(OT 116)

The viewpoint which this expresses was not questioned or contested before the Commission.

A number of witnesses recognised the impediment that security considerations imposed on co-operation, e .g ., from the point of view of



t being necessary to safeguard the identity of informants. The Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau also emphasised the need to maintain security of information relating to the Bureau's continuing activities.

Mr J. A. Travers, Regional Commander of the Narcotics Bureau's Western Region, explained the basic problem when he said:

There is obviously a lot of information that is not exchanged and in isolation is meaningless. For example, if we receive a piece of information unless we can identify it or raise the

matter with some other law enforcement agency without exposing our own sources of information and thereby endangering the informant, the information simply remains within our own records. Because law enforcement in Australia is so fragmented

(six State Police Forces, one Commonwealth Police Force, Narcotics Bureau and other agencies), much information which would paint a substantial picture if put together simply lies unused in individual records.

(OT 640)

Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and

Consumer Affairs, indicated when appearing before the Commission in September 1978 that he had been unaware of any dissatisfaction on the part of State police with the co-operation they had received from the Bureau, or with the supply of information provided by the Bureau. The

Bureau's submission on this occasion contained the following passage:

The Narcotics Bureau has established a reputation at the international level as an effective enforcement group, as instanced by the regular exchange of information and

intelligence and participation in investigation operations with a number of countries. The placement of narcotics officers overseas and regular visits by officers to overseas countries for liaison and intelligence purposes has enhanced the

international standing of the Narcotics Bureau.

There have been some instances of lack of co-operation between the Narcotics Bureau and the Commonwealth and State Police Forces. In the Department's view, this is attributable to faults on both sides which should not be seen as anything more

than differences arising from personality traits of individual officers and an understandable competitive spirit. It would be fair to claim that this also occurs between different police forces.

On the broader scale of co-operation, the Department contends that there is marked evidence to show that reciprocity and agreement operates at the Federal and State level.



irstly, the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence which involves both Federal and State officers and is sponsored by the respective governments is a good example of co-operative effort which has been translated down to operational levels in the enforcement groups.

Secondly, the Narcotics Bureau has been involved in many joint exercises with police forces, which have been brought to successful conclusions. Some details have already been conveyed to the Commission.

Thirdly, there are established procedures for the regular twoX way exchanges of information between operational enforcement units. Police drug squads will attest to the generally good relationships which exist with the Narcotics Bureau.

(OT 16070— 71)

Mr Besley's evidence was in context of the Commission having raised with the Department its concern that a number of officers of State police forces had, in confidential evidence, expressed views indicating that they were not prepared to co-operate with the Narcotics Bureau because of the attitude of that Bureau and because of considerations of the way in which that Bureau sought to control operations in which it became involved. For example, one State police officer, having indicated in open evidence that his drug squad's co-operation with the Bureau was satisfactory, said in confidential evidence:

We still co-operate with the Narcotics Bureau. I wouldn't say that there is any direct animosity, but there is a certain feeling amongst detectives---put it this way-- that some of

their agents are not efficient. (CT)

The Commission has no doubt, on a review of the whole of the

evidence, that the attitude inherent in that statement is widespread among police forces and indeed has become increasingly widespread in recent times. It is also the view of the Commission that one of the elements giving rise to these undesirable relationships is the Bureau's tendency to label information as 'covert' and, on that basis, to decline to co-operate with another agency even in cases when that other agency has been primarily responsible for the initiation of the investigation.


The evidence indicates that the size of the Narcotics Bureau in itself restricts opportunities for variety of work, job rotation and promotion.

Mr H. Bates, Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau, told the Commission:

In the interests of officer development, all Bureau personnel are rotated through various facets of the Bureau's operations.



romotional opportunities do exist but the size of the Bureau precludes these from being as frequent as those in the larger enforcement agencies. All promotions are awarded on merit. (CT)

A Narcotics Bureau Regional Commander commented that the restricted opportunities for advancement resulted in substantial wastage of senior personnel. Another Narcotics Bureau witness, however, felt that promotional limitations that might exist did not rule out a varied and

interesting career within the Bureau. Evidence from police who commented on the issue universally commended the practice of rotation over a wide range of enforcement areas, both for staff development and as a security measure to avoid possible corruption. Some witnesses

further stated that rotation and exchange gave officers a wide appreciation of each job and the opportunities of making wider contacts on a personal basis.

In its September 1978 submission to the Commission, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs commented on career opportunities as follows:

Career opportunities for investigative staff are not seen to be narrow in the Bureau of Customs. These range from major

criminal investigation in narcotics, fauna investigations and commercial fraud to less intensive control, inquiry and prevention related work.

The Narcotics Bureau sits as a specialist unit within the broader area of the Customs organisation. This provides a dual perspective to the breadth of career opportunity in the Narcotics Bureau,

. in terms of the whole of Customs; and

. confined solely to the Narcotics organisation.

Despite the somewhat narrow specialisation and the relatively high level of base recruitment, there is scope for work

diversity such as overseas postings, undercover assignments, intelligence and liaison activity. This situation seems to parallel career opportunities in specialised police areas e .g ., fraud, homicide and vice.

(OT 16102--03)

The Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers) commented that while 'the career structure for Bureau officers may be a bit limited in terms of employment opportunities... it is not correct to suggest that Narcotics Officers stay too long in one area of operation'. The Association supported this claim by referring to 1 substantial

rotation of Bureau officers between widely different activities' in narcotics investigations and secondment and transfer arrangements with the Customs Detection Section (a section primarily concerned with flora and fauna). The'Association also claimed that it was wrong to suggest



'frequent transfers' between squads would increase investigative ability and emphasised the 'unique' nature of Customs narcotics investigation and prevention work.


A former Narcotics Bureau officer, now holding a senior position in another organisation attested in confidential evidence that the Bureau had suffered from 'bad management right from the early days'. He said:

...I believe they are under bad control, bad leadership... It is just that the principles and philosophies they follow are not, in my opinion, the way to tackle the problem. (CT)

A senior counsel who had conducted a prosecution for the Narcotics Bureau and whose opinions Mr. Besley recommended the Commission should seek, said:

...a number of the senior people of the rank of Commander and above, and indeed Inspector and above, were cursing about the role Canberra had played in the whole matter, and they readily, with a degree of candour that surprised me, they readily

conceded that they had been so frustrated by the instructions they had been receiving that it had destroyed morale, hence the high level of resignations. (CT)

Another former officer of the Bureau, referring to morale, said:

During my 20 years of law enforcement I have never seen such lack of team work or camaraderie as is exhibited within the Bureau. (CT)

A senior Narcotics Bureau officer still with the Department conceded that the Bureau's morale had suffered ups and downs, but attributed it to such things as changes in administrative arrangements rather than to internal factors such as management.

Allegations directed at the Bureau's management included claims of personal favouritism and victimisation in selection and promotion of staff, and poor administrative planning. Many examples were provided.

Detailed allegations of favouritism and victimisation in promotion were made to the Commission from witnesses located both within and outside the Narcotics Bureau.



fter contending that staff selection should be looked at more carefully, a former officer of the Narcotics Bureau said:

It promotes a lot of ill will, this promotion not by seniority but what is supposed to be merit, but what turns out to be who you know, not what you know. (CT)

In similar vein, a serving Narcotics Bureau officer said:

Well, some fellows that have this close association with high- ranking officers do rise to fame, and others who have a close association with not high-ranking officers but the middle of the structure, because of that association they are held back.


Evidence from senior Departmental officers denied the existence of favouritism. Whilst there appeared to be grounds for concern in some of the allegations of favouritism, the Commission did not see it as its function to investigate them, taking a great deal of time on what was very much a side issue. The fact that witnesses persisted in such

allegations is itself a ground for concern.

One criticism frequently made was that there was too little regional autonomy and too much interference from Central Office in Canberra. This was denied by the Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau and some other Departmental officers. The Commission has no doubt that from an

operational point of view Central Office does interfere and that its interference is often detrimental. A police force is not a public service department where centralisation of control is desirable to ensure uniformity of administration throughout a large country. There

has been insufficient differentiation in the Commonwealth field between an administrative department and a police force. The word 1 enforcement' has been used too readily. Every part of the Executive, in

administering legislation, might properly be described as an 1 enforcement' body in that it enforces parts of that legislation. A police force is charged with enforcing all criminal law. A policeman owes duties to the courts as well as to his organisation. The

historical Commonwealth attitude in having public service investigators in so many different departments has obscured the distinction between police functions and general administrative functions.

What a police force needs is:

* the setting from the centre of general strategies and priorities so that the whole force is working towards the same goal, and

* the appropriate regional autonomy in operations to achieve that goal.

One opinion given in confidential session by a Narcotics Bureau Central Office officer in 1979 was:



think we have never had a director of operations. We have never had a person in a position or with the not

'motivation', but the strength to draw everything together and say, 'We are going to go for this and that, and leave this and leave the other' and draw it together on a national basis. What we have tended to do, I think, is to let the regional

offices go at their own targets, and then we start what I call nit-picking at them and say, 'You have gone wrong there and made a mess of this and that.' I would like to see it being

done the other way around, where the control and responsibility comes from the centre, and the regions being told what the national objectives are and are left to get on in their own way. Certain things have to be done in terms of reporting to

central bases.

(Question) Any other aspects of that matter of directional leadership that you want to expand for us?-- (Answer) It is very subjective. I am just a fairly minor person in the

Bureau. I have got fairly strong views and I have voiced them within the Bureau. I think it comes back to-- apart from

personalities, which is always an aspect, I suppose, it comes back to this operation within the Public Service milieu, and I do not think one can effectively operate an enforcement agency within the Public Service. That is what it comes down to.

(Question) Does that mean that the future of the Narcotics Bureau, as you see it, is being integrated into a police force?-- (Answer) An effective police force, or some statutory or semi-statutory authority.

(Question) Divorced from the restraints of the Public

Service?-- (Answer) Yes.

(Question) Whether it is another police force within itself, or whether it is tacked on to another efficient police force?--(Answer) Yes.

(Question) It has got to have a police discipline, do you feel?-- (Answer) Definitely; discipline and, if possible, maintain the flexibility that exists at the moment. It is quite useful.

(Question) On this question of centralised intelligence and proper planning on a national-wide basis, there have been a lot of complaints of, as you say, nit-picking or non-co-operation for the man on the spot; that there is too much holding him back without controlling him?-- (Answer) That is it. The

resentment has been allowed to build up, because whatever positive is done-- this is what the men in the region on the street feel-- whatever he does positive, he is going to be criticised.



uestion) Yet they do not tell him what to do?-- (Answer) No. I would prefer to tell a region and tell a man what we know, and say, 'This is your part of it. Now, go to it.' This has

not happened.


Many complaints were made from varying sources concerning the lack of autonomy for Regional Commanders in matters that witnesses considered important. As one former Regional Commander said in confidential evidence:

I was called a Regional Commander which has the sound of

authority. I was paid the salary of a person in authority but I really did not have a lot of authority... in so many

operational areas it was frustrating to me in my position having to go to Canberra every time I wanted to make an

operational move.


He went on to stress the difficulty of obtaining decisions from Canberra where his superiors appeared to be ultra-cautious and a decision would be put off if any doubt was raised.

This line of argument was strongly contested by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. The Department acknowledged a need for Regional autonomy which it claimed was granted subject to a need for centralised control due to the specialist nature of narcotics work and

its wide and extensive ramifications on a national as well as an

international basis.

The criticism made of the Narcotics Bureau that there was too little Regional autonomy and too much Central Office interference was typified by an example in early 1979, details of which were given to the

Commission in confidential session.

State police were liaising with a Regional Commander of the

Narcotics Bureau concerning a group of persons who intended to import heroin into the capital city of a State. The police wanted the courier and his escort to be allowed to pass through Customs and suggested to the Regional Commander that the importers be met at the airport by a police undercover agent, who had spent a long time insinuating himself

into the confidence of the group, and taken with the drugs in a taxi driven by a policeman impersonating a taxi driver to a house in a suburb where the group was to meet and divide the heroin. The taxi would be kept constantly under police surveillance and the house watched as

members of the group assembled there. The Regional Commander supported the plan of the State police. Evidence was given that the police had spent a lot of time in its investigations of the group and the Narcotics Bureau knew nothing about the planned importation until approached by

the police.


Central Office of the Narcotics Bureau in Canberra decreed that the group's courier and an escort be stopped and searched at the airport. On discovery of drugs they were to be charged by Narcotics Bureau officers for breach of the Customs Act and interrogated by them. The police force might have an observer present at this interview but he was

to ask no questions.

The State police had nearly 200 pages of type-written material as a basis for questioning the courier and the escort, whereas the Narcotics Bureau had nothing.


The media are continuously looking for sensational stories and drug smuggling is a favourite topic. One could sympathise with public servants approached by the media to comment upon law enforcement measures. Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Secretary, Mr M. A. Besley, pointed out difficulties in this regard and said that there was a long-standing instruction in the Department issued by him that people are not to speak to the press. He said the Department was happy to respond to the press if they asked certain things in a low key, non- attributable way and that he had occasionally written a note to Narcotics Bureau Commissioner Mr H. Bates saying:

Look, you know the instruction. I don't want you being



He conceded that many, many statements attributed to Mr Bates had appeared in newspapers and adverted to one occasion when he had 'chipped' Mr Bates about this and had received from Mr Bates an

explanation that had satisfied him.

The problem that arises is that the Narcotics Bureau has been portrayed in the press as the originator of successful actions against drug smugglers when in fact the originator often was another agency such as some other area of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs or a State police force. When the attribution in the newspaper is not correct an unfortunate but probably all too human resentment of the Narcotics Bureau arises.

One example will suffice. In 'The Weekend Australian' of 4/5 February 1978, the seizure of the Mercedes Benz campervan used by the American 'grandmothers' was described and the article went on:

Late on Friday night the van was under guard at a Customs shed in Sydney's Neutral Bay, newest trophy in a sensationally successful start to the year for the Narcotics Bureau which has intercepted what the Bureau estimates as $26m. worth of cannabis and hashish since January 3.



o cars shipped from Bombay to Adelaide and Melbourne were found to have cannabis worth up to $2.9m. hidden in

compartments in their floors. As a result, a 33-year-old German national was charged in Port Adelaide Magistrate's Court with importing a prohibited drug into Australia on January 3.

His name was suppressed by Mr Kelly, S.M., 'because of

continuing inquiries about similar matters in other States.1

Four more men have been charged in connection with a plane carrying 250 kg. of cannabis in the form of Buddha sticks which landed and was burned near Katherine in the Northern Territory on January 22.

Three days later a 32 -year - old man was arrested at Sydney Airport and charged with illegally importing 10 kg. of cannabis resin worth $1 million.

In the article five different detections of imported drugs are referred to, all of which are attributed to the Narcotics Bureau. It is desirable shortly to state the following:

a. The van under guard at Neutral Bay was the Mercedes Benz campervan used by the American 'grandmothers' (Mesdames Bessire and Hayes). The presence of cannabis in the van was detected on 5 December 1977 by a Customs Preventive Officer in Sydney acting on a suggestion

from a Preventive Officer in Brisbane that, as the van had come from Bombay, it should be searched; only after the Preventive Officer's discovery did the Narcotics Bureau become involved.

b . The car shipped from Bombay to Adelaide was a Renault and the man charged in Port Adelaide was Dzialowski. When the vehicle was offX loaded on 4 January 1978 from the vessel which came from Bombay, the presence of the hashish was detected by Preventive Officers.

c. The vehicle that went from Bombay to Melbourne was also a Renault consigned to one Hanke at Melbourne. Hanke had arrived in Sydney from Bombay on 16 December 1977 where he stayed with one Auer, the brother-in-law of Dzialowski. The vehicle was unloaded from the vessel in Melbourne on or about 9 January and, like its twin at Adelaide, contained a large quantity of hashish. The Narcotics

Bureau involvement in this vehicle arose because of the discovery by Preventive Officers of hashish in the Renault unloaded in South Australia.

d. The aeroplane that landed near Katherine on 22 January 1978 was that of Donald Roy Tait. The Fraud Squad of the New South Wales Police had some, time before that date advised the Northern Territory Police that Tait would attempt to enter the north of Australia late in January 1978 by flying from Bangkok in a light aircraft. The Narcotics Bureau had no prior independent knowledge of Tait's visit

and took no part in the operation until after Tait had been arrested



the Northern Territory Police. The Narcotics Bureau, in publishing Department of Business and Consumer Affairs seizure figures, listed the cannabis in Tait's aircraft as one of the Bureau's seizures.

e. On 25 January 1978 one Kais D . Rahme arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport and a search of his baggage by Preventive Officers revealed 12 003.5 grams of cannabis oil. The Narcotics Bureau showed this as a seizure in which the Bureau played no part in the material provided to the Commission.

The Narcotics Bureau cannot be blamed for what the media report. It can be blamed for failing to correct inaccurate reporting. There was no evidence that any correction was sought or made in respect of the article described above. A drug law enforcement agency must take care

to develop a responsible relationship with the media.

Two well known drug seizures, the Anoa and Tait seizures, may emphasise that it was not always only the public who received the wrong impression.

The Commission received very detailed evidence in relation to the Anoa seizure, which the Narcotics Bureau referred to as 'Operation Crest1. Witnesses who spoke of the operation included those from the Queensland State Police, the New South Wales Police, the Solomon Island Police, and the RAAF as well as from the Bureau of Customs and the Narcotics Bureau.

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Secretary Mr M.A. Besley said he felt a 'bit sad' for his collegues because the media gave all the credit for the seizure and arrest of several people to the NSW Police. He said he had been told the Narcotics Bureau's part had

represented a tremendous amount of work going back over many months.

Mr Besley was clearly misinformed. Evidence to the Commission showed that the Narcotics Bureau's first involvement was in early May 1978, less than one month before the arrest of the vessel in New South Wales. The involvement arose because Inspector Stevenson of the NSW Police Crime Intelligence Unit asked the Narcotics Bureau on 4 May 1978 to assist in obtaining Defence Department help and briefed the Narcotics Bureau on the operation which that unit had conducted to date. The Narcotics Bureau used its power to enlist the assistance of the RAAF to take over control of the operation. There is no doubt, however, that the NSW Police Force deserves the principal credit for initiating the operation and the RAAF commendation for an outstanding job of


Mr Besley was also asked about the episode in which Donald Roy Tait was apprehended near Katherine in the Northern Territory after flying an aircraft with a cargo of cannabis from Brunei. Mr Besley said he had little knowledge of the precise details but he certainly understood that the Narcotics Bureau had a substantial involvement in the seizure. This


cargo of cannabis was entered in the seizure figures of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs as one by the Narcotics Bureau and, as Mr Besley agreed, media coverage certainly attributed the seizure to the Narcotics Bureau. In fact the Narcotics Bureau knew nothing about

the impending flight of Tait. The New South Wales Fraud Squad had information that he might be about to come to Australia and this

information was passed to the Northern Territory Police. After Tait1s plane was detected on 22 January 1978 by the RAAF radar operator at Darwin, it was pursued by a RAAF Hercules south of Darwin where it force-landed. Tait's capture was effected by the Northern Territory Police; Narcotics Bureau officers arrived to interview him after he had been arrested.

A considerable body of evidence indicated that deficiencies in the Narcotics Bureau are not so fulsomely reported to the Departmental head. One of the most sensational cases related to allegations made during an interview of persons named Wilson conducted on 9 June 1978 by

the Queensland Police at Brisbane in the presence of an officer of the Narcotics Bureau who attended at the invitation of the Queensland Police.

As another body has been set up to inquire further into this matter, it is perhaps not appropriate for this Commission to comment publicly any further. The Commission mentions this matter again in Chapter 5 of this Part of the Report.


Evidence on training ranged from comments such as appeared in an article in 'The Bulletin' of 6 August 1977 attributed to two former Narcotics Bureau officers:

The Australian Narcotics Bureau is the worst trained, worst disciplined and worst equipped law enforcement agency in Australia. It is totally incompetent to deal with the

importation of drugs. (Confidential Exhibit 16)

to the statement by Mr H. Bates to the Commission that:

Narcotics Bureau Agents are more qualified in investigation duties than police constables and receive more specialised training. The Narcotics Bureau also provides training, particularly in specialised subjects such as surveillance for

local enforcement.


Against this latter statement there is through the evidence much criticism of the lack of training facilities needed to make the Narcotics Bureau an efficient law enforcement body. The Department's own Management Review Report originally prepared about the time of preparation of the Department's December 1977 submission to the



ommission (but not known to the Commission until September 1979) certainly did not justify Mr Bates's statement.

A lawyer who had examined Narcotics Bureau training said:

...Narcotics Agents do not really receive training that can be accorded any foundation in terms of creating an efficient crime enforcement and crime suppression unit...they receive no training at all which is of any quality or which is comparable to the kind of training that a police officer would receive in the State Police Force in relation to detective procedures.


Much evidence was addressed to the desirability of recruiting trained police officers as distinct from Customs Preventive Officers or others within the Australian Public Service. One former Narcotics Bureau officer pointed to outside recruitment of police officers as:

...an admission by the Department that their own officers were inadequately trained. (CT)

Further criticisms came from Commonwealth Police officers and from several former Narcotics Bureau officers. One ex-Bureau officer who gave evidence about mid — 1978 sand when discussing recruiting and training facilities and courses:

I know that in recent weeks eight Bureau officers have been sent to America to undergo a five week training programme. It is my belief that this is a cynical exercise and has been initiated by the fact that narcotics in Australia has become a major political issue with several ongoing Royal Commissions.


A senior Narcotics Bureau officer who firmly believed in the organisation's efficiency, gave evidence as follows:

We've lacked a degree of training which I believe is shortly to be overtaken. We don't have a specialised training post within the Bureau. Most of our training has been either on the job or

it's been ad hoc courses put together according to the needs of recruiting, but certainly up to date it has lacked a continuity of training a man to be an investigator-- training a man to be a supervisor-- training for ultimate development of the officer.


The training of investigators in the Narcotics Bureau was summed up in this passage from the above-mentioned Management Review Report which was incorporated into evidence as Confidential Exhibit 357.



t is apparent that the Australian Narcotics Bureau has relied too heavily on the highly-trained officers recruited from outside the service. Due to the unexpected resignations of many of these officers, it now finds itself under-trained as an

organisation. This is very noticeable at senior supervisor level. Whilst the training carried out over the past two years would have met normal needs, the Australian Narcotics Bureau now finds itself short of experienced trained senior

supervisors. The sudden need for promotion of middle-range officers has also caused an influx of new inexperienced recruits, whose training cannot be met by the present facilities. It is suggested that even with the introduction of proper training methods it will require at least two years to

regain the level of training required. (Confidential Exhibit 357, p .89)

The Commission received much evidence casting doubt upon the competence with which investigations are conducted by some officers of the Narcotics Bureau and on their competence as witnesses in court. Some witnesses asserted that, with the exception of former police officers, the Bureau's investigators lacked the experience and expertise


A senior State police officer said:

...if you take all the ex-policemen away from the Bureau they would collapse. I think it is the ex-police who are keeping the place going. They are the only ones properly trained in detection.

...My honest opinion of them is that if you took the exX

policeman away from them, I think the place would fold up. (CT)

The head of one State police drug squad gave the Bureau's officers much credit for being excellent searchers of premises but added:

I don't think a lot of them, of course, have had the

investigational experience that our men have had.

He went on to say:

I have found now that some of the men who have been there for some years do lack in certain respects in some of the work which perhaps detectives have taken for granted over the years they have been involved in CIB work. That is how I feel about

the Narcotics Bureau and people who have never had detective experience. (CT)

The chief officer of another State police drug squad said:



m my very minimal contact with them overall I do see some lack of expertise in the area of investigation and



A leading barrister was recommended by Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Secretary Mr Besley for consultation by the

Commission as he had conducted a long prosecution initiated by the Narcotics Bureau. The barrister said in confidential evidence:

With (some)... exceptions, from the rank of Senior Narcotics Agent down, they were hopeless, either because they were completely incompetent or because they were completely inexperienced.


This barrister supported his comments by extensive practical illustrations of inadequacies in investigation, faulty interrogation of suspects and inexperience in court proceedings and the giving of evidence. His view was that these were the result of junior members of the Bureau being required to perform tasks beyond their current experience and capacity.

The barrister went on to say that he had observed evidence being given by approximately 50 members or former members of the Narcotics Bureau. He said:

With one or two exceptions those above the rank of Senior Narcotics Agent possessed the appropriate experience and confidence. With a handful of exceptions, those at that rank or below did not. The handful of officers of that rank or

below who did were invariably former members of a State police force.

After giving further examples he said:

To sum up, many of the agents in the Bureau were being required to run before they could walk. The majority of those in the category under discussion showed none of the polish and

expertise of police officers carrying out duties of comparable magnitude. (CT)

Another barrister, asked to comment on alleged shortcomings of Bureau investigations, said: I

I would concur with that and speaking only in the general sense because there are certain officers from the Narcotics Bureau who seem most capable-- but in the great main---there seems to be a very limited appreciation of the purpose of a record of interview and the law relating to admissibility of admissions...That does not by the way extend only to the taking of records of interview, but does tend to extend to the


preparation of material for inclusion in the prosecutor's brief. (CT)

A barrister with considerable experience in defending persons accused of drug offences had this to say:

The main criticism I make in relation to the way people are dealt with in terms of the Narcotics Bureau is basically that the people caught are minors. They are people who have been

pretty much set up. When you get a group of three or four

friends together one may say, 'I will go to Thailand and bring back something' and he then gets caught on the way back. They are not involved in any large scale operation.

He went on to assert that the Narcotics Bureau was:

...generally into the lower levels, if you like, the amateurs in the drug-pushing organisations. They do not seem to be able to make contact with the smooth commercial operations which I have no doubt do exist.


A magistrate who had been involved in the hearing of a Narcotics Bureau case which acquired considerable notoriety said when questioned on this aspect:

The only case where I have really taken much notice of their evidence generally was in this case of importation that we mentioned before. I don't think I have seen a more shoddy preparation of a case than that one... They... questioned him for

hours and the questioning was inept.

...I am afraid that I don't have a very high opinion of the

expertise of the Narcotics Bureau... It seemed to me that it was a shocking investigation particularly in view of the fact that they regarded it as such a serious offence which no doubt it was. The interview particularly was inept.


Not all evidence concerning the Narcotics Bureau investigators was unfavourable. Some police witnesses, for instance, commended their application and searching skills and the detailed attention given to particular investigations.

The highest praise came from an officer of the Deputy Crown

Solicitor's Office in Sydney. His confidential submission contained the following passage:

By and large, narcotic officers in this State prepare better briefs than other Federal investigation officers, such as the Commonwealth Police, Social Security Department, Trade

Practices Commission, Migration Office, etc. The Narcotics



ureau briefs are almost invariably more complete, particularly in relation to the continuity of exhibits. (CT)

In support of this statement, he went on to say:

I have been asked to state an opinion on the court room

performance of officers of the Federal Narcotics Bureau (in this State). The vast majority of narcotics officers are competent witnesses who compare favourably with State Police witnesses. In my experience in the last five years there have only been four or five occasions when the officer having the conduct of a prosecution has been faced with unexpected evidence being given by Narcotics Bureau personnel on behalf·of the prosecution. On these occasions only two refer to a situation where officers of the Bureau gave contradictory

evidence. In a situation where this occurs our relationship with the upper echelon of the Narcotics Bureau in Sydney is such that the occurrence needs only to be drawn to the

attention of the Regional Commander or a Chief Narcotics Agent and remedial action is taken. (CT)

Criticism of Narcotics Bureau officers came not only from State police officers and lawyers, but also from serving Narcotics Bureau officers, other Customs officers and former Narcotics Bureau officers. Most of this evidence was given in confidential session.

On 1 March 1979 Mr G. R. Ihlein, Senior Industrial Research Officer with the Australian Public Service Association (Fourth Division Officers), and Mr T. J. Mullaly, Acting Regional Commander, Eastern Region, Narcotics Bureau, appeared before the Commission on behalf of the Association and made a substantial submission on behalf of its members in the Narcotics Bureau. The submission, as has already been noted, unfortunately concentrated more on work value considerations than

the effectiveness of the Narcotics Bureau as a whole.

In its September 1978 submission to the Commission the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs suggested that the Commission seek impartial comment from the judiciary and counsel on the efficiency of the Narcotics Bureau. Department Secretary Mr Besley said:

...The Department has suggested that the Commission seek impartial comment from the judiciary and counsel in support of this claim. The Department argues that the above details refute the contention that a strong body of evidence suggests that Narcotics officers are not sufficiently experienced in investigative work.

(Question) If the Royal Commission is going to seek impartial comment from the judiciary and counsel in support of the claim, it is highly unlikely that the Department would be able to be



vised of the confidential material that a judge is going to make available. Do you understand?-- (Answer) Yes.

(Question) In one sense there you are throwing your reputation up and saying, 'We are quite happy to have the comments that your brother judges might make in Queensland or other judges make to you in Victoria, or whatever', even though, of course,

they would be made in terms that they would not be made

available to the Department?-- (Answer) No, I understand that.

(Question) It would be the same with counsel, too. They would obviously have some professional restrictions if they were sure it was confidential only to the Commissioner in terms of his work here, and they probably wouldn't make the observations if

they thought it was going to go to the Department or to other people?-- (Answer) Yes, I understand that. There have been some judges who have seen fit, as we have discussed earlier today, to volunteer unsolicited testimonials, if I can put it

that way.

(Question) You are happy with that course?-- (Answer) Yes.

(Question) You are not going to call Star Chamber if?--(Answer) I am not resiling from that position. (OT 16115)

The matter was carried further when Mr Ihlein and Mr Mullaly gave evidence on 1 March 1979. During their joint evidence, Mr Mullaly said:

...the members with whom I work feel very strongly that they are being put under unfair attack by some persons before this Commission and they will put to you very strongly that a proper balance in respect of that evidence making allegations about us would be that the Commission should inquire of our capabilities

from those people who have to judge our capability, that is, people like prosecutors, defence counsel, judges or

magistrates. We feel that there the allegations which Your Honour's Commission has received as to our incapability will quickly show Your Honour that we are capable people who can do a good job of work.

(Question) What you suggest there, Mr Mullaly, is, I think, an extremely sensible and good suggestion, but I don't know that it is going to advance the type of thing we are talking about in the sense that you will then get details of what they would

say and if His Honour discusses this with judges for the

purpose which you suggest...Those judges are not going to authorise him-- I should not have thought---to disclose things of that kind?-- (Answer) I never suggested that.

(Question) You don't suggest that?-- (Answer) I don't suggest that at all. I carefully chose my words.

(Question) And neither would prosecutors or defence counsel. They are going to run into ethical problems. On a confidential basis .they might be able to tell His Honour something but they



rtainly wouldn't tell him something if they thought it was going to be retailed to other people, but you don't mean that? (Answer) No, what I said I meant, and I am quite clear on what I said.

(Question) You are quite happy that such an assessment should be made from those people, judges, prosecutors and defence counsel with a view to redressing, because you believe it will redress an imbalance which has occurred?-- (Answer) Yes.

(Question) And you are quite content that His Honour does that?-- (Answer) Yes.

(OT 20870)

The Commissioner had confidential discussions with judges in all States. He endeavoured to speak with judges (including some whom Mr Besley recommended he should consult), who had tried a number of drug offences so that comparison of State police and Narcotics Bureau officers could be made.

The Commission does not feel at liberty to disclose details of such interviews in this public report. Sufficient is it to say that the clear impression that the Commission received was that, irrespective of the standard reached by some Narcotics Bureau officers, the general standard of Narcotics Bureau officers is far, far lower than the standard claimed on the Bureau's behalf to the Commission. In fairness it must be noted that a number of judges put, as a contributing cause to the ineptness of the investigation and prosecution, the work of Deputy Crown Solicitors' representatives. First, there was adverse criticism of the manner and presentation of cases in court by officers of the Deputy Crown Solicitors' offices. Secondly, it was often said that

counsel from the private bar, when briefed by the Deputy Crown

Solicitor, seem to have been selected for reasons other than competence when other competent counsel would have been available. There seemed insufficient effort in briefing counsel to match the calibre of the counsel being briefed by the defence.

As already outlined above, the Commission took the opportunity of raising the matter of Narcotics Bureau efficiency and effectiveness with counsel who had experience of Narcotics Bureau prosecutions and who gave evidence before the Commission. The comments made on many of these occasions bore out the judges' assessment.

A number of witnesses asserted that lack of police investigative experience made it difficult for Customs Preventive Officers, who account for the majority of the Bureau's recruits to operative positions, to develop into expert investigators. On the other hand, one of the Bureau's Regional Commanders spoke favourably of the capacity of some Preventative Officers to acquire investigative skills. It was also pointed out that the Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau was himself a

former Preventive Officer without police experience.



n its submission to the Commission in September 1978 the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs argued very strongly that the

specialised training given to Preventive Officers including training in taking records of interviews and giving evidence in court fitted them well for recruitment to positions in the Bureau. 'This experience', the submission asserted, 'is comparable in a Customs field with that of base

recruits in other enforcement agencies'. The Department also stated that it was 'Departmental policy to recruit the best available personnel from inside and outside the public service to specialist and

investigative ranks'.


In the first Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission and in several subsequent instances senior officers of the Department advanced as a measure of effectiveness of the Narcotics Bureau its record of arrests and prosecutions and the quantities of drugs it had seized.

The Department's first submission stated:

There is little doubt that the Narcotics Bureau has developed into a highly efficient enforcement agency. Probably the most significant measure available in this regard is the substantial increase in arrests, prosecutions and quantities of drugs seized over the past seven years.

In addition the Bureau has established an outstanding

reputation for efficiency, integrity and technique development within overseas and local enforcement agencies, other government departments and the judicial system. (OT 103)

The second submission of the Department, presented to the Commission in December 1977 by Mr H. Bates, the head of the Narcotics Bureau, said:

Undoubtedly the effectiveness of the existing system (and the department's operations) is, to a large extent, reflected in increased drug seizures and the use, by drug traffickers, of

more sophisticated techniques. (CT)

Although the Commission was aware that it is not possible to deduce from statistics alone whether a law enforcement body is efficient, it explored the case advanced by the Department that drug seizure figures could provide at least some indication of the effectiveness of the Narcotics Bureau.

The need to find some means of measuring performance became even more apparent after the Commission had received some of the evidence already outlined in this Chapter.



onsiderable effort was necessary, however, to find statistics which would reflect the efforts and initiatives of the Narcotics Bureau apart from those of the Bureau of Customs as a whole and, in some instances, those involving various bodies such as State police forces.

Open Exhibit 1, entitled 1 Drug Seizures and Prosecutions--Australian Narcotics Bureau 1967— 1977’, was presented in evidence by the Department on the first day of Commission hearings in November 1977. However Narcotics Bureau Commissioner Mr H. Bates subsequently explained:

...all drugs seized by the Department pass on to the Narcotics Bureau and as such reflect the total seizures under the Department and the Narcotics Bureau. (OT 288)

Since such drug seizure statistics published by the Department at the time usually associated them only with the Narcotics Bureau, the Commission was not able to isolate at that time those seizures which might reasonably be accredited to Narcotics Bureau initiatives as distinct from those of other units of the Bureau of Customs or other law enforcement bodies.

After detailed questioning of senior Departmental officers on the subject of statistics, the Commission suggested on 20 September 1978 the Department attempt to allocate seizures to appropriate operational activities (OT 16163--65). The results of the Department's analyses were forwarded to the Commission in December 1978. They included details of seizures in 1976, 1977 and 1978 of heroin and of cannabis in three forms-- cannabis tops, cannabis resin and cannabis oil.

Staff of the Commission including a statistician made similar estimates for 1977 and 1978 by reviewing prosecution files in the offices of Deputy Crown Solicitors in a number of States and by

reviewing the evidence given to the Commission by Narcotics Bureau officers and other witnesses concerning certain particularly significant seizures.

After comparing the Commission's analyses with those of the Department, the Commission's statistician prepared a series of graphs and tabulations allocating the number and weight of drug seizures recorded by the Narcotics Bureau in 1977 and 1978 to the various activities which led to the seizures.

The graphs prepared by the Commission's statistician and entitled 'Analysis of drug seizures recorded by the Narcotics Bureau' for each of the drug types mentioned are reproduced on the following pages as Graphs V I .1 to V I .8. Complementary tabulations based on the same information but detailing the seizures by State and Territory appear at the end of this Chapter as Annex Tables VI.1 to VI.8.



oth the graphs and tabulations detail the number of drug seizures and the quantities of drugs seized. The nine categories of activities which resulted in the drug seizures are:

Narcotics Bureau operation;

Airport passenger/baggage examination;

Ship/wharf passenger/baggage examination;

Detector dog passenger baggage examination;

Cargo examination including vehicles;

Premises/vehicle search;

Parcel Post examination;

Joint operation with police;

'Other sources'.

Those seizures categorised as 'Narcotics Bureau operation1 are those which evidence indicated were the result of initiatives of the Narcotics Bureau. The others, while in many cases involving Narcotics Bureau officers at some time, resulted from activities initiated either by

other operational units of the Bureau of Customs, such as Preventive Officers or Boarding or Examining Officers, or by other law enforcement bodies.

In general terms the Commission analyses show that in a majority of cases, Narcotics Bureau operations resulted in about half the total number of seizures recorded, but that these seizures represented less than 10 per cent of the total quantities of drugs seized. The

exceptions to this general observation are:

(a) Narcotics Bureau seizures of heroin in 1978 represented

approximately 16 per cent of the total quantity of the drug seized and about 46 per cent of the total quantity seized in 1977.

(b) Narcotics Bureau seizures of cannabis tops represented approximately 30 per cent of the total number of seizures in 1978 and 35 per cent of the total number of seizures in 1977.

(c) Narcotics Bureau cannabis resin seizures represented about 18 per cent of the total number of seizures in 1978 and 37.2 per cent of the total number of seizures in 1977.



raph VI. 1

1978 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Heroiniin grams)

Number of seizures

Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premise s/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources


9 893.0

2 0.3


4 1.4

Total quantity of seizures 17 879.5 Total number

33 . 482.7 of seizures 304

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken o f seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.



raph VI.2

1977 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Heroin (in grams)

Number of seizures

Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passe nger / baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premises/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken o f seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.


1 7.3



5 412.9

5 167.8



Total quantity of seizures 11 726.9 Total number of seizures 382



raph VI.3

1978 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Cannabis Topstin grams)

Number of seizures

Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premises/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

109 8 829.2

65 135.0

45 U 4 436.2

80 747.8

141 702.1

3 35.0

116 U 8 544.4

4 560.7

4 863 496.0

Total quantity of seizures 5 177 486.4 Total number of seizures 371


Graph VI.4

1977 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Cannabis Topstin grams)

Number o f --------


Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premises/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

189 LJ 26 511.5

126 320.2

53 I 2 976.1

11 495.6

13 ___ 58 958.1


146 1 3 8 018.5

177 520.7

Total quantity of seizures 473 821.6 Total number

62 007.8 of seizures 539



raph VI.5

1978 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Cannabis Resiniin grams)

Number of seizures

Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premises/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

57 715.5

49 074.5

14 161.9

1 15.9

h 2 303 258.0

91 i 18 432.2

Total quantity of seizures 2 429 410.3 Total number

752.3 of seizures 210



raph VI.6

1977 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Cannabis Resinbn gram s)

Number of — seizures _*L

Narcotics Bureau operation 48 L1 21 298.4

A irp o rt

passenger/baggage examination 12 10 343.1


passenger/baggage examination 12 4 079.9

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles 9 183 824.0

Premises/vehicle search 2 15.1

Parcel post examination 17 7 351.7

Joint operation with police 20 1 298.8

O th e r so u rc e s 9 588.4

Total quantity of seizures 228 799.4 Total number of seizures 129

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.



raph VI.7

1978 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Cannabis Oil (in grams)

Number of seizures

Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premises/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

19 i 852.4

55 168.1

1 L i 3 426.0

38 028.0

4 i 225.0



Total quantity of seizures 97 731.2 Total number of seizures 41



raph VI.8

1977 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau Cannabis Oil (in grams)

Number of seizures

Narcotics Bureau operation


passenger/baggage examination


passenger/baggage examination

Detector dog passenger/baggage examination

Cargo examination including vehicles

Premises/vehicle search

Parcel post examination

Joint operation with police

Other sources

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In this graph the Commission has attributed the quantity and num ber of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to each seizure. No account is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

1 1 475.5


1 _____ 8 015.0

25 371.0

u2 087.6


Total quantity of seizures 36 079.6 Total number of seizures 25

B i l l


n preparing the graphs and tabulations the Commission also took into consideration other evidence which provided a background to many of the more significant statistics quoted not only in relation to Narcotics Bureau activities but the other categories of activities. This evidence

is incorporated in the following discussion of seizures of individual types of drugs.

The category 1 Joint operation with police' includes those seizures resulting from actions taken jointly by the Narcotics Bureau with Commonwealth and State police forces. The category 1 Other sources' relates to seizures by State and Commonwealth police, overseas authorities such as the United States Navy and Malaysian and Thai postal authorities and any seizure which the Commission felt could not be properly classified in any of the other categories. (The Commission noted that the Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. The analyses do not take account of seizures where State authorities acted alone and did not deliver the seized

drug to the Narcotics Bureau.)

In categorising a total of 2001 drug seizures, the analyses prepared by the Department and the analyses prepared by the Commission differed in five significant instances. In each instance the Department categorised as 'Narcotics Bureau operations' seizures which the Commission considered more appropriately categorised as resulting from activities included in other categories. In view of the evidence received from Narcotic Bureau officers and other witnesses concerning these particular seizures, the Commission decided not to alter its analyses. The background of each of these seizures is outlined in notes annexed to the end of the Chapter as a foreword to the Tables and is also referred to in some of the comments below relating to seizures of individual types of drugs.

Heroin (Graphs and Annex Tables VI.1 and VI.2)

Significant seizures of heroin because of Narcotics Bureau operations included 282.1, 114.9, 172.6 and 280.5 grams in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland respectively in 1978 and 513.0, 200.9, 253.0 grams in New South Wales, 150.2 and 214.0 grams

in Victoria, 114.0 grams in Queensland, 2670.0 and 136.6 grams in Western Australia in 1977.

The single drug detector dog seizure of 9.9 kg of heroin in 1978 represented 55.3 per cent of the total quantity of heroin seized in that year and was one of the biggest seizures of heroin recorded in Australia up to that time.

Heroin seizures resulting from Parcel Post examinations, as in the case with the other drugs, were generally comparatively many in number but small in quantity of drug seized. The biggest seizures recorded were 212.4 grams in Victoria in 1978 and 102.7 grams in Victoria, 102.9 grams, 70.5 grams and 92.6 grams in New South Wales in 1977.



annabis Tops (Graphs and Annex Tables VI.3 and VI .4)

Seizures of cannabis tops categorised as 'Joint operation with police' were particularly high in terms of quantity of drug seized both in 1977 and 1978. Included in this category were:

* the 4.6 tonnes of cannabis tops seized from the yacht Anoa and from Pocklington Reef in 1978;

* 178 kg of cannabis tops taken from an aircraft near Katherine in 1978;

* 25.5 kg of cannabis tops found in the sea off Jervis Bay in 1977.

The role of the Narcotics Bureau in the two 1978 seizures

('Operation Crest1 and the Donald Tait case) have been referred to earlier in this Chapter. The 25.5 kg of cannabis tops recorded in 1977 was part of two amounts of cannabis found by private citizens on a beach and in the ocean near Jervis Bay. The second discovery, the one

referred to in the 1977 statistics, was initially reported to the Australian Capital Territory police stationed at Jervis Bay. (Open Exhibit 43(5) 'Operation of Drug Treaties 1976'.)

Another seizure categorised under 1 Joint operation with police' was the seizure of 141 kg cannabis tops in 1977 from the yacht Lau Ling in Western Australia. Evidence was given that the yacht had been under investigation by both Australian and New Zealand authorities but contact with the yacht had been lost before the yacht reached Western Australia.

The seizure followed various reports by citizens at Denham and Carnarvon to West Australian State Police and a Customs Sub-Collector of suspicious activities of a member of the Lau Ling crew (OT 64S--49).

Cannabis tops seizures categorised as 'Cargo examinations' include individual seizures by Customs officers in NSW of 100.7 kg and 26.5 kg in 1978 and 23.9 kg and 23.7 kg in 1977.

Drug dog detector teams at Sydney Airport were responsible for individual seizures of 34.9 kg and 11.3 kg of cannabis tops in 1978. Information resulting from the first 34.9 kg seizure led to the detection of a further 34.5 kg in baggage at the airport shortly after

the initial seizure.

Airport passenger baggage seizures included individual seizures of 77.2 kg and five other seizures totalling 45 kg at Sydney Airport in 1977.

Cannabis tops seizures in 1977 categorised as 'Other sources' involved amounts of 39.3 kg and 19.8 kg handed to Narcotics Bureau agents by West Australian and New South Wales State police.


Among seizures categorised as 'Parcel post examination' were individual amounts of 1.2 kg in the Northern Territory and 1.1 kg and 3.1 kg in New South Wales in 1978 and 1.1 kg in New South Wales in 1977.

Cannabis Resin (Graphs and Annex Tables VI .5 and VI. 6 )

The predominance of cargo examination seizures of cannabis resin in 1978 is due principally to the single seizure involving the so-called 'American grandmothers' case when Mesdames Bessire and Hayes were arrested in Gosford, New South Wales. Of a total seizure quantity of approximately 2.3 tonnes of cannabis resin resulting from cargo examinations, approximately 1.9 tonnes was taken from the campervan of Mesdames Bessire and Hayes. As outlined earlier in this Chapter, the original detection of the shipment was made by a Customs officer examining ship's cargo in Brisbane.

Other significant 1978 seizures resulting from cargo examination included 167.8 kg seized in New South Wales 95.2 kg in Victoria and 94.7 kg in South Australia. In 1977 individual cargo seizures included 81.6 kg and 34.1 kg in New South Wales and 52.1 kg in Queensland.

Parcel post seizures of cannabis resin in 1977 and 1978 included individual seizures of 1.9 kg, 2.4 kg and 3.4 kg in Victoria and 1.8 kg in the Northern Territory in 1978 and 4 kg and 831 grams in New South Wales in 1977.

Almost 40 per cent of the 38 seizures categorised as Narcotics Bureau operations in 1978 occurred in Victoria, with the most

significant of these being approximately 52 kg. In 1977 the biggest Narcotics Bureau operation seizure was approximately 19 kg in New South Wales.

Cannabis Oil (Graphs and Annex Tables VI.7 and VI.8)

Individual seizures of cannabis oil at Sydney Airport in 1978 included amounts of 12 kg, 11.2 kg and 8.5 kg. But the biggest

individual seizures in both 1978 and 1977 resulted from cargo

examinations in Sydney. These were 26.3 kg and 25.1 kg respectively.

General Observations

In his evidence to the Commission on 19 September 1978 the Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, Mr M. A. Besley, said:

Joint investigations between Narcotics officers and police officers are the rule rather than the exception, and these have gone well. This demonstrates that the ability of the Narcotics



eau to co-operate with other law enforcement bodies is very good. (OT 16040)

The analyses on which the Commission's graphs and tables are based show that:

- Seizures categorised as 'Joint Operation with Police' included 116 of the total 2001 drug seizures recorded by the Narcotics Bureau in 1977 and 1978.

- These 116 seizures consisted of 26 seizures of heroin involving a total weight of 196 grams; 63 seizures of cannabis tops involving a total weight 5.04 tonnes; 20 seizures of cannabis resin involving approximately 1.3 kg and seven cannabis oil seizures involving a

total weight of 73.8 grams.

- In quantity terms these seizures represented 0.7 per cent of total heroin seizures, 89.2 per cent of cannabis tops seizures, 0.05 per cent of cannabis resin seizures and 0.06 per cent of oil seizures.

The circumstances of the involvement of the Narcotics Bureau in four of the cannabis tops seizures in 1977 and 1978 categorised as joint operations have already been discussed. These four seizures totalled 5.03 tonnes. The remaining 59 cannabis tops seizures categorised as joint operations seizures in 1977 and 1978 yielded a total of 12.2 kg of

cannabis tops.

The Commission noted that in respect of drug detector dog seizures, detector dog teams were in an early stage of development in 1977 and 1978. For the most part they were operating regularly only in Sydney and only in certain areas, principally at Sydney Airport. The

operations of these dogs are discussed in Chapter 1 of Part XIII and in Chapter 2 of this Part of the Report.

Weight of Individual Seizures

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs witnesses defined the Narcotics Bureau's role as that of a specialised body directing its efforts at major trafficking and leaving the detection of minor importations and trafficking to State police and the other operational

arms of the Bureau of Customs.

The Department's first submission to the Commission said:

Since its formation the Narcotics Bureau has progressively increased the effort being directed towards major trafficking and traffickers. It has also given priority to those

investigations concerning the so-called 'more dangerous drugs' such as heroin. (OT 100T)



n his evidence of 19 September 1978, Departmental Secretary Mr M. A. Besley said:

So far as the status of the Narcotics Bureau is concerned, it is important to draw a distinction between its functions and those of police drug squads. For the moment I make one point only; namely, it was never the intention that the Narcotics

Bureau should become involved with the investigations or prosecutions of pedlars and users, or with locally-produced drugs. Its primary function is to conduct investigations

against major traffickers and distributors. (OT 16039)

Similar statements were made by Narcotics Bureau chief Mr H. Bates in evidence on 21 November and 22 November 1977:

(Question) Placed across the bottom of that chart are the prosecutions over the years, which rose to a peak in 1975 and dropped away somewhat in 1976 and also this year. Does that truly reflect the correct position or is that because of a backlog?-- (Answer) It truly reflects the position which is that there was a conscious effort made by the Narcotics Bureau to improve the level of the investigations they were

conducting, and as such lifting the level so reduced the number of prosecutions. Later on in the submission you will see that the number of committals to superior courts has increased proportionately as the other prosecutions have gone down, so

really it reflects a concentration at high levels on illegal import distribution as distinct from picking up a large number of small quantities. (OT 294--9S)

(Question) Going to the fourth part of the first term of reference, illegal trafficking in drugs, commencing at page 56, this is where we get some overlapping with State authorities. Is that so with your source of knowledge in relation to illegal trafficking?-- (Answer) That is so. As I mentioned yesterday, the level of investigation that the Narcotics Bureau directs itself to is, in the main, major trafficking as distinct from down the line level of distribution.

(OT 337)

This contrasted with the later evidence of a Narcotics Bureau officer with whom the Commission discussed performance assessment in confidential session in 1979:

(Question) In terms of assessment of performance, does the Bureau seek to assess its own performance by reference to any objective facts at all, or any objective criteria?-- (Answer) I don't think so, other than to the annual total seizures. I think that is the only one.

(Question) Do you regard them as being an effective

criteria?-- (Answer) No, I certainly do not. I think it is virtually meaningless, as it could be composed of dribs and


drabs from anywhere. I would like to see the yardstick to be success in the courts, and on a scale of increasing intricacy.

(Question) You mean go after three and get three, and go after a bigger one and get the bigger one?-- (Answer) Yes, and if it was a conspiracy brief and if it was that much more complex and successful, that is real achievement as opposed to several


(Question) Picking somebody up and taking the easy way out, rather than letting him run and picking up another five or six of a conspiracy?-- (Answer) Yes, exactly.

(Question) There is a fair amount of complaint about them on this?-- (Answer) There's so many pickings, I think, around, and I suppose human nature with lack of direction tends to go for the easiest.


In view of the above evidence and the acknowledgement of senior Department officers that the Bureau of Customs efforts to prevent drug smuggling and trafficking were centred on the Narcotics Bureau, the Commission extended its analyses of the Narcotics Bureau's record of

1977 and 1978 seizures. Although, as has already been demonstrated, these figures reflect the activities of the operations of the Bureau of Customs as a whole and include some instances of police and other law enforcement activity, the Commission felt analyses categorising quantities of drugs seized in individual seizures might indicate some results of the Narcotics Bureau's efforts to concentrate on the more serious aspects of drug trafficking.

The results of the analyses, entitled 'Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (frequency distribution)' are published in Annex Tables VI.9 to 12 at the end of this Chapter.

In the case of heroin over 90 per cent of seizures recorded by the Narcotics Bureau in both 1977 and 1978 were less than 100 grams. Seizures of quantities less than five grams represented almost 70 per cent of 1977 seizures and over 60 per cent of 1978 seizures (Annex Table VI.9 ) .

Seizures of cannabis tops of quantities of less than 100 grams represented 84 per cent of total seizures recorded in 1977 and 85 per cent of total seizures recorded in 1978. (The 1978 seizures included those from the yacht Anoa and Pocklington Reef). Seizures of quantities of less than five grams accounted for 44.9 per cent of the total number of seizures recorded in 1978 and 52.6 per cent of seizures recorded in

1977 (Annex Table VI.10).



ss than four per cent of cannabis resin seizures recorded in 1977 and 1978 were of more than 5 kg. The number of seizures in excess of 50 kg rose from two in 1977 to four in 1978 (Annex Table VI.11)

The number of seizures of cannabis oil rose significantly in 1978 both in terms of total seizures and the number of seizures in excess of 5 kg. Seizures in excess of 5 kg rose from 8 per cent of total seizures in 1977 to 24 per cent of total seizures in 1978. None of the seizures in excess of 5 kg recorded in either year was attributed by the

Commission to a Narcotics Bureau operation. The largest seizures recorded for both years were detected during cargo inspections (Annex Table VI.12). ' ' ' ~

Prosecution Statistics

The Commission also examined statistics furnished by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs concerning prosecutions recorded by the Narcotics Bureau.

These showed that the number of prosecutions rose steadily from 61 in 1967 to a peak of 840 in 1975 before falling to 595 in 1976, rising marginally to 603 in 1977 and then falling again to 451 in 1978. In the first six months of 1979, the Narcotics Bureau recorded 278


The data on committals to superior courts (Supreme, District or County Courts) for the period 1971 to November 1977 referred to by Narcotics Bureau Commissioner Mr H. Bates in his above-quoted evidence (OT 294--9S) showed that the number of committals rose from 47 in 1971 to 100 in 1972 and remained approximately at that level in 1973 before

falling to 86 in 1974, 88 in 1975 and 83 in 1976.

In the 11 months of 1977 up to the date of Mr Bates1 sabove-mentioned evidence, committals to superior courts totalled 133. Although this was a significant increase on the previous year's committals, the Commission noted that, as a percentage of total prosecutions, the situation was relatively the same as in the years 1971 to 1973.

Committals to superior courts represented 22.9 per cent of total prosecutions in 1971, 30.9 per cent in 1972 and 27.6 per cent in 1973. After a decline in 1974, 1975 and 1976, the percentage rose to 26.6 per cent for the first 11 months of 1977. This meant that almost 75 per

cent of prosecutions recorded by the Narcotics Bureau were dealt with summarily in local courts.

Other Factors

As noted earlier, the Commission was aware that in any examination of the dimensions of a drug abuse problem and the related question of the efficiency of drug law enforcement, it is necessary to consider


other factors as well as seizure and prosecution statistics. This matter is dealt with more fully in Chapter 7, concerning State and Territory police forces.


As discussed in the previous section, the Commisson went to

considerable lengths in its attempts to gain some measure of the effectiveness of the Narcotics Bureau. On many occasions the Commission closely questioned senior Departmental officers about the grounds for the Department’s statements concerning the effectiveness of the Narcotics Bureau. Apart from the evidence concerning seizure statistics

discussed above, senior Departmental officers confined themselves to generalised statements. Typical of these was the following answer given by the Department's Secretary, Mr M. A. Besley, during his evidence to the Commission on 19 September 1978:

(Question) Do you know where your most cost-effective area is? Is it in the dog squad or the Narcotics or the barges or the front rankers, the preventive squad? Do you know?-- (Answer) As the head of the Department, I am satisfied that the most

cost-effective area is the Narcotics Bureau. (OT 16092A)

The evidence to the Commission as to seizures of drugs, statistics and efficiency of the Narcotics Bureau was virtually concluded when, on 4 September 1979, during its final sittings in Canberra, the Commission received a copy of a Departmental internal report 'Management Review Report on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Resource Utilisation in

the Australian Narcotics Bureau'. The Commission also then saw the Department's confidential file No. 3642 on 'Management Review of Narcotics Bureau'. The file shows that on 15 June 1976 Mr B. C. Bates, then Director of Enforcement and Operations and later Assistant

Commissioner, Operations, of the Narcotics Bureau, suggested organisational changes to the Bureau which involved an increase in establishment. This proposal grounded a submission dated 22 February 1977 by Mr H. Bates, then Assistant Secretary, Investigation Branch. This latter submission appears to be the genesis of the Management Review.

The Review Report was completed by the Management Review Team of the Department by 22 November 1977, but as will later appear, did not achieve the status of a final report within the Department until August 1978. It was incorporated into the Commission's evidence as

Confidential Exhibit 357.

The preamble to the report included the following:

The. review is one of the first to be conducted under the

Management Review concept of major internal efficiency reviews.



t is important to note that this review was conducted as part of a continuing departmental efficiency review programme, and further, that is was commenced prior to the recent centering of public attention on the drugs area occasioned by press

publicity and the announcement of several enquiries relating to drugs...August 1978

(Confidential Exhibit 357, pp.I--II).

The Review Team stated in the Introduction to its report:

In evaluating the resource utilisation in the Australian Narcotics Bureau, the Committee recognises the influence this has on the overall effectiveness of the Bureau's operations, with many factors affecting both areas, particularly human


The Review Team visited Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne as well as Headquarters. The Chairman visited Perth and Adelaide. The Senior Narcotics Agent, Tasmania, was interviewed by the Team in Melbourne.

Written submissions were called for and some were received; however staff preferred to present their points directly to the Review Team. A large number of staff were interviewed as a result of an open invitation to make any points to the Team

they felt were relevant.

A statistical survey covering a six months period was carried out in all offices and this was used for a base for further evaluation by interviews, examining files, dossiers, reports, Bureau conference notes, etc. Workshops on intelligence and prosecutions were held in the Sydney office.

The Review Team appreciates the contribution made to this review by the staff and management of the Regions and


(Confidential Exhibit 357, p .4)

After an examination of the formal organisation of the Narcotics Bureau and its history, the Review Team in its summary recorded some general observations and made twelve recommendations which were characterised as principal recommendations.

In Section 3 of its report the Review Team discussed the

difficulties encountered in endeavouring to measure effectiveness of resource utilisation in a narcotics enforcement area. They cited certain authorities for the proposition that merely to examine the number of arrests made was insufficient. They recognised that it was

essential to review the level at which the Narcotics Bureau was


conducting its operations. In other words, it is essential to have regard to the quality of the arrests made and not merely to the number of arrests. For this reason, when the Review Team came in Section 4 to consider Operations', it devised special means of research. These four methods were used:

(a) A Retrospective Survey of all drug seizures from 1 January to 30 June 1977 inclusive... A questionnaire was developed which was forwarded to the Regions for completion and return.

(b) Strategy of operations was studied by the review team in respect to gauging the A.N.B. efforts towards an expected level of efficiency, particularly in relation to the role outlined by Management - to conduct major investigations

into illicit drug trafficking and importations. It was important to look at major investigations together with problems existing when this objective was set and then to look at major investigations today and the added problems

the period has presented.

The review team examined the levels of operations of the A.N.B. with particular interest in identifying operations conducted with a view to attacking or disrupting the top echelons. For its own use in this exercise (Operation

Comparison Scale) the review team identified five levels of offenders:

Type 'A'-- one or more persons engaged professionally in criminal activities who have financially invested in, or organised, importations of drugs for distribution, but do not take part in any overt acts.

Type ’B '---one or more persons who undertake organised importations of drugs and actively participate in some form (in the importations, whether) in, or outside, of Australia.

Type ’C '--- one or more persons who import drugs for

distribution when opportunity exists or on an ad hoc basis.

Type 'D ' individuals who smuggle drugs in limited

amounts for their own use or for sharing with friends.

Type Έ ' -- individuals found in possession of imported drugs in limited quantities who have not been party to the actual importation (Confidential Exhibit 357, pp.22--23).

(c) A Stratified Random Sample of the questionnaires was also taken from each Region in respect of the drugs mentioned and the classification of the drugs into weight groups.



e files/dossiers selected were examined in full to gather further information in respect of significant trends and probabilities. Strict statistical testing was not carried out and any probability results have been based on standard elementary deductions.

(d) In-depth Examination of Selected Major Operations. The information gained from the above methods was collated and utilised by the Team in making its observations and

recommendations. The retrospective survey provided the broad basis for follow-up evaluation within Regions and with staff. The survey provided a broad current indication of Bureau operations for follow-up during the review.

(Confidential Exhibit 357, p .19)

The Management Review Report demonstrates that the Review Team travelled over almost the identical road traversed by the Commission. The Review Team finished its journey and handed in a final pre-printing copy of its report on 22 November 1977, less than a week after the Commission commenced its journey. It is useful therefore to see whether the Review Team reached conclusions not dissimilar from those reached by the Commission on some important areas and previously mentioned in this Chapter. The general observations of the Review Team made in Section 2 of its report are as follows:

The need to rationalise the organisation, operations and staffing of the Australian Narcotics Bureau to meet present and future needs is the major conclusion emanating from the review.

This need for rationalisation is based upon the major findings and conclusions which clearly indicate that:

* a greater degree of the resources of the Australian

Narcotics Bureau needs to be used in the pursuit of its primary role, i.e. the conduct of major investigations.

* the current collection, analysis and dissemination of operational intelligence does not provide an adequate base upon which to initiate major investigations.

* operational staff, particularly at senior levels, are needlessly involved in administrative matters to the detriment of their more important operational functions.

* there is a lack of a co-ordinated approach to the

recruitment and training of staff which is manifested in minor investigations being conducted by poorly qualified staff. *

* additional resources both human and equipment are

necessary. The provision of additional staff is not in itself a panacea and without recognising and resolving the



cruitment and training deficiencies, could prove counter productive.

* greater operational authority and autonomy should be exercised by senior investigation staff in the operational regions .

"" there is a need for a revised organisation structure in Headquarters and the Regions to provide more clearly defined functional responsibilities and provide a more dynamic and co-ordinated approach to both regional and national operations .

* a communications problem exists between staff generally and those responsible for operational and administrative policy.

* co-ordination between the Australian Narcotics Bureau and other areas of the Department, particularly Prevention, is inadequate due mainly to a vague interpretation of operational responsibilities and the inability of personnel generally to fulfil these responsibilities.

(Confidential Exhibit 357, pp .11--12)

Some other significant quotations from the Committee's Report are as follows:

The evolutionary changes in the narcotics scene that have seen an increase in the importance of hard drugs, increases in their monetary value with the corresponding difficulties of investigating and prosecuting professional organised criminals,

have not been matched by an equal growth in resources both human and technical within the Bureau.

The current level of Bureau operations within all Regions is undesirably low in relation to its major function. Evidence before the team, through file examination, data compiled and information from senior officers shows a preoccupation with

'street level' type work. (Confidential Exhibit 357, p .15)

An examination of the six months survey results indicates clearly that a great proportion of the individual seizures are minor in quantity. It also indicates that a large number are made by areas other than Prevention. An example of this can be

seen from heroin seizures in New South Wales where 57.44% were made at the mail exchange as against 8.5% at the airports and nil result at the sea-ports. As a result, too many resources of the Australian Narcotics Bureau are being utilised in

respect to investigation, processing, directing, controlling, over-sighting, administering or supervising seizures which are of little value either operationally or to the national narcotic enforcement program.

(Confidential Exhibit 357, p .20)



pe 'A ' investigations (the Team's definition of the most complex investigation) are not common with the A.N.B.

(Australian Narcotics Bureau ). However in examining several investigations in detail, it is clear to see why these are not more frequent.

The cost in manpower and resources involved in this type of investigation is high with possibility of success low. From the examination of several type Ά' operations and the

assistance of senior operational staff it was possible to determine that in considering the duration of such

investigations, staff leave, sick leave, training courses etc. a large operation group of officers is required. This is consistent with overseas task force units engaged in narcotic enforcement or police squads investigating serious crime such as murder. This represents the needs of a self-contained, composite group. The expected duration is normally one year plus.

This restricts a major Region such as Sydney or Melbourne to no more than two type Ά' and to a degree type ’B ' operations (the Team's definition of the second most complex investigation) in

any one year. At time of survey the Eastern Region was doing two Type Ά' operations but due to staff shortages had only five officers on each. This resulted in investigations being drawn out over too long a period which reduced the success rate considerably.

(Confidential Exhibit 357, p.23).

It was of considerable interest to the Commission to see that the views of the Review Committee agreed so often with those formed by the Commission after hearing evidence over a period of almost two years. Likewise the results of the Management Review Team's survey of seizures from 1 January 1977 to 30 June 1977 and the comments on the 'level of operations' (Confidential Exhibit 357, pp.20--25) strongly supported the conclusions of the Commission's statistician.

The final sittings around Australia also produced material confirmatory of original criticisms of the Narcotics Bureau's efforts and more material for disquiet. In particular, the Commission received evidence that the supplies of heroin were increasing and that criminal and violent elements had moved into the drug scene. This evidence clearly indicated that the Narcotics Bureau was not succeeding in its professed role.





As explained in Chapter A, the analyses prepared by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs of drug seizure statistics recorded by the Narcotics Bureau differed in five significant instances from similar analyses prepared by the Commission.

The Commission's analyses took into consideration evidence received from Narcotics Bureau officers and other witnesses concerning these particular seizures.

In each instance the Department's analyses categorised seizures as being the result of 'Narcotic Bureau operation' while the Commission considered them more appropriately categorised as results of activities covered by other categories. In view of the evidence it had received

the Commission decided not to change its categorisations.

The five seizures, some of which are referred to in Chapter 4, were:

- 1.9 tonnes of cannabis tops from Pocklington Reef off the east Papua New Guinea coast in June 1978;

- 34.5 kg of cannabis tops from baggage at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport in May 1978;

- 26.5 kg of cannabis tops found in bedheads unloaded from the

container ship Anro Australia in June 1978;

- 141 kg of cannabis tops from the yacht Lau Ling in January 1977;

- 94.7 kg of cannabis resin from a Renault vehicle near Waikerie, South Australia which had been landed from the MV Vishva Vibhuti at Port Adelaide in January 1978.

The Pocklington Reef seizure followed the earlier seizure of 2.7 tonnes of cannabis tops from the yacht Anoa at Laurieton, NSW. Evidence from NSW police and Narcotics Bureau officers described how police and Narcotics officers were jointly involved in the seizure of drugs from

the Anoa and the arrests of several people. One of the people arrested told NSW police and an officer of the Narcotics Bureau that more drugs had been secreted in a wreck on Pocklington Reef.

In his evidence to the Commission on 29 September 1978 Mr H. Bates, Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau, described the recovery of the 1.9 tonnes of cannabis tops from the Pocklington Reef wreck in these words:

On 14.6.78 two Bureau officers accompanied by two PNG Customs officers joined HMAS Flinders, a hydrographic survey vessel, at Kieta PNG and sailed to the wreck at Pocklington Reef where a further 1.9 tonnes cannabis Thai sticks were recovered.

(OT 16793)



Commission considered that in view of the connection between the Pocklington Reef seizure and the Anoa seizure, which the Department analyses had categorised as a 'Joint operation with police', the Pocklington Reef seizure should also be so categorised.

Information extracted from Deputy Crown Solicitor's files in Sydney showed that the 34.5 kg of cannabis seized at Sydney on 13 May 1978 followed an earlier seizure of 34.9 kg of cannabis tops detected by a Customs drug detector dog on routine baggage search. When interviewed about this earlier seizure by Narcotics Bureau officers the owner of the bag gave information that a similar amount was to be brought into Australia a few days later. On 13 May a drug detector dog again

detected a quantity of cannabis tops.

The Department's analyses categorised the first seizure as 'Detector dog passenger baggage examination' but the second as 'Narcotics Bureau operation'. In the absence of any evidence to indicate that the second seizure would have been likely without the initial detection by the drug detector dog, the Commission considered the second would more appropriately be classified as 'Detector dog passenger baggage examination'.

The seizure of the 26.5 kg of cannabis tops in June 1978 in Sydney was executed by Narcotics Bureau agents. Evidence given in confidence by senior NSW Customs officers indicated that Customs officers had found the cannabis secreted in bedheads in a container on the wharf after it had been unloaded from the container ship Anro Australia. The search resulted in a recommendation to search by the Collectorate's commercial intelligence cell. Narcotics Bureau officers who had been alerted after discovery of the cannabis followed the truck carrying the bedheads after the bedheads had been released from Customs. The Commission considered that in view of the above evidence the seizure would be most

appropriately categorised as 1 Cargo examination including vehicles'.

Evidence by Chief Inspector J . A. Travers of the Narcotics Bureau provided background to the seizure of 141 kg of cannabis tops from the yacht Lau Ling in January 1977 in Western Australia. He explained that two men under investigation by NSW and New Zealand Police and the Narcotics Bureau were known to have chartered Lau Ling in Hong Kong but that law enforcement officers lost contact with the yacht until a police officer at Denham in Western Australia received reports concerning the activities of a man later identified as one of the men who had hired the yacht. Mr Travers said in evidence that after the man had chartered a

fishing boat to take him back to his yacht anchored near Denham:

the matter became of interest to the police, and because the police reported the matter as a suspect narcotic inquiry to the (State Police) Drug Squad, and because it related to a yacht, the matter was referred to us. In the meantime, the owner of the fishing boat had reported the query for the charter to the Sub-Collector of Customs.

(OT 648)



se of this and other evidence the Commission decided the seizure would be more appropriately categorised as 'Joint operation with police' rather than 1 Narcotics Bureau operation' as in the Department's analyses.

The 94.7 kg of cannabis resin seized from a Renault vehicle near Waikerie, South Australia,in January 1978 resulted in charges being laid against Michael Dzialowski. According to confidential evidence given by a Narcotics Bureau officer, the seizure followed detection of the

cannabis during a search of the car by Customs officers at Port Adelaide after it had been unloaded from the MV Vishva Vibhuti. Although Narcotics Bureau officers alerted by Customs officers made the actual seizure, the Commission considered that in view of the above evidence

the seizure would more appropriately be categorised as one resulting from 'Cargo examination including vehicles'. Evidence referred to in Chapter 4 outlines the reasons why the Narcotics Bureau did not carry out a seizure at Port Adelaide.


Table VI.1 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (number of seizures)— Heroin

Seizure category

Passenger/baggage examination Cargo N a r c o t i c s ------------------------------------examination Premises/ Parcel Joint

Bureau Detector including vehicle post operations Other

operation Airport Ship /wharf dog vehicles search examination with police sources Total

1978— Q u e e n s l a n d . . . 13 1 2 — —

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . 2 4 11 — 1 —

V i c t o r i a . . . . 69 5 1 — —

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . . 13 — 1 — —

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . 2 4 7 1 — —

T a s m a n i a . . . . — — — — —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y . 3 — — — —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . . 4 1 — — —


43 18


1 22

2 81

28 121

1 15

1 50

1 — 1

1 — 4

2 — 10

4 33 304

4 3 36

3 7 133

22 112

1 — 25

2 — 42

1 — 1

3 2 6

8 — 27

22 34 382

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.


able V1.2 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (quantities in grams)— H eroin

Seizure category

Narcotics Bureau operation

Passenger hay gage examination Cargo ------------------------------------- examination Premises/

Detector including vehicle

Airport Ship/wharf dog vehicles search

Parcel post Joint

examin- operations ation with police Other sources Total

1978— Queensland . . . 573.8 6.3 1.9 — —

New South Wales . . 895.6 1 481.2 — 9 893.0 —

Victoria . . . . 626.8 881 .4 0.0* — —

South Australia . . 196.5 — 0.0* —

Western Australia . . 493.6 1 451.7 22.8 —

Tasmania . . . . — — — — —

Australian Capital Territory. 10.0 - - — —

Northern Territory . . 57.6 115.2 — — —

110.9 —

297.6 —

265.4 —

8.3 — o . o t

— 0.2

5.5 1.2

0.8 693.7

176.5 12 743.9

296.7 2 070.3

8.6 205.1

0.1 1 976.8

— o . o t

— 10.2

— 179.5

A u s t r a l i a . . . 2 8 5 3 . 9 3 9 3 5 . 8 2 4 . 7 9 8 9 3 . 0 —

9 7 7 — Q u e e n s l a n d . . 1 8 7 . 9 1.1 — — 7 . 3

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . 1 2 1 5 . 6 4 6 9 1 . 8 — — —

V i c t o r i a . . . . 1 0 2 1 . 1 3 2 2 . 2 1 . 5 _ —

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . 6 3 . 6 — 2 . 0

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . 2 9 2 2 . 4 9 0 . 7 1 . 3 __

T a s m a n i a . . . . — — — — —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y . — — — — —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . 2 . 3 6 2 . 0 — — —

A u s t r a l i a . . . 5 4 1 2 . 9 5 1 6 7 . 8 4 . 8 — 7 . 3

0.3 687.7 1 .4 482.7 17 879.5

50.2 15.7 5.9 268.1

0 .0 * 463.0 33.5 38.1 6442.0

7.9 121.4 — 99.4 1 573.5

— 36.3 0 . 1 — 102.0

— 52.4 19.0 — 3 085.8

— — 2.0 — 2.0

— 1.0 1.7 6.5 9.2

— 57.4 122.6 — 244.3

7.9 781.7 194.6 149.9 11 726.9

* T r a c e o n ly

t 0 .0 2 g r a m s

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the quantity of drugs seized in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.


able VI.3 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (number of seizures)— Cannabis tops

Premises/ Parcel Joint

vehicle post operations Other

search examination with police sources Total

— 6 3 2 2 0

— 4 0 4 4 11 0

— 17 — 3 6 6

— 14 — — 3 7

3 3 6 1 2 5 11 5

— — 2 — 10

— 3 1 1 11

3 1 1 6 13 3 5 371

17 17 6 6 3

— 6 9 3 13 14 2

2 16 — 9 9 7

— 5 — — 5 7

— 31 7 2 2 12 3

— 6 2 — 21

— — 13 3 16

— 2 8 4 2 0

1 4 6

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where Stale authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.


able VI .4 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (quantities in grams)— C annabis Tops

Seizure category

Narcotics Bureau operation

Passenger/baggage examination Cargo ------------------------------------- examination Premises/

Detector including vehicle

Airport Ship!wharf dog vehicles search

Parcel post Joint

examin- operations ation with police Other sources Total

1 9 7 8 — Q u e e n s l a n d . . . 6 0 5 . 5 0 . 6 1 3 .6 ---- — —

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . 4 8 2 . 9 5 7 6 3 2 . 3 1 8 9 .8 8 0 7 4 7 . 8 140 8 2 9 . 5 —

V i c t o r i a . . . . 1 2 9 6 . 5 1 9 4 .4 3 3 . 5 — — —

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . . 2 6 4 6 . 5 — 2 1 7 . 7 4 7 . 5 —

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . 3 5 4 7 . 0 4 6 7 . 7 3 7 7 7 . 3 — — 3 5 . 0

T a s m a n i a . . . . 2 0 0 . 0 — 2 0 4 . 3 8 2 5 .1 —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y — — — — — —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . . 5 0 . 8 6 8 4 0 . 0 — — — —

1 2 . 2 3 1 . 0 1 . 4 6 6 4 . 3

5 6 9 8 . 5 4 6 8 4 2 9 6 . 3 4 3 7 6 . 8 4 9 7 4 2 5 3 . 9

1 0 6 6 . 0 — 1 7 . 5 2 6 0 7 . 9

3 5 . 4 — — 2 9 4 7 . 1

5 7 8 . 1 1 . 0 1 6 4 . 8 8 5 7 0 . 9

- 1 0 5 5 . 0 — 2 2 8 4 . 4

— 5 . 7 — 5 . 7

1 1 5 4 . 2 17 8 1 0 7 . 0 0 . 2 18 6 1 5 2 . 2

A ustralia 8 8 2 9 . 2 6 5 1 3 5 . 0 4 4 3 6 . 2 8 0 7 4 7 . 8 1 4 1 7 0 2 . 1 3 5 . 0 8 5 4 4 . 4 4 8 6 3 4 9 6 . 0 4 5 6 0 . 7 5 17 7 4 8 6 . 4

1 9 7 7 — Queensland . . . 704.1 5.3 8.2 25.6 —

New South Wales . . 2870.2 121 900.0 578.6 11495.6 51077.1 —

Victoria . . . . 4 596.4 528.7 555.3 1 724.4 13.1

South Australia . . . 4 328.0 — 587.6 — 6131.0 —

Western Australia . . 10 650.9 3 877.5 1 167.5 — — —

Tasmania . . . . 98.7 — 78.9 — — —

Australian Capital Territory — — — — — —

Northern Territory . . 3263.2 8.7 — — — —

8 1 . 8 1 5 0 5 . 0 1 3 1 . 9 2 4 6 1 . 9

2 7 6 9 . 6 1 8 . 8 21 3 4 2 . 3 2 1 2 0 5 2 . 2

2 9 9 5 . 5 — 4 0 . 2 1 0 4 5 3 . 6

5 6 . 2 — — 11 1 0 2 . 8

1 8 6 9 . 1 1 4 8 4 2 0 . 7 4 0 3 9 4 . 6 2 0 6 3 8 0 . 3

2 3 6 . 2 4 0 5 . 0 — 8 1 8 . 8

— 2 5 9 4 5 . 0 6 2 . 4 2 6 0 0 7 . 4

1 0 . 1 1 2 2 6 . 2 3 6 . 4 4 5 4 4 . 6

A ustralia 2 6 5 1 1 . 5 1 2 6 3 2 0 . 2 2 9 7 6 . 1 11 4 9 5 . 6 5 8 9 5 8 . 1 1 3 . 1 8 0 1 8 . 5 17 7 5 2 0 . 7 6 2 0 0 7 . 8 4 7 3 8 2 1 . 6

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the quantity of drugs seized in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

B 1 3 2

Table VI. 5 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau ( number of seizures)— Cannabis resin

Seizure category

Narcotics Bureau operation

Passenger/baggage examination Cargo ------------ - ----------------------- examination

Detector including

Airport Ship/ wharf dog vehicles

Premises / Parcel

vehicle post

search examination


operations with police

Other sources Total

1 978—

Queensland . . . — 2 1 — 1

New South Wales . . 7 27 3 1 6

Victoria . . . . 1 5 1 0 1 — 3

South Australia . . . 5 — 6 — 1

Western Australia . . 6 3 2 — —

Tasmania . . . . — — 1 — —

Australian Capital Territory . 5 — — — —

Northern Territory . . — — — — —


21 27 2 27

3 3

1 3 5

1 1

13 68 61 14 40

1 9 4

Australia 91 13 21 0

1 977— Queensland . . . 2 2 3 — 2

New South Wales . . II 5 3 — 5

Victoria . . . . 23 3 5 2

South Australia . . . 4 — 1 — —

Western Australia . 5 2 — — —

Tasmania . . . . 1 — — — —

Australian Capital Territory . — — — — —

Northern Territory . . 2 — — — —

2 —


2 —

6 1


- 10


1 12

3 35

1 34


4 19


10 10

Australia . . . 48 12 12 — 9 2 17 20 9 129

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized hy Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the number of seizures in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where Stale authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.


Table VI.6 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (quantities in grams)— C annabis Resin

Seizure category

Narcotics Bureau operation

Passenger I baggage examination Cargo ------------------------------------- examination Premises/

Detector including vehicle

Airport Ship!wharf dog vehicles search

Parcel post Joint

examin- operations ation with police Other sources Total

1 9 7 8 — Q u e e n s l a n d . . . —

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . 2 5 9 7 . 3

V i c t o r i a . . . . 5 4 0 2 3 . 9

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . . 9 9 2 . 6

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . 3 . 7

T a s m a n i a . . . . —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y 9 8 0

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . . —

A u s t r a l i a . . . 5 7 7 1 5 . 5

>77— Q u e e n s l a n d . . . 0 . 6

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . 1 9 0 3 2 . 0

V i c t o r i a . . . . 1 0 4 9 . 1

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . . 1 2 . 4

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . 1 1 8 9 . 4

T a s m a n i a . . . . 1 . 9

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . . 1 3 . 0

1 1 0 7 . 1 7 . 6 — 3 4 3 5 . 0

3 6 7 5 2 . 1 2 7 . 2 1 5 . 9 2 1 0 8 0 4 5 . 6

11 0 6 9 . 2 0 . 8 — 9 7 3 9 4 . 4

— 1 2 0 . 4 — 9 4 3 8 3 . 0

1 4 6 . 1 5 . 6 — —

0 . 3

- — — —

4 9 0 7 4 . 5 1 6 1 . 9 1 5 . 9 2 3 0 3 2 5 8 . 0

3 4 7 7 . 3 0 . 7 — 5 2 1 1 2 . 0

4 2 0 5 . 7 1 9 1 3 . 6 — 123 4 5 8 . 4

2 3 4 4 . 4 2 1 4 9 . 9 — 8 2 5 3 . 6

— 1 5 . 7 — —

3 1 5 . 7

_ —

— 1 2 8 8 . 6 — 1 . 4 5 8 3 9 . 7

— 9 7 7 . 6 — 2 1 . 0 2 14 8 4 3 6 . 7

— 13 7 7 2 . 9 — 7 0 8 . 4 1 7 6 9 6 9 . 6

— 1 8 . 9 — — 9 5 5 1 4 . 9

— 5 1 6 . 8 — 1 8 . 3 6 9 0 . 5

0 . 3

1 0 8 . 7 — 7 . 9 2 . 8

— 1 8 4 9 . 5 — 0 . 4 1 8 4 9 . 9

— 18 4 3 2 . 2 7 5 2 . 3 2 4 2 9 4 1 0 . 3

— 4 7 6 . 8 — 1 0 8 . 8 5 6 1 7 6 . 2

0 . 1 6 7 7 6 . 8 — 4 6 6 . 6 1 5 5 8 5 3 . 2

— — — 9 . 1 13 8 0 6 . 1

— 2 1 . 8 — — 4 9 . 9

1 5 . 0 7 6 . 3 2 . 5 3 . 9 1 6 0 2 . 8

— — 1 . 0 — 2 . 9

— — 1 2 6 4 . 5 — 1 2 6 4 . 5

— — 3 0 . 8 — 4 3 . 8

A u s t r a l i a 21 2 9 8 . 4 1 0 3 4 3 . 1 4 0 7 9 . 9 — 183 8 2 4 . 0 1 5 . 1 7 3 5 1 . 7 1 2 9 8 . 8 5 8 8 . 4 2 2 8 7 9 9 . 4

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the quantity of drugs seized in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.


able VI.7 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (number of seizures)—Cannabis oil


able VI.8 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (quantities in grams)— C annabis O il

Seizure category

Narcotics Bureau operation

Passenger/baggage examination Cargo ------------------------------------- examination Premises/

Detector including vehicle

Airport Ship! wharf dog vehicles search

Parcel post Joint

examina- operations tion with police Other sources Total

4 4 0 , 0

— 3 4 2 6 . 0 3 7 5 8 8 . 0

— 3 4 2 6 . 0 3 8 0 2 8 . 0

— 2 9 5 . 0

— 8 0 1 5 . 0 2 5 0 7 6 . 0

— 8 0 1 5 . 0 2 5 3 7 1 . 0

— — 0 . 4 4 7 3 . 4

5 2 . 1 — — 9 6 2 8 0 . 1

1 7 2 . 1 2 8 . 3 — 4 7 1 . 0

— — — 1 9 . 9

0 . 8 — — 0 . 8

— — — 4 8 3 . 0

— — 3 . 0 3 . 0

2 2 5 . 0 2 8 . 3 3 . 4 9 7 7 3 1 . 2

— — — 2 9 5 . 0

2 0 8 5 . 6 — — 3 5 2 6 2 . 1

— .— — 4 1 . 4

— 3 5 . 0 — 3 5 . 8

2 . 0 0 . 5 — 4 3 5 . 3

— 1 0 . 0 — 1 0 . 0

0 . 0 * 0 . 0 *

2 0 8 7 . 6 4 5 . 5 — 3 6 0 7 9 . 6

The Narcotics Bureau receives and records all drugs seized by Commonwealth authority. In these tables the Commission has attributed the quantity of drugs seized in terms of the initial activity leading to such seizures. No account, however, is taken of seizures where State authorities have acted alone and not delivered the seized drugs to the Narcotics Bureau.

ε is

Table V1.9 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (frequency distribution)— Heroin

Number o f seizures

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 500 grams

Less than and less than and less than and less than and less than and less than / kg

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 500 grams l kg and over Total


Table VI.10 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (frequency distribution)— Cannabis Tops

Number o f seizures

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 1 kg

Less than and less than and less than and less than and less than and less than 5 kg

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 1 kg 5 kg and over Total


able VI.11 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (frequency distribution)— Cannabis Resin

Number o f seizures

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 1 kg

Less than and less than and less than and less than and less than and less than 5 kg

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 1 kg 5 kg and over Total

1 9 7 8 — Q u e e n s l a n d . . . . . 5 1 1 — 2

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . . . 2 3 1 2 8 4 8

V i c t o r i a . . . . . 1 8 2 7 3 2 0

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . . . 6 2 1 1 3

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . . . 35 1 2 — 2

T a s m a n i a . . . . . 1 — — — —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . . . 3 — — — —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y . . 6 1 1 1 —

A u s t r a l i a . . . . 9 7 19 2 0 9 3 5

1 9 7 7 — Q u e e n s l a n d ....................................................... 6 1 1 — 2

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . . . . 17 3 2 — 4

V i c t o r i a . . . . . 15 3 7 1 5

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . . . . 5 — 2 — —

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . . . . 10 1 5 1 1

T a s m a n i a . . . . . 2 — — — —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y . . . 7 2 1 — —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y . . 5 2 2 — —


10 8


2 3

1 6 2



3 3 1



68 61 1 4

4 0 1 4 9


1 3 1

12 3 5 3 4 7

1 9


10 10

A u s t r a l i a . . . . 6 7 1 2 2 0 2 1 2 11 5 1 2 9


able VI.12 Analysis of drug seizures recorded by Narcotics Bureau (frequency distribution)— Cannabis Oil

Number o f seizures

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 1 kg

Less than and less than and less than and less than and less than and less than 5 kg

5 grams 10 grams 50 grams 100 grams 1 kg 5 kg and over Total

1 9 7 8 — Q u e e n s l a n d . . 5 — 1 — 1

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . 4 — 1 1 1

V i c t o r i a . . 5 1 1 2 1

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . 1 — 1 — —

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . 1 — — — —

T a s m a n i a . . — — — — 1

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y 1 — — — —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y . — — — — —

A u s t r a l i a . . . . 1 7 1 4 3 4

2 10


1 9

10 2 1 1


2 1 0 4 1

1 9 7 7 — Q u e e n s l a n d . . — — — — 1

N e w S o u t h W a l e s . 2 1 — 1 —

V i c t o r i a . . 3 — 1 — —

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . 2 — 1 — —

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . 6 — — — 1

T a s m a n i a . . 1 1 — — —

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y 1 — — — —

A u s t r a l i a n C a p i t a l T e r r i t o r y . — — — — — -


1 7 4 3 7 2


A u s t r a l i a . . . . 1 5 2 2 1 2 1 2 2 5




hapter 5 Conclusions and Recommendations

As is obvious from the previous four Chapters of this Part of the Report, the role of the Bureau of Customs in drug Law enforcement in recent years has been centred on the Narcotics Bureau, a unit which has attained a special status within the Bureau of Customs and its parent

Department, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.

In considering the evidence concerning the Narcotics Bureau the Commission was very much aware that any recommendation it might, make about the future of the Narcotics Bureau would have wide implications for the Bureau of Customs as a whole and the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. Equally the Commission was aware that the Narcotics

Bureau was not the only component of the Bureau of Customs which has a law enforcement responsibility in regard to the importation (and exportation ) of drugs.

Accordingly the Commission has considered both matters-- the future of the Narcotics Bureau and the future of drug law enforcement

activities by the Bureau of Customs as a whole-as parts of a single question. In order to do this it would appear most appropriate to consider the Bureau of Customs and its 'preventive' functions first. Early references to the Narcotics Bureau are, in the main, confined to

its role as a component of the Bureau of Customs. The Narcotics Bureau itself is considered in detail in the later sections of the Chapter.

Recommendations concerning both the Bureau of Customs and the Narcotics Bureau are set out at the end of the Chapter.


The role of the Bureau of Customs in restricting the entry of

illegal drugs into Australia has changed over the years. In the very early days of Federation, opium was a prohibited import and the Bureau of Customs would detect and seize opium coming into Australia at its national boundaries. Opium which escaped the attention of the Bureau of Customs might be seized from users or dealers by State police.

In the mid-1960s a deliberate movement away from the 'the Customs barrier' by some Bureau elements began whereby Customs officers undertook activities in parts of Australia quite removed from its borders with a view to investigating and detecting persons trafficking

in drugs. But, as has already been mentioned, the charter of these officers afforded by the Customs Act was limited to drugs illegally imported. Further, this movement away from the Customs barrier meant

Customs officers began operating in the same areas of investigation work as State police forces. Inevitably conflict arose on occasions between Customs officers and State police forces and the Commonwealth police

body at that time, the Commonwealth Police Force.


The development of the Narcotics Bureau within the Bureau of Customs and the expansion of its role through the 1970s is outlined in Chapter 3. By the mid-1970s Narcotics Bureau officers were not only stationed at traditional areas of Customs work-- entry points such as airports and seaports-- but also began operating in virtually any part of Australia. The Narcotics Bureau also had the role of effecting international

liaison with drug law enforcement agencies in other countries and, as shown in the evidence outlined in Chapter 4, attempted on occasions to assume control of drug trafficking investigations within Australia, including in some instances those initiated by or involving State police forces or other Commonwealth agencies.

This recent history of the Bureau of Customs and the development of the Narcotics Bureau as a law enforcement agency and its increasing share of resources available to the Bureau of Customs clearly has led to confusion within the ranks of the Bureau of Customs about the true role of Customs in respect of illegal drugs that is, the prevention and detection of the importation (and exportation) of such drugs. The proposal some years ago to amalgamate the Bureau of Customs and the Commonwealth Police (Compol) into one Department-- Police and Customs--did not eventuate. But undoubtedly it added to the confusion as to the role of Customs officers in law enforcement.

The Commission was disturbed by the evidence it received concerning unrest among some Customs officers. While several causes, such as narrow career structure, could be seen as contributing to this unrest, there seemed no doubt that much of it has stemmed from a quite

unwarranted notion that officers with the designation of Preventive Officer have some exclusive right to exercise Customs law enforcement functions at ports of entry. Such a notion has undoubtedly caused

considerable strain in relations between these Preventive Officers and Customs officers of other designations (including, evidence showed, Narcotics Bureau officers). Such unrest has obviously been to the detriment of the overall efficiency of Customs efforts to prevent and detect the illegal importation of drugs into Australia. The Commission rejects the validity of any such notion. To accept it would be to ignore the significant contributions which other operational sections of the Bureau of Customs have made, and must continue to make, to

activities directed against drug smugglers. These contributions, as exemplified by the Commission's analyses of drug seizures detailed in the previous Chapter and in evidence concerning work in Collectorates outlined in Chapter 2, clearly establish that all Customs officers at the operational level-- Boarding and Examining Officers and other officers such as those in commercial freight areas-- have had, and must continue to have, a vital role to play in combating drug smuggling.

Re-Statement of the Customs Role

The future of Preventive Officers and other Customs officers with drug-related responsibilities is discussed later in this Chapter. In considering the evidence concerning the Bureau of Customs as a whole, however, the Commission came to the firm conviction that the role of the Bureau in relation to drug law enforcement needs to be re-stated. This role should be, in simple terms, the interception of drugs at



stralia's national borders. This task in itself is of such

complexity, magnitude and importance as to require all of the Bureau's resources and ingenuity. This is particularly so in the light of the heavy increases in passenger and freight traffic in recent years and the attendant problems brought about by the introduction of wide-bodied jet aircraft and freight containers. The evidence made clear that these

factors have posed a constant threat of overwhelming traditional Customs procedures and facilities.

Reaffirming the task of the .Bureau of Customs in the war against illegal drugs as the enforcement of the Customs Act at the barrier and relieving the Bureau of tasks in front of and behind the barrier will, in the Commission's opinion, produce a much better result from the Bureau of Customs. Firstly, the resources available to the Department will be concentrated on a much more precise task. Secondly, it will become much easier, in the Commission's view, for the Bureau of Customs

to keep under continual review the relative effectiveness of each element operating to constitute 'the Customs screen'.

The Bureau of Customs has great potential to intercept imported illegal drugs through its supervision of Australia's borders. Australia, like other sovereign countries, has the right to control who and what crosses its borders. The Bureau of Customs has

administratively delegated to it by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs a role in supervising who crosses Australia's borders. It has a like delegation from the Commonwealth Department of Health in relation to quarantinable goods. These delegations, combined with the

responsibilities the Bureau has under the Customs Act of supervising the landing of imported goods, place it in a unique position to constitute a formidable counter-measure to the import of illegal drugs.

It is imperative that this counter-measure be as strong as possible and that the resources available for its strengthening not be dissipated by pursuing other objectives. The Commission is convinced that investigations of trafficking in drugs once they have entered Australia

is police work.

The Inspection Concept

As mentioned above, the Commission was disturbed by evidence given about unrest among some Customs officers. On some occasions certain Preventive Officers demonstrated not only a bitter resentment towards management but also towards other officers who are as vitally concerned

as themselves with combating drug smuggling (and other types of smuggling). Some Preventive Officers appear to see themselves as an isolated group whose specialist training and expertise were both unappreciated and unrewarded by Departmental administrators.

The Commission recognises that problems have arisen because of the way Preventive Officers have been treated, or believe themselves to have been treated. The evidence clearly indicated that while individual Preventive Officers and other officers have exhibited considerable


dedication and skill in the execution of their duties, divisiveness

between Third Division and Fourth Division officers, between Preventive

Officers and other Customs officers, and the lack of accord between

Preventive Officers and Narcotics Bureau agents have all been factors

which work in favour of the drug smuggler. A unified approach is

obviously essential. It is fundamental that all members of the Bureau

of Customs need to devote their united and concentrated efforts to the

detection of drug smugglers, to the exclusion of matters detracting from

overall efficiency.

The Commission was favourably impressed with the evidence it

received from within the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs concerning the 'Inspection Concept'. The Commission was not in a

position to pursue and evaluate all the implications which the concept

might have for the Australian Public Service or for the Bureau of

Customs. Nevertheless, it formed the view that, if implemented in the

manner envisaged by the Department, the Inspection Concept would bring a

number of important benefits to administration of 'the Customs screen' as it applies to drugs. In particular, it would ensure:

* a more flexible and efficient deployment of manpower;

* the special searching skills presently concentrated in the

'Preventive Service' would be acquired by all Customs officers with direct operational responsibilities;

* a better understanding by Preventive Officers of other areas of

Customs activity important in combating drug smuggling which have

been too readily dismissed by some Preventive Officers as 'mere

clerical work’;

* better career prospects for men presently serving as Preventive


* a sense of corporate identity and common interest among all Bureau

of Customs personnel which the Commission believes existed a number of years ago and which is essential if the Bureau of Customs is to play the role of which it is capable.

The Commission concluded that, despite the obvious merits of the

Inspection Concept, difficulties might be expected in implementing it.

Considerable resources would need to be devoted to its implementation if success is to be expected. Resistance to the concept may be expected

from some quarters, particularly as not all staff will see themselves

as being advantaged by its implementation. The development of a

'Customs Officer’ classification and career structure as envisaged in

the Inspection Concept is likely to be a formidable task. New major

training courses will have to be devised and implemented. Throughout

the change process, special care will have to be taken to ensure that

the standard of Departmental performance does not deteriorate.

The evidence shows there has been much investigation of the question

of organisation of the Bureau's preventive functions. The report of the

Department's own internal 1976--77 National Review of Preventive


Operations (NROPO) Committee, comments by Senior Preventive Officers, and finally the promulgation of the Inspection Concept have brought the

situation to the stage where talk should cease and action commence. One witness from the Management Services Branch of the Department felt that although the Inspection Concept would not overcome all the problems, it

was certainly a step in the right direction.

The implementation of a change of this magnitude would normally be a slow and lengthy process. In the Commission's View the problems -to

which the Inspection Concept is addressed are urgent, and action needs

to be taken urgently.

The Commission was told in its final hearings in Canberra in

September 1979 that a joint Public Service Board/Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Steering Committee was due to report on 12 December 1979 and, if that report was accepted, implementation of the concept could begin in 1980.

The Commission concluded that, for the proper and speedy

implementation of the Inspection Concept, a new, very small, high-level

implementation committee set up on a task force basis should be

established. This committee should include senior officers from the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and the Public Service Board, and arrangements should be made to implement the Changes with

whatever resources are necessary. In order to ensure that the momentum of implementation is maintained the Commission believes progress should be subject to Ministerial oversight. To this end, regular reports of

the Committee should be directed to the Minister for Business and

Consumer Affairs and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Public Service Matters.


While the Commission believes that Customs activities should be

concentrated 'at the barrier' it is equally convinced that the Bureau of Customs must be provided with intelligence sufficient to fulfil this role. The Commission believes this should be done by the system of

Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres which it proposes in Part XIV of the Report.

Generally speaking, detection of drugs at the barrier by Customs Officers clearly indicates the drugs in question are being illegally

imported or exported. The defences open to a person caught in

possession of drugs at the Customs barrier are very few, and there would not normally be great difficulty in preparing a case for prosecution.

While the bulk of evidence received by the Commission indicated Customs officerS' are extremely good at searching for smuggled goods, including drugs, there may be times when police assistance could be of benefit.

Police are readily available at all principal places of entry. Where fingerprinting is necessary, for example, State police have always been

generous in their supply of expertise. There is no reason why State or


Federal police could not be immediately called if there seems any reason why their assistance is necessary in interrogation.

The co-operation that will exist between the Collectorate of Customs in any State, State police and Federal police based in that State through the operation of the local Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre should be of great value. The Commission sees it as desirable that, in addition to this routine co-operation, there should be regular meetings at the local level between Customs officers and Federal and State police so that each agency knows the current local situation and appreciates how each might be called upon to act on a co-operative basis. The days when Customs officers must report back to Canberra on local operational matters and leave Canberra to liaise with State police on those matters must be regarded as past for all time.

It must also be remembered by State and Federal police that Customs officers have the potential to assist them significantly in searching areas away from the barrier. The above-mentioned searching skills of Customs officers, augmented by drug detector dogs, will save police many hours when searches of buildings and other places for drugs are necessary. This assistance should be made available as a matter of course by the local Collector or his nominee upon request.

Coastal Surveillance

Another area where co-operation between the Bureau of Customs and other agencies is obviously vital is that of surveillance of Australia's coastline. It is self-evident that the Bureau of Customs must know what boats and aircraft are entering Australia's border zones if it is to exercise proper controls and, if necessary, carry out the appropriate

searches and checks in relation to the smuggling of drugs (and other goods).

While it is true that Australia, as an island, can be entered only by boat or aircraft, the Commission is aware that Bureau of Customs responsibilities in this regard are neither simple nor easy, especially in matters concerning the more remote coastline areas of northern Australia.

Evidence on this subject, including the current state of the Customs launch fleet and the so-called 'honour system' whereby the masters of small craft are required to report to Customs within 24 hours of their arrival in Australia from overseas is discussed in Part VIII of this Report. Some of this evidence, plus the evidence cited in Chapter 4 of

this Part of the Report concerning lack of information from the Bureau of Customs to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (ACSC), presented a grim picture of resources not fully utilised and lost opportunities for co-ordination and co-operation.

It is the Commission's view that it is a waste of time and effort for the Bureau of Customs to attempt to mount its own surveillance



ffort, in relation to such coastal intrusions. The proper course is the development of the system whereby the Bureau and other concerned agencies are alerted by the ACSC to unauthorised intrusions.

Recommendations dealt with in Part VIII include those concerning the expansion of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre's charter whereby the ACSC would monitor continually an intruder's progress until the Bureau of Customs or some other appropriate agency takes over

operational control of the situation.

The Commission believes that if these recommendations are adopted the Bureau of Customs will be adequately supplied with all the

assistance on unauthorised intrusions that Australian resources can reasonably make available. On the other hand, such assistance must not be one-sided. The Bureau of Customs would need to observe faithfully its responsibility to pass to the ACSC, for the common good, any

relevant intelligence it receives at first hand.

The problem of coastal surveillance is sometimes regarded by some people as simply surveillance of the more remote areas of Australia's coastline, and the geographical area of responsibility of the Bureau of Customs' Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) has been so

defined. But the Commission was made very much aware that intrusions by smugglers could occur at virtually any point on the Australian coastline. Some witnesses were of the opinion that the easiest way of smuggling drugs into Australia would be to do so by a pleasure craft entering Sydney Harbour on a busy sailing afternoon. Other evidence,

including that outlined in Part VIII of drug caches found on beaches in three States, strongly suggests drugs are dropped at sea to be recovered by shore-based small craft.

For these reasons it is essential that the Customs launch fleet be expanded and modernised so that sufficient vessels of sea-going capacity are available to assist in detecting and deterring these types of illegal importation.

The question of such inshore patrols raises another possibility for co-operation between the Bureau of Customs and other Commonwealth and State authorities. It may be that the best solution to the problem of surveillance near some ports would be, consequent upon appropriate arrangements with State authorities, for Customs officers to travel in police or other State-owned vessels while those vessels are carrying out

their normal tasks. Thus a Customs patrol could also be maintained. This is the type of joint utilisation of resources which must be achieved. It would appear particularly appropriate in Customs 'outport' situations.

Procedures at Main Ports

While intrusions of Australian borders in the ways described above are of serious concern, the main bulk of the Bureau of Customs resources has been, and must continue to be, directed at the main points of



ntry-- the international airports and main seaports where most people and cargo arrive from overseas.

Although such entries are made at fixed points where controls have long been established, the sheer volume of such entries in recent years has presented problems beyond the imagination of any planner a few years ago. Evidence quoted in Chapters 1 and 2 of this Part of the Report give some insight into the difficulties which the Bureau of Customs faces daily in trying to establish a balance between the facilitation of the entry of people and goods into Australia and its responsibilities in regard to the smuggling of goods, including drugs.

The Commission wishes to record that it considers the Bureau of Customs in recent times has shown a commendable initiative in attempting to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of certain of its procedures. The fourth Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission on 4 September 1979 and the evidence of Mr G. E . Sheen, the New South Wales Collector of Customs, during August 1979 detailed how

studies had been commenced in Sydney to evaluate the effectiveness of existing procedures and new procedures instituted, sometimes on a trial basis, during the course of the Commission. Initiatives such as 1 saturation' searches of the passengers and crew of selected aircraft and the extended use of drug detector dogs to examine not only cargo and hold baggage but the hand luggage of passengers should be carefully and continuously monitored.

Evidence concerning the development of training and use of drug detector dogs is discussed in Part XIII, Chapter 1 of the Report. It is sufficient to remark at this point that the Commission was most impressed with evidence about the effectiveness of dogs in drug detection work. While it appeared obvious that dogs have a very great potential for use in drug detection work, the Commission was not

satisfied that sufficient development of this potential has yet been achieved. The latest Department of Business and Consumer Affairs initiative in co-ordinating and expanding the training of its drug detector dogs in the latter half of 1979 and its plans to have such dog detector units at all main ports of entry is to be commended. But the Commission believes that these plans should not be an end in themselves. The evidence presented to the Commission in Australia and its own observations overseas strongly suggest that development of a nation-wide dog training scheme should be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

Evidence concerning smuggling by freight made clear that apart from the increased volume of air and sea cargo requiring quick but effective Customs control checks, the advent of containers has added another dimension to the problem of detecting drug smuggling. The use of containers in international commerce is comparatively new, but the Commission believes that their potential for use as a means of importing illegal drugs is a danger which must not be underestimated.

Because o f their size, containers offer what one Customs officer described as 'the perfect opportunity' for drug smuggling. For Customs



icers they present a special challenge: control procedures must be sufficiently stringent for drug detection purposes, yet at the same time trade must not be brought to a standstill. Customs authorities throughout the world have been endeavouring to establish procedures adequate to cope with the threat containers present. The Commission cannot point strongly enough to the need for similar efforts to be continuously and energetically pursued in Australia.


It became clear to the Commission that if the Bureau of Customs is to be expected to carry out its responsibilities in regard to the importation of illegal drugs, Customs officers must be vested with powers appropriate to these responsibilities. Accordingly, the Commission has concluded that amendments should be made to the Customs Act.

Cargo Control: The Commission was concerned with the legislation governing Customs control of cargo, particularly containerised cargo, and the way in which that legislation was administered.

The statutory scheme under the Customs Act controlling the importation of general cargo also applies to the importation of containerised cargo. All imported goods must be reported to Customs (Section 49) and may be unloaded only pursuant to a Customs permit or entry (Section 74); an Inward Manifest of goods must be delivered to the Collector within one day of the arrival of the ship or aircraft at a port or airport in Australia (Section 64).

Imported goods are subject to the 'Control of Customs' from the time they are imported until they are delivered for 1 home consumption' (that is, use or sale within Australia) or until they are re-exported (Section 30). The 'Control of Customs' includes the right of Customs to examine those goods (Section 32), and the movement of goods subject to that control is prohibited unless authorised by Customs in accordance with the Customs Act (Section 33).

All goods imported for home consumption must be entered with Customs (Sections 36 and 68), and that entry is made by delivering to a

Collector of Customs at the port where the goods are landed a document called an 1 Entry for Home Consumption' specifying the goods (Section 37). After the entry for home consumption is delivered to the Collector of Customs, it is processed, and if in order, is stamped 'May Be

Delivered', and this stamp is considered by Customs to be sufficient authority for the goods to be delivered to the consignee. This

authority may be subject to conditions such as an inspection by Customs of the goods.

There is also a procedure known by the initials CTA (Check to Arrive) whereby an entry for home consumption can be lodged with the Collector prior .to the arrival of the goods (for instance, while the



hip bringing the goods to Australia is still on the water). In such a case, the goods are deemed to be entered on the day on which the goods arrive.

The procedure whereby entries are stamped 'May be Delivered' would seem to be at variance with the strict terms of Section 39 which

provides that the warrant for dealing with the goods in accordance w7ith the entry shall be the placing of the word 1 Passed' on the entry

followed by the Collector's signature. Customs maintain that the Act is complied with in this respect by the formal stamping of the entries with the word 1 Passed' when the transaction has been finalised, which may be a week after the entry has been stamped 'May Be Delivered'. The

Commission doubts the validity of this practice. By Section 33 'No goods subject to the control of Customs shall be moved, altered or interfered with except as authorised by this Act', and Section 39 seems to prescribe the only means of dealing with such goods. There is no provision under the Act authorising any dealing with the goods under the

authority of a 'May Be Delivered' stamp.

Cargo in general, including containers, sometimes is 'short-carried' (that is, for example, cargo destined for Sydney being accidentally offX loaded at the first port of call, Brisbane) or it may be 'over-carried' (that is, cargo destined for Sydney being overlooked and subsequently landed in Melbourne). Furthermore, airline companies and freight forwarders often, in the normal course of the business, land cargo at a port other than the port of consignment and require authorisation for

that cargo to be on-forwarded to the port of consignment.

In such cases the carrier will be anxious to move the cargo to the port of consignment (Sydney), but is forbidden to do so by Section 33 unless first authorised under the Act.

Section 40AA covers this situation. It enables the Collector to give written permission for the removal of goods subject to the control of Customs to a specified place without an entry being delivered to the Collector of Customs. This permission may be granted in a specific instance. In the case of large shipping companies, airline companies and freight forwarders where this is a continual occurrence, permission may be granted by the Collector on a continuing basis.

There is a further situation where a continuing permission under Section 40AA may be granted. Ships, especially container ships, remain in port for a fairly short time as a quick turn-around is economically desirable. Most wharf areas in Australia are leased from harbour and port authorities, and in Sydney, for example, that authority is the Maritime Services Board. The Maritime Services Board allows three days

for removal of cargo from the wharf after final discharge from the ship, otherwise a further charge is payable. Shipping companies are granted permission under Section 40AA to remove such cargo ('time up cargo') from the wharf to depots and warehouses. Similarly, because of

congestion at terminals, Section 40AA is used to authorise the removal of containers to depots soon after being unloaded.



aking the Sydney example further, continuing permissions under Section 40AA have been granted to container shipping companies to remove containers from terminals at Glebe Island and White Bay to depots including Chullora and Villawood, and comparable arrangements exist in other ports. There is no delivery from these terminals or depots until entries have been processed and delivery authorised by the Bureau of Customs.

Containers dealt with under Section 40AA ('under bond removals') are only relocated from one Customs proclaimed area (wharf, depot, warehouse) to another where an entry must be made in the normal manner before delivery into 'home consumption'.

'Under bond removals' have always been part of the Customs system and are a fact of life. Customs officers concede that they represent a weak link in Customs control of imported cargo. At the moment the supervision of these removals is 'ad hoc' and relies upon the initiative

of Customs officers in the areas concerned; generally speaking, there is no systematic checking and control of these goods. The Department has informed the Commission that it is aware of the present deficiencies and will soon seek to rectify them by an administrative memorandum issued by

the Bureau of Customs notifying changes in procedures and termed a 'Customs and Excise Notice'. This notice will require, as from 1 February 1980, that bodies with a continuing permission under Section 40AA to move goods without entry will have to comply with the following


1. All goods to be removed pursuant to this permission shall be listed.

2. The Bureau of Customs shall be notified prior to any such removal of goods.

This notice envisages that such goods shall be subject to

examination either on the initiative of the officer in charge or other officers of the area where the goods are located and/or on the basis of a continuing random system based on a statistical formula.

The Commission notes the action proposed by the Department but is of the view that legislative changes are needed to provide by law that all cargo removed under continuing permissions granted under Section 40AA be listed and Customs notified before removal takes place.

Section 40AA is also used to allow the removal of goods still under the control of Customs to the consignee’s store. This occurs where a delivery authority is granted in relation to goods listed in an entry, but that delivery authority is subject to a specified condition. Until

that condition is complied with, the goods are still subject to the control of Customs. The type of condition referred to is usually one specifying an examination by Customs before the goods are delivered to the consignee. Such an examination might be directed at identifying goods for revenue purposes, checking quantities, verifying commerce marks or verifying that goods are not prohibited imports. Having



eceived notice that an examination is required by Customs, the consignee may make application that the container be opened and the examination take place at his store citing as reasons, for example, the need to open delicate electronic equipment in super-clean conditions or the necessity to unpack fragile items such as antique furniture with great care. In such a case the Collector by his delegate, an Inspector of Customs, may authorise for sufficient cause, the movement of the goods to the consignee's store under Section 40AA for examination. This permission may specify conditions such as container seals being broken only in the presence of a Customs officer ('seals intact') or that

certain specified goods not be touched before examination by Customs.

Section 71A and Section 71B of the Customs Act provide an avenue for the importation of goods into Australia with far less control than is currently exercised by Customs under the procedures previously referred to. Under Section 71A imported goods may be delivered for home

consumption without the presentation of an entry. Once this is done under the authority of this Section, those goods are 'deemed' to have been entered and Customs cannot call for an entry in relation thereto.

Section 71A only applies to certain goods prescribed by Regulation 42 of the Customs Regulations. Only a very limited use is currently made of Section 71A. Regulation 42 prescribes for the purposes of Section 71A only limited categories of goods:

- the personal baggage of international passengers, ship and air crew;

- goods imported for trade fairs, exhibitions, and the like;

- goods with a value of less than $250; and

- freight containers as opposed to the goods they contain.

When first introduced in 1968, this Section and the following Section (Section 71B) were envisaged as substantially easing importation procedures and facilitating new shipping methods such as

containerisation and international air freight, but since that time the problems of controlling importation have increased including, inter alia, the importation of drugs, and the pendulum has swung away from 'laissez faire' facilitation.

The Customs convention on containers, to which Australia is a signatory, provides that such containers are exempt from duty if reX exported within three months of arrival in a signatory country; however, the Bureau of Customs allows 12 months for re-exportation under the provisions of Section 162A and Regulation 125. The actual

containers themselves are not 'entered' subject to an undertaking by the shipping company to re-export those containers within 12 months, and subject to the shipping company keeping strict records of the

whereabouts of each container during that period.



ection 71B is interpreted by Customs as permitting delivery for home consumption of imported goods without entry subject to an entry being provided within the time specified in the permission. As with Section 71A, Customs has never allowed this Section to gain the

prominence that was envisaged when it was inserted into the Act in 1968. By its terms, it envisages that a continuing authority may be granted. The Commission was told that Customs had not given such a continuing authority under this Section and that very few individual permissions

had been granted. As far as Customs is concerned Section 71B achieves prominence only during strikes when documentation is delayed and the compiling of entries rendered impossible in the absence of that documentation. Authorities are then granted to keep industry and

businesses going in the interim. There are, of course, 1 ad hoc' permissions granted in other circumstances for sufficient cause.

Small Craft Control: Reference has already been made to the

statutory reporting requirements which relate to small craft arriving in Australia from overseas. Strictly speaking, the existing laws relating to all shipping apply to small craft. They may be boarded and any cargo must be reported and entered (Section 49) and failure to comply with

this requirement is an offence, punishable by a fine of $50 (Section 238). These small craft may enter only proclaimed ports unless stress of weather or other reasonable cause does not permit. Failure to do so is an offence, punishable by a fine of $1000 (Section 58). Vessels

entering proclaimed ports must be brought to the boarding station appointed for the port and failure to do so is an offence, punishable by a fine of $500 (Section 60). In addition to an obligation to enter proclaimed ports and bring the vessel to the boarding station as mentioned above, the master, owner or pilot must report the ship and the

cargo by delivery of the ship's manifest to Customs within one day of arrival at the port. Failure to comply is an offence, punishable by a fine of $500 (Section 64).

The Commission is of the view that the above rules are satisfactory if they are properly enforced, but that the penalties provided for breaches thereof are patently inadequate. These penalties were set at a time when the predominant interest was the protection of the revenue.

Since that time the smuggling of drugs and other prohibited imports has become a source of constant danger which must also be reflected in the scheme of legislative control. To that end the Commission has

recommended that these penalties be substantially increased.

The Commission also believes it appropriate, and recommends, the institution of a system similar to that operating in the United States where certain small craft may be exempted by Customs from the usual procedures and more rigorous attention paid to non-exempted small craft.

Other Amendments:The Customs Act should also be amended to extend its area of operation from 3 nautical miles from Australia's coastline to 12 nautical miles as is permitted by the International Convention on Territorial Seas and Contiguous Zones.



protection of confidential informants under Section 253 of the Customs Act is defective in that it applies only in a Customs

prosecution,and prosecutions in relation to the importation of illegal drugs, it can be argued, are not Customs prosecutions as defined by Section 244, The Commission will propose an amendment to take care of this matter. It will also propose an amendment to the provisions dealing with unaccompanied baggage. The Commission also believes that the validity of confiscation under Section 229A should be put beyond doubt by an amendment it will propose. Additionally bail for persons charged with importing drugs of certain quantities should be given only by a Supreme Court Judge. The use of postal facilities by drug dealers

is dealt with in PartXIII Chapter 6, 'Drugs in the Post'.

Section 196, 196A and 196B of the Customs Act should be amended to more effectively provide for internal body searches and permit advantage to be taken of ultrasound technology as discussed in Part XIII Chapter 2 .

Internal Affairs Unit

The Commission, for reasons outlined in later sections of this Chapter concerning the Narcotics Bureau, does not consider it appropriate to discuss in detail at this time the internal security measures of the Bureau of Customs in relation to drug law enforcement.

However, it would appear appropriate to note the moves taken by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs during 1979 in establishing its Internal Investigation Section, an internal affairs unit under the direction of Mr R. A. Wilson, to investigate complaints against officers of the Department.

The Commission believes this unit, now consisting of a total staff of three, should be upgraded. Much of what is written in Chapter 7 of this Part of the Report concerning the public accountability of police officers also applies to Customs officers in their law enforcement function. It is essential that the Bureau of Customs has appropriate machinery for ensuring such accountability, both for the public's sake

and for the wellbeing of Customs officers who perform their duties honestly and conscientiously.

Complaints made against Customs officers may range from assertions of rudeness or officiousness to allegations of corruption. These complaints may be raised with the Department at either the Central Office or Collectorate level. Complainants may raise the matters themselves or through Members of Parliament or Ministers.

It is vital that every such complaint is recorded as a matter of course and directed promptly to the internal affairs unit. The unit in turn should investigate each complaint thoroughly and impartially and furnish a written report to the Secretary of the Department. The Secretary should act in accordance with the unit's recommendations or



in writing his reasons for not doing so. Both parties should be advised of the outcome of the investigation. Information on the operations of the unit should be made public regularly. When the complaint involves a possible breach of the Crimes Act by a Customs officer, an officer from the Australian Federal Police or from a State police force should be seconded to the internal affairs unit to assist

in its investigations.

The implementation of such a system and the jealous guarding of the unit's independence and efficiency will, in the Commission's view, be of considerable benefit to Customs officers as well as to members of the public. For many years complaints made by members of the public have been dealt with by administrative action. There have been many

instances where Customs officers have been embarrassed by unjustified complaints. Such embarrassment can inhibit other officers who are performing their duties properly. When complaints made even by Members of Parliament or Ministers are channelled to a unit with a clearly established power of independent investigation, both the public and honest, conscientious Customs officers will have the protection they presently lack.

Facilitation versus Law F.nforcement

A general problem which the Commission detected running through much of the evidence relating to the Bureau of Customs was the continuing conflict between the application of law enforcement measures on the one hand and the desire to facilitate the passage of people and goods on the other. This is a problem in any government department which primarily has an administrative role but also has a law enforcement role. The problem is possibly exacerbated in the case of the Bureau of Customs because it presently lies within the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. One component of this Department is concerned with business

and consumer matters in a sense that the Bureau of Customs is not.

The Commission believes this is something that should be kept under review to see whether any equivocation in the Department's responses to Customs law enforcement matters would not be lessened by attaching the Bureau of Customs to a department whose role is more obviously the

regulation and enforcement of laws, rather than the promotion and facilitation of business and commerce. In the United States of America, for example, this problem is less in evidence as Customs is part of the Department of Treasury which has a number of law enforcement functions.


Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submissions to the Commission and the evidence of senior Departmental officers made clear the Department regarded the Narcotics Bureau's principal role in drug law enforcement as being to concentrate its efforts on the harassment and conviction of large scale smugglers and traffickers, especially those dealing in 'hard' drugs, such as heroin.



e evidence cited in Chapter 4 of this Part of the Report has led the Commission to the conclusion that the Narcotics Bureau, for several reasons, has not fulfilled this role. Further, the performance of the Narcotics Bureau compared with that of other operational components of

the Bureau of Customs has been disappointing.

The Commission has already pointed out in Chapter 4 that statistics concerning drug seizures and prosecutions for drug-related offences are not the sole criteria by which the effectiveness of a law enforcement body should be assessed. However, those statistics produced by the Narcotics Bureau itself offered no grounds for rebuttal of the

considerable weight of evidence received by the Commission claiming that the Narcotics Bureau had failed in its declared aim of combating major drug trafficking. The Commission's analyses discussed in Chapter 4 show that in 1977 and 1978 more than 90 per cent of heroin seizures recorded by the Narcotics Bureau were of less than 100 grams, and that seizures of quantities of less than five grams represented more than 60 per cent of seizures recorded in 1978 and approximately 70 per cent of seizures

recorded in 1977.

While these statistics reflect the activities of the Bureau of Customs as a whole, they leave no room for doubt that the Narcotics Bureau, as the main Bureau of Customs operational unit directed against drug smuggling, has not succeeded in its activities against major drug traffickers. Most seizures were those of the type described by one Narcotics Bureau officer as 'easy pickings'. The Commission's analyses

further showed that some of the larger individual drug seizures which have been attributed to the Narcotics Bureau in media reports in recent years in fact occurred without any real assistance from the Narcotics Bureau at all.

The Department's 'Management Review Report On The Efficiency and Effectiveness of Resource Utilisation in the Australian Narcotics Bureau', belatedly produced to the Commission and tendered in evidence as Confidential Exhibit 357, contains a survey made over the period 1 January 1977 to 30 June 1977 which bears out a conclusion independently arrived at by the Commission from all the evidence it received during

1978 and 1979. That conclusion is that the Narcotics Bureau's level of effective operations in recent years has not been against the higher echelons of drug traffickers, but against people much lower in importing and distribution groups.


The Commission concludes that the limited size of the Narcotics Bureau has contributed to its inability to perform the role set for it. A force of less than 200 officers spread throughout Australia is insufficient. The only real backing that this force has had is from other officers of the Bureau of Customs who in fact are confined to the Customs barrier. Assistance from State and Territory police forces is absolutely essential but it has not been received, often because it has not been sought, in important areas such as intelligence and



urveillance. In addition, the normal requirements of absence from ordinary duty for leave, for court appearances and for training has imposed great strain on the organisation and its members. The

Commission is satisfied that the Narcotics Bureau is unable successfully to maintain a major operation in any three of Australia's capital cities at the one time while continuing to deal with routine tasks. The Commission's conclusion is that the task of discharging its charter is

beyond the Narcotics Bureau. An increase in the resources available to the Narcotics Bureau in men, money and materials would not alone be sufficient to allow the task to be performed.

Chapter 3 of this Part of the Report contains statistics

demonstrating that in recent times the Narcotics Bureau has obtained an increasing share of the resources available to the Bureau of Customs. In the Commission's opinion the resources of the Bureau of Customs have been reduced below what they should be for the proper enforcement of the

Customs Act at Australia's national borders. An example of this is the parlous condition into which the Customs launch fleet has fallen. The Commission sees the removal from the Bureau of Customs of the task of enforcing drug laws beyond the Customs barrier as a considerable

advantage to the Bureau of Customs. The Bureau of Customs will have greater resources to be deployed in enforcement at Australia's national borders.

Public Service Structure

The Commission is persuaded that a public service structure is not appropriate for a police force. In public service structures there may be good and sufficient reasons for centralised control giving policy directions which limit the area within which discretions at the lowest

level of administration may be exercised. This is particularly so in the case of a country as large as Australia if uniform administration of legislation and policy is to be achieved throughout the nation. On the other hand, centralised control is inimical to the success of

enforcement of the criminal law at the operational level. Command should lay down policies and the priorities for operations. Operational personnel should observe these policies and priorities but they should have full freedom to conduct operations in the light of local conditions

and without repeated reference to a command which may be far from the scene. The Commission doubts that it is possible for a public service structure to devolve responsibility sufficiently to provide the

necessary flexibility for operations against criminals.

A public service structure also brings with it other difficulties for officers carrying out a police-type task. It fails to make

sufficient provision for the special relationship between police officers and the courts. The policeman owes a duty not merely to his superiors in his organisation but also a special and historical duty to the law. In the case of conflict the courts ensure that a policeman's

duty to the law is put first.

Possible corruption or security leaks can be more efficiently dealt with in a police-



f officers to different duties without a reason needing to be given or avenues for appeal being open. Whilst there are human beings operating a system, corruption can never be totally eliminated and no system of security made impregnable. Vigilance must continuously be exercised to reduce risks to a minimum. When warning signs appear, a transfer to other activities or another area will often provide a method of preventing a breach occurring. The prerogative of management to direct personnel transfers is more absolute in a police force than in a public

service organisation. In the case of the Narcotics Bureau this disability is compounded by the Bureau's small size and the limited variety of its functions.

Also arising from the public service structure are difficulties which the Narcotics Bureau has encountered in securing and retaining staff and imposing control appropriate to the wide law enforcement powers vested in its operational personnel. There are also a number of

inappropriate public service administrative procedures relating to overtime, payment of expenses, and other matters which were adverted to in the Management Review Report. These may appear petty in themselves, but the cumulative effect upon morale has been considerable.


The Commission received much evidence that drug law enforcement is an area in which specialisation is very desirable and that this is a reason for the continued existence of the Australian Narcotics Bureau. The Commission believes that specialisation in any field of criminal law enforcement is desirable. However, whatever are the merits Of specialisation they must give way to considerations which arise from the increasingly interconnected operations of modern criminals.

The Commission believes that proper specialisation is attained by allowing designated elements of a broadly trained and experienced police force to concentrate on particular areas of criminal activity. In this way each specialist element is not deprived of a general training in, and oversight of, all areas of crime as has unfortunately been the case with the Narcotics Bureau where information it receives relating to

criminals engaged in activities not involving drugs lies outside its charter. Conversely, the Narcotics Bureau has had no ready access to general criminal intelligence which could be useful in drug law enforcement. The specialistion which the Commission concludes is the correct one permits the rotation of police force members from one specialist group within a force to another after a period of time. In this way skills are in the process of constant development. Wider career opportunities and better prospects for promotion would be available to Narcotics Bureau officers in the Australian Federal Police than in the smaller Narcotics Bureau.

The Commission has concluded that whatever may have been the situation 10 years ago, there is presently no reason why drug law enforcement should be considered such a special area of police activity that it should be entrusted entirely and permanently to one group of persons. Officers of the Narcotics Bureau who join the Australian


Federal Police will bring with them sufficient special expertise to give that force a strong basis on which to build its drug law enforcement activities.

Police Training

The Narcotics Bureau, staffed mainly by Customs Officers, has been endeavouring to deal with criminal drug traffickers without the assistance of the Commonwealth Police Force (Compol), the predecessor of the Australian Federal Police. Compol, the only Australian police force with a nation-wide presence, was enjoined from enforcing the Customs Act.

The Commission has already discussed in Chapter 4 of this Part of the Report the results of its investigations into how Narcotics Bureau agents, in general, compare with policemen in conducting investigations and in giving evidence. Yet the Bureau has been attempting to counter

the activities of criminals who are usually intelligent and often dangerous. The Commission concluded that the successes which the Narcotics Bureau has achieved have been due in no small measure to those officers who have had previous police training or whose exceptional

qualifications have enabled them to overcome the problem of dealing with criminals without having had such police training.


In Australia the principal responsibility for criminal law enforcement rests with the States. The manpower of State police forces, together with their local presence throughout the entire country, makes co-operation between them and any Commonwealth agency an absolute necessity. When criminal activity such as drug trafficking takes no

cognisance of State boundaries, co-operation between law enforcement bodies becomes imperative. Although the evidence received by the Commission establishes that there have been many cases of satisfactory

co-operation between individual Narcotics Bureau and State police officers on a personal basis, the Commission is satisfied that coX operation between the Narcotics Bureau and the State police forces on important matters has been far from satisfactory and is deteriorating.

The Australian Federal Police, created following the Report of Sir Robert Mark and discussed in the next Chapter, has an important task in fostering co-operation between itself and State police forces. The Commission believes that although relationships between State police

forces and the Australian Federal Police's predecessor, the Commonwealth Police Force (Compol), may have been less than satisfactory, the time is ripe for a completely new initiative in law enforcement co-operation in Australia. The Commission further believes that the Criminal Drug

Intelligence.Centres it recommends In Part XIV of this Report will be of inestimable value in this regard.



ternational Co-operation

Liaison with overseas enforcement agencies has been of great assistance to the Narcotics Bureau. The development of this liaison is an initiative for which the Narcotics Bureau should be commended. A recent example was the seizure of 13.5 kg of heroin from the ship Kota Bali at Fremantle on 25/26 September 1979. This seizure was made by Preventive Officers of the West Australian Collectorate as a result of information conveyed by the Singaporean Authorities to the Narcotics Bureau's liaison officer in Kuala Lumpur, and relayed by him to the Bureau's International Enforcement and Liaison Section in Canberra. This valuable law enforcement weapon of international co-operation will not be lost if overseas liaison is effected through the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre which the Commission later recommends should be created.

The Customs Search Warrant

The Australian Law Reform Commission in its Interim Report No. 2, 'Criminal Investigation', discussed the undesirable extent of the Customs open search warrant when employed in areas other than Customs control points. The Commission's Recommendation No. 364 proposed substantial limitations on the power to search by such warrants.

In a border situation the open warrant is, in the opinion of this Commission, quite defensible and this Commission does not understand the Australian Law Reform Commission to believe otherwise. All countries have the sovereign right to control who and what crosses their borders, and the open Customs warrant as an aid in this control has existed in Australia since Federation without any discernible detrimental

consequences to the rights of citizens. When Narcotics Bureau agents, as Customs officers, commenced to enforce the Customs Act away from the Customs barrier, they employed the open search warrant. It was really for this reason that the Australian Law Reform Commission found fault with the open warrant.

The problem identified by the Australian Law Reform Commission will be removed, in this Commission's opinion, if the enforcement of the Customs Act so far as drugs are concerned, is conducted by the Bureau of Customs only in the border situation and the enforcement of Commonwealth laws against drug trafficking beyond the border is entrusted to the Australian Federal Police. The Australian Federal Police is, of course,

subject to strict controls against corruption and abuse of powers and has a system of internal investigation. The Uniform Drug Trafficking Act which the Commission recommends in Part XIV of this Report provides for significant judicial control upon the exercise of powers given to police by that Act.


The Commission has also considered the future roles of the two intelligence and information groups under the administrative control of



e Narcotics Bureau: the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) and the Central Information and Research Bureau (CIRB).

As discussed earlier in this Chapter and in Part VIII of the Report, the Commission believes that the functions of CASOS should be

transferred to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre so that all agencies requiring the benefits of the Centre's services will be enriched. The Bureau of Customs should have the same relationship as any other relevant agency with the Centre. CASOS information and

intelligence holdings not of a static and geographical nature and which relate to drugs should be transferred to the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre, while any residual information pertaining to smuggling should remain with the Bureau of Customs.

As discussed earlier, the Commission is very much aware that the Bureau of Customs must have a continued supply of intelligence on drug smuggling in particular as well as on all sorts of smuggling in general. The Bureau of Customs must therefore have access to the proposed Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres so that its requirements for drug

smuggling information are met. Smuggling intelligence related to fauna has of recent times been largely returned to the respective

Collectorates from Central Office. It should be a matter for the Bureau of Customs to decide how it will arrange its non-drug smuggling intelligence. The drug smuggling intelligence holdings and the other facilities of CIRB should be made the nucleus of the proposed National

Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre.

Security of Information

It was mentioned in Chapter 4 that a joint investigation team had been appointed by the Commonwealth Government to investigate allegations made in June 1978 to Queensland Police by Douglas and Isabel Wilson that a drug trafficking syndicate had obtained access to secret Narcotics Bureau information. The investigation was instituted after the

discovery of the bodies of the Wilsons at Rye, Victoria, in May 1979. The investigation team consists of one Federal and three State police officers. It was announced in the House of Representatives on 5 June 1979 that a copy of the police officers' report on their investigations

would be made available to this Commission.

As at 28 November 1979 it was not expected the report would be available for some time. Since criminal charges could be brought against some person or persons as a result of the investigations and the Commission has no wish to prejudice the fair trial of any person, it must refrain from comment upon allegations, such as those of the deceased Wilsons, that there had been penetration of Narcotics Bureau intelligence


It is unfortunate that the report of the four police officers is not available at the time of writing. The Commission believes the police officers' report will have a general significance of greater importance than that simply d„n relation to the Wilsons' allegations. This general



ignificance is, of course, the security of systems of criminal intelligence against abuse and misuse by the persons entrusted with the information. In formulating its recommendations set out in Part XIV concerning the creation of Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres the Commission was impressed with the necessity of devising the best security guarantees possible for these Centres. Not only must they be safeguarded from penetration by criminal elements, but they must be safeguarded from the diversion to improper purposes of the information obtained for the Centre by the exercise of special powers. For example, it would be quite improper to use information obtained as a result of a telephone tap for any purposes not expressly permitted by the Act under which the tap is made.

Interim Report

In an Interim Report presented to the Commonwealth Government by the Commission on 18 September 1979 and tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on 6 November 1979, the following appears:

The Commission has obtained a picture of drug trafficking in Australia from its consideration of evidence contained in some 24,000 pages of transcript and 990 exhibits. It is the

considered opinion of this Commission that -

* The Narcotics Bureau is not a highly efficient enforcement agency.

* Increases in arrests, prosecutions and seizures of drugs have often occurred with little or no Narcotics Bureau assistance.

* Some of the largest seizures in recent years attributed in the media to the Narcotics Bureau have in fact occurred without any real assistance from the Narcotics Bureau.

* There is considerable and increasing distrust of the Narcotics Bureau among other law enforcement bodies. For some years past relationships between the Narcotics Bureau and Compol, especially at the top levels, have been bad but now relationships between the Narcotics Bureau and State police are bad in many places.

* Within the judicial system, generally speaking, the Narcotics Bureau's reputation for efficiency is lower than that of State police forces.

* The Bureau spends too much time defending itself and its image. *

* The Bureau's recent seizure figures reflect failure in its declared aim of detecting major traffickers, especially in heroin, and leaving lesser operations to the attention of State police. In 1977 and 1978 over 90 per cent of

Narcotics Bureau heroin seizures were of less than 100



rams. Seizure of quantities less than 5 grams

represented over 60 per cent of its seizures in 1978 and 70 per cent in 1977.

* The existence of the Bureau as an 1 elite1 force within the Bureau of Customs has, notwithstanding some admirable initiatives it has taken, contributed to morale problems in other areas in the Bureau of Customs.

* The Narcotics Bureau has depleted other arms of the Bureau of Customs of resources.

* The Narcotics Bureau is not a cohesive force with high morale and pride in its accomplishments. There is considerable frustration and bitterness among many Narcotics Bureau officers whom the Commission regards as

dedicated and keen agents.

* The training of Narcotics Bureau officers leaves much to be desired.

* Too much centralised control impairs the Bureau's

operational efficiency. In this, the use of the Public Service structure for a police agency and lack of

effective leadership are principally to blame.

* Career opportunities for Narcotics Bureau officers are too restricted.

* The Narcotics Bureau has traded upon a flattering media image but has maintained great secrecy upon matters which might conceivably tarnish that image. This Commission believes that very often the secrecy is maintained less

for operational security than for self protection. The Narcotics Bureau has demonstrated itself overly secretive in its dealings with other agencies, its departmental

superiors and this Commission.

* The discharge of Australia's international

responsibilities does not require the Narcotics Bureau as presently constituted.

* Narcotics Bureau officers have in the main been recruited from Customs Preventive Officers but experience as Preventive Officers is an insufficient practical training for today's investigators of drug trafficking.

* The surveillance functions of the Coastal Air Sea

Operations Support Group (CASOS) should be conducted by the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre. There is no need for the Bureau of Customs to be treated differently from other Departments using the services of that Centre.

The Commission remains of the same opinion.




As has been stated earlier, all the Commission's recommendations concerning the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs are set out below. As the Commission's most radical recommendation, so far as that Department and the Bureau of Customs is concerned, is the disbanding of

the Narcotics Bureau, the Commission will first detail the recommenX dations relevant to the Narcotics Bureau and then proceed with recommendations relevant to other areas of the Department.

The Commission, of course, is aware that the Commonwealth

Government, following delivery of the above-mentioned Interim Report, has already responded to some of the recommendations concerning the Narcotics Bureau. The Commission feels, however, it is appropriate to repeat these recommendations below in their entirety.

The Commission recommends that:

** The Narcotics Bureau be disbanded.

** An option be given to all members of the Narcotics Bureau to remain with the Bureau of Customs or to join the Australian Federal Police on terms at least equal to those presently enjoyed. For this purpose it may be necessary to relax police entrance qualifications, e.g. stature, age.

** The responsibility for enforcing at the Customs barrier Commonwealth law against importing or exporting drugs (viz. Sections 233A and 233B of the Customs Act) should remain vested in the Bureau of Customs.

** If the Uniform Drug Trafficking Act is enacted as recommended, its enforcement at the Customs barrier should be vested primarily in the Bureau of Customs.

** The Narcotics Bureau's drug intelligence holdings and the facilities of CIRB and CASOS should be transferred to the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre as is later recommended in more detail.

** The Bureau of Customs should co-operate with the National and State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres by ensuring that it is

represented by senior officers on the Committees governing them and that suitable staff is rotated to work at the Centres. These Centres are discussed in detail in Part XIV Chapter 4.

Pending implementation of the Inspection Concept the Bureau of Customs should ensure that staff from Customs seconded to Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres are drawn equally from the 'Preventive Service' and the other areas of Customs. Staff seconded should be regularly rotated. * *

** The Bureau of Customs should organise its resources to create and maintain a barrier against all forms of smuggling. The activities of the Bureau of Customs against drug smuggling should be conducted



onsistently with the work of the National and State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres.

** The Bureau of Customs should not try to combat drug smuggling by forming a separate unit dedicated to this end, particularly by following smuggled drugs beyond the Customs barrier.

** The Bureau of Customs should maintain an intelligence system on smuggling generally but should rely entirely on the National and State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres for intelligence on drug smuggling and should not deliberately conduct its own drug

intelligence gathering.

** Any intelligence obtained by the Bureau of Customs which may relate to drug trafficking should be passed promptly to the nearest State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre which will, if appropriate, pass it to the National Centre.

** As stated in Part VIII of this Report responsibility for the

development, co-ordination and direction of all civil coastal surveillance should be vested in the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre and for that purpose that Centre should take over the responsibilities of CASOS for surveillance.

·** The Bureau of Customs should rely on the Australian Coastal

Surveillance Centre for information on possible breaches of the Customs screen in remote areas and should concentrate upon reacting to such information rather than mounting its own surveillance operations.

** The Bureau of Customs should ensure that its officers seconded to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre are drawn initially from senior staff from the different Collectorates so that an

understanding of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre and its capacity is quickly disseminatd among the staff whose task it will be to deal at an operational level with intrusions reported through the Centre. Officers who are seconded should be rotated regularly.

** The three Nomad aircraft dedicated to Customs surveillance and any aircraft presently under charter by Customs for surveillance should be directed by the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre for the conduct of civil coastal surveillance generally.

** The Bureau of Customs in the operation and development of its radio communications network should liaise closely with the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre so that the network makes the maximum contribution to surveillance generally.

** The Central Information and Research Bureau (CIRB) and all

intelligence facilities and holdings of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs which relate to drugs should now be transferred to the Australian Federal Police and then located in the National Criminal- Drug Intelligence Centre as soon as it is created.

-wV Any intelligence holdings of CIRB which do not relate to drugs should be retained by the Bureau of Customs to be used in countering other kinds of smuggling.



* The facilities, functions and holdings of CASOS should be

appropriately divided among the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre, the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre and the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. Criminal drug intelligence should go to the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre. Static or geographic intelligence related to surveillance should go to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre while general anti-smuggling intelligence should remain with the Department.

** The National Drug Information Centre which the Commission recommends be set up in Part XIV of this Report should be charged, instead of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, with performing Australia's international reporting obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and its amending protocol of

1972, and when it is ratified, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971.

** The responsibility for effecting international liaison on drug matters on behalf of all law enforcement agencies throughout Australia with overseas agencies, whether through Interpol, Australian drug liaison officers based overseas or otherwise, should be vested in the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre.

** Any enforcement assistance required by the Commonwealth Department of Health elsewhere than at the Customs barrier should not be provided by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs but by the Australian Federal Police with such State police assistance as the Australian Federal Police may require. Where the Commonwealth Department of Health requires the assistance of the Bureau of Customs, even away from the Customs barrier, in connection with authorised importation or exportation of drugs, that assistance should, of course, continue to be provided by the Bureau.

** The roles and objectives of the Bureau of Customs in relation to drug law enforcement should be re-stated simply as intercepting drugs at the Customs barrier.

** The resources of the Bureau of Customs should be upgraded for the purpose of fulfilling its re-stated role.

** The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs should act to implement the Inspection Concept as soon as possible. It is noted that the final report of the Steering Committee on the subject is due on 12 December 1979.

** The Commonwealth Government should ensure the speedy implementation of the Inspection Concept. To achieve this it appears to the Commission desirable that:

- a small high level implementation committee to include senior officers from the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and the office of the Public Service Board be established forthwith;

- whatever resources are necessary should be made available to that committee; and



gular progress reports by the implementation committee should be directed to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Public Service Matters.

'·'* Customs officers at the primary line should receive more training in the examination of documents and in any special equipment available at reasonable cost so that they more readily may detect forgeries, irregularities, and anomalies in passports and other travel documents of passengers arriving in and departing from Australia.

** Autonomy should be given to the Customs Collectorates with respect to the conduct of all local operational Customs matters, subject only to the setting of guide lines and performance review by Central Office.

** There should be increased co-operation by enforcement agencies with the Bureau of Customs and vice versa and to that end there should be:

- ready provision of appropriate State facilities to assist in the implementation of Customs control;

- available to State police the expertise of Customs officers in searching;

- regular meetings at a local level between Customs officers and Federal and State police so that each agency knows the current situation in relation to illegal drug trafficking and misuse of drugs, and appreciates how it might be called upon to act and how it might best co-operate with the others;

- provision without delay by the National Criminal Drug

Intelligence Centre of all relevant national intelligence on drug smuggling to the Bureau of Customs; and

- provision of intelligence on organised drug smuggling by State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres to the State Collectorates.

** Immediate steps should be taken to upgrade the Customs launch fleet, with priority given to the NSW and Victorian Collectorates with a view to:

- implementing a system of harbour patrols with particular attention to small craft coming from overseas; and

- patrolling the approaches of the major ports and any other areas in which it is suggested drops of illegal drugs take place. * *

** There should be a realisation in planning the future of the Customs fleet that it will be better to rely on other agencies such as the Defence Department or a State Fisheries Department to provide a platform for operations at a distance from Australian land and that

it is not necessary, with the upgrading of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre, for Customs to undertake primary surveillance



n remote areas. The Customs fleet capability should be directed at ports, estuaries, and areas close to land.

** The Bureau of Customs should act in conformity with the

recommendations made in Part XIII Chapter 1. Those recommendations include:

- There should be urgent intensification and expansion of the use of drug detector dogs.

- A national training establishment for all dogs used in law enforcement, anti-terrorism work, prison services, and by the Defence Force should be set up by the Commonwealth. The establishment should serve the needs of both Commonwealth and State agencies.

- Efforts should be made promptly to establish whether drug

detector dogs have a greater part to play in the detection of drugs imported in cargo and particularly in cargo containers.

* * The Bureau of Customs should be given the task of planning the specialist training for drug detector dogs within the national training establishment proposed in Part XIII Chapter 1.

** All law enforcement bodies, Commonwealth or State, should be encouraged to look to the local Collector of the Bureau of Customs to provide drug detector dogs and handlers to be used in searching for drugs and the Bureau of Customs should accept the responsibility of providing this service.

The Bureau of Customs should make arrangements for the use of facilities for ultrasound examination recommended in Part XIII Chapter 2.

** Increased attention and resources should be given to the detection and interception of drugs illegally imported through shipping and air cargo. Special emphasis should be placed on containerised cargo. To this end there should be:

- co-operation by the Bureau of Customs commercial intelligence cells with the National and with the State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres to develop operational priorities;

- increased liaison through the National Criminal Drug

Intelligence Centre with overseas agencies, to improve Australian methodology and systems and the exchange of operational intelligence;

- strenuous efforts to increase co-operation with import and Customs agents who can provide valuable information but who need to be assured that any delays in the processing of cargo are based on legitimate concern;

- a special random program of searching containers;

- a developing of skills in the searching of containers and

containerised cargo. The necessary equipment to permit such searching should be acquired;



an amendment to the Customs Act to require the sealing of

containers and to permit Customs to maintain the necessary control over them.

"* Programs commenced in New South Wales for the monitoring of the effectiveness of particular elements of 'the Customs screen' to interdict the illegal importation of drugs should be expanded, and in the light of such monitoring, changes to existing procedures

should be made promptly. In particular, the following matters should be kept under constant review:

- procedures for dealing with unaccompanied baggage;

- random saturation searches of passengers and cargo;

- container cargoes;

- drug detector dog teams;

- special squads;

- launch patrols.

** The Internal Affairs Unit should be upgraded in its powers and responsibilities for the investigation of complaints made against Customs officers and for the maintenance of security. In relation to the investigation of complaints:

- All complaints must be recorded, and submitted promptly to the Internal Affairs Unit.

- There must be a thorough and impartial investigation of


- A written report on each complaint including recommendations for action should be submitted promptly to the Permanent Head.

- The Permanent Head should act on the recommendations made in the report or state in writing his reasons for not doing so.

- The complainant should be promptly advised of the outcome of the investigation of his/her complaint.

- The Permanent Head should ensure the statistics on the workings of the Internal Affairs Unit on complaints are regularly published.

- Where a complaint involves a possible breach of the Crimes Act an officer of the Australian Federal Police or of a State police force should, as a matter of course, be seconded to assist the Internal Affairs Unit in the investigation.

** The provisions of the Customs Act relating to personal searches at the barrier should be amended in the following respects:

- Section 196A should be amended to the effect that when an

officer o'f Customs or police has, as a result of his personal



bservation or information received by him, reasonable cause to suspect that a person is carrying within his body cavities any goods subject to the control of Customs or any prohibited imports he may require the person to undergo a preliminary ultrasound examination by a prescribed device operated by an authorised medical practitioner.

- The person required to undergo such an examination shall be obliged to accompany the officer and undergo the examination to the satisfaction of such officer of Customs or police in circumstances affording the greatest practicable privacy.

- Refusal to undergo a preliminary ultrasound examination should be deemed 1 reasonable cause to suspect' within the terms of Section 196B, so as to found an order for a search of the body cavities by an authorised medical practitioner.

- The authorised medical practitioner carrying out the ultrasound examination shall certify the results of the examination and hand a copy to the person examined and to the officer of

Customs or police who required the examination. The

certificate shall be admissible and prima facie evidence of the results of the examination.

- Section 196B of the Customs Act should be amended to provide that a person who is ordered by a magistrate to submit to an examination by an authorised medical practitioner of his body cavities be detained for a period not exceeding three days to permit this to be done. At the expiration of that period if an examination continues to be justified, the person may be brought back before the magistrate who may make a further order

requiring an examination or may impose a penalty or both.

- There should be provision protecting all those who exercise powers under Sections 196A and 196B from any liability for the reasonable exercise of those powers. Such provisions should provide appropriate authorities with power to keep a person in

custody, to restrain and to search, using no more force than is reasonably required.

** Customs legislation relating to cargo should be amended as follows:

- A new section be inserted into the Customs Act to provide that no goods shall be brought into Australia in a cargo container unless such a container has been sealed with a seal or fastener approved by the Comptroller-General and all such seals and fasteners are marked with an individual identifying number which is recorded on all documents presented to obtain Customs

clearance of the container and its contents.

- A new section be inserted into the Customs Act to provide that any person who takes delivery of a container which has its seal or fastener broken or altered or otherwise tampered with must notify a Collector of Customs immediately of that fact. It should be an offence to open, alter, make, break, tamper, or otherwise deal with a container seal without the authority in writing of the Collector.



ection 40ΑΔ of the Customs Act be amended to provide that a permission granted under that section to remove goods subject to the control of Customs from one specified place to another, where that permission has been granted on a continuing basis,

shall be made


conditional upon the person specified in the

. listing

permission all ; and goods to be removed pursuant to such

. notifying removal. the Collector of Customs prior to any such

- Section 71A of the Customs Act be amended to restrict the

operation of this section to the classes of goods currently prescribed by Regulation 42 of the Customs Regulations.

** Sections 59(1) and (2), 73, 185, and 228(2), (3) and (6) of the Customs Act should be amended to substitute 'twelve nautical miles' for the phrase 'three nautical miles'.

** Part IV of the Customs Act should be amended to provide that yachts and other small craft not engaged in the importation or exportation of goods may be licensed by a Collector and, on such licensing, be exempted from complying with the provision of Part IV of the Customs Act to the extent that the Collector thinks fit. In this regard:

- Detailed provisions should be inserted into the Customs Regulations, first, to cover the registering of small craft when those craft meet requirements as to visible markings and the installation of radio equipment and, secondly, to require

any craft so registered to notify in advance its intended arrival at a proclaimed port from overseas.

- The penalties provided for breaches of Sections 58 to 63

(inclusive) of the Customs Act should be substantially increased.

** Section 229A(6) of the Customs Act should be amended by inserting '229' after '204 to 209 (inclusive)' so as to read '204 to 209 (inclusive), 229'.

** Section 253 of the Customs Act should be amended to provide that an officer of Customs or police, appearing as a witness in a

prosecution under the Act to give evidence of any investigation in which he has been involved, should not be compelled to disclose the fact that he received information or the nature or source of that information.

** A provision be inserted into the Customs Regulations to make explicit a Customs Officer's authority to demand proof of identity and other relevant facts from persons seeking to have unaccompanied personal baggage from overseas cleared by Customs for delivery within Australia. * *

** Persons charged with offences under the Customs Act involving the importation or' attempted importation of prohibited imports which are



arcotic goods in 'traffickable quantities', should be subject to the same limitations with respect to admission to bail as are contained in the proposed Uniform Drug Trafficking Act.



hapter 6 Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police Act 1979 received Royal Assent on 15 June 1979 and certain of its provisions then took effect. The remaining provisions of the Act were proclaimed to take effect from 19 October 1979. By virtue of the Act, the Commonwealth Police Force (Compel) and

the A.C.T. Police were replaced by a new Federal law enforcement body, the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The Act gives effect to a number of the major recommendations made by Sir Robert Mark in his 'Report to the Minister for Administrative Services on the organisation of police resources in the Commonwealth area and other related matters’ submitted to the Minister on 6 April

1978. Prior to the AFP becoming operational Compol had the primary responsibility for the enforcement of Commonwealth law although it had no direct enforcement responsibility with respect to Commonwealth laws directed against drug trafficking or use. It is appropriate therefore that something be said with respect to the organisation and function of Compol since many of its functions will no doubt be taken over by the AFP.

Organisation and Functions of Compol

When it was formed in 1960 as an amalgamation of the Commonwealth Investigation Branch and the Peace Officer Guard, Compol had an establishment of 600 officers, which by 1978 had more than trebled to 2100 positions. The activities of two 'specialist services' in Compol1s headquarters establishment were of particular relevance to the organisation's supportive role in Australian drug law enforcement. The

first, the Australian National Central Bureau of the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICP0; Interpol), acted on behalf of all Australian State and Territorial police forces as the focal point for police enquiries to and from Australia.

The second, the Australia Crime Intelligence Centre (ACIC), was responsible nationally for the collection, collation, evaluation and dissemination of crime intelligence in relation to: *

* organised crime within Australia;

* politically motivated violence and extremism that may be of

embarrassment and danger to the Commonwealth;

* specific ethnic groups that are politically motivated, and

* drugs.

For administrative purposes the Australia-wide operations of Compol were divided into seven districts which, with a few exceptions, followed State boundaries. South Australia and the Northern Territory were combined in one district. The operations of the NSW district were

described under the following main organisational headings:



the Protective Forces Branch (consisting of uniformed officers), which performed mainly physical protection duties at various Commonwealth establishments;

* the Airport Branch, which was responsible for airport security, particularly measures designed to limit international criminal movements by air and terrorism and hijacking activities. The Airport Branch also held a watching brief directed at preventing excessive amounts of Australian currency leaving the country;

* the Diplomatic and Consular Security Group, whose role was the physical protection of diplomatic and consular premises and the escort of foreign diplomats when the need arose;

* the Plain Clothes Branch, which held the chief responsibility for detective-type investigations of offences against Commonwealth laws, e .g ., frauds against Medibank, illegal currency transactions, etc.; and

* the Crime Intelligence Section, the role of which included the acquisition, collation, evaluation and dissemination of criminal intelligence relating to drug trafficking. This Section also acted as the NSW District's liaison point with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and with State police special branches.

The Australia Crime Intelligence Centre (ACIC)

As was indicated earlier, ACIC was responsible nationally for the collection, collation, evaluation and dissemination of crime intelligence relating to persons engaged or suspected of being engaged in illicit drug activities affecting Australia. It discharged this aspect of its obligation pursuant to a resolution by a Commonwealth State Ministerial Conference held in 1969. Bearing in mind that Compol had no direct drug enforcement role for the main input, ACIC relied on Drug Intelligence Reports made out and completed by the drug squads of

the States and Territories and by the Narcotics Bureau in relation to each offence and each person arrested and charged and convicted of any drug offence. In addition, ACIC relied on advice received directly from agencies in relation to the movement of offenders and traffickers in Australia. A drug liaison officer was stationed within the Crime

Intelligence Section located in each District Office of Compol to facilitate this activity.

It was said in evidence that statistically there were problems with both omissions and double-counting of offences, seizures of drugs, etc. It was also implied by a number of State police personnel that

intelligence information was withheld from ACIC, apparently because the final product was thought to be of limited value or because of animosity between forces. The Commission noted, for example, that one State police force had refused to provide its intelligence information to ACIC on the standard Drug Intelligence Report (DIR) form. In summary, informed witnesses tended to regard ACIC's statistical output as being of some value if only for the fact that it contained the only truly uniform set of crime statistics in the country. The value of its



ntelligence information was not highly regarded by officers of other agencies.

Relations with Other Enforcement Agencies

Witnesses from other law enforcement agencies were often critical of the operational performance of Compol officers. Most of this criticism related to observed deficiencies in their investigation/detection capabilities, said to be the result of lack of practical experience. The validity of these criticisms was denied by Compol officers. Many officers from other law enforcement agencies appeared to regard Compol as an unnecessary rival.

Compol Attitudes toward certain Aspects of Drug Law Enforcement Policy and Practice

The Commission gave all law enforcement agencies the opportunity to comment officially through their Ministers on certain specific aspects of drug law enforcement policy and practice. Compol's response indicated a belief that a positive contribution could be made to drug

law enforcement by the exchange of officers between State and Federal police forces and by a responsible approach in ,the use of undercover agents, informants and, with due and proper regard to individual privacy, surveillance methods such as listening devices and telephone

tapping. When commenting on steps that might be taken to improve the level of co-operation between forces it was suggested that it was necessary for all police to develop a genuine desire to work towards a common goal. On a more practical level it was thought that co-operation between Compol and other agencies would be fostered if State police and

Narcotics Bureau personnel were to avail themselves more often of the information facilities provided by ACIC. It was further suggested that the service offered by ACIC could be improved by the employment of professionally trained statistical and research staff.

The Mark Report and the Australian Federal Police Act

In March 1978 Sir Robert Mark was asked by the Commonwealth

Government to report on, among other things, the organisation of police forces in the Commonwealth area. The substance of one of his major recommendations and the far-reaching implications for Compol and the A.C.T. Police have already been noted. Sir Robert recommended:

There is therefore no choice but to create a new force that incorporates the two forces as soon as reasonably possible, and for clarity I think the joint force should be called the

Australian Federal Police... (OT 17418)



further recommended that the role of the AFP should be:

(i) the policing of the A.C.T.;

(ii) that of a federal agency for investigating

infringement of Commonwealth laws;

(iii) the co-ordination of training and the provision of support for counter-terrorist activities;

(iv) Special Branch duties within Commonwealth Territory with a headquarters central co-ordinating and liaison unit with all Special Branches (including States) and other Federal agencies;

(v) the escort of VIP's and liaison with State

governments and forces for their protection;

(vi) the policing, for the time being only, of airports; and

(vii) secondment of Federal officers to the Narcotics Bureau of the Customs Branch of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and other Commonwealth investigative agencies.

(OT 17418)

Other particularly significant recommendations included the suggestion that provision be made for the regular secondment of AFP officers to the various State and Territorial police forces and the proposal that the newly created AFP should be the body through which

initiatives aimed at the development of common police services, more economically provided at the national level, are pursued. Common services specifically mentioned by Sir Robert were forensic science laboratories, a national computer system, a national police research planning unit and a national police college.

Apart from giving legislative expression to Sir Robert's central recommendation relating to Compol and the A.C.T. Police, the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 defines the functions of the AFP in Section 8, as follows:

8(1) The functions of the Australian Federal Police are--

(a) the provision of police services in relation to the Australian Capital Territory;

(b) the provision of police services in relation to--

(i) laws of the Commonwealth;

(ii) property of the Commonwealth (including Commonwealth places) and property of authorities of the Commonwealth; and



iii) the safeguarding of Commonwealth interests; and

(c) to do anything incidental or conducive to the

performance of the foregoing functions.

8(2) The provision of police services in relation to a

Commonwealth place in a State, being services by way of the investigation of offences against the laws of that State having application in relation to that place by virtue of the Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act 1970, shall be in accordance with arrangements made between the Commissioner and the Commissioner of Police

(however designated) of that State.

Other provisions of the Act include provision for secondment of AFP officers to State and Territorial police forces and to other agencies including the Narcotics Bureau. Provision has also been made for the Minister responsible for the AFP to consult with appropriate State Ministers with a view to the development and shared use of the common

services specified by Sir Robert Mark referred to earlier and 'anything of a like nature'. The Act creates within the AFP a functional

division, to be determined by the Commissioner under General Orders, between those officers of the force undertaking 'general police functions' and those performing 'police protective functions'.

Assessments of the Implications of the Australian Federal Police Act

A number of witnesses expressed reservations about certain recommendations of the Mark Report subsequently incorporated in the Australian Federal Police Act. The actual effects of the implementation of much of the legislation will become known only with the passage of


Witnesses referred to a number of possible problems including:

* the possibility that, given what was seen as a certain degree of animosity now existing between them, the A.C.T. Police and Compol would coalesce only with 'some inescapable turmoil', and

* the fact that the secondment of AFP officers to the Narcotics Bureau might cause difficulties consequent on the employment of police officers in a 'public service type organisation' with its side- effect of disruption to the chain of command.

There appears to be acceptance in principle of Sir Robert's proposal for a national computer system, consisting of compatible computer equipment deployed within the various States with message switching facilities capable of searching specified national indexes, but the Commission was. told its implementation in practice might not occur without certain political difficulties. Problems were also envisaged because of the varying levels of computing sophistication and expertise

currently existing in the various police forces. In addition it was pointed out that, from a drug law enforcement point of view, care would



needed in making certain that unnecessary and wasteful duplication did not occur with the data and information bases held on the Bureau of Customs' computer system.



Compel's only role related to the enforcement of laws directed against the illegal importation, production, trafficking, and use of drugs was through the Australia Crime Intelligence Centre. The usefulness of the Centre's contribution was criticised in evidence before the Commission by members of other law enforcement agencies. In

the Commission's view the criticism in part reflected the lack of any operational role for Compel in the area of drug-related crime. It also in part reflected the difficulties of Commonwealth/State relations in Australia and specifically a perception by State forces of Compel as a

competitor in the area of law enforcement. Indeed the Commission is under the impression that that attitude (albeit on occasions a subconscious one) was manifest in many of the criticisms of Compel. Compel's presence as a law enforcement agency was resented by some and their judgement of Compel was consequently harsh. The judgement was, moreover, in some respects justified. The limited law enforcement role of Compel meant that on occasions it did compete with State agencies for information and on occasions it also competed in the field of specific aspects of law enforcement. Compol was seen, particularly in recent times, to be well endowed with money and manpower to discharge its limited role as compared with State forces which have always had the major responsibility for law enforcement in Australia. On occasions, Compol manifested the curious insensitivity of which some Commonwealth bodies are capable, and which the Commission has seen on other

occasions, to the need to involve State agencies in the early stages of the development of an initiative, rather than confront them with a fait accompli. If the latter course is adopted, however well-intentioned and justified the initiative, the result is almost always fatal to State/Commonwealth co-operation. The narrow law enforcement base of Compol meant that its officers had limited experience when compared with officers of State forces. This limited experience on occasion reflected adversely on the performance of Compol and individual officers.

It will be remembered that Compol was formed in 1960 as an

amalgamation of the Commonwealth Investigation Branch and the Police Officer Guard. Development of both of those agencies had been ad hoc, to deal with specific situations which had arisen. From Federation the States had been responsible for the enforcement of Commonwealth criminal laws as well as their own. Compol came into existence and largely became a police force in search of a role. It was not successful in

finding a satisfactory one and its searching was resented by other agencies. It seems to the Commission that Sir Robert Mark rightly perceived these difficulties. Implementation of his proposals, particularly: *

* providing Australian Federal Police with a firm territorial base, albeit a limited one, in the Australian Capital Territory;



emphasising the Australian Federal Police's role to act in support of State law enforcement agencies by providing 'common services';

* separating the guard function from the investigative function; and

* having the Australian Federal Police concentrate on areas of

Commonwealth concern and returning to the States areas of

enforcement which it is more appropriate for them to deal with

should ensure the success of the Australian Federal Police.

Compol was never permitted actively to involve itself in the detection and apprehension of drug offenders, and yet as this Report demonstrates, this is one of the most challenging aspects of law enforcement in recent times. The Commission has no doubt that the enforcement of the Commonwealth criminal laws in respect of drugs is a police function. Given the Federal structure of Australia, the Australian federal police has a role in drug law enforcement reinforcing

and supplementing the State police forces.

Because those who engage in criminal activities related to drugs are not bound by the arbitrary territorial administrative and geographical constraints which operate in Australia, and because many of the implications of their activities are to be found overseas, there is a necessity for a police force with a wider perspective than that of the

individual State police forces. The Commission for these reasons believes that it is appropriate that the Commonwealth's responsibility for the enforcement of criminal laws directed against drugs resides in the Australian Federal Police.

At the time of the presentation of this Report the Australian Federal Police has existed for only a matter of weeks. It is therefore not possible to form any conclusions as to how it will operate or how effective it might be. It seems, however, that those responsible for

the Australian Federal Police are aware of the shortcomings of Compol over its period of existence, and are anxious to avoid repeating them. The alternative of vesting responsibility for enforcement of Commonwealth law against illegal importation and trafficking of drugs in

a specialist agency separate from a police force has already been tried in Australia and has failed. The only proper body to discharge this role is a police force.

The Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres which the Commission proposes be set up in Part XIV Chapter 4 will play a major part in dealing with criminal activities related to drugs in Australia. The Australian Federal Police will have an important function in respect of these

Centres. The informational holdings of the Australia Crime Intelligence Centre in so far as it relates to operational matters concerning criminal activities relating to drugs should go to the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre. So far as the Australia Crime Intelligence

Centre intelligence holdings are of a historical or statistical nature, they should go to the Drug Information Centres proposed by the

Commission in Part XIV. Thereafter the role previously performed by the Australia Crime Intelligence Centre as part of Compol will be discharged



y the respective Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres and the Drug Information Centres.

The Commission was sufficiently impressed with evidence it received of the potential of multi-spectral photograph techniques in detecting and locating large plantations of illegal drugs to visit the NASA laboratories near New Orleans. It believes that the analysis of photographs by satellites such as Landsat will prove an invaluable tool

for law enforcement. Each State police force should be able to avail themselves of this potential but it would be wasteful to have complete facilities available in each State. The Commission therefore sees the development of this facility as ideally falling within the area of common police services the provision of which Sir Robert Mark

recommended be undertaken by the Australian Federal Police.

A common police service specifically identified by Sir Robert Mark was the provision of a national police computer system. The Commission endorses Sir Robert Mark's views in respect of such a system. It believes that the Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres which it proposes would be admirable places for computer facilities. This should not be taken as mitigating against implementation of the suggestions that Sir Robert Mark made.

In so far as the Commission concludes that the Australian Federal Police has a specific role in drug law enforcement-- and not least in relation to the proposed Uniform Trafficking Act-- many of the conclusions and recommendations made in the following Chapter concerning State police forces, have a particular application to the Australian Federal Police as well as to the State forces.

From its inception the Australian Federal Police has given priority to setting up and staffing an Internal Investigation Division. The Commission is aware that it is proposed to bring down a bill for an act to make extensive provision to deal with complaints against members of the Australian Federal Police, including allegations of corruption. Such priorities are essential to an effective police force.


The Commission recommends that:

** The Australian Federal Police should be responsible for enforcing Commonwealth laws in respect of drugs other than at the Customs Barrier. At the barrier the Australian Federal Police and the Bureau of Customs should have concurrent responsibility. * *

** No time should be lost in arranging for the secondment of officers of the Australian Federal Police to the drug or other appropriate squads of State police forces to permit them to acquire expertise in drug law enforcement.



* The role of the Australian Federal Police in enforcement of CommonX wealth laws in respect of drugs should reflect the National Strategy on Drug Abuse dealt with in Part XIV of this Report.

** The Australian Federal Police should develop its participation in joint task forces made up of its members and officers of other law enforcement agencies which have been identified as able to provide suitable assistance.

** When the proposed National Drug Information Centre and the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre are set up the holdings of the Australian Crime Intelligence Centre relevant to drug law enforcement should be divided appropriately between them.





hapter 7 State Police Forces

As discussed in the other Chapters of this Part of the Report, several organisations have responsibility in varying degrees for the enforcement of law directed to the suppression of illegal importation, production, trafficking and use of drugs in Australia. These organisations include the Bureau of Customs (including the Narcotics Bureau) which is discussed in Chapters 1 to 5; the various Commonwealth, State and Territory health authorities, which are discussed in Chapters 8 and 9;

and the Australian Federal Police, which incorporates the former Commonwealth Police (Compol) and the Australian Capital Territory Police and is discussed in Chapter 6.

The principal burden of enforcement of Australian laws directed to the suppression of illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs falls, however, upon the State and Territory police forces as part of their overall responsibility for keeping the peace and for enforcing the

law of the States and Territories within their territorial boundaries.

It is important to appreciate that the origins of the State police forces are to be found in the police forces of the various colonies which in 1901, or subsequently, joined in federation to become the Commonwealth of Australia. With the exception of South Australia, the history of the Australian police forces was greatly influenced by the origins of the Australian States as penal colonies. The early

constabularies included convicts and former convicts as well as free settlers and military and former military personnel. A common feature was their fragmentation. Mid-nineteenth century Victoria, for example, was served by separate corps of foot police, mounted police, water police and a native corps.

The latter part of the nineteenth century was marked by the

increasing unification within the colonies of the various fragmented forces. Again, South Australia, which had had a centralised police force under the control of a single commissioner since 1839, was an exception. By 1901 each of the federating States had a uniformed police force under centralised control. In 1911 and 1927, respectively, police forces were established in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

The organisation, role and function of the police forces of the Territories so approximate that of the State forces that they can conveniently be dealt with at the same time and on the same basis as the State forces. However, as referred to elsewhere in this Report, the proclamation of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 as becoming law

on 9 October 1979 radically alters the position of the Australian Capital Territory police. From that date the Australian Capital Territory Police and Commonwealth Police are amalgamated into one law enforcement body to be known as the Australian Federal Police, the proposed organisation and functions of which are dealt with in Chapter 6

of this Part.



n federation, Section 51 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth empowered the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to specified matters which included trade and commerce with other countries and among

the States, quarantine, fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits, currency, coinage and legal tender, banking other than State banking, naturalisation and aliens, and the influx of criminals. The Commonwealth Parliament also assumed the power to make laws for the seat of government and for all places acquired by the Commonwealth for public purposes.

By virtue of Section 109 of the Constitution, when a State law is inconsistent with a validly enacted Commonwealth law the latter prevails. In all other circumstances, however, the States, upon federation, retained their rights and responsibilities to enact laws for the maintenance of peace, order and good government within their territorial boundaries and to make arrangements for the enforcement of those laws.


On a nationwide basis, the evidence shows that, as of 30 June 1979, the strength of the State and Territory police forces in Australia (including trainees and probationary constables in all States and Territories, and cadets in all States and Territories except Victoria) was 29 155. The population of Australia as estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Open Exhibit 658) at 31 March 1979 was 14 376 400.

The distribution of police strength was as follows:



NEW SOUTH WALES 9 429 5 058 900 536.5

VICTORIA 7 523 3 847 400 511.4

QUEENSLAND 4 167 2 190 100 525.6

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3 361 1 291 900 384.4

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2 527 1 236 600 489.4

TASMANIA 1 026 416 300 405.8




ORTHERN TERRITORY 540 115 200 213.3

AUSTRALIA 29 155 14 376 400 493.1

The total police strength represented an increase of 6.25 per cent over the 30 June 1977 figure of 27 439, and included 9151 officers, including executive officers, of the rank of sergeant and above (31.39 per cent).

In each State and Territory-- with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory for reasons that are obvious-- police forces have adopted a district structure with members stationed in all major provincial centres and in many of the smaller towns as well as the

capital. In addition, all of the State and Territory police forces have separate uniformed and criminal investigation divisions. Personnel in the latter division are variously referred to as 'plain-clothes' officers or detectives. They concentrate on the investigation of criminal activity as distinct from the more general peace-keeping, law enforcement and community support role filled by the uniformed personnel. Details of the organisations vary from State to State and Territory to Territory, but are not of sufficient significance to

require further consideration here. The two divisions support one another and are themselves aided by the general clerical, scientific, communications, transport, and intelligence support components of the forces of which they form a part. As at 30 June 1977, a total of 4152 officers (15.1 per cent) were allocated throughout Australia to what was

described as 'criminal investigation, plain-clothes and scientific duties'.

Evidence received by the Commission indicated that, in general, police officers are allocated to detective duties only after they have served for some time in the uniformed division and have a degree of experience in general police duties. The forces also endeavour to

select for service in the detective division officers whose attitudes, skills and aptitudes are considered to indicate that they will make an effective contribution. Thus some extremely competent and effective police officers whose attributes are more appropriate to uniformed work remain in the uniformed division throughout their careers.

A common feature of the organisation of the police forces of the States and Territories, and indeed of police forces throughout the world, is the establishment within detective divisions of special squads to concentrate on specific aspects of criminal activity. Once again,

the precise organisation and distribution of such squads vary from force to force but the differences are not sufficient to require further consideration here. Thus, within the detective division of a particular State or Territory police force there will be squads such as major

crime, homicide, breaking and entering, burglary, car theft, vice, and drug squads. These squads are generally staffed on a rotating basis by officers of proven experience in detective duties. The squads often support one another. For example, the Commission received evidence

indicating the usefulness of a drug squad having access to a vice squad when prostitutes are involved as users or distributors of drugs. Access



o a robbery squad is useful to a drug squad when drug users and/or distributors are involved in robbery. The relationship also works the other way; for example, a homicide squad investigating a murder of a known drug trafficker or user is assisted by having access to members of a drug squad.

Specialist squads are generally based in the capital city of the State or Territory and travel to other centres as their work requires. They are supported by (and themselves support) the detectives engaged in general detective duties who are stationed in the capital and in the other larger population centres. In addition, State and Territory police forces provide more general support for the detective division. Information from criminal records and modus operand! sections is generally available. Fingerprint identification, handwriting expertise, photographic and forensic scientific support are available. Specialist observation squads may be available to assist with surveillance. The assistance of the uniformed division may be called on, for example, to obtain information in an area where there is no detective presence or to augment more specialised manpower when it is needed on a short-term basis to facilitate an investigation or to ensure the apprehension of criminals. The general support facilities of police communications and transport networks are also available to the detective division.

Drug Squads

The establishment of drug squads (sometimes known locally by slightly different titles such as Drug Bureau) within various State and Territory police forces is a relatively recent development.

Although the New South Wales Police Drug Squad was first formed in the 1920s when two detectives were assigned to combat the activities of violent criminals using cocaine in the era of the Sydney 'razor gangs', the New South Wales Police submission to the New South Wales Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking (Open Exhibit 622 before this Commission) shows it was only in 1967 that the squad was expanded (by

17) and undertook activities of the kind and on the scale in which it is presently engaged. A small drug squad was established in Victoria in 1954 but it was not until the latter part of the 1960s that the

administrations of the other State and Territory police forces reacted to the problem of illegal drug use and drug-related crime by forming specialised drug squads.

All the State and Territory police drug squads began on a very small scale. By 1978 there were approximately 140 police officers

(approximately 0.5 per cent of the total police strength in Australia) engaged in specific drug law enforcement duties. The latest figures available to the Commission-- the points of reference in time vary show that the basic strengths of the drug squads in the various State and Territory police forces by 1978 were:


New South Wales 35

Victoria 12

Queensland 20

South Australia 22

Western Australia 19

Tasmania 12

Australian Capital Territory 9

Northern Territory 3

Total 132

(shortly to be increased by 11)

Enquiries conducted by the Commission indicated that, generally speaking, the lowest ranking members of a drug squad had of the order of five years' police experience while the more senior police officers had upwards of 15 years. Many police witnesses expressed the view that present staff allocations were inadequate to deal with the increasing burden borne by drug squads, a matter dealt with later in this Report.

The Drug Problem

The Commission heard a great deal of evidence from police witnesses to the effect that the last decade had seen illegal importation, production, trafficking and use of drugs transformed from a relatively minor problem, involving mainly the diversion of licit supplies, to a problem of major significance characterised by rapid increases in both

the illegal importation of drugs of all types and the large-scale local production of cannabis. The progressively greater involvement of known criminals and persons engaged on an organised basis in all kinds of illegal activities were remarked upon by police witnesses, as was an

increased tendency to violence by those engaged in drug-related criminal activities.

Representatives of the various State and Territory police forces all presented a very similar picture of the situation. A typical viewpoint was provided by Assistant Commissioner Calder of the South Australian Police in evidence to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs incorporated into the evidence of this

Commission. He stated:

In the early years the drugs most commonly abused were the amphetamines followed by narcotics and then Indian hemp, making the first appearance. By the 1970--71 period LSD had appeared but the amphetamines, whilst still in use, had fallen away. Narcotic offences had increased more than four fold but were

headed by Indian hemp which jumped from six offences to 81 in



ne year. There was no real evidence of organised trafficking, and offenders were in the main obtaining their drugs from small time operators, usually persons using the drugs themselves. The following year, 1971 — 72, there was a great upsurge in the use of Indian hemp as well as LSD, while amphetamine use was

reduced to a minimum by new regulations which strictly

controlled their availability. Narcotic offences fell away but still continued at a significant level. During the 1970s a similar pattern was maintained with Indian hemp being

responsible for the greater number of offences with narcotics and hallucinogens also maintaining a strong presence...

Towards the middle of the 1970s it became evident that supply, once the province of the small operator, was becoming more organised. Criminals known for their activity in other areas of crime became suppliers as well as others who recognised, no doubt, the opportunity of making quick and easy money. Distribution points extended to hotels, night-clubs, discotheques, sex-aid shops, massage parlours as well as

private houses and street locations. Narcotics reached the local market by being imported into the country by couriers, by post and by general importation in a variety of disguised forms. Large scale cultivation of Indian hemp crops occurred both in open field development and in glasshouses. The

organised ventures were supplemented by numerous individual operations which were designed to satisfy a personal need or provide drug material for a close circle of friends. (OT 8383--84)

It would be useful to be able to present a detailed, definitive, quantitative analysis of the growth of the drug problem as reflected in the increasing involvement of State and Territorial police in enforcing drug legislation, e.g., in terms of the numbers of arrests, numbers and quantities of seizures made, etc. As described elsewhere in this Report uniformly reliable statistical evidence of this nature is most difficult to obtain. Such data as are available do support the contention of many police witnesses that nationally the drug problem continues to grow. The available statistical evidence also confirms fluctuations in the detected usage of the various types of drugs, apparently in response to factors such as vagaries of 'fashion', the availability of supplies, and variations in law enforcement effectiveness. Such evidence is dealt with in greater detail elsewhere in this Report.

Shown below on a State-by-State basis are certain basic details of drug arrests and convictions, for the latest three years available, provided by the various State and Territory police forces in response to an inquiry from the Commission during 1979. They may be regarded as

some guide to the incidence of drug offences detected, although their obvious lack of uniformity precludes the calculation of a national total. They, of course, provide no indication of the levels of

undetected offences.



EW SOUTH WALES 1976 1977 1978

Drug offenders 5 433 6 003 4 751

Drug charges preferred 9 994 11 268 9 090

(Open Exhibits 622 and i

VICTORIA 1976 1977 1978

Drug abuse offenders 1 935 2 113 2 189

Drug offences 3 501 3 772 4 142





1977 1978

Drug arrests 1 975 2 139 2 439

Drug convictions 2 232 2 524 2 620

(Open Exhibit 662)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1975--76 1976--77 1977--78

Drug arrests 716 1 461 1 894

Persons apprehended 594 1 067 1 068

Convictions (offences) 634 1 173 1 365



1975--76 1976--77 1977--78

Number of persons charged 988 828 794

Number of charges 1 191 959 1 193

(OT 22382; Open Exhibit

TASMANIA 1976 1977 1978

Number of persons charged 222 305 305

Number of charges 664 913 928

Convictions (persons) (excluding results not known and pending, and absconders) 203 279 246





1977 1978

Number of arrests 120 194 112



onviction (%) compared with arrest rate, excluding absconders 78.3 84.0 78.5

(OT 21529)


Number of offenders 101 200 192

(OT 23570)


As was said at the outset of this Chapter, the police forces of the States and Territories in the area of drug control laws, as in other areas of the law, are responsible for enforcing the laws of their particular State or Territory within its territorial limits. Legislative competence to deal with the illegal importation of drugs into Australia is vested in the Commonwealth and will not be dealt with further here although it should be noted that State and Territory police officers have powers of arrest in respect of breaches of, and to enforce, Commonwealth law. In practice such matters are generally left to the Commonwealth agencies.

The principal provisions of the criminal law dealing with illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs are found in State legislation. In Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania they are contained in Poisons Acts, which deal comprehensively with dangerous drugs, poisons and other deleterious substances. In Queensland the provisions are to be found in the Health Act, which deals not only with poisons but also with other public health considerations such as pure food requirements. In South Australia the relevant provisions are contained separately in a special Narcotics and Psychotropic Drug Act (formerly the Dangerous Drugs Act).

In Western Australia the provisions are in the Police Act while the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have special ordinances dealing with drugs.

Even in those States where the criminal provisions are contained in general poisons or health legislation, special sections are devoted to drugs of addiction and other dangerous drugs with separate offences constituted, heavier penalties provided, and special powers of search and arrest given. Such matters are dealt with in more detail in Part V of this Report. A number of police officers commented on what they regarded as the inappropriateness of laws dealing with dangerous drugs being found in the general scheme of poisons and public health

legislation. Some police officers urged on the Commission the desirability of uniform Australia-wide legislation directed against the production, trafficking and use of dangerous drugs. Later in this Chapter brief reference is made to certain criticisms by police witnesses of other aspects of the legislation they are required to enforce.



nforcement of the laws directed against illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs is part of the general responsibility of all members of State and Territory police forces. It is important that the operation of drug squads be seen in this context. Thus, Detective

Inspector P. A. G. Lawrence, Officer-in-Charge of the New South Wales Police Drug Squad, stated that the 219 detectives of the New South Wales police stationed outside the metropolitan area carried out everyday drug investigations in conjunction with their other criminal investigation duties and were involved in 'some excellent arrests' (OT 23463). Perhaps the best general description of a drug squad's role and

responsibility was provided in a submission originally made by the South Australian Police to the South Australian Royal Commission into the NonX Medical Use of Drugs, and subsequently incorporated into the evidence of this Commission:

The Drug Squad, which operates from Police Headquarters, Adelaide, is responsible for the investigation and detection of offences involving the use, cultivation, sale, possession,

procurement, manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. In addition it may be involved in the investigation of armed holdX ups, breaking offences and other serious crimes connected with the use of drugs. The main thrust of the Squad's activities is directed towards the disruption of the illegal importation,

manufacture, cultivation and distribution of drugs. It frequently becomes involved in the investigation of other drug related offences because of the consultancy role which its members discharge. It provides a specialist service to other Police Units.

(OT 8319 — 20)

Evidence received by the Commission indicates that drug squads seek to concentrate their activities on traffickers or dealers, i .e ., those responsible for large-scale illegal activities related to drugs. Detective Inspector G . D . Baker, Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria Police Criminal Investigation Branch Drug Bureau, described the purpose

of his unit's activities in these words:

The Victoria Police Department identifies drug trafficking as the most important area of drug law enforcement. A

concentrated effort by the Drug Bureau coupled with improved legislation resulted in a substantial increase in the number of persons detected committing offences in this area (i.e. of trafficking as distinct from use).

(OT 22210)

Other police officers refuted suggestions that their drug squads were over-anxious to apprehend first offenders or those whose offence was possession in order to build up figures. A number of police

witnesses referred to priority being given to offences involving the use of heroin and other of the more dangerous drugs, having regard to the fact that the- investigatory resources available were limited.

At the other end of the scale, some police witnesses indicated that some discretion was exercised in not prosecuting very minor or technical



rug offences. For example, the Commission was told that in a number of States it was departmental policy to caution first offender juveniles in cases involving the possession of small amounts of drugs, particularly cannabis. Special consideration was sometimes given to refraining from prosecution in situations where a juvenile offender had been reported to

the police by his or her own parents. Other occasions were when parents were detected in possession of drugs which they had seized from their children with the intention of destroying them or handing them to police. It was emphasised that the law itself did not make statutory provision for the exercise of the discretions mentioned-- the procedures had developed in response to directives either within the government of the State or Territory or from the high executive levels of the police departments themselves.

Evidence received by the Commission established that the brunt of the responsibility for the enforcement of State and Territory laws directed against illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs, more particularly the former two, is borne by drug squads. The evidence established that the detection and investigation of activities, particularly large-scale activities, and the obtaining of evidence to

secure convictions of those engaged in illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs imposes heavy demands on law enforcement organisations. Police cannot sit back and await complaints by victims or reports of offences; they must actively seek information. The work imposes great demands on law enforcement manpower and other resources. The timetables for such operations are unpredictable-- notoriously so, according to one experienced officer.

The weight of informed opinion among the police officers (which was not restricted to officers serving on drug squads) who gave evidence before the Commission strongly favoured substantial increases in the commitment of police manpower to drug squad duties. The evidence indicated that the response of police administrations, and ultimately governments, which are of course subject to a great many legitimate constraints and competing demands, may be lagging behind the need.

Establishment strengths quoted previously indicate that the Victoria police, with a total establishment of 12 in its Criminal Investigation Branch Drug Bureau, is perhaps worst served in terms of drug squad manpower. In February 1978, the Bureau's senior officer, Detective

Inspector G. D. Baker told the Commission:

When related to the dramatic increase in all aspects of crime associated with the 'drug problem', it is obvious that the Bureau is grossly understaffed. A complement of 12 law enforcement officers is totally inadequate. The situation is further aggravated by the necessity of staff to absent themselves for annual leave, night shift, training courses and sick leave.

These comments are not to suggest that the remainder of the Force divorce themselves from drug law enforcement. On the



ontrary, they are constantly alert to the problem and do an excellent job of attempting to contain it.

It is the Bureau, however, which should have the manpower, expertise and resources to mount long term operations designed to successfully counter the ever-increasing incidence of drug trafficking. To permit this aim to be realised, it is

essential that increases in the strength and resources of the Bureau be placed on a high priority. This can only be

achieved, however, within the overall spectrum of departmental requirements. At the appropriate time sympathetic

consideration will be given to this problem. (OT 2782A)

At a later appearance, in May 1979, Inspector Baker noted that there had been no lessening in the rate of growth of drug and drug-related offences and he informed the Commission that 'the strength of the Drug Bureau is to be substantially increased over the next five years' (OT

22215). The strength of the New South Wales Drug Squad is shortly to be increased by a much-needed 11 officers.

A witness appearing in confidential session suggested that the Queensland Police Drug Squad should be increased from 20 to 60 officers as a matter of extreme urgency. This, he stated, would allow an

establishment of 15 officers to be allocated to Townsville, with the possibility of further extensions later to other areas of the State. A Tasmanian witness, again in confidential session, pointed to the fact that when he appeared in December 1977 the 12 Tasmanian Police Drug

Bureau officers had approximately 600 investigations on hand. Some of these, particularly where the apprehension of persons involved in illegal cultivation was required, were extremely time-consuming. This

officer also referred to statistics showing that 30 per cent of drug offenders were female to support his claim that more female officers were required on the squad. Indeed, there was a considerable body of evidence to support an increased female officer complement in drug


Chief Inspector W. L . Goedegebuure of the Northern Territory Police told the Commission in March 1978 (OT 5684) that his force's drug squad establishment (then two officers, subsequently increased to three) was inadequate and that a submission for increased staff was in the hands of the Northern Territory Public Service Commissioner. He indicated then that he believed an establishment of 10 officers would be quite justifiable. The situation in Western Australia was reported to be

somewhat less acute. When Inspector D. T. Ayres, Administration Officer of the Western Australian Police Drug Squad, appeared before the Commission in May 1979 he was asked whether the current establishment (then 19 officers) was approaching the optimum. Inspector Ayres


...It could be a bit misleading. Besides this strength here we are getting an increasing number of detectives who have been through -the drug squad and who are going back to general


duties. We are getting more of our people educated. We are continually educating, so that even though the drug squad has got a strength of 19 at the moment we have got a lot of other workers in the field.

(OT 22385)

The evidence indicated similar developments in other police forces as more officers with drug squad experience were being dispersed throughout plain-clothes branches. An example of the effect of increased numbers was provided by the evidence on 3 September 1979 of Detective Sergeant D. J. Craft, Officer-in-Charge of the A.C.T. Police Drug Squad. Detective Sergeant Craft attributed a 100 per cent

increase in persons charged in 1977 over 1976 to an increase in the staff of the Drug Squad in January 1977. He thought a further doubling of Drug Squad members would have a considerable effect on prosecutions.

Education and Training of Police Officers

Evidence received by the Commission indicated a high degree of recognition of the need for training to equip police officers to deal with the specialised aspects of the work of a drug squad such as

recognition of drugs. But there appeared no uniform appreciation of the need or how it might be met. Once again constraints of time and

resources are no doubt decisive considerations.

In order that it might be better informed of the characteristics of the manpower resources available to drug squads throughout Australia, the Commission conducted a manpower survey in which individual officers were asked to complete a questionnaire seeking details of basic

demographic information, educational attainments, and personal assessments of skills possessed and the value of these in drug law enforcement work. Much of the information gathered merely served to

reinforce widely held beliefs. For instance it was clearly shown that, generally speaking, drug squad officers like their colleagues elsewhere in police forces do not possess high levels of academic qualifications. Of more interest were the officers' assessments of what personal attributes, skills and experiences contributed most to their ability to perform their duties. It was significant that there was a tendency to

specify knowledge and skills more likely to be developed at the workface. These included the following:

long experience in any law enforcement agency;

in-service experience and training gained by working specifically in drug-related investigations;

a knowledge of the drug user population and the requirements of the law;

an expertise in detection work and undercover/surveillance techniques developed through extensive experience of these duties.



lesser though significant proportion of respondents to the survey recognised the value of formal training courses and seminars and interX force staff exchanges in contributing to drug law enforcement abilities.

Nationally, the only formal training course for drug law enforcement personnel is one conducted annually at the Australian Police College, Manly, New South Wales. Information about this course was provided by Detective Inspector G. D. Baker of the Victoria Police C.I.B. Drug


The Victoria, New South Wales and Commonwealth Police

Departments combine to form a Board of Management which conducts an annual National Drug Law Enforcement Officers' Course at the Australian Police College, Manly, New South Wales. All other States and the Australian Narcotics Bureau are invited to send observers to Board meetings or submit

suggestions for improvements to the course syllabus.

This course is attended by representatives of all State, Commonwealth and selected overseas Police Departments and the Australian Narcotics Bureau. Apart from its obvious benefit as a training medium it provides another means of liaison between

all bodies concerned with drug law enforcement. (OT 2782B--83)

The preponderance of evidence from police witnesses expressed the view that the course was valuable in providing good quality, high-level training not otherwise available to drug law enforcement officers. Some police witnesses also commended the course as an opportunity for

establishing personal relationships to facilitate inter-agency liaison and co-operation. Interestingly enough, however, at least one senior State police officer offered the opinion, in confidential evidence, that cliques which regularly developed in the course-- State police forming

one and Narcotics Bureau officers forming another, for example-- in fact militated against co-operation.

The evidence showed that all State and Territory police forces attempted to provide all officers with some basic instruction in drug law enforcement as part of their training at a police academy and during general detective training. Thus, Detective Inspector T. N. W. Ferguson, Officer-in-Charge of the Queensland Police Drug Squad, stated:

All members of the Queensland Police Force receive some tuition in drug enforcement matters while receiving preliminary training at the Police Academy. Drug tuition is also afforded to some members who attend in-service training courses and that

includes N.C.O.'s and Senior Constables... (OT 2065)

Evidence also indicated that the Queensland Police was typical in seeking to broaden the experience and skill of its personnel by regular rotation of staff; thus, officers of the Metropolitan Criminal



nvestigation Branch who were transferred to country criminal investigation branches in Queensland performed a term of six weeks' duty with the Drug Squad prior to taking up their new position.

Generally speaking it appeared from the evidence that recruits to drug squads in State and Territory police forces receive no special course of training. A 'learn-as-you-go' approach under the guidance of a more experienced officer is favoured.

Confidential evidence was received from a number of officers from some forces, particularly relatively junior drug squad members, that this approach could be improved on. There was support for the view that an intensive specialist course of relatively short duration in the techniques of dealing with drugs, drug offences and drug offenders would be of considerable assistance, especially given the fact that drug offenders at the lower end of the scale were often of a 'completely different nature and demeanour' from the type of person with whom the police officers taking up duties on a drug squad had previously come

into contact. In addition, such officers frequently had to deal with parents and relatives of drug offenders who were concerned for the welfare of the offender and who were themselves responsible citizens. Evidence indicated that on occasions the future attitudes of such people

towards the police could be adversely affected in a way that would not occur if the police officers were better educated and informed.

The evidence supports the view that the police were frequently the first point of contact in a problem situation that required the intervention of medical, social service, or other agencies, and it would be beneficial if they were better informed and able to recognise when the intervention of such agencies was desirable and could channel people to the appropriate organisation.

A Police Role in Public Drug Education?

The question of drug education for the public generally, and for particular segments of the population, is dealt with in Part XI of this Report. The existence of conflicting views as to the role of police officers in such a broad educational role is shown by the fact that evidence received by the Commission indicated that the Queensland Police had vacated the field in favour of members of the Health Education Council who were judged to be 'better qualified for this duty'(OT 2041). Conversely, the Western Australian Police had only recently (1 July

1978) committed itself to a drug education program with the appointment of an experienced drug enforcement officer as a full-time liaison officer and lecturer (OT 22382). On balance, the police evidence supported the view that the police do make a contribution in raising public awareness of the danger of illegal activities related to drugs and the difficulties in combatting them, and in seeking public support

for efforts to suppress drugs. Whether they should be involved in a strictly educative role is a more difficult question, the considerations relevant to which are dealt with in Part XI.




It has already been mentioned that the nature of the activities related to illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs is such that persons engaged in these activities are unlikely to come forward to police and volunteer information about their activities. On the other hand, persons so engaged will exercise caution to conceal their

activities from law enforcement agencies and those likely to provide information on them to law enforcement agencies. This imposes constraints upon the investigation of criminal activities related to

drugs. The Commission received a body of evidence, in open and

confidential sessions, relating to the practical effects of those constraints and of the investigative techniques used by the police.

Police Informants

It became apparent to the Commission that the source of much of the useful information received by drug squads is persons commonly known as police informers or informants. In late July 1978 the Secretary of the Commission wrote to State and Territory Ministers responsible for police matters with, among other things, a request for comments on attitudes to

the use of informers and payments to them for their services. It is worth quoting the introduction to the response received from New South Wales:

If a law enforcement officer was asked to state which sources were depended upon to identify and detect drug traffickers, the answer would be 'informants, routine enquiries and undercover intelligence' in that sequence.

Informants are invariably responsible for the majority of drug detections, not only in this State but throughout the world. (OT 17197)

This view was reiterated by the great majority of police officers who turned their minds to the issue.

The New South Wales response went on to classify (OT 17197 98) informants into three main categories:

* Public spirited citizens whose information ranges from the essence of brevity to lengthy recitations including inconsequential details of unrelated trivia. The information is carefully evaluated and acted upon often with successful outcome. *

* Criminals and their associates, a group which provides information not otherwise available. The source is not restricted to confirmed criminals but includes their associates who may not themselves have any criminal record. Usually the motive of such people is mercenary but some may be prompted to provide information out of spitefulness

towards their competitors or, when they are on remand, on the understanding that their co-operation will be brought to the notice



f the court before sentence is passed. Some first offenders have been known to pass on useful information due to a general feeling of repentance and desire for rehabilitation.

* Eccentrics and nuisances whose activities, initially at least, may result in wasted effort by investigators and who, in certain cases, have to be prosecuted under the Crimes Act for causing a public nuisance.

The responses from all other States and Territories indicated support for the use of informers, paid where necessary, as an

indispensible aid in drug law enforcement, although certain difficulties did occasionally arise. The consensus of opinion seemed to be that payments should not be encouraged as a matter of course and that they should be made only on results. The Victorian response suggested (OT

17263) that monetary reward was safer than other forms of 'deals' which might be negotiated with informers. The response from the Australian Capital Territory, however, indicated (OT 17293) that most of the intelligence received from informers by its drug squad was obtained by

'bartering' with detained offenders. Depending on the value of the information forthcoming, the offender might not be charged or might be charged with a lesser number of offences. It was noted that information obtained in this manner was generally reliable but almost always restricted to the smaller dealers and traffickers.

Some of the official responses also saw the need for increases in the funds available for payment to drug informers, and in confidential session a police witness made a detailed recommendation as to how he thought the situation could be improved in his State:

It is recommended that the amount of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20 000) annually be allocated to the Police Department from the Treasury for the payment of information regarding drugs. The present procedure... is very slow and it has been found that individual Police Officers, to keep confidence with their informers, pay out amounts from their own pocket to the informant and the amounts paid out are reconciled when the reward is finally received... It is further recommended that the administration of the Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20 000) should be vested in the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crime and Services.


Among police officers themselves the evidence indicated a range of views as to how informants should be dealt with. These ranged from views that informers should be registered and be the 'property' of the squad or agency, to the view that informers were the 'property' of the individual officer whose informers they were and their identity should be secret to him. There were, of course, views falling within various

aspects of this range. The Commission does not regard itself as being in a position to support any particular view. The importance of informers in the area of drug law enforcement is, however, such that modes of using informers should be subject to constant review by individual forces, with ideas being exchanged and techniques modified in the light of experience.



dercover Operations

Law enforcement activities aimed at the illegal drug trade lend themselves to the use of undercover agents in establishing and

maintaining close surveillance of known and suspected drug offenders in the 'scene' to monitor their activities and drug activities in general. In certain situations it may also be possible to employ what are known as 'deep penetration' techniques, i .e . , to use undercover agents to actually penetrate, and become part of, criminal associations dealing in drugs. In these cases the results may be spectacular, allowing

apprehension of persons at a higher level in the drug distribution chain than might otherwise be possible.

The Commission was told that, because of the demands made on

manpower and finance, the time involved and the obviously greater dangers of the latter approach, most Australian State and Territory police drug squad undercover work tended to be restricted to the fields of covert surveillance and the monitoring of drug prices, patterns of

distribution, and so on. There were variations from place to place. Thus it was explained that some squads often used their undercover personnel in attempts to check the veracity of information obtained from other sources; for example, agents might be sent to a particular hotel

or discotheque following a tip-off that drugs were being distributed there. It was not unknown, but relatively unusual, for undercover agents to be used in 'buy' situations. A senior Western Australian police officer indicated that, at the time of giving evidence,

undercover agents were operating in that State's drug squad although the number varied from time to time in response to differing circumstances. He informed the Commission:

We use the undercover man principally to keep us informed of what is going on in the scene as it is called. He ferrets out people who have drugs. Quite often we will point the

undercover man in the right direction. Hopefully, on many occasions he will find out a set of circumstances himself. (CT)

A significant number of police witnesses indicated that they believed there was an urgent need for the greater use of undercover agents especially in their 'deep penetration' role. The Commission received a considerable body of evidence as to the demands of the use of

undercover agents in this role in particular. They must have a secure line of communication and back-up must be available if needed. A safe house' to which agents can resort may have to be provided. Appropriate identity documents and background information must be provided.

A number of police witnesses raised the dilemma of an undercover agent who might be faced with the choice of engaging in the commission of a crime or having his cover destroyed. The general consensus was that undercover agents should not engage in the commission of criminal acts but no positive answer to the dilemma was advanced.



e Commission took the opportunity of canvassing with some police witnesses the proposition that their task might be facilitated if personnel for undercover work were drawn from officers on interstate exchange duties and consequently unknown in the area. In confidential

session, a senior Queensland police officer agreed that such a procedure would be most advantageous, especially where the local police were themselves suspected of being involved in illegal drug dealing.

While there was general agreement as to the requirement for more undercover activity, there was a realisation amongst the police witnesses that certain problems, in addition to those already canvassed, had to be faced, particularly by small forces. These reservations were probably best expressed by a senior Northern Territory police officer who told the Commission in confidential session:

A need for undercover agents has now been demonstrated. However manpower shortages have prevented the release of members from other areas of duty to undergo training and undertake such duty. Great care must of course be taken when members are eventually employed in this type of work as the

size of the Territory's population makes it difficult to deploy police officers not known to the persons engaged in the drug scene. There is no doubt that those persons make it their business to know police officers as this is not unduly

difficult where it involves a relatively small police force.

Undercover agents would need to be volunteers for such duty as it is considered to be dangerous. It is debatable whether it should in fact be the duty of a police officer or whether the intelligence gained by that function should in fact be obtained

from informants under promise of a reward. The present trend is that the police officers have their own undercover agents as this is, of course, the most trustworthy avenue of obtaining information which can be acted on without hesitation.

To have undercover agents seconded from interstate police offices presents difficulties in that such action is only warranted where a necessity can be fully substantiated. This cannot be so until an undercover operation gets under way. A

request for such assistance is not made lightly as we are made aware of the demand placed on such agents in their own States. (CT)

In his letter of July 1978 previously referred to, the Secretary of the Commission canvassed with the relevant Ministers in charge of police matters in each State and Territory departmental attitudes towards the use of undercover agents and to the supply of adequate resources for

their operations. Generally speaking, the replies indicated that the 'official view1 closely reflected the opinions expressed by the operational personnel recorded above, and the value of employing undercover agents in drug law enforcement work was clearly recognised. However the difficulties and dangers of the work, the slow results, the very limited ' life1 of an undercover agent-- unless he or she was



working on transfer from another police force-- and the high cost of such operations in terms of money and manpower were seen as severely limiting factors. It was remarked that undercover agents needed to be volunteers subject to strict screening and selection and given expert instruction if the approach was to be successful.

The response from the Victoria Police, forwarded through the Chief Secretary, was representative of the attitudes expressed, particularly in relation to the use of undercover agents in 'deep penetration' situations. It was submitted that:

Undercover agents within the drug scene provide a vital source of intelligence to the field operatives.

By necessity, these agents to function effectively and remain unidentified, must have their operation base separated from the central offices of the Drug Squads. In their endeavours to infiltrate the echelons of the drug scene they must be prepared

to live in the midst of and continually associate with drug users, dealers and their associates.

To maintain their outward appearance and fit the scene requires the availability of a special cash fund for the agent to

maintain his base of operation or contact point, such as a flat, and to allow him to obtain cash advances for the purchase of the obvious day to day needs of other drug users.

It does appear necessary to have a group of field operatives always available to back up the agents, especially in the event of a security leak or 'blown covers' (true identity revealed). This therefore requires additional demand on manpower resources within the Squad and to remain in a state of readiness must

usually perform static surveillance within the area of the agent's operation.

Infiltration, especially into the drug scene is a very slow process, the persons involved in that area being cautious to the extreme before accepting new persons into their groups. Therefore the maintenance of agents can become a costly

operation in terms of cash and manpower wastage.

There are obviously many dangers associated with the method of undercover policing which can also affect the administration of the Police Departments using the scheme. (OT 17262--63)


Observation of those suspected of being engaged in criminal activities related to drugs and their associates and the places of



of such people is, on the evidence, an integral part of the investigation of illegal production, trafficking and use of drugs. Similarly, such observations are necessary in support of undercover agents and on occasion, the use of informers.

Evidence to the Commission established that surveillance activities of this kind are extremely demanding on law enforcement manpower and on the individual officers concerned. Evidence received by the Commission from experienced officers, especially of the Commonwealth and New South Wales Police indicated that round-the-clock surveillance of a suspected person who is aware that surveillance is a possibility is likely to

require the involvement of up to 24 officers. It may be necessary for such surveillance to be continued over a period of several weeks. As part of the same operation, the static surveillance of a known place of

resort may impose further demands on manpower.

Evidence also indicated that law enforcement officers engaged in surveillance may on occasion be required to follow their targets into other States. On at least one occasion, according to evidence received by the Commission, consideration was given by a State police force to

continuing the surveillance by its own officers of a suspect outside Australia. It must be appreciated that surveillance activities are carried on in addition to conventional investigatory work.

It is also relevant that the successful outcome of an investigation into illegal drug trafficking may require simultaneous raids on perhaps half a dozen different premises in order to apprehend offenders and obtain evidence that would be lost if, through a series of separate raids, offenders were given the opportunity to communicate with each other. The evidence established that in such circumstances police forces prefer not to use personnel engaged in surveillance. Thus further demands are made on manpower, and these frequently have to be met by calling on other squads or on general detective or uniformed personnel.

Telephone Tapping and Electronic Surveillance

The evidence of one police officer was strongly in favour of the interception of telephone or similar communications and the monitoring of conversations. Detective Inspector P. J. Lamb of the Commonwealth Police, who was involved in enquiries on behalf of the Commission outlined in Part IV, Chapter 7, summed up the various attitudes when he said of such surveillance capabilities:

You are not dealing in history, you are keeping abreast of their day to day activities. While surveillance may point to their association, habits, etcetera you are not getting the

exact activities they are involved in or how they propose to do it. Briefly it is being able to anticipate. (OT 23343)



etective Inspector G. D. Baker, Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria Police Drug Bureau, said on 6 February 1978:

It should be borne in mind that those who mastermind an

organisation, whether it be for illegal trafficking in drugs or some other unlawful purpose, rarely come into physical contact with those on the lower echelon who are vested with the day to day operations. Most of the organising necessary would be

carried out per medium of the telephone. Access to these conversations would be invaluable to investigators endeavouring to obtain evidence to sustain a prosecution for conspiracy.

A large percentage of this information relates directly to persons allegedly involved in trafficking in illicit drugs. Preliminary investigation frequently tends to substantiate the veracity of the initial information. It is at this stage that

internal intelligence is essential if a successful operation is to be initiated. Experience overseas has shown that one of the most effective means of obtaining this information is per medium of telephone tapping and legislation has been introduced

accordingly. In Australia law enforcement is denied this facility. (OT 2787--87A)

Experienced policemen did not suggest in their evidence that they regarded a capacity to intercept conversations as a panacea. Witnesses pointed out that some groups of experienced criminals favoured face to face meetings, others used public telephones which could not be tapped,

and so on. Telephone tapping was seen as imposing a considerable burden on manpower resources for installing equipment and manning it, transcribing the recordings and evaluating the evidence. A capability to intercept communications and overhear conversations was nevertheless

seen as a very important investigative tool.

All the police witnesses who discussed the question acknowledged a need to protect the civil liberties of individuals. A requirement to obtain an order from a Supreme Court judge together with associated controls was the most favoured solution. Public debate in this area was

seen by some witnesses as unbalanced in that only one side of the equation, civil liberties, and not the other, criminal activities, was taken into account.

Departmental attitudes to the use of telephone tapping, electronic listening devices, etc., were canvassed on a rather more official level in the letter of July 1978 already referred to from the Secretary of the Commission to Ministers responsible for the police matters. On balance, the replies indicated the view that the most modern technology, including listening devices, should be available to drug squads in order that they might perform their functions with maximum efficiency, particularly if the organisers and financiers of drug activities were to be identified and convicted, and provided that legislation specifically permitted such actions and, at the same time, protected the rights to



ivacy of law-abiding citizens. For example, the reply received from the Queensland Minister for Mines, Energy and Police stated:

It is considered that State Police Forces should, under certain conditions, be authorised by both Commonwealth and State law to intercept and record telephone conversations and also to place and use listening devices.

The prerequisite conditions to such telephone interceptions and use of listening devices to be as follows:

An application for approval to intercept and record telephone conversations and use listening devices shall be made to a Judge of the Supreme Court by a member of the Police Force of or above the rank of Inspector.

Such application shall be made as prescribed by Rules of Court or in so far as not so prescribed as a Judge may direct and shall be heard ex parte in Judge's chambers. No notice or report relating to the application shall be published and no record of the application or of an approval or order given or made thereon shall be available for search by any person,

except by direction of a Judge of the Supreme Court.

In considering any application for such approval a Justice of the Supreme Court shall have regard to - -

(a) The location of offenders wanted by police in relation to the commission by such offenders of capital offences,

(b) The prevention of the commission of capital offences,

(c) The gravity otherwise of the matters being investigated.

If police are to be successful in their endeavours to suppress illicit drug trafficking then they must be provided with modern electronic equipment necessary for the efficient surveillance and recording of conversations with listening devices.

(OT 17281)

It is appropriate to note that the South Australian Police response, while admitting to the value of listening devices, was rather more guarded in its reference to the scope of their use. It suggested (OT 21145) that they should be restricted to situations involving danger to life and pointed out that in drug investigations these are likely to occur where an undercover agent is working in an extremely dangerous environment. A number of the police replies acknowledged that the Commonwealth alone possessed the legislative competence to deal with telephone and postal interceptions.



t was noted that legislation allowing for the placement

of listening devices as distinct from intercepting telephone or similar communications in certain circumstances-- and subject to judicial, ministerial and high-level departmental approval---already existed in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. Both the

New South Wales and Western Australian responses strongly suggested that provisions similar to those allowing for the placement of listening devices under their States' Listening Devices Acts should be incorporated into separate State legislation relating to telephone tapping immediately

the Commonwealth acted to relax Federal legislative restrictions applying to the latter type of surveillance.

The Tasmanian response, while recognising the great value of listening devices and telephone tapping in drug investigations and mentioning that a proposal for the introduction of State legislation to allow the use of the former had been under active consideration since

1974, made the interesting observation:

Legislation is not in force in the State of Tasmania to prevent Police Officers from using such devices. However, by reason of the contention of the issue it is deemed desirable not to make use of such instruments for the purpose of obtaining evidence or intelligence concerning persons in breach of the particular

laws concerned. The fact that the Police Officers have not chosen to use the devices does not mean that the obtaining of intelligence in this manner has not been given serious

consideration by investigative personnel. (OT 17243)


A number of other matters were raised by officers of the police forces of the States and Territories relevant to the role of such forces in the enforcement of laws directed against drug trafficking.

A number of officers mentioned the need for police officers engaged in investigating drug trafficking acquiring or having access to accountancy and related expertise. This was seen as an additional investigative capability which would assist in the identification of drug traffickers and in the collection of evidence leading to the

conviction of such traffickers. One experienced police officer said in respect of the money side:

...fellows that we thought were truck drivers after enquiries were almost complete-- suddenly they were looked at in a much different light. They turned out to have specific assets, etc. One fellow had seen a real estate agent trying to get 100,000

dollars put into his trust account so he could loan it out. (CT)



same officer mentioned the effect on juries of being able to establish that an accused person had no legitimate income but had accumulated large assets and spent large amounts of money. Also, a number of police officers favoured having access to Taxation Office records in respect of nominated persons in appropriate cases. The use of a judicial order for this purpose was suggested by some.

A number of police officers spoke of the value of drug detector dogs in carrying out search operations and thought they should be available to assist in any searches which would otherwise involve a considerable commitment of manpower. This is further dealt with in Chapter 1, Part XIII, 'Drug Detector Dogs'.

Evidence before the Commission indicated the increasing use by criminals of sophisticated countermeasures against law enforcement activities. Equipment is available and is being used by criminals, permitting them to listen to police radio transmissions. This imposes

operational constraints on police, necessitating the use of

sophisticated and expensive equipment to lessen the risk of interception of transmissions.

Scientific Laboratories

Forensic and scientific laboratories are dealt with in detail elsewhere in this Report but it may be said here that the evidence received by the Commission from police witnesses indicated that the level of support received by police forces from forensic laboratories in respect of analytical information leaves much to be desired. This was seen to be due in part to the competing demands made on the laboratories and the limitations of their resources.

On occasions,evidence referred to the inappropriateness of a general scientific laboratory supporting the police effort. The legislation in some States places a great burden on the analytical support facilities of the State law enforcement agency. Thus the evidence showed that the large distances and scattered population of Queensland impose great constraints on the analytical support facilities and on the police in providing for the security of drugs being taken for analysis. In Victoria the provisions of Section 32 of the Poisons Act, which differentiates between cannabis and cannabis derivatives containing less than or more than 3 per cent of THC was seen as placing an 'enormous workload' on laboratory resources.

Clerical Support

The question of clerical support was raised by a number of police witnesses. The provision of appropriate clerical support was seen as important in releasing operational personnel. On the other hand, one very experienced police officer,whose work was necessarily carried on under very severe constraints of security, spoke of the unfairness of

subjecting civilian employees to the same constraints.



rugs and Driving

The Commission received evidence indicating widespread concern among police officers concerning the probable increase in the incidence of persons driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. There are no simple scientific tests for detecting the presence and amounts of

these drugs in the bloodstream, and even if these were available existing legislation in some States may inhibit their use. A

submission of the South Australian Police Department originally made to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and subsequently incorporated into the evidence of this Commission referred to the fact that during the nine years to 30 June 1977 there had been 17-230 convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol

in South Australia and only 29 for driving under the influence of other drugs, and commented:

From the above figures it might be concluded that drug affected people do not drive vehicles. However, it is submitted that the proper conclusion is that the small number of convictions results primarily from the difficulty in obtaining evidence.

(OT 8335)

Evidence given to the Commission by the Queensland Government Medical Officer, Dr D . G . Wilson, in January 1978 (OT 2076--77)

indicated that considerable progress was being made in the development of gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer techniques for qualitative and quantitative analysis of cannabinoids and other drugs in the

bloodstream. Dr Wilson further stated that Queensland legislation would allow for immediate introduction of such techniques as soon as the Government Analyst was satisfied as to their acceptability for forensic purposes.

The fact that a large number of drugs (both licit and illicit) impair driving ability prompted some witnesses to suggest that there would be difficulties in legally determining for each drug the limits at which a person could be charged. The situation was contrasted with that

of alcohol, where only one substance is involved and where a blood alcohol content of between 0.05 per cent and 0.08 per cent is generally accepted-- and specified in the appropriate legislation---as being the level at which significant impairment of driving skills occurs.


Police officers in Australia and elsewhere are always open to charges of corruption. Police acting in the areas of so-called

victimless crime such as drugs, vice and gaming, are particularly susceptible to such allegations because of the large amounts of money involved and of what is at stake for those involved. Allegations that individual police officers or whole segments of police forces are corrupt are made from time to time in the media and elsewhere and have general currency in the community. Similar allegations were made in evidence (mainly confidential) to the Commission. The allegations fell

into the following broad areas:



police officers fabricate confessions or other evidence;

* police officers, by recourse to violence or with a threat of

violence or other threats, extract confessions (frequently false) or other evidence;

* police officers were involved, usually in combination with others, in the illegal importation of, production of, or trafficking in, drugs;

* police officers accused and charged persons in respect of drugs after the drugs had been 'planted' by police officers;

* drugs, money and other goods seized by police officers were not appropriately accounted for but were diverted by the police officers to their own use and profit;

* police officers were influenced by criminals, by the payment of money or otherwise, to turn a 'blind eye' to criminal activities, or to provide criminals with information, or to influence the course of an investigation or ensure it did not proceed, or to conceal the

results of the investigation.

Other less important but nevertheless significant-- from the point of view of public confidence in the police forces-- allegations were:

* police treated those alleged to be involved in drugs with

unnecessary and unjustified roughness, often subjecting them to personal abuse and physical ill-treatment;

* police officers treated the goods and property of those claimed to be involved with drugs with scant respect, frequently wilfully damaging them or putting them into disorder-- particularly if a search for drugs proved unsuccessful.

It will be appreciated that much of such evidence was received in confidence. The Commission was obliged to treat allegations of the kind referred to with great care. Considerations of time and resources precluded the Commission from making a detailed investigation of each allegation with a view to finding whether or not the allegation was justified. Indeed, the Commission was not an inquiry into corruption in police forces.

Allegations of the kind mentioned were frequently made to the Commission by persons who, upon examination of their evidence, were seen not to be speaking of their own personal knowledge but were rather recounting what they had been told by others or were repeating stories in general circulation in the community in which they moved. Some witnesses gave evidence with a view to advancing their own cause, alleging they had been the victims of fabricated evidence, or out of an apparent animosity towards a police force or particular police officer. This is not to say that the evidence of such witnesses is necessarily unreliable. However, such considerations do impose considerable difficulties in assessing their evidence.



t is also noteworthy that some police officers when giving

confidential evidence expressed doubt about certain individuals or squads in their own forces or in the forces of other States and

Territories. In some cases, police officers indicated that this affected their ability to perform their duties efficiently because they were reluctant to entrust information to certain officers or segments of their force or of another force, and in some cases positively declined

to do so. One officer, when speaking of the drug squad of the police force of which he was a member and with whom he had not infrequent dealings, said 'I would not tell them what time it was, to be quite candid with you'. On the other hand, it is fair to say that other

officers were prepared to say they knew of nothing against a segment of a police force or an individual officer another witness had branded as untrustworthy or unreliable.

In addition to particular allegations of corruption, a number of witnesses referred in general terms to the opportunities for corruption brought about by the large sums of money generated by drug trafficking on the one hand, and of the advantage to those engaged in such

trafficking in corrupting police officers on the other.

It would be naive in the extreme for the Commission to take the view that the undoubted opportunities for corruption which arise in the area of drug law enforcement are not on occasion used by members, and even segments, of police forces for their own gain. Similarly, the undoubted

frustrations sometimes experienced by police officers certainly give rise to other abuses about which complaints were made. When the Commission was satisfied that it was likely that there was substance in complaints made in evidence, arrangements were made for the information

to be passed to the appropriate authority for evaluation and, if necessary, action.

In the Commission's view questions of corruption and other aspects of complaints made against police are best dealt with by frank

recognition of the opportunities for abuse that exist and the likelihood that these will on occasion be taken advantage of. The Commission therefore concerned itself with arrangements being made by law enforcement agencies to deal with the possibility of corruption and with

allegations of corruption. A simple practical example in respect of the former was given by one senior police officer who told the

Commission in respect of his force's drug squad that:

We would be naive to preclude the possibility that there can be or is corruption in our squad or any other squad or in the

Narcotics Bureau or the Commonwealth Police but at this stage we have found no evidence at all about ourselves or anybody else.

We increased our staff about eighteen months ago. We have three shifts with a team on each shift and...(it was) suggested we increase the staff by one first-grade sergeant per shift and a senior man mainly for two purposes to co-ordinate the



tivities of his own team and to assist in co-ordinating the activities of the three teams together...Secondly, it was to try to overcome any possible corruption which may be there. The three men...(who were) allocated were all ex-detectives and their integrity was of the highest and had been proved over the years...(the) idea was that at least they would give...(the officer in charge of the drug squad) the backing if there was any suggestion of it at all and stop it in the early stages.


The Commission heard evidence of comparable arrangements being made in other police forces with the same ends in mind.

A number of experienced police officers spoke of the usefulness of the ability to transfer an officer thought to be involved in corrupt activities but in respect of whom there was not sufficient evidence to permit the laying of charges, to another area of police work removed

from any opportunity for corruption.

Investigation of Complaints

Police forces generally are becoming more aware of the necessity to be able to respond to complaints of police corruption of the kind spoken of earlier and to be able to investigate and deal effectively with such complaints. The Commission heard evidence from Mr F . J. Veyvoda, Chief of the Organised Crime Control Division of the New York City Police, a unit which has responsibility for organised crime, public morals and narcotics. Mr Veyvoda told how complaints of corruption are dealt with by the New York City Police:

...if you as a citizen would want to make a complaint against a police officer in the City of New York for a corrupt act or an illegal taking of fees, you would call any unit, any unit from the Police Commissioner down to the fellow who manages the garage, and give him the information or you could call our Centralised Internal Affairs Division. Now, the fellow who receives that complaint or the person who receives that complaint has a specific procedure outlined. He gets all the information he possibly can. He prepares five copies of our report. It is the police UF 49, which is the official

stationery of the Police Department, and he forwards four of those copies in a sealed envelope to our Central Internal Affairs Division which reports directly to the Police Commissioner. One copy is kept on file and at that point it is processed. When it gets to the Internal Affairs Division they

read the allegation. At that point they decide whether the Central Unit will handle the investigation or they decide that they will field it to one of, either the Field Control

Divisions, which concern our people, or if it concerns a uniformed force member it will go to the Field Internal Affairs Unit of the Patrol Bureau. (OT 18223--24)

Mr Veyvoda went on to explain that each self-contained bureau or unit of the New York City Police Force had its own Internal Affairs


unit. Prior to the present system of establishing these units within each bureau of the New York City Police Force there had simply been a centralised Internal Affairs Investigation Unit. The present system was adopted because it lessened police resentment focusing on members of the Internal Affairs Unit, gave each divisional chief the responsibility of handling problems within his own division, and at the same time gave him the appropriate means to discharge his responsibilities. It also brought those investigating complaints closer to the situation

complained of (OT 18224). The Central Internal Affairs Division still existed and had overall responsibility. It might choose to conduct a parallel covert investigation to see that the particular field control

division carried out a proper investigation (OT 18224). Mr Veyvoda said the system was operating well, the strength being that individual unit commanders had a direct part in the integrity control of those

individual units and were not, as had previously been the case, driven to defend their men when they were under investigation by an outside unit (OT 18225).

Internal investigation systems are less developed in Australian police forces. The New York City Police Force has a strength of more than 27 000 while that of the largest Australian Force is approximately 9000.

The Commission heard some details of the internal affairs

investigation procedure of the Queensland Police, which gave some insight into the approach of an Australian police force to the problem. This evidence was provided in February 1979 by Superintendent W. P. Rowley, then on pre-retirement leave but previously Officer-in-Charge of the Queensland Police Internal Investigations Section. This section, which consists of a Superintendent-in-Charge and three inspectors, investigates serious charges of corruption and dishonesty made against police. Superintendent Rowley said (OT 20014) that an inspector entering a Queensland police region to undertake an investigation with the authority of the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Police was given a completely free hand and was not answerable to the regional Superintendent. He would enter the area unannounced. Because of what Superintendent Rowley perceived as possible objections by members of the police force and problems that might arise in obtaining experienced

investigators, he rejected for the time being a proposition put by counsel that, from a public relations point of view, it might be better to have such allegations investigated by an independent non-police body, or at the very least have the activities of the Internal Investigation Section regularly 'audited' by an outside authority (0T 20016--18).

Superintendent Rowley saw a need for a greater commitment to this type of investigation section in the future. He said:

As serious crime increases in the Police Force so that section will have to be increased and so your secretarial staff will have to be increased to keep pace with it. There is no easy way of doing the job. It is just one of those things that has

to be done painstakingly, and if necessary it will be necessary for men to spend more time on it in order to do a thorough job

B 2 1 1


I do not see how you can get away from that. The staff

will just have to be kept up to date with the workload. I am talking about serious crime, graft and so on, whilst other matters will have to be farmed out to inspectors in the various regions.

(OT 20007)

Superintendent Howley also spoke of the need for people to be specific enough in their complaints to provide sufficient details to permit investigation, and to be prepared to stand behind their

allegations (OT 20006).

The most far-reaching approach to the question of police corruption in Australia is that embodied in the Police Regulation (Allegations of Misconduct) Act 1978 of the State of New South Wales. The Act became law on 19 February 1979. It provides that written complaints may be made to public officials independent of the police force such as the State Ombudsman or the Clerk of any Court of Petty Sessions as well as to the Commissioner of Police. All complaints received by the

Commissioner of Police or Clerk of Petty Sessions must be notified to the Ombudsman. There was provision for attempted conciliation in respect of the matter of complaint, but consideration of those provisions is hardly appropriate in the present context. The Ombudsman or the Commissioner of Police may call for an informal investigation of the complaint.

Any investigation is carried out by the Internal Affairs Branch of the New South Wales Police Force. The report of this investigation must be made available to the Ombudsman who may call for further information or further investigation pursuant to his responsibility to determine whether the complaint was properly investigated. The Commissioner of Police is responsible for determining what action, if any, should be taken in respect of a complaint, except where a criminal prosecution has already been initiated during the investigation. The Ombudsman has extensive powers to suggest a course of action to tjie Commissioner of Police and may, if he is dissatisfied with the Commissioner's response, make a special report to the Parliament and call for it to be made public. A new Police Tribunal constituted by a judge, and sitting in public, hears any 'departmental charges of misconduct made pursuant to an

investigation under the Act. It is to be noted that the Ombudsman has no power to initiate and conduct an independent investigation nor can he direct the Commissioner to lay any disciplinary charge. Furthermore, the Police Tribunal cannot fix a penalty. It only makes a finding, leaving the matter of a penalty to the Commissioner of Police.

It can be seen that this legislation represents a compromise between the demand for public accountability on the one hand, and the fear that the morale of the police force could be destroyed by undue outside interference on the other. Time alone will tell whether the compromise is a successful one.

Security and Drug Seizures

The high value of drugs seized by police forces means that security of, and accounting for, drugs seized constitute a particular problem.



of the most common complaints about drug squads was that seized drugs subsequently reappeared on the market. The letter from the Secretary of this Commission to Ministers responsible for police forces previously referred to sought details of the ’methods used or enacted

for the accountability of drugs seized and for their destruction1 . The replies received showed an awareness of the need to maintain strict account and security of seized drugs, and procedures aimed at ensuring this are laid down in each State. For example, the response from New South Wales explained (OT 17218--20) the procedures adopted in that State as follows:

E E exception of the cannabis plantations all other drug

exhibits are taken, as seized, to a police station, counted or rha ro0 i W ere Possible in the presence of the person facing book865 ’ Clearly labelled and full details recorded in the exhibit

On completion of this procedure the exhibits are stored in a 'locked ^ jCe ° * 53 ety. tn the police station and are subjected to regular, en orse verification with the recorded exhibit book details by senior officers.

When an exhibit is required to be removed from the police station e.g., or production at court) the officer responsible for its movement checks the exhibit against the details recorded in the exhibit book and signs the book by way of receipt.

At the conclusion of the court hearing the exhibit is returned to the police station where it had been held originally and the receiving officer again checks it against the exhibit book and

verifies its return.

On the finalisation of all proceedings (appeals against convictions, etc.), permission to destroy the exhibit is sought, and when this as een granted, it is destroyed 1 by the most suitable means' in t e presence of a commissioned officer of police who endorses the exhibit book entry to this effect.

The New South Wales response further indicated (OT 17220) that drugs

with the SUbj6F 0f court Proceedings are handled similarly,

e exception t at their descriptive details and movement records are entered in the station's miscellaneous property book. The Commission was informed (OT 17221) that steps were being taken to pgrade the locked places of safety’ by the installation of steel cabinets with lockable drawers in the exhibit rooms of all major New

ou a es po ice stations. Besides the security improvement effected by their installation, the new storage facilities were expected to



establish uniformity of procedure and continuity of possession when dealing with these substances'.

The replies from the other States and Territories indicated that somewhat similar procedures were in force although certain variations were discernible. While the recording of details and movements of drug exhibits in a register or exhibit book of some description seemed to be

common to all forces, different procedures are adopted for their storage and destruction. The Australian Capital Territory response, for example, stressed the fact (OT 17308) that, pending the production of a drug exhibit in court, it was placed in the custody of the A.C.T. Health Commission Laboratory Analyst. This procedure was said to be

advantageous because, in comparison with a situation where an exhibit was retained by the police and taken to and from the analyst, it limited the number of persons liable to be called as witnesses to testify as to the exhibit's continuity.

In regard to the final destruction of exhibits most of the other responses that were specific on this point indicated that personnel other than police officers were responsible for the disposal, or were at least present when this took place. In Victoria the responsibility for drug disposal was reported as resting with officers of the State Health Department (OT 17269); in Western Australia it is the practice for 1 the person responsible for the task of maintaining the drugs' to destroy

them in the presence of two Assistant Commissioners of Police and a Clerk of Petty Sessions (OT 17325); in Tasmania the Inspector-in-Charge of the State Police Drug Bureau witnesses the disposal of drugs along with a representative of the Pharmaceutical Division of the State Health Department (OT 17255) ; in the Australian Capital Territory drugs are destroyed by the Analyst subject to verification by at least one other member of the laboratory staff (OT 17307).


In dealing with illegal production, importation, trafficking, use and possession of drugs, police forces have occasion to be involved with the police forces of other States and Territories, the Australian Federal Police (into which the Commonwealth Police is subsumed), the Bureau of Customs, Commonwealth and State Health Departments (to a

limited degree), the laboratories that provide scientific support, and with drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation organisations. The greater the degree of co-operation at each level of involvement the more effective is law enforcement. Of course, the degree of involvement, and consequently of desirable co-operation, varies from organisation to organisation, from time to time, and indeed from case to case.

Joint Task Force

On 14 February 1979 the Royal Commissioner Mr Justice E. S. Williams met with the Honourable Mr Justice P. M. Woodward, who was responsible for conducting the New South Wales Royal Commission into Drug

Trafficking. On that day both Commissioners signed a document



ecommending to the Governments of the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales the appointment of a joint task force, its aims being:

To investigate further the identity of persons in the State of New South Wales engaged in drug trafficking or engaged in the commission or omission of acts of an unlawful nature designed to assist drug trafficking, to evaluate the value of coX

operation between law enforcement agencies and to secure the conviction of persons engaged in trafficking in drugs.

In a memorandum accompanying their recommendations the Royal Commissioners said, inter alia:

1. Studies made independently by each Commission have

concluded that the law enforcement effort against drug traffickers is significantly below the level that governments are entitled to expect because of a critical lack of co-ordination and co-operation between State and Federal agencies.

2. The present separate enforcement effort, State and

Federal, results in wasteful deployment of resources, duplication of effort and suboptimal performance.

3. There is an urgent need to develop co-operative modes of investigation probably using the 'task force' or strike force interagency models of co-operation developed in the U.S.A. to eliminate wasteful duplication of effort and to

increase efficiency. (Open Exhibit 652)

At the same time as the Royal Commissioners made their

recommendations to the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, detailed documentation relating to the composition, organisation and functions of the proposed task force, prepared by the Royal

Commissioners, was also forwarded. On 5 May 1979, in a joint

announcement by the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales, it was stated that a task force would be established to operate in Sydney. The announcement stated that the establishment of the task force flowed from the joint recommendations of the Royal Commissioners.

There was substantial acceptance of the proposals put forward by the Royal Commissioners. Open Exhibit 653 sets out details of the agreement reached between the Premier and the Prime Minister. A management committee, which was to be responsible to the respective governments for

the operation of the task force, first met on 14 May 1979. The setting up of the Joint Task Force was then put in train. Material from both Royal Commissions relating to 'targets' for the Task Force was handed

over on 2 July 1979 and the Task Force was ready to operate. The Joint Task Force in particular and task forces in general are dealt with in Part XIII, Chapter 8 'Task Forces', where the Commission re-states and re-emphasises the recommendations which originally led to the setting up

of the Joint Task Force.



t is now appropriate to turn to the evidence dealing with coX operation involving State and Territory police forces.

Co-operation Within Individual Police Forces

The first level at which co-operation is required is that within a particular force, between the drug squad and other elements of the force of which it is a part. The evidence indicated that, on the whole, this co-operation is reasonably satisfactory. Some police officers did suggest in confidential evidence that the drug squad of their particular force was remote and unapproachable. Quite apart from the fact that it may have been a matter of personalities, the situation almost certainly

reflects the workload and priorities of the drug squad and the

geographical distances separating it from other elements of the police force stationed in areas away from the State capital.

If drug squads are to be effective in directing their attention against large-scale drug traffickers they must be relatively free from the necessity to respond to street-level drug crime. On the other hand, the drug squad must be in a position to support those who are

responsible for such action. The situation will doubtless improve as more detectives are rotated through drug squads and take up duties in other units. Many witnesses spoke of the advantages of such rotation. The New South Wales system of 'drug and vice' detectives stationed where there is heavy drug activity in the streets provides relief for both the Drug Squad and detectives engaged in general duties and forms a valuable

collection point for important information. This was discussed in Open Exhibit 622 and in evidence by the Officer-in-Charge of the New South Wales Police Drug Squad, Detective Inspector P. A. G. Lawrence.

Co-operation Between Police Forces

In turning to consider the other relationships referred to previously as conducive to making police forces more effective against drug offenders, it is worth remarking that the whole area of interagency co-operation is one where the Commission found its capacity to receive evidence in confidential session most enlightening. There was a distinct tendency for evidence given in open session to be reassuring as to the efficacy of co-operation, but frequently a less rosy picture emerged in confidential session, often from the same witness.

There is little doubt that, on the basis of both open and

confidential evidence received by the Commission, State and Territory Police Forces regard co-operation amongst themselves as being satisfactory. One of the questions the Secretary's letter to Ministers responsible for police forces asked was whether there was any need for action to be taken to improve the practical co-operation between forces in the apprehension of drug offenders. If there did seem to be a need, information was sought as to the action that might be needed. The Ministers responsible for the Victoria Police, the Queensland Police,

the Northern Territory Police and the A.C.T. Police saw co-operation as being completely satisfactory with little or no need to improve the position. The Minister responsible for the South Australia Police



esponded to the effect that practical co-operation between the South Australian Drug Squad and other State police drug squads was good although there were occasions 'when the activities of each unit do overlap' (OT 21150). After adverting to occasional procedural and

communication problems, and attributing these to the immense size of the country and the sovereignty of the individual States rather than lack of co-operation, the response went on:

Any improvement in practical co-operation must lay with the continued liaisons between the various drug enforcement units, particularly in information flow...

(OT 21150)

The New South Wales response recorded the New South Wales Police Department's satisfaction with interstate co-operation and referred to the activities of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence (NSCC) and the Law Enforcement Working Party of that

committee in fostering co-operation. The response also mentioned that the drug situation was frequently discussed by commissioners of police and detective superintendents in charge of criminal investigation branches. The Tasmanian response stated that little could be done to

improve practical co-operation between forces 'apart from disparity in the exchange and distribution of intelligence' (OT 17249). This response should be read with that to another request seeking information as to improvements that might be effective for the exchange of

information between forces. The concluding portion of that Tasmanian response is worth setting out in full:

There is no doubt that valuable intelligence relevant to another State or drug law enforcement body is overlooked each day and the present structure does not lend itself to encourage the dissemination from one drug law enforcement body to another

for a number of reasons. Firstly, workload of personnel is an important factor. It seems apparent that most officers in drug squads need to have priorities, and the dissemination of information gained that is pertinent to another State or drug law enforcement body may take a low priority. To overcome the

problem there is a need for some simpler method of

communication than that presently being employed.

Secondly, and more pertinent to the exchange of information between Federal and State drug law enforcement bodies, there is a distinct need for the establishment of closer liaison and coX operation between the respective bodies. It is quite apparent

that the free exchange of intelligence under the present structure will meet barriers. However, apart from the

establishment of closer liaison, there appears to be no absolute means available to overcome this position. (OT 17245--46)

The response on behalf of another police force to the hypothesis that central policies for the operation or control of drug law

enforcement in Australia might be appropriate, because of the national



international character of drug trafficking, is worthy of consideration. The hypothesis was rejected for the following reasons:

Firstly, although some of the larger scale drug trafficking, especially when it relates to illegal importation of drugs, involves a network which extends beyond State boundaries, most of the drug distribution organisations, albeit at a lower level of distribution, operate entirely within the separate States.

Secondly, although there may be ideological arguments in favour of Federal drug laws, the simple fact is that the States do separately legislate on these matters. In the normal

democratic processes, the public can and does provide a direct input into the political machinery which controls State legislation and the policies by which it is enforced.

Therefore, what at first sight appears to be a weakness in the system, is actually, in our view, its strength.

Thirdly, the direct liaison between State police forces is effective in disseminating information concerning illegal drug trafficking and ensures that when illegal transactions occur within a State, the law and policy of law enforcement are applied in a manner which is complementary to State legislation and the controlling policy.


The views expressed above are interesting in the context of evidence by officers of the same force given at later sittings of the Commission in the State in question. The evidence referred to the upsurge in the availability and use of heroin, the increasing propensity to violence among those engaged in illegal activities involving drugs, and the increased incidence of known criminals in the drug scene. Further, it stressed the importance of Sydney to the drug scene of the State in question (which was not the State of New South Wales).

Police Officer Exchanges

A number of the official responses to the Commission Secretary’s letter mentioned above stressed common bonds uniting policemen,

notwithstanding that they were members of different forces. Similar sentiments were expressed by individual police officers giving evidence. In their evidence, and in the official responses, the value of a regular

exchange of officers in facilitating co-operation was stressed, particularly by forces and officers who had participated. Thus, in respect of the South Australian Police position, it was said that a 1 continuing and useful association' was facilitated by the regular exchange of officers with New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. On a 'man-to-man' basis the South Australian Drug Squad was

seen to be closer to the New South Wales Drug Squad than any other, with the possible exception of Western Australia. All responses to the Secretary's letter, where it sought indications of current attitudes to the value of exchanges of officers between the State and Territory


forces, endorsed the value of such exchanges. As the response of the Minister responsible for the Victoria Police stressed:

There is no doubt that one of the greatest benefits obtained is the open lines of communication afforded through the personal friendships and associations formed by the exchange members.

Much of the intelligence information is in fact exchanged by this method, often a necessity when security and prompt action is required. (OT 17262)

There were occasions when the Commission received evidence indicating that co-operation between forces was inhibited because of the distrust by a member or members of one force of particular members or a particular segment of another force.

Commonwealth-State Co-operation

The role of the Commonwealth Police (Compol), now subsumed into the Australian Federal Police, is dealt with in the previous Chapter. Compol had no direct drug law enforcement role but acted as a central intelligence and data-gathering body. Many officers of State and

Territory forces were critical of Compol's performance of this role (for reasons not always within the direct responsibility of Compol) and were critical of the practical abilities of Compol officers. It is

sufficient for present purposes to note that co-operation between the various State and Territory forces and Compol was often less than satisfactory.

The Commonwealth body principally involved in drug law enforcement is the Bureau of Customs, especially through the operation of the Narcotics Bureau. These bodies are dealt with in detail earlier in this Part of the Report. Considerable evidence was given that co-operation

between the Narcotics Bureau and State police forces left much to be desired.

Close examination of the evidence dealing with co-operation between State police forces and with co-operation between individual State forces and the Commonwealth Police and the Bureau of Customs

(particularly the Narcotics Bureau) revealed the following:

* Co-operation is very dependent upon a person in one organisation being able to communicate directly with a person in another

organisation whom he knows and trusts.

* The need for co-operation is perceived when there is a requirement to have recourse to another agency, either because it is thought the other agency might be able to assist or because something is

identified which it is thought might be of interest to the other agency. *

* There is little critical consideration given to the question of whether a different kind and level of co-operation is necessary if



e increasing incidence of illegal production, importation and trafficking of drugs is to be effectively inhibited. The question was touched upon in the response from the Minister responsible for the Tasmania Police Force referred to above.

* Most co-operation is in terms of reacting to something which has occurred rather than with a view to being able to anticipate.

Co-operation With Other Agencies

An intimation that State and Territory police force drug squads maintain contact with non-law enforcement agencies having an interest in drugs and the problems of drug abuse may be gained by reference to a statement made by Inspector T. W. Cashion, Offleer-in-Charge of the Tasmanian Drug Bureau. Giving evidence before the Commission in December 1977, Inspector Cashion explained that he was the Tasmanian Police Commissioner's representative on a number of boards and


I am the Commissioner's representative on the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence having held that position for seven years; the Commissioner's representative on the Law Enforcement Sub-Committee of the NSCC for seven years; the Commissioner's representative on the legislative working party sub-committee of the NSCC for three years; the

Commissioner's representative on the Tasmanian Alcohol and Drug Dependency Board for eight years; the Commissioner's

representative on the Tasmanian Health Education Council for eight years; the Commissioner's representative on the Poppy Advisory and Control Board of Tasmania for four years. I am

still presently serving on those Committees and Boards. (OT 1068)

The Commission received evidence, admittedly rather uneven, from police witnesses regarding actual levels of co-operation with other governmental agencies. In some cases absence of co-operation or poor co-operation was reported.

A senior Victorian law enforcement officer told the Commission (OT 2782B) that the State Police Drug Bureau regularly liaised with representatives of the State Department of Health and provided a representative on the Victorian Poisons Advisory Committee. It was also the Bureau's practice to assist in the training of personnel from State Government departments including prison and probation officers employed by the Department of Social Welfare. In confidential session, however, evidence was received to the effect that co-ordination between the Drug Bureau and the Health Department, which is responsible for

administration of the Poisons Act-- the legislative basis for much of the Bureau's operations-- was not always satisfactory. A number of police witnesses raised objections to what they saw as the proposing of amendments to the legislation by the Victorian Health Department without prior consultation with the police, the law enforcement body whose operations were often very much affected by such amendments.


Information from Tasmania indicated that the State Police Drug Bureau worked closely with the Pharmaceutical Section of the State Health Department, particularly in relation to information available from that source on the prescribing of Schedule 8 substances.

As mentioned above, Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmanian Police Drug Bureau explained to the Commission that he represented his Commissioner on the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence (NSCC). While the activities of this body are fully

explained in other Chapters of this Report, it is appropriate to record the fact that police evidence from both South Australia and Western Australia praised its effectiveness. In confidential session, a senior Western Australian police officer offered the following assessment of the NSCC:

The NSCC is a marvellous thing. It is an example of

Commonwealth/State relationships where they do work. It is a bit slow, a bit ponderous. We have almost uniform laws in Australia because of the NSCC. (CT)

Since the illegal use of drugs, as opposed to dealing in drugs, is essentially a social rather than legal problem, co-operation of police forces with a wide range of other bodies-- educational, sociological, etc. would appear to be of considerable value and worthy of



Certain criticisms of legislation controlling the use of listening devices have already been noted, but police witnesses also tendered other evidence-- some of it critical---on a wide range of matters relating to the legislation they are required to enforce or which

governs their operations. The criticisms varied from State to State, reflecting the States' sovereignty in respect to the enactment of legislation for the enforcement of law and order within their borders.

Although another Part of this Commission's Report is devoted to a discussion of legislation and in particular to the proposal that it would be desirable for drug legislation throughout Australia to be uniform, it is appropriate here to distinguish the main areas where police witnesses indicated a belief that their drug law enforcement role was being hindered, either by the provisions of the law itself or by the

contemporary attitudes of the courts and others to its implementation.

Particular criticisms were voiced in some States regarding, for example, the provisions for issuing search warrants and the powers available to police officers when in possession of a warrant. Instances of the problems faced by police include the restriction of warrants to a

specific location, thereby precluding the possibility of an immediate search of other premises in response to intelligence gained during the initial investigation, and the fact that the power to issue warrants is vested in persons-- justices of the peace, senior police officers and the like-- who are often unavailable at short notice. This limits the



and effectiveness of legally approved searches when time is critical.

Officers from police forces enforcing legislation which did not contain prima facie provisions defining traffickable quantities of drugs believed that this omission worked to the detriment of drug law

enforcement. This opinion was expressed strongly, despite the realisation of the dangers of such a provision to the few 1 borderline' cases and the workload it may place on the Government Analyst, as has recently occurred in Victoria following amendments to that State's Poisons Act. The Commission also heard the suggestion that the

legislative concept of 'traffickable quantity' should be extended to allow for 'traffickable production', i .e ., a cannabis plantation containing more than a certain number of plants should be regarded as prima facie evidence of commercial production.

On giving evidence before the Commission, police witnesses from all States and Territories indicated that legislation and ordinances then in existence or under active consideration allowed for the seizure of moneys and, in certain cases, other valuable items that could be shown to be the proceeds of dealing in illicit drugs. Some indicated that difficulties were experienced in adequately enforcing the provisions of such legislation and ordinances, particularly in cases where assets other than cash seized at the same time as an illegal supply of drugs were involved, e .g ., bank accounts containing a credit amount only partly the result of drug dealing, or other assets only partly financed by drug proceeds. When he gave evidence early in 1978, a police witness

from Queensland indicated (OT 2061) that Section 130(2a) of that State's Health Act dealing with the seizure and forfeiture of moneys had, in fact, been found to be seriously defective in fulfilling its aim of preventing persons convicted of drug dealing offences from retaining the

resultant financial benefits. He informed the Commission that the section was partly inoperative and badly in need of re-drafting. Police Ministers who were asked to comment on this issue in the Secretary's letter of July 1978 all agreed on the desirability of legislation incorporating workable provisions for the seizure and forfeiture of moneys and other valuable assets resulting from dealings in drugs.

Police witnesses from a number of States indicated that their efforts in drug law enforcement were often frustrated by persons charged with offences absconding while on bail. It was frequently pointed out that experience had shown that there were proportionally more abscondences from bail by persons charged with serious drug offences than with any other type of crime, and that the amounts of bail and/or sureties set by the courts were often grossly inadequate in comparison with the financial rewards available from large-scale drug dealing. One police officer strongly recommended the standardisation of bail and

sureties at a level-- in the vicinity of the maximum fine allowable, should the charge be proven-- which more realistically could be expected to ensure the appearance of defendants before the Court. The replies from Police Ministers to a question included in the Secretary's letter generally reflected the concern of the police officers themselves on this issue. The Tasmanian Minister for Police and Road Safety, for example, indicated (OT 17250) that it was hoped shortly to introduce an



mendment to the State Justices Act which would prohibit the granting of bail by a justice or magistrate to a person charged with a serious offence relating to the trafficking of drugs. In these situations, it was intended to restrict the option to grant bail to judges of the

Supreme Court of a State or the Federal Court of Australia.

Anomalies in Penalties

Anomalies in relation to penalties for drug offences, either as embodied in legislation or as imposed by the Courts, were noted by some police witnesses. In confidential session a senior Western Australian law enforcement officer indicated that, unfortunately in his view,

national uniformity of penalties would never be achieved. He observed that such uniformity had been the declared aim of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence (NSCC) since 1969 and he instanced the fact that the Committee's then most recent (November 1977)

recommendation that all legislation should allow for a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $100 000 for trafficking in certain specified drugs had been ignored in at least two States, Victoria and Queensland, where terms of imprisonment for 15 years and

life, respectively, had been introduced. The courts themselves were often the subject of criticism on the grounds that they were not making the best use of the punitive provisions of existing legislation. Marked

inconsistencies in sentencing were noted within certain States and it was suggested in the official submission of one police department that the only way of ensuring greater uniformity was to legislate for minimum penalties.

Briefly, it should also be noted that there appeared to be confusion as to the procedures for charging a person who had, by his or her own admission, committed an offence against both Commonwealth law (in respect to the importation of a drug) and State law (in respect to its possession). Evidence placed before the Commission indicated that it was unusual for dual charges to be laid, and the operating criterion

seemed to be based on which law enforcement agency actually made the arrest. If it was the Narcotics Burea^i, charges would be laid under Commonwealth legislation; if the State police were involved, then State laws would be invoked. Some witnesses suggested that the variation in

penalties (as noted above) might be an influencing factor.



The Royal Commissioner holds Commissions from the Commonwealth and each of the States of Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. In addition to hearing evidence from officers of the police forces of the Commonwealth, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and these States, the Commission heard evidence from

officers of the police forces of New South Wales and South Australia.

This evidence, discussed in this Chapter and elsewhere in the Report, made clear State and Territory police forces have borne, and



ill continue to bear, the brunt of the responsibility for enforcing laws directed against criminal activities related to drugs. The evidence also indicated:

* an increasing incidence of drug use, in particular, the increasing use of heroin;

* an increasing identification of the incursion of criminals into the drug scene;

* an increasing propensity to violence of those involved in drug crime, and

* an increasing incidence of drug-related crime.

Some of the implications of the above are dealt with in Part IV Chapter 7, 'The Organised Basis of Drug-related Crime' and in Part XIII Chapter 5, 'Financial Controls'. But, in the context of law

enforcement, it can be stated simply that efforts need to become more effective.

Criminal law enforcement essentially reacts to something which has already happened. That is the traditional way of law enforcement and is adequate for dealing with many aspects of criminal activity. Drug- related crime is different. There is presently in Australia little anticipation or forward planning by enforcement agencies in dealing on a concerted basis with drug-related crime. The reasons for this are partly pressures on resources, which are heavily committed to complaints requiring an immediate reaction, and partly due to insufficient coX ordination and collation of information to permit confident predictions for shaping the course of enforcement.

The community must take its share of the blame (if 1 blame1 is the appropriate word) for the direction which drug law enforcement has taken. The Commission is left with the impression that criminal law enforcement activity in Australia (including drug law enforcement) has, up to the present, operated on a different plane from the activity of those who are engaged in large scale, long term illegal importation, production, and trafficking in drugs. The two planes have intersected only fortuitously and on occasions. The community, with its aversion to drug abuse and drug trafficking, demands action. The media to some extent influences the community's attitude but to a larger degree reflects community attitudes by giving prominence to those matters which apparently most interest the public. Accordingly action is demanded. Government, which after all is a creature of politics and relies upon community support for its continued existence in power, quickly joins the popular clamour for action.

It is the police who are required to provide this action-- with the emphasis on speedy action. This action largely manifests itself in production of statistics. Statistics of arrest and conviction are a relatively easy and expeditious way of satisfying politicians, publicists and public, and the easiest way of amassing statistics is to



est and prosecute users or minor pushers. Traffickers are far more difficult to detect. As ordinary criminal law enforcement reacts to something that has already happened and is concerned only to a minimal degree with what caused it to happen, so drug enforcement has tended until recently to follow the established course, and dwell at the user

or 'pusher' level.

Law enforcement bodies must develop their capacity to operate on the plane of the major drug trafficker. This can result in long term and at times apparently unproductive investigation with a dearth of conviction statistics. To support those engaged in that class of work, the

community, the media, and government must be prepared to accept the absence of conviction 'statistics' and the inevitability that until the resources are properly marshalled, real successes will be few.

There is a lack of appreciation of the difficulty of this class of law enforcement particularly against major drug traffickers. It has led many readily to assume that the absence of arrests and convictions and the continued flourishing of illegal criminal activities related to

drugs, are explained by widespread corruption within enforcement bodies. The Commission has no doubt that such corruption does occur and that it is a real and a grave problem demanding strong action. But the

Commission has concluded that such corruption is not nearly so

widespread. To evaluate the efficiency of drug law enforcement efforts, either against drug traffickers or petty pedlars, it is necessary to consider:

(a) the purity of the drug being trafficked at street level;

(b) the availability of the drug at street level;

(c) the price of the drug at street level;

(d) the number of seizures and prosecutions together with the volume of the drug involved;

(e) the success rate of prosecutions;

(f) the importance of a convicted person in the trafficking heirarchy--the head of a syndicate will seldom be in possession of drugs but his conviction will be more valuable than that of a courier carrying 1 kg of heroin; and

(g) the relative roles played by different agencies where there is more than one agency.

Only by monitoring the above factors over a period of time can one really discover the effectiveness of a law enforcement agency. Merely to amass convictions against users means very little.

What is needed is a program to identify, on an Australia-wide basis, the areas in which the intervention of law enforcement agencies will be most effective. This means having a system of priorities. 'Priorities' has two senses in this context. First, there is the question of



oncentrating on the most dangerous drugs-- heroin at present, being the obvious example. Secondly, there is the question of concentrating on the individuals who are most significant. There are individuals engaged in drug trafficking who have a significance beyond their number. Probably the most vulnerable of those to law enforcement are the

individuals who act as entrepreneurs; they are the people who put together the talent, the money, the opportunities and the marketing system. Putting one of them in prison for any crime will be more

effective than putting a dozen couriers into prison. Therefore, they should be identified and concentrated upon.

The question of an Australia-wide policy in respect of drug abuse is discussed in detail in Part XIV of the Report. The implementation of such a policy, insofar as it affects police activities, envisages the enactment of new uniform legislation to encompass the two main aspects of the problem-- a Drug Trafficking Act, to combat drug trafficking, and Drugs of Dependence legislation, to deal with the problem of drug use. Once the Customs barrier is breached and drugs enter Australia it will be the task of the police to seek out, in a concerted and concentrated manner, the persons in control of the drugs.

The backbone of this effort must be provided by State police forces. The Australian Federal Police will support this effort by the

development and provision of common police services generally. In the specific area of drug law enforcement the Australian Federal Police should concentrate on the interstate and international aspects of drug

trafficking (although the system of criminal drug intelligence centres also proposed by the Commission in Part XIV should deal with all aspects of the interstate and international trafficking). The operational contribution of the Australian Federal Police would be in membership of joint task forces more than in the conduct of independent operations.

Any independent operations mounted by the Australian Federal Police must be in co-ordination with the State police force or forces of the area or areas in which the operations are mounted. It cannot be

stressed too strongly that operations must be undertaken with the knowledge of the appropriate State police force officers and not with State police officers being ignorant of those operations. It has occurred too frequently in the past that two or more agencies have been conducting operations against the one group of persons each ignorant of the interest of another agency or other agencies. In the area of drug trafficking it is not possible to set up clearly defined guidelines to demarcate between the operations of State police forces and the Australian Federal Police. Co-operation between State and Federal police would be underpinned by the proposed Uniform Drug Trafficking Act. A positive attitude towards interagency operation must come from

the command of the agency and every man in the agency down to the lowest level.

The average State policeman will have more contact with the proposed Drugs of Dependence legislation than with the Uniform Drug Trafficking Act. For this reason it will be essential that State police outside drug squads are educated to realise that merely having a drug user



onvicted is of little value in the context of a national strategy on drugs. As has been said above, too often police forces have been

engaged to look at conviction statistics as the only proof of

efficiency. Illegal drug abuse is too complicated a question for conviction statistics to have a great deal of relevance at the user level for judging the efficiency of a police force. It is far more important that the users be identified so that they can be drawn into the treatment net and their capacity to induce other people to become

illegal users of drugs reduced. This is not, of course, to say that all users referred to treatment will be rehabilitated in a short period of time. Many environmental factors and personal factors will have to change before a user is rehabilitated by the assistance that treatment

facilities can offer. The earlier the user is identified to treatment facilities the less the likelihood of his entering into a life in which other laws are broken. The skills of drug dependence units are better than police skills in dealing with users. Police must remember that the

publicity and shame of conviction of a user has in the past very often prevented kin or friends of the user seeking treatment for him.

Drug trafficking has very wide ramifications. For example, heroin may be purchased in the Golden Triangle by an Australian who goes there for that purpose and returns via Darwin. The heroin purchased may be destined for Sydney and may first arrive in Australia aboard a ship at Fremantle. An informant in Adelaide may have vital information. It is

only when all this information is put together and assessed that the picture is clear. The decision must then be made whether to intercept the heroin in Perth or, at the risk of losing it, letting it come to Sydney in an endeavour to break up the organisation by arresting a number of persons involved. This decision can only be made in the light

of all the information and with assured co-operation of all the relevant agencies. Indeed police officers, and particularly the community and its elected representatives, need to accept that the most effective implementation of the criminal law directed against drugs is not

necessarily achieved by arresting and convicting every individual who may break the law. The purpose of the law, on occasions, may be most effectively served by permitting an illegal shipment, even a

comparatively large shipment, to enter Australia and proceed to its ultimate destination. The shipment may be lost and find its way into the market. That is a risk which is taken justifiably if the

alternative is the possible apprehension of the organisers. They may have been responsible not only for that shipment, but for past

shipments. They probably will be responsible for future shipments if not apprehended. In the same way it matters little if an individual courier escapes if the price of his escape is the apprehension or even the chance of the apprehension of the organiser of a dozen couriers. A balanced judgment is needed. Such judgment can only be exercised by law

enforcement officers in the light of all the relevant information with the assured co-operation of the relevant agencies. A decision properly taken in these circumstances, involving the balanced judgment of law enforcement officers, must be supported by the community and by its

elected representatives.

The efforts of State police forces against the illegal drug trade are most effectively directed in terms of the best available

intelligence popled and assessed. To achieve this, the Commission



lsewhere recommends the setting up of criminal drug intelligence centres on a State and Federal level. The intelligence passed to these centres will be assessed and disseminated to the police forces and so be available to them when they shape their effort. The national centre will be responsible for overseas liaison. Since the resources of police

forces are finite, they must be deployed in accordance with well thought out priorities. The centres referred to above would greatly facilitate this.

The effectiveness of the effort of the State police forces will, the Commission is convinced, be greatly enhanced if the laws which they enforce are as uniform as the requirements of individual States and Territories permit. For this reason the Commission recommends the enactment of the above-mentioned uniform legislation directed against drug trafficking, providing the police forces with the powers they need to contend effectively with the problem. Police need carefully controlled powers to intercept telephone and other communications. They need in appropriate cases to be able to offer witnesses immunity and security. The Commission is persuaded that one of the most effective ways of dealing with drug-related crime is through the financial

transactions necessarily associated with it. This is both from the point of view of providing aid to the identification and apprehension of individuals and from the point of view of disrupting the trafficking by making it unprofitable. Such matters are considered in detail in dealing with the proposed Uniform Trafficking Act. Since some of the necessary changes in the law are dependent upon the exercise of Commonwealth power, once again the necessity for a concerted coX operative effort in effectively dealing with criminal activities related to drugs is emphasised.

The impact that illegal drug trafficking is having on Australia and, even more dramatically, the potential that it has to affect Australia has moved the Commission to recommend greater powers for police in aid of their efforts to detect drug traffickers. This is a recommendation not made in an emotional reaction to the damage that drug traffickers are doing but as a consequence of having weighed carefully the potential for

interfering with citizens' rights which increased police powers give against the damage which the drug trade does. Lest the Commission be thought to be starry-eyed in its recommendation that police have wider powers, it should be put on record that the Commission does not overlook

the abuse of powers which have been proved against police in the past.

In a paper presented to the 20th Australian Legal Convention on 5 July 1979, Mr Justice M. D. Kirby, Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission, said: 'The last 20 years have seen an unhappy catalogue of official reports attesting to undesirable practices on the part of individual policemen. The offenders are in the minority. Some of them probably believe that stretching the rules is justified by the unequal

fight against crime'.

Mr Justice Kirby proceeded to give details of the catalogue: 'In 1962 the Royal Commission on the Police in Britain found "There was a body of evidence, too substantital to disregard, which in effect accused



he police of stooping to the use of undesirable means of obtaining statements and of occasionally given perjured evidence in a court of law. Thus the Law Society suggested that the police sometimes use guile and offer inducements in order to obtain confessions, in the belief that irregular means of securing the conviction of a person whom they believe to be guilty are justifiable in the public interest and that

occasionally police officers colour, exaggerate, or even fabricate the evidence against an accused person... Practices of this kind, if they exist (and evidence about them is difficult to obtain and substantiate) must be unhesitatingly condemned. The citizen's defence against police misconduct before the courts must be the courts themselves...(Royal Commission on the Police (G.B.) Final Report, 1962, Cmnd.1728,p.110)."

'In 1978, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir David McNee, told the English Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure that abuse of police authority did occur. He blamed the failure of Parliament to give police the power they need: "The effect of this... is that many police

officers have, early in their careers, learned to use methods bordering on trickery or stealth in their investigations because they were deprived of proper powers by the legislature. (McNee, op. cit., n.2.)"

'This frank admission that present rules are routinely broken in England is reflected in the findings of recent inquiries into

allegations of police misconduct in Australia. The Beach Report on the Victoria Police and the Lucas Report in Queensland each contain serious findings of abuse of police authority and the fabrication of evidence by police. Planting of evidence ("giving the presents" in the patois of

the police force) was found to be "a pervasive practice and one by no means peculiar to Queensland" (Lucas Report, p .37).

'The practice of "verballing" has now received the attention of the High Court of Australia. (Driscoll v. The Queen (1977) 51 A.L.J.R. 731, 15 A.L.R. 47. See also Lucas Report, p .14.). Evidence to the

Queensland inquiry "established that assaults upon prisoners are by no means uncommon" in the Brisbane Watchhouse (Lucas Report, p .76.)."In the...cases of oppressive conduct discussed...we see one factor common to all, that is, the exercise of personal power undisturbed by thoughts

that there will ever be an accounting for its use. (Lucas Report, p . 91)" . '

In his report to the Commonwealth Minister for Administrative Services on the organisation of police resources in the Commonwealth area and other related matters, Sir Robert Mark wrote:

A police force discharging the duties assigned to the AFP--indeed, any police force in a genuinely democratic society--will not enjoy public confidence and trust unless it is

accountable, and moreover, is seen to wish to be accountable. Accountability to the criminal law, the civil law and its own police authority, even though that be the government itself, is not enough. Nor should the object be to satisfy complainants,

some of whom will never in any circumstances be satisfied. The



ect should be to satisfy the public that every complaint is investigated thoroughly and impartially, that if there is evidence of crime the decision whether or not to prosecute is taken by a member of the Attorney-General's Department and that in the event of acquittal, a decision not to prosecute and all complaints not amounting to crime, the possibility of discipline proceedings should undergo the same meticulous examination. So important is this matter that no fewer than 22 of the 111 recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Police of Great Britain of 1960--1962 relate to it. Sooner or later every police force, as in Great Britain, must show its willingness to accept such a system and a newly created force

could hardly do better than embrace it at the outset. It is not for me to suggest the precise machinery. The Australian Law Reform Commission examines this matter in Working Paper No.6. Bearing in mind the need for public support in

countering terrorism which in Britain is immeasurably increased by the effective investigation of complaints, I suggest that appropriate machinery, acceptable to Government and police alike, should be created as part of the initial administration of the new force. The provisions of Section 9 of the

Commonwealth Act relating to the inclusion of the Commonwealth Police within the terms of reference of the Ombudsman afford an admirable precedent. But they do not provide the essential requirement, viz. the assurance of an initial investigation of manifest thoroughness and impartiality.

The police and the public should understand the truth of what Sir Robert Mark wrote. The community will support police who are honest and diligent. The community will come to appreciate the difficulties and dangers of police work. With this community attitude the police will have community assistance in the performance of their work and their work will consequently be much easier to perform. In addition, the

satisfaction that the police will derive from that community support will be of immeasurable value to police morale and self-respect. They will stand in a better position than they have stood at other times, especially in recent years. The community is entitled to insist that there be appropriate safeguards enforced by the courts upon the exercise of police powers. The police must appreciate that this is a community right in a democratic society.

What has been said above is of general application to police powers and applies generally in all areas of criminal law enforcement. Drug law enforcement is a particularly difficult area because while the drug trafficker might be typical of the criminal class in many ways, the drug user is not. The Commission is satisfied that the general abuses

referred to above have been demonstrated to exist in the area of drug law enforcement. Areas of drug law enforcement in which police have been found wanting are: *

* Corruption-- this has occurred when police have actually engaged in drug trafficking or have accepted bribes from drug traffickers for not performing their duties.



Concocting cases against offenders-- this has occurred by planting drugs on people whom the police strongly suspect but can not

otherwise prove are involved with drugs, by inventing confessions by such people and so on.

* Unnecessary roughness in dealing with people at the user and petty trafficker level. Destroying or damaging property without repairing the damage in the course of executing searches of premises is inimical to the enjoyment of public confidence and the receipt of continuing public co-operation.

* Failure to be seen to have dealt promptly and properly with

complaints made against police.

* Laxity of security of drugs which have been seized.

* Stealing money from suspects.

The Commission appreciates that it is a small minority of policemen who have been guilty of these kinds of conduct and that many of those have been dealt with. One case of improper behaviour will be magnified a thousand times, doing incalculable damage to police reputation. It is

therefore essential that the overwhelming majority of honest police are ever vigilant to stamp out such practices as soon as they commence. This will be far more effective than allowing the matter to escalate to a stage where action is finally taken against the person guilty of

malpractice. The police attitude at command level and indeed the Ministerial level must not be the conventional public relations exercise piously stating all is well; it should show it is actively interested in assisting people outside the force who wish to make a complaint against police in the formulation and investigation of the complaint. The attitude of command to the force must be that small abuses of power and petty breaches of regulations are not considered lightly. It is small departures from duty for what appeared justifiable reasons that later

lead to gross dereliction of duty.

Corruption and Allegations of Corruption

It was remarked, in dealing with the evidence relating to police forces, that police officers were on occasions found to be corrupt and that allegations of corruption were often made against police. It was mentioned that it was not surprising that corruption did occur on

occasions having regard to the money generated by the illegal drug trade. It is also a fact that the allegations of corruption are likely to surpass by far the number of occasions of corruption. Both these factors need to be recognised by those responsible for the

administration and conduct of law enforcement agencies. Owing to the disparity of numbers and the'different operational situations facing the various State and Territory police forces to which this Report relates, it is difficult to make recommendations of universal application. It is possible to direct the attention to a number of general conclusions. It

is important to recognise that the fact that allegations are made of itself justifies consideration. It is not sufficient to respond with an assurance that the police force or officer in question is not corrupt. The public must be satisfied that the assurance is well based. On the



r hand, the operations of the police force in a particular area ought not be able to be brought to a halt simply because of an

allegation of corruption.

What is needed is a proven system of recording, investigating, and reporting upon allegations of corruption. Every allegation can then be referred to the system and be dealt with by it. Such a system will serve to educate the public to pass on information, confident in the knowledge it will be properly dealt with. On the other hand it will be

appreciated that vague and imprecise information is of little use.

The Commission is inclined to accept the view that it is necessary to have police officers investigate allegations of corruption against other police officers. It is only police officers who have the

necessary experience, contacts and skills to carry out such

investigations. Closer co-operation between police forces may increasingly lead to one police force drawing on another to investigate allegations of corruption, thus minimising the scope for it to be said that the investigation was not serious. A further consideration which has many persuasive advocates is the desirability of some independent body monitoring the investigation. In this regard the experience in New South Wales of investigations under the Police Regulations (Allegations of Misconduct) Act 1978, dealt with earlier, is worthy of close monitoring. The system of the Ombudsman having an overview of the investigation may well provide an answer to the criticism that an investigation has not been properly undertaken. Considerations such as these have application to allegations of police misconduct short of corruption-- as is indicated by the title of the New South Wales Act.

The numbers of police in individual squads in Australia probably means that the New York Police Department’s solution of having a central internal investigational unit and separate independent units in the Divisions may not have application in Australia. Nevertheless it is an

important principle that the officer in charge of a squad or unit having the responsibilities in respect of corruption or misconduct by his men must have the means of discharging those responsibilities.

Police forces must carefully consider and constantly review operational organisation and practice with a view not only to minimising the possibility of corruption, but to ensuring that any suggestions of corruption can be effectively dealt with. In other words, if there are procedures, and they are followed, and those procedures are

appropriately designed to minimise the opportunity for corruption, allegations in that respect will be simply and speedily dealt with. It seems to the Commission that police sometimes fail to appreciate that not only must they be- satisfied an allegation of corruption is unfounded, the public must also be satisfied.

A similar problem with peculiar relevance to the area of drugs is that of allegations that drugs seized by police find their way back into the market place, either through being sold by police officers or by way of payment to informers. A rigid system of controls by which the drugs



re, at the earliest possible time, sealed, preferably in the presence of the accused, and thereafter rigidly accounted for, is essential. Again the benefit of such a system is often not appreciated. If police can respond to allegations of drugs finding their way back to the market by satisfying the public that the accounting system is effective, the

currency of such rumours will be diminished.

The expenditure of the necessary moneys to effect appropriate systems will be repaid manyfold in terms of increased public support because of increased public trust. An additional consideration is the reduction of the cost of canvassing in the courts allegations made by

the accused against police officers in this regard. It is inappropriate for the Commission to make detailed recommendations in respect of systems which ought to be implemented. The situations of the different

police forces are too diverse. However, the Commission does feel justified in remarking that an individual police force ought not to be satisfied that its system is necessarily the best and cannot be improved on. It may have much to learn from another police force, albeit a

smaller one, with a much more limited drug problem.

The Commission also considered a number of other separate matters.

Increases in Drug Squad Numbers: Increasing the numbers of all the State and Territory drug squads is a matter that demands serious consideration. It is not possible to indicate the precise numbers which might be appropriate in each case. It seems likely that an increase in

numbers will give rise to an increase in arrests. The following two factors are also important. First, it does appear that criminal activities of all kinds are engaged in by those involved in the illegal drug trade. Therefore a suppression of the illegal drug trade should have an effect in reducing other criminal activities by taking out of

circulation some of those who engage in them. Secondly, as police officers are rotated through drug squads and returned to other duties, the pool of police officers with drug experience will increase and the general police contribution to suppression of the drug trade will be


Officer Exchange: There is a strong case for an extensive program of exchange of officers among drug squads. This will enhance co-operation and make the individual officer better equipped by giving . him a different and probably wider perspective. It may also enhance the

operational capability of the particular drug squad, a 'fresh face' for undercover use possibly becoming available. It should not be too readily assumed that exchange must be restricted to police forces. It may be that exchange between a police force and, for example, the Bureau

of Customs, State Health Departments, or fauna protection agencies, may enhance the effectiveness of both participating agencies.

Training: Careful consideration needs to be given to the training of police officers in respect of drug matters. Individual users, usually the first point of contact for police officers, are often different from the average run of criminals. They need careful handling

if they and their friends and relatives are not to be alienated. The user may be most, effectively dealt with by referring him or her to an



ppropriate treatment centre or other means of support. Police officers therefore need to be educated to recognise the mode of treatment or support that may be most effective in the particular instance, and to be aware of the facilities which are available. At the same time the police officer will avoid becoming involved in a time-consuming prosecution, success in which may have little effect on criminal activities related to drugs. Furthermore the user, if properly handled, may rapidly take up a useful role in the community. This does not

suggest that users should not be charged. It does suggest that police officers need to be trained to acquire knowledge so that they can effectively exercise a proper discretion. The purpose of the law is to reduce illegal drug abuse and this purpose is not invariably effected by having a drug abuser convicted of an offence. It is likely that the pooling by police forces of experience and ideas and the development of

common training programs will lead to an economy of effort and produce more effective officers.

Role of Drug Squads: Careful consideration should be given to the need for drug squads, on the one hand, to be relatively free to

concentrate their efforts as far up the distribution pyramid as possible. On the other hand they need to be able to support the general body of the police force and the community as a whole in dealing with drug problems. For example, a concerned mother may mention to the local constable her concern regarding certain of her son's associates. A call to the drug squad may reveal they are well known drug traffickers. The Commission heard of various ways of satisfying these needs, for example, a fixed percentage of resources may be made available for general support work. Particular officers within the general detective branch may be designated to specialise in drug and drug related matters.

The Commission believes that the practice in some forces of

requiring police, on their being made detectives, to serve a period of time in the drug squad is to be encouraged. The Commission believes that there is a strong case for broadening the education and experience of persons serving on drug squads by programs designed to acquaint them with all aspects of drug abuse including topics such as treatment or

drug education as well as law enforcement topics.

Scientific Support: The scientific support for police forces in the area of drug analysis and the appropriate method of presenting the results to courts are capable of improvement everywhere. This is dealt with separately elsewhere in this Report.

Informants: Informants are of vital importance in the area of drug related crime. A continuing exchange of information at the operational level on matters of using informants and methods of working them, is likely to be productive. There are almost as many views upon the working of informants as there are policemen. It may be that the pooling of ideas reveals that informants should be worked in a number of ways at a number of different levels.

Joint Task Forces: The Commission sees great promise in the implementation of the joint task force approach. It is likely that the most effective implementation will be in respect of targets developed as



consequence of the work of the criminal drug intelligence centres proposed in Part XIV. The most appropriate composition of the task force can then be worked out. It may be, for example, that a particular task force requires a heavy preponderance of Federal police officers

while another requires a heavy preponderance of State police officers. It may be appropriate on some occasions for members of non-law

enforcement agencies to be on task forces. A task force working on an investigation involving a remote area of Australia may have on it representatives of the fisheries or similar organisations responsible for patrolling the areas. The point of a task force is that it makes available all resources, whatever their origin, which may be of use in

leading to the apprehension of the law-breaker and at the same time makes the members of the task force -relatively free of the day-to-day obligations of their particular sphere of enforcement. This subject is

further dealt with in Part XIII, Chapter 8 'Task Forces'.

Effects of the Use of Police Powers: In dealing with the matter of training, mention was made of the fact that individual drug users, usually the police officer's first point of contact with drug offenders, are often different from the average criminal. The evidence received by

the Commission indicated that many young people use drugs on an

experimental basis without otherwise engaging in criminal activity and, their urge to experiment having been satisfied, never again engage in any illegal activity. While experimenting, such people may be found associating with real criminals. In such a context it is important that

police officers appreciate, for example, that a girlfriend of a drug trafficker-- arrested after police have justifiably burst through the doorways of the house, disordering and at times damaging the possessions of the occupants in a legitimate search for drugs-- may thereafter cease

to have any association with drugs. Indeed, she may in a few years time be a member of a jury and influence the members of the jury adversely to the police on the basis of her bitter resentment of the treatment she received on the earlier occasion. Similarly, the landlord of the house may bitterly resent his premises being damaged and left damaged. The

Commission was impressed with the evidence given by Detective Inspector P. A. G. Lawrence, the Officer-in-Charge of the New South Wales Police Drug Squad, who stated that in like circumstances to those detailed above he always spoke to the aggrieved party and made arrangements for

prompt reparation. States usually have ample resources, for example, in their Department of Works for such things to be promptly attended to. Attention to matters such as this, not always appreciated by police officers under the pressures of their duties, will increase public

support for the police.

Relations with Commonwealth Bodies: The need for State/Commonwealth co-operation in relation to drug abuse overall is dealt with later in this Report. In the present context the Commission is of the view that there is a need for a more mature participation by the State forces in their

relations with Commonwealth agencies. The responsibility for the present situation is twofold. Mention has already been made in dealing with the Australian Federal Police of some Commonwealth insensitivity in

this area. On the other hand, the evidence compels the Commission to the view that State forces are, on occasions, prone to regard any Commonwealth initiative as an untoward incursion into the field of State responsibility. It seems to the Commission that relations between the

State police forces and the Commonwalth Police were coloured by the view



f some members of State forces that any Commonwealth initiative in the law enforcement area was an untoward attempt to take over State responsibilities. They failed to recognise that there are matters in respect of which the Commonwealth has responsibilities which it only can discharge. Australia is a nation as well as an aggregation of States. Any Commonwealth initiative needs to be carefully and objectively evaluated and maturely dealt with. The common purpose of Commonwealth and State law enforcement agencies is the disruption of criminal activity and the arrest of those who participate in it. If this is not constantly in the forefront of thinking the only winner is the lawX breaker.

There are three specific areas of potential co-operation between the State police forces and Commonwealth agencies and the Australian Federal Police which can be mentioned. The value of secondment in this

context should not be overlooked. The first area is that of overseas liaison. The continuing identification of communications between Australian criminal groups and overseas criminals in the free interchange of visits between both groups adds emphasis to the value of liaison with overseas agencies. In areas where liaison with overseas enforcement agencies is of current importance the Commission is of the view that there is no substitute for the presence of an Australian police officer in the liaison role. The Commission saw at first hand the work being done by Australian narcotics liaison agents in South-East Asia and was impressed with their dedication and the excellent work they were doing.

It is obvious that an individual State may have difficulty in justifying the presence of an individual officer. In any event the matter of co-ordination is important. In respect of criminal activities related to drugs, the Commission recommends that the liaison role be the responsibility of the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre. The officer stationed overseas could be an Australian Federal Police officer or a seconded State Police officer or Bureau of Customs officer. Preference in appointment should be given in the future to officers who have served a time with the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre.

The second area of potential co-operation relates to the

difficulties of investigating criminal activities among ethnic groups. Difficulties of language, the need for interpreters and the consequent need for security are important considerations. It seems likely that consideration has to be given to the development of a corps of

specialist police interpreters who are familiar with investigative methods and criminal activities and whose security can be better assured. This is perhaps an appropriate 'common service1 to be provided by the Australian Federal Police to State forces.

The final matter concerns the financial implications of large scale criminal activities where important co-operation between State police forces, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, and the Reserve Bank in its role of controlling foreign exchange transactions, may result in increased effectiveness on the part of law enforcement. This matter is dealt with further in Part XIII Chapter 5 'Financial Controls'.



enalties: When the community calls for higher penalties against drug traffickers, it is not only expressing its abhorrence of drug trafficking but it is to some extent admitting its inability to cope with the problem. A high detection rate is a far greater deterrent to

drug trafficking than the occasional detection and conviction of a drug trafficker to whom a severe sentence may be given. Police sometimes complain that too light a penalty is given to a convicted person because they realise how difficult it was to detect him.

In recommending that police have wider powers, it is the Commission's hope that the certainty of detection will become the real deterrent to the drug trafficker. The Commission is not satisfied that the

significantly.increased penalties in recent years have had any real deterrent effect on drug traffickers. The great financial rewards, balanced against the unlikelihood of being detected, make the

possibility of a severe sentence a risk which a trafficker assesses as well worth running.


The Terms of Reference of this Commission do not authorise an exhaustive inquiry into police forces generally. The evidence relating to police activities which the Commission has received deals mainly with drug law enforcement and the Commission's recommendations must be seen

in that context. Differences in size, structure and organisation of State police forces mean that recommendations are necessarily general.

The Commission recommends that:

** The future role of police forces in dealing with drug-related crime should be shaped by the National Strategy on Drug Abuse developed in Part XIV of this Report.

** To assist police efforts in implementation of this Strategy priority should be given to the Uniform Drug Trafficking Act and the national system of Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres also dealt with in Part XIV (Chapters 3 and 4 respectively).

** The first task of the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre should be to identify those areas requiring intensive law enforcement effort and those where such effort can be most

effective. Priority should be given to the most dangerous drugs, the better organised groups, and the most significant individuals involved in drug trafficking. These are matters dealt with in Part IV, Chapter 7, 'The Organised Basis of Drug-related Crime1. * *

** Immediate steps should be taken to increase the resources of the police drug squads of the States and Territories by:

- increasing the number of drug squad members generally;

- increasing the female component of drug squads;

- increasing appropriate support facilities such as clerical assistance.



* An intensified program of exchange of members of the drug squads of all police forces should be introduced. This program should be additional to other exchanges that will occur by secondment to the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre.

** Drug squads should consciously allocate some part of their resources to traffickers at as high a level as is practicable and another part to support segments of the police force engaged in dealing with drug-related matters.

** The drug law enforcement course conducted at the Australian Police College at Manly should:

- be expanded in content to deal with matters relevant to the proposed Drugs of Dependence legislation;

- be conducted four times a year; and

- reflect the current drug 'scene'. In this respect the

resources of the proposed Drug Information Centres, as well as of the proposed Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres, should, in time, prove of assistance.

** Training programs on the application of the criminal law to drug abusers should be developed and continually reviewed. They should encompass:

- a fresh emphasis on discretion when dealing with minor

offenders and the relatives 'and friends of drug abusers;

- the proper role of treatment;

- the whereabouts and capabilities of treatment facilities;

- the characteristics of drugs commonly abused;

- the inter-relationship of the abuse of legal drugs and illegal drug abuse;

- the role of drug education.

** An increased emphasis should be placed on the exchange of

information amongst police forces at an operational level in the use of informers, their control and management.

** Serious and continuing consideration should be given by each police force, in developing training and operational resources, to the contribution that can be made by other police forces. This

contribution can take the form of providing ideas, lecturers, and equipment, it could be most useful in planning programs of all kinds. * *

** Joint task forces should be regularly used. These joint task forces should include non-police resources when these are useful. This is further developed in Part XIII, Chapter 8, 'Task Forces'.



Strong support should be given to the proposed State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres and through them the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre.

** Liaison with overseas enforcement agencies, should be effected through the National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre.

** State police forces should co-operate with the Australian Federal Police in its compilation of an index of police with foreign language skills. Police so identified should be available to all police forces to assist in the investigation of criminal activities

among ethnic groups. Any deficiencies in language skills which are identified should be rectified.by the Commonwealth arranging to send select police to attend appropriate language courses.

** Increased emphasis should be placed on the financial implications of the illegal importation, production and trafficking of drugs. This will require fresh investigation techniques and the development of new resources and skills some of which are dealt with in Part XIII,

Chapter 5, 'Financial Controls'.

** Close and continuing attention should be given to the investigation of allegations of corruption or misconduct by police to ensure that such investigations are carried out and the public is satisfied they are carried out.

** Particular attention should be given to the investigation of allegations of corruption and misconduct made against public figures. The Commission makes this recommendation because it believes it is in the public interest and in the interest of the public figures concerned that such allegations of corruption and misconduct involving drugs should be promptly and rigorously


** A proven system of recording, investigating and reporting on allegations of corruption and misconduct should be implemented by every police force.

** Investigations into allegations of corruption should be carried out by police officers. Where practicable an investigation into a serious allegation should be made by a team including elements from another police force.

** The desirability of having an independent body such as an Ombudsman monitor investigations by police into allegations of misconduct or corruption should be kept under review. If reasons of effectiveness or public confidence make it desirable, such a procedure should be


** A rigid system of controls should be applied and enforced to account for drugs, money, and other property seized or acquired by police. * *

** Any property damaged or destroyed in the course of police operations should be repaired or restitution made to the owner. To this end the Commission recommends the creation of a statutory right in the property owner to obtain compensation.



drugs seized or otherwise obtained by police should be subjected to a quantitative and qualitative analysis.

** Each police force should ensure that information releases to the media on drug law enforcement matters are made only by certain designated spokesmen. Such spokesmen should be readily available to the media.



hapter 8 Commonwealth Department of Health

The Department of Health was established in 1921. It administers Commonwealth legislation and implements Commonwealth Government policies in health and related fields. It plans, develops and co-ordinates approved national health programs. At 30 June 1979, the full-time staff

employed by the Department throughout Australia and overseas numbered 4904.

Under the present administrative arrangements the Department of Health and the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs have complementary responsibilities for the major elements of the

Commonwealth's effort to regulate the licit drug trade and to prevent illicit trafficking and drug abuse. The responsibilities and activities of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs have been described and discussed in the preceding Chapters. They focus on illicit

activity. The Health Department, on the other hand, has primary responsibility for regulating the licit trade and manufacture of narcotic drugs. In this context the term 1 manufacture' refers to the processes that take place after the production stage in which raw materials for extraction of opiate alkaloids are separated from their plant source. The Department's responsibilities are, however, wider

than this and include, for example, the surveillance of drug standards and drug efficacy, the scheduling of drugs for control purposes, the administration of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the channelling of Commonwealth funds to areas such as drug education and medical


While a number of areas of the Department have some responsibilities relating to drugs, several of the Department's major functions relating to abuse of narcotic and psychotropic drugs are performed by the Drugs of Dependence Section of the Therapeutics Goods Branch. This Section

consists of a Director, responsible to the First Assistant Director- General, Therapeutics Division, and three sub-sections dealing, respectively with:

a. control over import and export of narcotic and psychotropic drugs, control over manufacture of narcotics, the setting of levels of import and manufacture of narcotics, including levels of production of narcotic raw materials for such manufacture, and administration of the Department's role of co-operating with the UN drug control

authorities and with drug control authorities in other countries;

b . administration of a computer monitoring system aimed at preventing drug diversions from licit transactions involving narcotics and certain psychotropic substances and initiation of Commonwealth/State follow-up action of suspected irregularities shown up by the

computer. This system enables production of statistical material on consumption, marketing trends, etc. relating to these drugs;

c. administration of health aspects of the national drug abuse prevention program involving provision of advice and information on all aspects of drugs of dependence, supervision and development of


the National Drug Education Program and servicing of

Commonwealth/State committees concerned with drug abuse.


The drugs whose legal importation is controlled by the Department of Health include:

* Cannabis, cannabis resin, heroin, desomorphine and ketobemidone;

* LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and tetrahydrocannabinols; and

* Amphetamine, dexamphetamine, methylamphetamine and phenmetrazine.

Under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations the importation of any drug listed in the Fourth Schedule to the Regulations including those listed above is prohibited, except on prescribed conditions including the requirement that the importer hold:

* a current importer's licence from the Director-General of Health; and

* an import permit from the Director-General to cover each individual shipment.

In circumstances approved by the Director-General of Health a permit to import, endorsed as a one-time licence, may be issued to serve as both an importer's licence and a permit to import a particular


Licences and permits can be revoked if conditions set out in the Regulations are breached by the licensees. Licensing of importers by the Director-General of Health is intended to ensure that only reputable and responsible persons and organisations, with satisfactory security and storage and records of import, obtain permits to import. The licensing also ensures that the Department obtains particulars of all lawful importers. A pre-requisite for issue of a licence to import is that the applicant be licensed under State or Territory law to deal in the controlled drugs or hold a licence to use them for medical research. The Director-General allocates to licensed importers annual (calendar year) quotas for any narcotic drugs they intend to import or to have imported on their behalf by other licensed importers. Permits to import are issued within the limits of these quotas.

A copy of every permit to import into Australia narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances in Schedules 1 and 2 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances is sent to the authorities in the exporting country. This enables authentication of the overseas exporter's application for a corresponding export permit. The original export permit accompanies the consignment and, in that context, it constitutes

an authority to convey the drugs. A second copy of the export permit is received by the Drugs of Dependence Section direct from the overseas issuing authority and when importation has been verified by the Department of Health it is endorsed and returned to the issuing authority by the Drugs of Dependence Section as a form of receipt. In


this way a strict watch is kept on international consignments of drugs. Diversions, short shipments, or pillages are readily detected, and the Drugs of Dependence Section immediately notifies local and overseas

authorities of irregularities. This system works in reverse for Australian exports.

Control of lawful drug exportation is maintained by the Director- General of Health under the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations. The Eighth Schedule to the Regulations specifies goods whose exportation is prohibited unless conditions and restrictions set out in the Regulations are complied with. The Eighth Schedule contains the drugs

required to be controlled under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and other drugs such as pentazocine. The exporter, like an importer, must have a licence from the Director-General of Health and each consignment must be covered by a permit. Licences are subject to the conditions and restrictions of Regulation 10B of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations, which

are based on the two international Conventions.

Licensed exporters are required to maintain in special registers records of all international and local wholesale transactions. The registers required under State law are generally accepted for this purpose, with some modification to enable identification of consignments with their export permits. The Director-General has power to revoke

export licences and permits where there has been a breach of conditions attached to their issue or it would be inconsistent with Australia's international obligations for them to remain in force.

Import and export controls are administered by the Drugs of Dependence Section in Canberra with the assistance of Inspection Pharmacists in the Department's Regional Offices in Sydney and Melbourne, where almost all commercial importations and exportations

take place. Commonwealth Department of Health inspectors from Regional Offices in NSW and Victoria regularly visit licensed importers and exporters to examine and check their records and stocks and to inspect

the security of premises and the storage of drugs. In the other States special arrangements are made with the Bureau of Customs to attend to any formalities required, in addition to the normal cargo controls and the sighting of the international import/export documentation required under the drug Conventions.

The permit for any import or export consignment is issued by the Drugs of Dependence Section. The most important reasons for

centralising issue are:

* the need to keep quantities of narcotic drugs imported within the limits of Australia's annual estimates of requirements, and *

* the need to check, by reference to UN data, that Australia does not issue export permits for narcotic drugs in excess of the annual estimates of importing countries.



he format of permits has been developed to suit Australian

conditions but complies with basic requirements laid down by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Under the drug Conventions permits of this kind have to be used for imports and exports of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances such as hallucinogens and certain central nervous system stimulants such as amphetamines. In order to simplify procedures, Australia uses the same forms for all controlled narcotic and psychotropic drugs.

Through the permit system the Health Department requires the application of strict security precautions in the handling and movement of import and export consignments of drugs regarded as 'at risk', i .e ., all narcotics and such drugs as amphetamines, pentazocine, methaqualone and certain other central nervous system stimulants. Large

consignments, particularly of narcotics, must be moved under high security. Documents are checked at points of entry, exit and transit and imported consignments are counted and checked at the importers' premises by officers of the Department to ensure that the stated

quantities have arrived.

The Department also requires that the outer packaging of

consignments of drugs, whether imported or exported, must not indicate the presence of drugs of dependence. The information included in relevant commercial documentation, such as consignment notes, does not reveal that the documentation relates to drugs of dependence.


The manufacture of narcotic drugs in Australia is regulated by the Health Department's Drugs of Dependence Section under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs Act, 1967. As for imports and exports the basic mechanisms are licences, issued in this case by the Minister for Health, and permits. The manufacturer's licence specifies the substances that may be manufactured but no manufacture may be undertaken without a permit specifying the maximum quantity of the substance that may be manufactured and accumulated as stock and the period during which manufacture may occur.

Manufacturing permits are issued against basic manufacturing quotas determined by the Health Department in the light of the official forward estimates of Australian cultivation, manufacture, domestic requirements and exports. The control of manufacturing is integrated with the control of importation and exportation to ensure that Australian production and manufacture is within the limits confirmed with the

International Narcotics Control Board.

Manufacturers are required to maintain detailed records of all manufacturing operations relevant to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and monthly returns of manufacture and stocks must be supplied. Manufacturing premises are inspected by Departmental pharmacists on a

regular monthly basis and by central office inspectors where special



vestigations are called for. The routine inspections generally involve four phases:

* inspection and checking of all records and stocks;

* inspection of security measures applying to the process;

* collection of samples for analysis by the Government Analyst; and

* supervision of the destruction of narcotic waste.

At present licences are on issue for the manufacture of five narcotic drugs: concentrate of poppy straw, morphine, codeine, pholcodine and thebaine. There has been no manufacture of pholcodine for some years. There are three companies involved in manufacturing.

State laws also provide for control of narcotics manufacture but they make no specific provisions for quotas. Their provisions operate concurrently with the Narcotic Drugs Act except in the case of any inconsistency where the Commonwealth Act would prevail. While Commonwealth licensing of narcotics manufacturers relates to basic narcotic alkaloids, State licensing of manufacturers covers control over

formulation or tableting.


The States and the Northern Territory are responsible for the regulation of the prescription of narcotic and psychotropic substances. In the A.C.T. this is a Federal responsibility.

The Commonwealth Department of Health does have an interest in the matter because of its responsibilities for regulating the prescription and dispensing of pharmaceutical benefits under the National Health Act. Under this Act the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee

advises the Commonwealth Minister for Health concerning those drugs to be listed as pharmaceutical benefits and conditions that may attach to prescriptions, such as limits to quantities, numbers of repeats and restrictions under which they may be prescribed as benefits.

Pharmacists must be approved by the Commonwealth Director-General of Health to supply drugs under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Benefit claims are carefully scrutinised, pharmacies are inspected by pharmacists from the Department and medical practitioners are also

visited about their prescribing of pharmaceutical benefits. From time to time, checks made by the Commonwealth Department of Health of signatures on prescriptions against a register of medical practitioners' signatures have led to detection of forged prescriptions. The Department, together with the State Departments, has been active in

seeking the co-operation of both pharmacists and doctors to reduce the incidence of forgeries, a prime cause of which has been a lack of reasonable security in the handling of prescription books.




The Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System began in 1970 following public concern about the increasing use of narcotics and other drugs of dependence which became apparent in Australia in the late 1960s. It was generally considered that significant quantities of drugs illicitly

consumed in Australia came from licit supplies diverted to the illegal trade. In 1969 the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence (NSCC) recommended development of a system to collect,

collate, and disseminate information on all inter- and intra-State movements of narcotic substances shown in Schedule 8 of the National Health and Medical Research Council's uniform Poisons Schedule and covered by the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs,

1961. The Commonwealth Department of Health, which is represented on the NSCC, took responsibility for designing and implementing such a system.

In January 1971 the monitoring system was extended to include amphetamine, dexamphetamine, methylamphetamine, phenmetrazine and methylphenidate.

The system monitors every movement of the specified drugs from importation or local manufacture to delivery to the final distributor--retail pharmacy, medical practitioner, etc. At present over 375 000 transactions are monitored each year.

The system requires reporting authorities, i .e . , drug firms licensed to import, export, manufacture, formulate or distribute specified drugs on a wholesale basis, to report their transactions each week. This information is forwarded to Canberra for checking and computer processing. During the computer processing each transaction is subject

to a number of checks, and individual entries may be rejected for an incorrect drug code, an unidentified customer account number, suspected incorrect movement details, etc. Rejections are investigated by the Drugs of Dependence Section and corrected, if the errors are obvious, or

referred back to the reporting authority for clarification.

From the information provided by reporting authorities, various monthly routine and special reports are produced by the Department of Health's computer for State Health Departments and other interested bodies. These reports give prompt indication of the development of new or unusual trends in drug consumption and highlight high volume purchases by non-reporting authorities, i. e . , retail pharmacies, hospitals, medical practitioners, veterinarians, recognised clinics, etc., which can be investigated by State health authorities.

The basic monthly movement report details all inter- and intra-State movements between reporting authorities and from reporting authorities to non-reporting authorities. Also shown are imports and exports, manufacturing and formulating processes and controlled and uncontrolled

destruction (i.e ., loss, larceny etc.). This report provides an opening stock balance for each drug monitored, the number of inward and outward



ovements, the number of single units involved (ampoules, tablets, grams, etc.) and a closing stock balance for the four weeks under review.

Firms engaged in formulation/manufacture are required to insert a Batch or Lot identification number on their weekly report form when reporting processing transactions. Comparison of the amounts of controlled substances used in the production of preparations with the amount of base drug contained in subsequent yields provides a check on

the efficiency of processing and wastage can be determined with reasonable accuracy. This report serves as an aid in the detection of possible illicit diversion from manufacturers' premises.

A by-product from the basic monthly report is a report which lists all those hospitals and pharmacies whose purchases of any particular drug from all sources exceed a predetermined level during any given three monthly period. This maximum purchasing level, agreed upon by the

States, has two criteria: one for major hospitals, the second for minor hospitals and pharmacies. Detection of the rise in methadone

consumption in 1977 is partly attributed to this report.

Other monthly reports show estimated consumption figures on a State by State basis, listing a year-to-date consumption figure plus consumption figures for the last six four-weekly report periods to observe trends. Reports on stock holdings of nominated drugs are also produced. These have been used to check on stocks of obsolete,

superseded and/or out-of-production drugs held by wholesalers. The coX operation of wholesalers is sought and obtained, through State health authorities, to destroy all such stocks detected.

The regular monthly reports are supported by a variety of special reports which are available on request. One such report, which has proved of value to State Health Department Inspection Pharmacists carrying out investigations or routine inspections, details purchases by

nominated pharmacies, medical practitioners or hospitals from all wholesale sources for any period back to 1971.

Before introduction of the monitoring system no really accurate figures were available on Australia's consumption of dependence- producing drugs. Data now readily available have proved of considerable assistance to the authorities, particularly in fulfilling Australia's

international obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Valuable side effects of the system have been increased awareness among people handling dangerous drugs of the need for accurate record keeping, and improved relations between Government authorities and the drug industry through the closer liaison demanded by the monitoring

system and a common desire to contain the drug problem.




Although public attention to drug abuse in recent years has been focused upon heroin and cannabis, it is essential the public realises the interconnection that exists between the prevalent abuse of drugs that

are legally available and illegal drug abuse. It is also essential the public understands that many drugs which have a legitimate medical use and must be available for use in treatment are articles of commerce in the illegal drug market. These factors have moved the Commission to treat Health Departments as organisations with a drug law enforcement role.

The evidence shows that responsibility for controlling drugs of dependence which are used for therapeutic purposes, but which at the same time are sought-after commodities on the illegal market, rests with Health authorities. In one sense this is an historical accident. These

controls were originally vested in Health Departments because they exercised controls upon public health generally. As will be seen in Chapter 9 when State Health authorities are considered, controls over drugs of dependence these days are usually located alongside general controls designed for such diverse purposes as to ensure the supply of uncontaminated food and to regulate the sale of poisons and pesticides.

Drugs of dependence with a therapeutic use should be monitored from the moment they are manufactured in Australia or imported into Australia until they are consumed or destroyed. As the importation of goods into Australia is a Commonwealth responsibility, it is appropriate that the Commonwealth Department of Health deal with monitoring from the time that drugs are imported. In view of the limited number of manufacturers of drugs of dependence there seems merit in making it a Commonwealth responsibility to monitor drugs of dependence from their manufacture or importation to the time they are in the wholesaler's hands. The State laws which license manufacturers and wholesalers should continue to oversee directly the regulation and prescription of narcotic and psychotropic substances in the States and the Australian Capital Territory.

In the area of operations of the Commonwealth and State Health Departments, there has been much more co-operation than has been evident to date in the operations of law enforcement. The generally harmonious relationship and co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States in the field of general health has been advantageous in the area of drugs of dependence. The Commission recognises the necessary interaction between the future operations of the Commonwealth Department of Health and of State Health authorities and for this reason has deferred expressing its general conclusions in this area until the end of Chapter 9 which deals with State Health authorities.



hapter 9 State Health Authorities

Each State and Territory has primary responsibility for its own health system. This responsibility is discharged through a variety of institutional arrangements in which the main role is played either by conventional ministerial departments or by statutory Health Commissions. There is also a variety of specialised boards and authorities with executive or advisory responsibilities, for example in relation to the

treatment of drug addiction.

The institutional arrangements are in some cases quite complex and there have been a number of major changes in them during the

Commission's currency. Considerable space would be needed to describe them in detail and it is not proposed to do so here.

In relation to drugs, the main areas in which State and Territory health authorities have responsibility are:

* regulation of cultivation, manufacture, distribution, prescription and dispensing;

* provision of facilities and support for the treatment of drug abuse, including addiction; and

* drug education.

In the following material, each of these three areas is discussed separately. The authorities involved are identified and their roles are outlined briefly. Drug treatment and education are treated very summarily as they are discussed in detail in Parts X and XI of the Report respectively.


Each State and Territory has within its health administration a unit responsible for ensuring that State legislation regulating the processing, handling and dispensing of drugs is complied with. Legislative provisions differ from State to State as the discussion in Part V of the Report illustrates. There are, however, in all States, provisions in poisons legislation for the handling of dangerous drugs.

There are also separate or associated provisions dealing with the handling of narcotic and psychotropic substances and these provisions are designed to ensure that Australia's present or prospective obligations under the relevant international conventions are honoured.

There are also manufacturing standards for therapeutic goods (including drugs) which must be adhered to and a national code of Good Manufacturing Practice which operates in collaboration with the Commonwealth Department of Health. The enforcement of the Code is the

responsibility of the States. The recent Pharmaceutical Manufacturing



ndustry Inquiry has recommended that efforts be made to ensure uniform application of the Code throughout Australia.

The bodies responsible for enforcing provisions of this kind in each of the States and Territories are as follows:

New South Wales Pharmaceutical Services Branch, Health Commission of New South Wales.

Victoria Poisons Division, Health Commission of Victoria.

Queensland Drugs and Poisons Section, Division of Public Health Supervision, Department of Health.

South Australia Pharmaceutical Branch, South Australian Health Commission (under the administrative authority of the Central Board of Health).

Western Australia Pharmaceutical Services Branch, Public Health and Medical Services Department.

Tasmania Pharmaceutical Services Section, Department of Health Services.

Northern Territory Northern Territory Department of Health

Australian Capital Pharmaceutical Section, Public Health Territory Branch, Community Health Division, Capital Territory Health Commission.

For regulatory purposes each authority has an inspectorate but there is considerable variety in arrangements. In some cases inspectors are qualified pharmacists. In others; they may include public health inspectors without any pharmaceutical qualifications. The inspection function may be either completely centralised as in South Australia (OT 563) or devolved in part to regional administrations. In the case of the Queensland Department of Health, for example (OT 2248), the Commission was told that while there was a central office inspectorate with specific responsibilities, public health inspectors in the Department's seven district offices were expected to devote about one

third of their time to drug and poisons inspections.

In addition to their manpower resources the States have a very important information resource in the National Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System which reports drug transactions up to the level of supplies to final distributors, i.e. pharmacists, hospital authorities etc. The system is described elsewhere in this Part of the Commission's Report. The Tasmanian Government has developed this system to produce,

for regulatory purposes, computerised records which include prescription and dispensing details at the level of doctor, pharmacist and patient. These records of final distribution are based on monthly reports from pharmacists. The Commission was told that the Tasmanian system had been of considerable assistance to the State authorities in identifying malpractices.



censing of Cultivation

Only in Tasmania, where the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is grown commercially, are State health authorities actively involved in regulating the cultivation of plants from which drugs are derived. The Chief Inspecting Pharmacist of the Health Services Department's Pharmaceutical Services Section is the Chairman of the Tasmanian Poppy Advisory and Control Board. The Board, on which the Commonwealth Health Department is also represented, advises on, and controls, production of

opium poppies, collects and collates statistics and is responsible for liaison with the Federal authorities. Licences to grow poppies are issued by the Tasmanian Minister for Health. Inspections of licensed

growers are carried out by the Field Officer of the Poppy Advisory Control Board or by the Chairman himself.

In Tasmania the authorities are also empowered to control the cultivation of Papaver bracteatum, a non-opium-producing poppy which has been grown under licence there on an experimental basis.

Licensing of Manufacture and Distribution

Arrangements for licensing and oversight of various stages in the chain of manufacture of drugs and poisons, including the policing of standards of manufacture of therapeutic substances, vary from State to State. Generally, however, there are State licensing systems whose

coverage includes:

" drug manufacturers. (For narcotic drugs, licences are used

primarily to control operations such as ampouling, tableting and compounding as the Commonwealth Government, under the Narcotic Drugs Act, 1967, controls the manufacture of basic narcotic substances. In Tasmania, however, the extraction of narcotic alkaloids from the

locally grown poppies is licensed by the State under the Tasmanian Poisons Act, 1970, as well as by the Commonwealth);

* wholesale distributors of drugs;

* retail distributors of drugs and poisons other than pharmacies;

* hospital authorities; and

* research institutions.

The State health authorities maintain control over manufacturing and wholesale establishments dealing in drugs of dependence through regular inspections and through the Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System in which each manufacturer is a reporting authority. In the inspection process stocks are physically checked at least once a year. Each

establishment is required to meet certain security standards and to keep a drug register recording transactions involving drugs of dependence. Hospitals are subject to inspections, though in some States the authorities may be called in only if mishandling of narcotic drugs is


B 2 5 1



Each State also has arrangements for the oversight of the handling of drugs by pharmacies. These include:

* registration of pharmacists, a pre-condition for obtaining drugs for professional purposes;

* requirements for the keeping of drug registers and other records showing inward and outward transactions; and

* inspections, both routine and exceptional, such as when drug transactions are particularly heavy.

There is apparently considerable variation in the frequency with which retail pharmacies are inspected. The Commission was told that, in the A.C.T., there were inspections at 6 monthly or 12 monthly intervals. Western Australia in 1977 was said to have a target figure of 1.6

inspections per pharmacy per year, but this target was not being achieved, although certain pharmacies were being inspected much more regularly. In New South Wales the Commission was told that it had been considered desirable that each pharmacy be inspected at least once every two years but that it had not been possible to achieve this target for some years. The Commission was told that in Victoria it was estimated that about 1000 of the 1600 pharmacies in the State were inspected each year. In South Australia, where there were 476 community pharmacies in

1978, 203 inspections were carried out in that year. A senior official in that State, however, expressed the view that each pharmacy should be inspected at least once each year. In Tasmania the Commission was told that the computerised monitoring system enabled most of the surveillance and checking of prescribing to be carried out in the Department of Health Services, thus reducing the number of visits to pharmacies by

inspectors and the time required for inspections. Generally speaking evidence presented to the Commission indicated that pharmacy inspections were undertaken as frequently as admittedly inadequate resources would permit.

The nature of pharmaceutical inspections varies slightly from State to State. In all cases, however, inspections include an examination of the ways in which drugs of dependence are stored and their movements recorded and accounted for. Drug registers and stocks are checked and compared with information on drug supplies obtained through the Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System. Checks may also be made on cancelled prescriptions with a view to detecting forgeries. Drug registers may be examined to see whether, for instance, the supply of narcotic drugs to a particular patient has been such as to require official authorisation to the prescribing medical practitioner.

The checking of pharmacists' records and cancelled prescriptions which is undertaken in some degree by pharmaceutical inspection authorities in all States can yield useful information to the

authorities. In South Australia the Commission was told (0T 22445) that the routine surveillance of dispensed narcotic, amphetamine and methaqualone prescriptions had been a rich source of information about



i) forged prescriptions;

(ii) drugs obtained by false pretences;

(iii) circulating addict patients;

(iv) circulating addicts;

(v) doctors' self-prescribing; and

(vi) prolonged treatment with narcotics.

Prescription surveillance was, however, discontinued in South Australia from June 1978 because of severe staff shortages.

While the States depend on their pharmaceutical inspectorates for the detection of prescription forgeries there are generally no well developed systems for this purpose. Evidence indicated that in some States the authorities rely heavily on the voluntary co-operation of pharmacies in discovering forgeries. The Commonwealth's arrangements

for the detection of National Health Service (NHS) prescription forgeries are discussed in Part XIII of this Report.

Medical Practitioners, Dentists and Veterinarians

Members of the professions involved in the prescription and administration of drugs, namely medical practitioners, dentists and veterinarians, are, as a general rule, able to obtain the drugs they require for the lawful practice of their professions without permit or

licence. There are however certain restrictions applied by State health authorities on lines indicated below. In addition, practising members of these professions must be registered with State and Territorial registration boards.

Medical practitioners are limited by law in their prescribing of narcotics. There is a requirement in all States that the prescription of addictive drugs for addicts and the long term prescription of addictive drugs for other persons have the prior written authority of a

senior health official. In Tasmania medical practitioners are required by law to ask anyone seeking narcotic drugs whether he has had narcotic drugs within the previous 6 months and to seek an account of the

circumstances. Arrangements for the notification and the registration of addicts, for example, for the purposes of methadone treatment programs, are discussed in Part X of the Report.

The case of dentists provides examples of restrictions applying to professionals. In Queensland, a dentist is authorised to buy, obtain and administer the dangerous drugs cocaine and pethidine but not to prescribe them. In Western Australia dentists are limited to obtaining

pethidine, cocaine and pentazocine in defined small quantities.



ese sorts of provisions are policed primarily by the

pharmaceutical inspectors. The activities of medical practitioners are not themselves inspected and the authorities most commonly become aware of illegal activity through information volunteered by pharmacists or discovered by inspecting pharmacies or scrutinising returns from pharmacies. State authorities seemed generally confident that breaches of drug and poisons legislation by medical practitioners were being detected and dealt with effectively.

Centralised Drug Stores

In Tasmania and in the Northern Territory security in the handling of addictive drugs is enhanced by centralised control of drug stocks. In Tasmania, following burglaries in 1974, narcotic drug stocks were, by agreement of the parties concerned, withdrawn from pharmacies to a central store in Hobart. They are available from this source on a 24 hour basis. In the Northern Territory, following an agreement with private pharmacies, the Health Department alone holds stocks of addictive drugs, and fills all private prescriptions through its regional stores. Pharmacists at the regional stores also provide an information checking service for private medical practitioners.

Treatment of Drug Addiction

In all States and Territories there are government authorities with responsibility for the co-operation and provision of treatment and rehabilitation services for drug addiction. The nature of treatment programs, the details of programs and the nature of funding arrangements are discussed in Part X of the Report.

In New South Wales the responsibility for the co-ordination and provision of drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation services lies with the New South Wales Drug and Alcohol Authority. Treatment services provided by the State Government are, however, provided on a

decentralised, regional basis through the Health Commission of New South Wales.

In Victoria, the central authority is the Alcohol and Drug Services unit of the Mental Health Division of the Health Commission.

In Queensland the relevant State authority is the Alcohol and Drug Dependence Service located in the Health Department's Division of Psychiatric Services.

In South Australia the relevant State authority is the Alcohol and Drug Addicts Treatment Board.

In Western Australia treatment of drug addiction is provided by that State's Alcohol and Drug Authority.



n Tasmania the central authority is the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Board, of the Mental Health Services Commission, a separate body from the Health Services Commission.

In the Northern Territory treatment of drug addiction problems is provided under the aegis of the Department of Health through the Darwin and Alice Springs Hospitals.

In the A.C.T., the Capital Territory Health Commission provides treatment for drug dependence through its Alcohol and Drug Dependence Unit and through the Woden Valley and Canberra Hospitals.

Drug Education

In all the States and Territories there are, within the health authorities, units concerned with co-ordination, development and conduct of drug education programs. The nature of these programs and their relationship to the National Drug Education Program (NDEP) is discussed

in Part XI of the Report. The following material, however, provides a brief State-by-State outline of institutional arrangements and responsibilities, based on the latest available information.

Drug education in New South Wales is co-ordinated by the Division of Drug and Alcohol Services within the New South Wales Health Commission. There have been substantial changes in the administration of drug services in New South Wales in the last few years. At present, however,

it is understood that the functions of the Division in relation to drug education have been integrated with those of the New South Wales Drug and Alcohol Authority. In this regard, the Division and the Authority form the Central unit which provides advice to the fourteen Health Regions which are directly responsible for implementing local drug

education programs in New South Wales.

The Health Education Centre, Health Commission of Victoria, is responsible for drug education in Victoria, with assistance from ten drug information centres in the State. Two of these centres were established by concerned citizens and the remaining eight were recently

set up in rural areas with NDEP funds.

The Health and Human Relations Section of the Division of Health Education and Information, and the Alcohol and Drug Dependence Service within the Queensland Department of Health are responsible for drug education programs and activities in Queensland.

The Health Education Unit, South Australian Health Commission, coX ordinates drug education programs in South Australia.

The Western Australian Health Education Council serviced by the Western Australian Public Health Department is primarily responsible for


drug education in Western Australia. There is co-operation in this area between the Council, the Western Australian Alcohol and Drug Authority and the Community Development Centre (Education Unit, Mental Health Service) of the Public Health Department. In addition, the Council is assisted by regional officers in both country and metropolitan areas.

The Division of Public Health within the Tasmanian Department of Health Services is responsible for drug education in Tasmania'. It would appear however, that the recently established Alcohol and Drug Dependency Board also is concerned with aspects of drug education.

The Health Education Branch, Northern Territory Department of Health, Darwin, is responsible for drug education in the Northern Territory. There are also regional offices in Nhulunbuy and in Alice Springs which assist with the implementation of local programs.

The Health Education Section of the Capital Territory Health Commission co-ordinates drug education in the Australian Capital Territory. The Australian Capital Territory has been divided into seven areas with each having a sessional health educator. The section liaises with the Alcohol and Drug Dependence Unit in the Commission and the Alcohol and Drug Problems Association of the Capital Territory. The

latter is a community-based organisation developing a drug education program for parents of pre-school children in conjunction with the section.



Controls over drugs of dependence are appropriately located in Health Authorities because close contacts are then possible between the controllers and:

* those who prescribe drugs for consumption;

* those responsible for their manufacture and distribution;

* those dealing with the treatment and rehabilitation of drug

dependent person; and

* those responsible for the health education of the community.

It is necessary that persons overseeing controls on drugs of dependence are professionals as they are in close contact with medical

practitioners, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons, dentists, and drug manufacturers.

It is essential to monitor the movement of drugs from the moment they are manufactured in Australia or imported into Australia until they are consumed or destroyed. The reasons for this are the obvious one of preventing and detecting the diversion of drugs of dependence onto the



gal market and the less obvious one of detecting and assessing trends.

Most drugs of dependence move to the consumer only as a result of steps taken by a medical practitioner and a pharmacist. The medical practitioner prescribes and the pharmacist dispenses the drug for the patient. If the medical practitioner is responsible in his prescribing,

if the pharmacist is responsible in his dispensing, and if the patient is responsible in his use of the drug, no problem of diversion arises. There are however opportunities for diversion to the illegal market at every point of the. distribution channel, from the importer or manufacturer to the consumer. At present there is no evidence of large

scale diversion by theft or other means from manufacturers or

wholesalers. It cannot be assumed that criminal elements, in the future, will not turn their attention to diverting large quantities of drugs including drugs not presently the subject of abuse in Australia.

The Commission has seen cases where diversion has occurred by conscious wrong doing on the part of professionals. The Commission is of the opinion that where evidence of dereliction of duty by

professionals exists, they should be prosecuted. There is no excuse, in the Commission's view, for refraining from prosecuting a medical practitioner or a pharmacist who puts his passbook before his profession in unlawfully providing narcotic drugs to drug dependent persons to maintain their dependence. Monitoring of the supply of drugs of

dependence is the best way of checking on the activities of professional wrongdoers.

Another kind of diversion which is not a deliberate case of

wrongdoing can also be detected by monitoring. The Commission is satisfied that medical practitioners do over-prescribe narcotic drugs. This over-prescribing is part of the larger problem of over-prescribing which many professional bodies and medical authorities have come to

recognise as assisting to escalate drug abuse. There has come to be a community attitude that a medical consultation which does not conclude with the patient carrying a prescription form is of no value. Factors which lead to over-prescribing are: *

* The patients' expectations;

* The pressure of work;

* The promotion of drugs by pharmaceutical companies;

* Insufficient training of the practitioner in pharmacology.

These are all broad questions. So far as drugs of dependence are concerned, professionals in the Health Authorities, on detection of over-prescription of drugs of dependence as a result of monitoring those drugs, should be able to counsel the medical practitioner who overX prescribes .


Another method of diversion is by the forgery of prescriptions. This is the subject of separate consideration in Part XIII Chapter 4 'Forged Prescriptions'. It is necessary here to note that the

monitoring of drugs of dependence is of great assistance in detecting forgeries.

Conspicuous success has been obtained by the Commonwealth Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System. In Tasmania the system has been carried a step further and computerised records have permitted monitoring of drugs of dependence down to the point at which they leave the pharmacy. This no doubt contributes to the comparatively small incidence of diversion

in that State. Victoria is considering the introduction of computerised records.

The area of diversion is one in which the Commission believes that Australia is presently ahead of the drug trafficker and indeed can stay ahead. It is necessary to improve the systems presently in operation so that there exists a system whereby movement of drugs of dependence are supervised from manufacture or import right down to the consumer.

Diversion of drugs to the illicit market by the breaking and entering of chemist shops is dealt with by "police. These cases are treated similarly to the breaking and entering of other commercial premises under the general law. One result is that it is not easy to

see the quantity of drugs which have been diverted in this manner. Police of course also deal with drugs on the illicit market after diversion just as they deal with a totally prohibited drug such as heroin or cannabis.

Treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and drug education are important areas in which State Health Authorities play the leading role. The former topic is dealt with in Part X and the latter in Part XI.

The Commission has noted that no State has its drugs of dependence legislation as one cohesive piece of legislation. Reference back to Part V assists in identifying where the legislation is to be found. The Commission has little doubt that the lack of one piece of legislation in each State dealing with drugs of dependence has contributed to the confusion and lack of rational approach to the drug problem that has beset Australia in recent years. In Australia State laws in their actual provisions approach uniformity more closely than many people

realise. A good example is the scheduling of drugs of dependence. This approach to uniformity is one of the achievements of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence. Uniformity is often concealed by the lack of cohesion of legislative provisions which, like Topsy, have just grown. The Commission will return to this aspect in Part XIV Chapter 5.

Administration of legislation presently lacks sufficient coordination between police, treatment facilities, drug education,



urts, and research on aspects of drug abuse. The lack of cohesion in legislation and of coordination in its administration has led to an absence of reliable statistical or historical information upon most of these matters and has reduced the effectiveness of enforcement, treatment and education. The material is often available somewhere or other but has never been kept in a form that can be used to assemble an

accurate mosaic of drug abuse in Australia. The solution is suggested in Part XIV Chapter 6 of this Report.

State Health Authorities presently bear and will continue to bear an increasingly difficult burden in dealing with drug abuse. They are a vital component of the sustained and coordinated effort which the Commission believes is essential in effectively dealing with the problems caused in Australia by drug abuse. The total national effort will be greatly improved if cooperation and coordination between the

Commonwealth Department of Health and the State Health Authorities which have existed in the past can be assiduously fostered.

The recommendations which the Commission makes here are based only on the evidence and conclusions in Chapters 8 and 9 of this Part. Other recommendations directly affecting Health Departments are made in later Parts of this Report.


The Commission recommends that:

** The system developed by the Government of Tasmania, utilising the computerised records of the National Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System extended to pharmacy and patient level, should be adopted by the Governments of the States and Territories to regulate

prescribing, dispensing and consumption of drugs by doctors, pharmacists and patients respectively.

** The Governments of the States and the Territories should legislate to require pharmacists to forward copies of all ΝΉ & MRC Schedule 8 prescriptions to the body responsible for health administration in that State or Territory as soon as practicable after the

prescription is dispensed. The copies of the prescriptions so forwarded should be subjected promptly to routine surveillance by those bodies.

The Governments of the States and Territories should implement through the body responsible for health administration in that State or Territory a regular system of inspections by qualified personnel directed at enforcing the regulations in relation to the following:

- Pharmacies (including hospital and institutional

pharmacies)-- an inspection every six months.

- ' Manufacturing and wholesale premises-- an inspection every twelve months.

- Packing and labelling of drugs-- routine surveillance.


- Advertising of drugs-- routine surveillance.

Sufficient appropriately qualified personnel should be recruited to enable the recommended schedule of inspections to be undertaken and maintained.

The Governments of the States and Territories should enact laws to require medical practitioners, when approached by a person requesting narcotic drugs, tp obtain the following information:

- whether that person has used narcotic drugs within the previous six months;

- the names and address of any medical practitioners and / or institutions which have provided that person with treatment within the previous six months, and

- the circumstances of any such use.

The Governments of the States and Territories should promulgate regulations similar to Regulation 64(6) and (7) of the New South Wales Poisons Regulations pursuant to which a pharmacist may only dispense a prescription for specified drugs of addiction if he is familiar with the prescribing doctor's handwriting, knows the person to whom the drug is prescribed or has verified the prescription with the prescribing doctor.

The Governments of the States and the Territories after consulting with one another and with the Commonwealth, should enact laws to provide for the uniform scheduling of drugs of dependence throughout Australia.



a r t VII

O rgan isations with an Indirect E nforcem ent R ole


art VII Organisations with an Indirect Enforcement Role

Chapter 1 . Department of Immigration and Ethnic


Chapter 2 . Department of Foreign Affairs

Chapter 3. Department of Transport

Chapter 4 . Department of Defence

Chapter 5 . Scientific Laboratories

Chapter 6 . Fisheries Protection Organisations

Chapter 7 . Qu a r a n t i n e , Flora and Fauna Protection


Chapter 8 . Australian Taxation Office

Chapter 9 . Foreign Exchange Control

Chapter 10. Postal and Telecommunications Authorities

Every citizen has an indirect enforcement role so far as upholding the law is c oncerned. For example, the law

has long recognised the right of a citizen to make an arrest

in certain circumstances. Enforcement of laws against drug traffickers is facilitated by citizens who give information to enforcement agencies about the activities of such p e r s o n s .

This Part endeavours to identify organisations which, because of their usual activities, are in a position to assist enforcement agencies in combating the drug trade. The principal assisting role of some of these agencies lies

in the area of surveillance of Australia's coast. Surveill­ ance of the coast to detect infringement of quarantine legislation may assist surveillance of the coast to detect drug traffickers. Some agencies have an indirect enforce­ ment role because they have administrative responsibilities

in relation to the movement of people into and out of

Australia. Others have a role because they are concerned with the movement of messages, mail or money. Scientific laboratories have an essential support role for law enforce­ ment. Some organisations are discussed in this Part bec a u s e ,

although they have no present role in assisting to reduce drug trafficking, the Commission received evidence that they have a capacity to assist and should be given a role.



ere appro p r i a t e , the Commission has placed con­ clusions at the end of the Chapter dealing with the

agency in q u e stion. Where the Commission makes recommenda­ tions directly relevant to an agency these are placed after the conclusions. Where the Commission sees the need for initiatives relating to organisations mentioned in this Part it discusses those initiatives in Part XIII. An example of this is the Chapter 'Forensic Laboratories'

in Part XIII which considers initiatives desirable for scientific laboratories.

This Part also has relevance as an introduction to Part VIII, Coastal Surveillance.


hapter 1 Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is the agency with primary responsibility for regulating the movement of people across Australia's borders. In its administration of the government's immigration policy and the Migration Act 1958 it is responsible not only

for the policy and procedures which govern the entry to Australia of foreign nationals but also for general procedures applying to all travellers entering or leaving the country. In addition, it is

responsible for deportation, although the authority to deport rests with the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs himself. The Department also administers the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 under which

citizenship with its associated rights may be granted to persons resident in Australia. Under the Aliens Act 1947 the Department maintains in each State a register of aliens aged 16 years and over (persons other than Commonwealth citizens). Finally, through its Ethnic Affairs Branch, the Department maintains an overview of the position of

migrant groups in the Community.

In carrying out its responsibilities, the Department works coX operatively with the other Departments and agencies whose activities are in one way or another related to its own, including the various police forces and the Bureau of Customs, with its component Narcotics Bureau.

It also draws upon other agencies for information and assistance, for example on police in deportation matters. Finally, it relies upon other agencies to act on its behalf in certain of its activities. By a longX

standing arrangement, Customs officers in the primary line handle immigration checks for incoming passengers and officers of the Foreign Affairs Department handle immigration formalities at overseas posts where the Department's own officers are not stationed.

The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is not itself a law enforcement agency. Nevertheless, from the Commission's viewpoint it plays, and must play, an integral part within the law enforcement system related to the entry of foreign drug offenders, by securing, in

appropriate cases, the deportation of offenders who are liable to deportation, and by facilitating the gathering by the law enforcement agencies of intelligence on travel movements that will assist in the

prevention or detection of drug-related offences of all kinds.

The Commission believes that neither actually nor potentially is there any scope for conflict between the broad objectives of immigration policy and broad government policy on drugs and drug law enforcement. It believes that immigration policies and procedures should support and be consistent with drug law enforcement efforts. It acknowledges that

at the level of individual cases there may be competing considerations. For instance, in a particular deportation decision, compassionate considerations such as an individual's family situation may need to be

weighed against the nature of an offence committed. Cases of this kind, however, in no way diminish the force of the general principle.



Commission was not required, and has not attempted, to make a general assessment of immigration laws and policies and of the procedures involved in their administration. There are, however, certain specific issues which arose in evidence and which clearly merit

special consideration. The most important of these, in the Commission's view, is the future of the Australia--New Zealand Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.

Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement

The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement originated in an exchange between the two countries in 1920. It was introduced to relax wartime regulations which had required travellers to carry passports. In brief, the Arrangement, as it now stands, enables:

(i) Citizens of Australia and New Zealand,


(ii) Citizens of other Commonwealth countries and Citizens of the Republic of Eire who have been granted permission to reside indefinitely without restriction in either country,

to travel direct between the two countries for residence or for periods of temporary stay, without passports or prior travel authority (i . e . , visas) or the need to obtain entry permits on arrival. In the case of

both countries the arrangement is unique.

In 1920, when the Arrangement was introduced, the number of travellers entering Australia from New Zealand was 23 500, all of whom travelled by sea; and approximately 27 000 travellers left Australia for New Zealand. In the financial year 1977--78 the number of travellers entering Australia who had embarked in New Zealand was about 470 000 and approximately 444 000 people embarked in Australia for New Zealand. The great majority of these travelled by air. In 1977 — 78 movements between Australia and New Zealand accounted for approximately 27 per cent of the

3 400 003 movements in and out of Australia for that year as recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Commission received evidence about the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement from a number of sources, including officers of the Departments of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and Business and Consumer Affairs, police officers and drug users. In this evidence it was

claimed that the Arrangement was open to abuse and was being abused in a variety of ways.

The evidence indicated that it was a simple matter for a trans- Tasman traveller to take advantage of the Arrangement, whether or not he had the citizenship and residence status to which it related. For instance, the case was cited of an American citizen who arrived at Brisbane from Christchurch claiming to be a New Zealand citizen and whose true identity was discovered only as a result of Customs search. Similarly, it was said to be a simple matter for a criminal, who might


be a prohibited immigrant, to enter Australia under a false identity and for a bail absconder to leave the country for New Zealand. For

Australia the problems inherent in the Arrangement are exacerbated by the fact that some people prohibited entry to Australia are able legally to enter New Zealand, which affords them a better opportunity to enter Australia undetected. In addition, New Zealand has no parallel to Australia's computer based passenger checks at major ports through the

PASS system. *

Evidence was also given that the Arrangement was being used by persons directly involved in the drug trade, including couriers, to conceal their movements from the authorities. A drug user informed the Commission that the best known method of breaching the preventive screen was for a traveller to enter and leave Australia via New Zealand

(presumably under a false identity) so that the Immigration authorities and the Narcotics Bureau would be unaware of his travel. This device ensures not only that the traveller's absence from Australia is unrecorded but also that his passport, with possible tell-tale evidence of visits to drug source countries, is not seen by the Australian

authorities. The only documentation which the traveller would normally be called upon to present on arriving from New Zealand is a completed incoming passenger card and Customs declaration. Cases of abuse

normally come to notice only when the PASS system identifies a suspect or suspicion is otherwise aroused.

The Commission received from the Department of Foreign Affairs advice that New Zealand police had evidence to indicate that New Zealand was becoming a major avenue for drug couriers whose ultimate destination was Australia, and an Australian drug user asserted that he knew of a well organised syndicate of New Zealanders importing heroin through New

Zealand, taking advantage of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. In addition, the Commission received other evidence indicating that New Zealanders, both alone and in association with Australians, are notable for their involvement in large-scale illegal importation of drugs into

Australia. Evidence before the Commission, particularly some recently received, indicates substantial abuse of the arrangement by criminals and other people prohibited from entering Australia under the terms of the Arrangement.

A further claim made to the Commission was that under present arrangements passengers arriving from other sources were sometimes able to mingle with passengers arriving on flights from New Zealand and thus, by presenting false passenger arrival cards and Customs declarations, to

take advantage of the free travel arrangement by entering under a false identity and without presenting a passport. There is no procedure at present for checking that a passenger has in fact arrived on the flight which he nominates on his arrival card. Informal checks are sometimes made of the number of passengers passing through the primary barrier

against the number of passengers the -airline records as being carried. But information supplied by the airlines was said not to be totally reliable; and as some transit passengers do not pass through the barrier

a simple checking procedure might yield misleading results.



any of the witnesses appearing before the Commission identified the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement as a major weakness in Australia's protective screen and urged the introduction of a requirement that all travellers between the two countries be required to carry valid passports.

In April 1979 Ministers responsible for Immigration in the two countries agreed that both countries would investigate the possibility of limiting the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement to citizens of their respective countries, and would conduct surveys of travellers to establish the extent to which 'people were entering New Zealand as visitors, and then ^proceeding on to Australia to attempt to gain entry

to this country as if they were persons entitled to the free movement advantages of the Arrangement. No action has, however, at the time of writing been taken to vary the present arrangements.

A related, though separate, problem mentioned in this context was that created by local passengers joining international flights coming into Australia (by 'purchasing tickets for New Zealand) and then disembarking before leaving Australia. It was claimed, for instance, that passengers sometimes joined international flights at Perth on tickets to New Zealand but were able to disembark at Sydney, on

cancellation of their passages, without being subjected to Customs search. This sort of arrangement, was said to create an important loophole for international couriers who might use it to pass drugs to confederates who could avoid the Customs barrier.

Involvement of Ethnic Groups in Drug Trafficking

A second issue of importance in the field of immigration is the role played by particular ethnic and national groups in the importation, cultivation and distribution of drugs. The Commission received evidence pointing, for instance, to long-standing Chinese involvement in drug

importing, to the involvement of a group of Lebanese in hashish smuggling in Sydney, to a 1 Turkish connection’ in the growing of marihuana in some parts of Victoria and to a similar Italian influence in the Riverina area of New South Wales. As earlier indicated it also heard evidence that grtmps of New Zealand origin were involved in a

substantial way in the importation of heroin and cannabis. The role of ethnic groups in drug-related crime is discussed more fully in Part IV, Chapter 7.

Of some relevance to this issue was the evidence received by the Commission on the procedures for migrant selection. It was informed by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs of the variety of selection standards that are applied and of procedures for checking the health and character of applicants, aspects of particular concern to the Commission. These standards and procedures are applied to all those seeking permanent entry to Australia 'with the exception only of New Zealand citizens, wherever resident, and other Commonwealth citizens with resident status in New Zealand. In Britain, however, character checking is applied only selectively. The evidence did not indicate the



nt to which drug addicts or other persons involved in drug offences before migration are able to penetrate this protective screen.

Deportation Policy and Procedure

The third major issue raised in this context is that of deportation policy and procedure. An officer of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs gave evidence to the Commission on Government policy and on the relevant provisions of the Migration Act. In the broadest terms,

the Act provides for the deportation of foreign nationals on two types of grounds. First, they may be deported for entering Australia without proper authorisation or for violating the prescribed conditions of entry. Secondly, they may be deported on account of their conduct in Australia or overseas, because of criminal convictions or on account of

becoming inmates of 'a mental hospital or public institution1. Australian citizens may not be deported.

The Act contains separate provisions for the deportation of aliens and the deportation of immigrants (including alien immigrants). Mr K. J. Bleaney, Assistant Secretary, Control Branch, Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, explained:

...an 'alien' is a person who according to definition is not a British subject, an Irish citizen or a protected person. An 'immigrant' is not defined in the legislation. Generally, for administrative purposes, a person who was admitted for an

indefinite stay and who has completed a period of five years lawful residence may no longer be regarded as an immigrant. (OT 1621)

Generally speaking, a non-alien immigrant cannot be deported after five years' lawful residence in Australia. No such temporal limitation applies to the deportation of aliens. There is thus implicit in the Act a preference in favour of British Commonwealth citizens for whose deportation after five years' lawful residence there is no provision. A person facing deportation as an alien or an immigrant on grounds of

conduct may elect to have his case heard by a Commissioner under the Migration Act. In addition, an Australian citizen or a person with resident status may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the review of a ministerial decision to deport an individual following

convictions for crime.

The Commission was particularly interested in the arrangements for criminal deportation. It heard evidence from the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs that the Department received reports from State and Territory Police when convictions were recorded against

'migrants who are not Australian citizens'. The reporting arrangement was 'not compulsory' and the Department had learned from corrective services authorities of some cases not notified to it by police. The Department was however 'quite happy' with the existing arrangement. The Department relies on corrective services authorities to notify it of

expected release dates so that the question of deportation can be taken up with the Minister well in advance of release.



Department told the Commission that Ministers have maintained the view that, since deportation forms no part of the punitive process, it should not cut short sentences imposed by the Courts as punishment for crimes and that it is for the Governor-General or appropriate State authority, as the case may be, to decide such questions as the

conditions under which a prisoner is required to serve out his sentence, the remission of any part of a sentence or the release of a potential deportee on parole or for deportation.

In the case of Commonwealth offenders, the responsibility for the policy and practice relating to the conditional release of prisoners rests with the Commonwealth Attorney-General1s Department. The Department informed the Commission that an offender liable to deportation is considered for conditional release at the time an Australian offender would be considered for release on parole. At the

same time the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is asked to advise the decision concerning deportation before the expiry of the nonX parole period. If an offender is to be deported he is released, on licence, for that purpose.

The Commission did not seek or receive evidence from State

authorities of their views on the timing of release of prisoners convicted of State offences who were likely to be deported. The Commission has noted, however, that this question is being investigated by the Australian Law Reform Commission under its sentencing reference.

Passenger Entry and Exit Records

The Commission took evidence concerning the records of persons leaving and entering Australia which are kept by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. These records are based on the 'incoming1 and 'outgoing' passenger cards which all travellers are required to complete. With Ministerial authority, the information they contain may be made available to law enforcement agencies, to other government bodies, and to the courts. The information from the passenger cards becomes part of a computerised record, which can be used

for a variety of purposes.

An officer of the Department stated that the Department could not vouch for the accuracy of the passenger card record because the information it contained was supplied by passengers and because the time for inward passenger clearance permitted only the most cursory check for accuracy by primary officers. Nevertheless, the information on the cards is of major importance to health, immigration and other

authorities. The Commission was especially interested in the development of the computer record system to provide a ready check on travel movements by individuals, particularly to reveal frequency of travel.

A particular problem drawn to the Commission's attention was the effect on the processing of inward passengers created by the 11 p.m. curfew at Sydney Airport. It was claimed that the curfew resulted in



nnecessarily high concentrations of passengers needing to be processed at particular times, to the detriment of Customs and Immigration checking.



Evidence before the Commission makes it clear that the illicit drug trade is not the particular preserve of any ethnic group or nationality, and the Commission does not believe that any such group is more

predisposed to activities of this kind than are native-born Australians. The evidence, nevertheless, is that in some areas of the country groups of a particular national origin have been systematically engaged in large-scale cultivation, importation or distribution of illicit drugs.

The particular characteristics of many ethnic groups offer certain advantages to those bent on the organisation of large-scale criminal enterprise. A foreign language, a different culture and values and social patterns, which may involve little contact with the rest of the

community, can enable an illegal operation to be organised with greater secrecy and less risk of detection than would otherwise be possible. There are, however, certain overt indicators of activities that cannot be concealed. They include patterns of travel, including travel by

recruiting agents seeking to recruit labour for drug cultivation or distribution networks.

The Commission considers that immigration authorities should keep records of both travel and residence in a form that would facilitate searching out activities of this kind, and that these records should be available, as needed, on an appropriate basis to the law enforcement authorities.

In the case of deportation policy and procedures the Commission considers that some changes are desirable. First, it considers that all persons who are not Australian citizens should be treated consistently, and that against this principle the present legislative provisions

relating to deportation cannot be justified. Secondly, it considers that a person who is not an Australian citizen should not be protected from deportation purely by reason of having more than five years' lawful residence in Australia. After all, in the case of a skilled drug

offender a period of apparently lawful residence may simply indicate his skill in evading the authorities. The Commission is aware of cases where foreign nationals with more than five years' apparently lawful residence are actively involved in drug crime. In the Commission's view

deportation action against a foreign national should be possible at any time, subject to appeal on clearly defined grounds. Whilst the Trans- Tasman Travel Arrangement remains in force, deportation of New Zealanders presents substantial problems against achieving effective




Commission also concluded that there was a need for improved formal arrangements to inform the immigration authorities when foreign nationals were convicted in Australia. After considering the various possibilities to effect such an improvement it decided that the best

course would be a formal and direct arrangement between the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and the Commonwealth Attorney- General 's Department and justice authorities in the States and Territories, rather than the police forces. The arrangement ought to extend not only to notification of convictions but also to notification of release from prison.

Finally, in the context of deportation, the Commission wishes to endorse strongly the Commonwealth's policy that foreign nationals should not be released from prison on parole for the sole purpose of

deportation. A departure from this policy would be an abuse of the prison and parole system. It would also be a direct encouragement to drug traffickers to employ foreign couriers in the expectation of effectively less severe penalties. Foreign offenders should, in the Commission's view, subject to appropriate use of the parole power, serve out their full sentences before release. If this were the case they would be more likely to be deterred from engaging in drug crimes or other criminal activity in Australia.

The Commission believes that the arrangements it recommends for informing the immigration authorities of crimes committed by foreign nationals will also be of assistance in the character checking of applicants for Australian citizenship.

The Commission concluded, in the light of evidence before it, that the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement constitutes a loophole in Australia's Customs and Immigration screen which is widely known and frequently taken advantage of by those involved in the importation of drugs and related activities. It noted that the arrangement was originally introduced almost 60 years ago in conditions vastly different from those of today and before the present problems were in prospect. While the Commission has sympathy with the case for unrestricted travel between the two countries, it considers present arrangements can no

longer be justified. Its view is that all travellers between Australia and New Zealand should at least be required to carry valid passports. It does not believe that such an arrangement would, in itself, eliminate abuses, but considers that it would make such abuses more difficult to commit. The Commission also considers that the possibilities of improving the exchange of criminal intelligence between the two countries about travel movements ought to be further investigated.

The Commission has concluded that the interests of the law

enforcement authorities are well served when it is possible readily to identify outgoing and incoming travellers who frequently travel overseas.



The Commission recommends that:

** The Migration Act 1958 should be amended to put all persons who are not Australian citizens on the same footing in relation to

deportation and to abolish the provision that an immigrant with five years' lawful residence in Australia cannot be deported.

** The Commonwealth Government should arrange formally with the State and Territory Governments for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs to be informed by the relevant justice authorities when a foreign national is convicted of a criminal offence in Australia and, where a prison sentence is imposed, when he or she is

due for release from prison.

** Foreign offenders in Australia who are liable to deportation should in no circumstances be paroled for the sole purpose of deportation.

** The Commonwealth Government should study the possibility of collecting, on a selective basis, records of travel and residence of members of any groups of common ethnic origin known or suspected to be involved in illicit drug-related activity. The proposed Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres, which the Commission later recommends be

set up, should be able to make this selection.

** The Commonwealth Government should negotiate with the New Zealand Government the amendment of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement by the introduction of a requirement that any person to whom the Arrangement applies be required to carry a valid passport-- i.e.,

all travellers between the two countries should be required to carry valid passports, with visas where applicable.

** The Commonwealth Government should investigate with the New Zealand Government the possibility of improving the flow of criminal intelligence concerning travellers entering or leaving the two countries and related matters; and the investigation should extend

to consideration of possibilities of harmonising visa warning arrangements and entry and departure checking procedures. The proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre should play the vital role in making this improvement.





hapter 2 Department of Foreign Affairs

The basic role of the Department of Foreign Affairs, as it is stated in the Department's Annual Report for 1978 (Open Exhibit 585), is to advise the Minister for Foreign Affairs and, through him, the Cabinet on the formulation of Australian foreign policy and to give effect, in

collaboration with other Departments wl re appropriate, to Government foreign policy decisions. In discharging this role the Department performs a variety of functions. Those which impinge most directly on the Commission's responsibilities include:

* protecting and assisting Australian citizens abroad;

* negotiating treaties and agreements and advising the Government on questions of public international law;

* giving effect to the Government's external policies through

representations to and negotiation with foreign governments and multilateral instrumentalities;

* operating Australian missions in foreign countries and to

international organisations and representing Australia at international conferences;and

* advising the Government on, and administering, Australia's overseas aid program.

It should also be mentioned that the reporting and interpretation of events abroad is one of the most important functions of Australian missions overseas. The Commission received as exhibits copies of a number of reports and despatches which were of value to it in pursuing

its Terms of Reference.

The Commission's interest in the Department's activities focussed on its consular responsibilities (essentially the protection of the interests of Australian citizens abroad), on the related question of the Department's responsibility for passports and on Australia's development

assistance programs, insofar as they include efforts to assist other countries in dealing with drug-related problems. The measures which Australia has taken to assist or cooperate with other countries in dealing with drug abuse are however discussed at Part IX , which deals with the broader topic of international initiatives for this purpose.

The Commission did not take extensive evidence on the Department's consular activities. It noted, however, that, in the context of assisting Australian travellers the Department has been at pains to publicise the risks attending involvement with drugs and the penalties which some countries may exact for drug crimes. The Commission was

informed that more than 80% of Australians arrested overseas in 1977 were charged with drug offences. It was also informed that, contrary to the belief of some travellers, the role of consular officers was not to protect Australian citizens from the laws of other countries but to see

that they received fair treatment under those laws. In some cases



sular officers are called upon to assist Australian citizens apprehended partly as a result of the activities of Australian law enforcement agencies. This does not, however, imply that there is any conflict between the responsibilities of consular officers and those of police or customs authorities.

The Commission sought and received a considerable volume of evidence on policies and procedures for the issue of passports and on various passport abuses.

Australian passports are issued under the Passports Act 1938. During 1978 some 405 932 passports were issued of which some 30 353 were issued overseas, an increase of 10.5% over 1977. For the six months ended 30 June 1979 the total number of passports issued was 16% higher than for the corresponding period in 1978.

To determine an applicant's eligibility for the grant of a passport, an issuing officer is required to satisfy himself of the applicant's identity, of his possession of Australian citizenship, and in some instances, of his legal right to use the name in which application is made. A passport does not belong to its bearer but remains the property of the Commonwealth Government.

A passport is not only a statement of identity and citizenship; its preamble, appearing on the inside cover, requests 'all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him or her every assistance and protection of which he/she may

stand in need'. An officer of the Foreign Affairs Department said that this request imposes a responsibility to ensure, as far as possible, that passports were not issued to persons likely to threaten the national security and public order of another country or the welfare of its citizens (for example political extremists, terrorists and drug pedlars). This consideration could justify withholding a passport in a particular case, as would Court orders restraining departure and certain other considerations. But as the freedom to leave any country was a basic human right specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it was difficult to travel without a passport, the

withholding of a passport was undertaken only after consideration by the Minister. When a passport is withheld an 'identity document' may sometimes be issued to facilitate travel.

Evidence given before the Commission distinguished between 'forged' or counterfeit passports and 'falsified' passports which are authentic passport blanks fraudulently issued or authentic passports falsely and fraudulently altered.

To minimise the risk of forgery, passport blanks are produced on specially watermarked paper printed in special inks and are prepared for issue on special typewriters using special brown ribbon. As a further security measure a dry impress seal is applied over the bearer's photograph. The Commission was informed that forged Australian



assports were nevertheless available for purchase abroad, for example in Europe and Asia. The number of completely forged documents is unknown, but the Department of Foreign Affairs does receive infrequent advice of cases detected by other governments. It is unlikely that

documents of this kind would be widely used for entry to Australia where the probability of their being detected at the border is relatively high. Evidence was, however, given of their being used elsewhere by Australians travelling overseas. No evidence was given of Australian passports being forged in Australia, and a police source claimed that

there was no reason to believe that they were.

There is known to be an extensive trade overseas in passports falsified in various ways, such as by the alteration of personal particulars, the substitution of photographs and the making of false 'extensions' of validity. Australian passports are normally issued with five years validity and cannot be extended beyond five years . There is no doubt that some Australians sell their passports to feed

this trade and that it is also fed from the large number of passports lost or stolen every year. At present about 4000 passports per year are reported lost or stolen, and very few are subsequently recovered.

The Commission also received a considerable amount of evidence about the manner in which officially issued Australian passports could be obtained by fraudulent applications. The most common method of procedure is for the applicant to submit someone else's birth

certificate (sometimes that of a deceased person) with a supporting false certification of identity given by a confederate. The Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that it was not at present in a position to prevent or detect abuses of this kind. The Commission was informed of cases where individual drug offenders had been found to be holding a number of Australian passports obtained in this way in different names. For example, one convicted drug importer had in his possession when

apprehended two passports fraudulently obtained under other names as well as three passports in his own name. An Australian drug offender who had held British and New Zealand passports in false names claimed that they were just as easily obtained.

The Commission was told that it was also possible for people improperly to obtain multiple passports in the same name. For instance, a person might report his passport as lost, stolen or destroyed and obtain a second passport of unrestricted validity. He would then be in a position to use either document for overseas travel, though it might be unwise for him to present the original passport when entering or

leaving Australia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs checks photographs to ensure that the bearer of the replacement passport is identical with the bearer of the original passport, and until this is established it will issue new passports only on an emergency basis with validity limited to three months from date of issue. This, however, creates no difficulty for a person for whom the obtaining of a second passport is not a matter of



It was also claimed that it was at one time possible for a person to obtain several passports in the one name by applying at the same time in different States and taking advantage of the slowness of the centralised checking procedure. With the introduction of an online computerised passport issue and control system by the Department of Foreign Affairs, however, it will be possible for issuing offices to ensure that a passport application has not been duplicated and to highlight other passport issues requiring investigation. The new system

is expected to be fully operational by 1 January 1980. It will be used in conjunction with the PASS System at airports to assist primary officers to identify the misuse of passports e.g. passports reported lost or stolen and passports which have been altered.

Other related abuses of the passport system include the deliberate 'loss' or destruction of passports containing evidence of incriminating travel and the use of the quite legal procedure of name changing by deed poll to secure a passport that will mislead Australian and foreign officials as to the traveller's identity. A notorious Australian

criminal was alleged to have used this ruse to secure entry to the United States after being refused a visa. A change of name by deed poll may also provide an opportunity for the illegal acquisition of multiple passports in different names.

Passport abuses, including the use of a passport forged or falsely obtained or of a number of passports are of assistance to people involved in the drug trade in a number of ways. They assist alleged or convicted offenders to leave the country for foreign destinations while on bail or parole, even if their passports have been impounded. More importantly, they enable a person to conceal his identity and travel patterns from the authorities both in Australia and overseas. Visas may

thus be obtained under false pretences; and opportunities for surveillance and the gathering of intelligence may effectively be denied to Customs and immigration authorities and to the law enforcement agencies. The various modes of passport abuse and the ends to which they could be put were well known to many of the drug offenders

appearing before the Commission as well as to the authorities.

The Commission received a number of suggestions for changes in procedures and methods to make passport abuses more difficult. These included:

* the use of a 'hot seal' process to fix the bearer's photograph in a passport, making it more difficult to tamper with.

* the use of thumbprints or finger prints as identification in

passports and applications-- a procedure not presently followed in any western country.

* a restriction on the classes of people who might certify to an applicant's identity-- for example, in the extreme, a requirement that all applications must be vouched for by a magistrate or a policeman.



procedures for verification of the signatures of those signing certifications.

The Department of Foreign Affairs subsequently informed the Commission that a plastic heat laminated seal over the photograph and signature in a passport was to be introduced with effect from 1 January 1980.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and others drew attention to the trade-offs involved between more restrictive measures, whatever their effect, and considerations of privacy and the ability and right of ordinary travellers to go abroad unhindered.

In March 1979 the Minister for Foreign Affairs introduced in the House of Representatives the Passports Amendment Bill 1979 which, he said, was intended 'to provide a proper legislative basis for passport policy and a clear legislative framework for the exercise of Ministerial

discretion'. The Bill spelt out the reasons for which a citizen may be refused a passport. It also, inter alia, provided for the increase of certain penalties for offences under the Act and the creation of a series of new offences and penalties relating to the improper use or possession of an Australian passport, forgery and fabrication of passports and the wrongful issue of passports. The penalties provided

include two years imprisonment for false or misleading statements in a passport application. The Bill was passed by parliament in late October 1979 and has now come into operation.



The Commission did not enquire deeply into the manner in which the Department of Foreign Affairs discharges its general consular responsibilities and has made no findings on this question. It noted, and commends, the efforts which the Department has made to dissuade Australian travellers from becoming involved in the use of drugs and in

drug trafficking and importation. It was, however, not in a position to assess the effectiveness of these efforts.

On its overseas visits many of the Commission's arrangements were made through the Department of Foreign Affairs. It consequently had close contact with officers of the Department under a variety of circumstances. It was therefore able to appreciate the genuine desire

to help in relation to drug problems shown by the Department's

representatives. The Commission formed the view that in those places where drug liaison officers are stationed, their effectiveness in their allotted role is increased through proper co-operation and understanding from officers of the Department serving in those places.

As to passports, the Commission concluded that the various abuses discussed created major problems for the law enforcement agencies particularly in monitoring the travel of those connected with the



importation and export of drugs. In the Commission's view the greatest single source for concern is the ease with which an applicant may obtain a valid Australian passport or passports by falsely

representing his identity to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Commission considers that the free availability of Australian passports and the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, which is dealt with in the previous Chapter, are important defects in Australia's protective screen against persons involved in drug importation.

The Commission is concerned at the evidence which it received concerning the forging and falsification of Australian passports. It does not, however, see these abuses as presenting problems of the same order as the free availability of passports. A consequence which concerned the Commission was the availability of passports to bail absconders and parolees seeking to leave the country. The Commission has recommended in Part XIV, Chapter 3, that specific legislative provision be made to deal with this problem.

The Commission accepts that measures to increase security in the issue of passports need to be balanced against the increased cost to the community in processing applications particularly the costs of time lost through delays. It has concluded, however, that the community would benefit from more stringent measures than apply at present. In particular it considers that the certification procedures for passport applications need to be tightened considerably. After examining various options it has recommended procedures under which applicants who cannot present themselves personally at an issuing office will generally be

required to obtain a special certificate from the Clerk of a Court of Petty Sessions. The Commission considers that this will not unduly inconvenience applicants as this class of court official is so widely distributed throughout the country as to be within easy access of most Australian residents. The co-operation of the States and Territories would, of course, be necessary for the implementation of this

recommendation. Australians living abroad who wish to avoid the necessity of making a special visit to an Australian mission could possibly take advantage of the waiver which the Commission proposes for replacement of passports before their expiry.

The Commission has carefully considered what recommendations it might make in relation to passports, taking into account the various considerations earlier discussed. It was aware that no changes it might propose could be guaranteed to eliminate abuses but formed the view that

certain limited changes, which would make the obtaining of a passport more difficult, were justified.




The Commission recommends that:

** As a general rule, applicants for passports should be required, in addition to obtaining the normal certification, to present themselves in person at an office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and to produce there any supporting documentation required

to satisfy the issuing officer as to their identity.

** Applicants for passports unable to present themselves in person should be required to support their application by a special certiX ficate obtained from a magistrate or Clerk of a Court of Petty Sessions who has satisfied himself of their identity.

** Application procedures should be waived at an issuing officer's discretion only:

(a) in case of emergency, for the issue of a passport of limited validity.

(b) when an applicant seeks to replace a passport before its expiry and that passport is submitted with the application.

** Members of the public should be encouraged to obtain passports well in advance of any projected overseas trip.

** The State and Territory authorities should consider requesting Registrars of Births to review the conditions under which birth certificates are provided to applicants to see whether some test of identity might be introduced.





hapter 3 Department of Transport

Role of the Department

The present Commonwealth Department of Transport was established on 30 November 1973 when the then Departments of Civil Aviation and of Transport were amalgamated. Staff employed by the Department and the Bureau of Transport Economics at 30 June 1978 totalled 11 166. The

Bureau was set up on 30 June 1977, and its primary role is to advise the Commonwealth Government on the economic, technical and financial aspects of transport.

The role of the Department of Transport is to develop and implement national policies relating to air, marine, rail and road transport and to assume administrative, technical and operational responsibility for the Commonwealth Government's involvement in those and related

activities. There are three groups of Divisions-- the Policy and Planning Divisions, the Air Operations Divisions, and the Surface Operations Divisions. The Air and Surface Operations Divisions contain areas of responsibility of particular interest to the Commission.

Air Operations

One of the functions of this group of Divisions is to provide for the safe and expeditious movement of air traffic within and outside controlled airspace by the establishment and operation of air traffic control, operational control, aeronautical information services, flight service and aeronautical telecommunication. It also operates an air

search and rescue service. These services are provided by airways operations units, either air traffic control or flight service units, located at Government aerodromes throughout Australia. The various radar installations at major Australian airports are operated by air

traffic control units on their own or conjointly with the RAAF.

Surface Operations

This group of Divisions inter alia supplies, administers, operates and maintains marine navigational aids and provides a marine search and rescue service including a ships' position reporting system. It also co-ordinates the gathering of coastal surveillance information through

the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre.

In the area of marine navigation the Department operates the manned lightstations throughout Australia as well as 231 unattended lightstations and sundry other aids to marine navigation. To provide and maintain these aids the Department uses four ships and a launch up and down the Australian coastline. In addition, the Department operates a fleet of 17 aircraft located at various places throughout Australia.

Because the Department of Transport is responsible for the regulation of air and sea traffic throughout Australia, and because it


plays a major role in the surveillance of the coastline, its

surveillance activities are considered briefly and separately here. Further details about the Department of Transport are given in Part VIII of this Report: Coastal Surveillance.

Coastal Surveillance and the Department of Transport

When the Australian coastal surveillance effort was first upgraded in 1975 the Department of Transport was given a central role. The annual report of the Department entitled Australian Transport 1977— 78 had this to say about coastal surveillance and the Department's role in it:

Towards the end of the 1977 — 78 year the Government decided to implement a series of measures to upgrade coastal surveillance and related enforcement capabilities. These measures were based on the recommendations of a small committee of Permanent


The measures to upgrade surveillance involve implementing a program which includes:

* daily air patrols of the northern coastal area between Geraldton and Cairns using chartered aircraft;

* extension of aerial surveillance by RAAF Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft to cover the 200 nautical mile fishing zone and other special requirements;

* continuation of existing surveillance by RAN Trackers of the Darwin approaches primarily to detect refugee boats;

* three radar-equipped civil aircraft on full time charter to the Bureau of Customs;

* nine RAN patrol boats and three specialised Customs

launches, mainly for enforcement tasks;

* improving intelligence collection and extending existing voluntary reporting system.

The Minister has been nominated as the Government spokesman on the nature and adequacy of civil surveillance. The Minister will be supported by a new senior policy inter-departmental Committee, chaired by an officer of the Department and

responsible for the efficient running of the organisation. (Open Exhibit 657, p. 115)

The Department chairs the inter-departmental Standing Committee on Coastal Surveillance, which is composed of representatives of all departments that either supply or need surveillance information. This Committee is responsible for the overall organisation and co-ordination of matters relating to routine coastal surveillance and forms part of the organisation set up to manage and co-ordinate coastal surveillance


for civil purposes. The organisation comprises the Standing Committee (CSSC), a subordinate working committee which identifies the surveillance requirements of the various departments and applies the resources available to meet those requirements, and the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (previously the Marine Operations Centre) which is part of the Department of Transport.

The Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre is responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of routine coastal surveillance activities in accordance with the directions of the working committee, and the receipt and dissemination of surveillance reports to the various departments for possible action. This Centre was established in Canberra in 1972 to

rationalise the Department of Transport's responsibilities for marine search and rescue previously carried out in five regional areas. These were Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria/Tasmania, South

Australia/Northern Territory, and Western Australia. The Centre is manned 24 hours a day by specialist officers having a suitable

background and extensive operational experience and using Australia-wide communication systems. While the main effort of coastal surveillance is provided by the RAAF and the RAN, the Department of Transport controls or operates a number of resources that provide a secondary source of


The Department of Health Littoral Quarantine Search

On behalf of the Department of Health, the Department of Transport charters 10 twin-engined aircraft to carry out daily coastal patrols between Geraldton and Cairns. These aircraft do not carry radar as the search is a littoral, or beach, search. The main task is to look for

landings of aliens on Australian beaches who present quarantine risks, but any unusual sightings that may be of interest to other departments are also reported.

Lighthouse staff

As stated earlier, the Department of Transport operates 46 manned lightstations throughout Australia in addition to 231 unattended lightstations and other marine navigation aids. All manned

lightstations are in telephonic communication with a Regional Office of the Department of Transport, and while the primary duty of personnel is to attend to the operation and maintenance of the light and lightstation they are also instructed to report any unusual happening such as

unauthorised fishing by foreign vessels.

In addition to the lightkeeping staff the Department employs a number of servicing staff, or mechanics, who visit lightstations at regular intervals to service the lights. If in the course of their duties they observe any unusual activity they report it, but their scope

for doing so is obviously limited.



avigation aid vessels

The Department has a fleet of five vessels-- three Cape class vessels and two smaller craft. Their primary function is to provide and maintain marine navigation aids. The Cape class vessels are based in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth while the two smaller craft are based in Cairns and South Australia.

The Perth-based vessel is responsible for the area from Esperance right around the Western Australian coast and for the coast of the Northern Territory to Groote Eylandt. The Brisbane-based vessel together with the smaller craft based at Cairns is employed full-time in patrolling the Queensland coast, checking and maintaining unmanned

lighthouses. Occasionally the Melbourne-based vessel is used as far north as the Queensland coast. The smaller craft based in South Australia works around the gulfs in South Australia.

While the primary task of these vessels is the provision and upkeep of marine navigation aids, the crews also report unusual occurrences sighted by them in the course of their duties.

Airways operations units

Airways operations units, either air traffic control or flight service units, are located at Government aerodromes throughout Australia and are another secondary source of surveillance under the control of the Department of Transport. The flight service units provide ground to air communication cover, disseminate information about flight conditions and handle aircraft movements occurring outside controlled airspace. Air traffic control, as the name indicates, controls the movement of air

traffic in and out of the various airports where such units are


This source of coastal surveillance derives from a procedure set up within the Department of Transport for reporting the actual times of arrival and departure of itinerant aircraft arriving and leaving Australia, because pilots must either obtain approval or provide flight

information in order to comply with the requirements of Air Navigation Regulations. Any aircraft wanting to operate in controlled airspace throughout Australia has to give pre-flight notification of its intention to do so.

In addition to this, Department of Transport personnel are required to notify Customs of the estimated times and places of arrival of all inbound aircraft. Therefore, if an aircraft is landing at a particular place, having come from a foreign port, the Department is required to notify the Bureau of Customs. The senior operations controllers are also instructed to notify the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre on

receipt of any information regarding unusual aircraft operations such as night landings at authorised landing areas without lighting.



traffic control radar

There are interlocking air traffic control radars from Brisbane to Melbourne to provide en route coverage for regular public transport (Brisbane--Sydney--Canberra--Melbourne) and all arriving and departing aircraft within 160 nautical miles of the installations.

Other radar installations are located at Darwin Airport-- this has an operational radius of 96 miles and is used conjointly with the RAAF-- and an identical one at Townsville. Installations of the same design but having an operational radius of 160 miles are located at

Perth International Airport and Adelaide Airport.

The duty of a Department of Transport air traffic controller in relation to unidentified aircraft entering the operational radius of the radar and within controlled airspace is to ascertain the identity of the aircraft and the reason for its presence. Such a situation is termed 'a penetration of controlled airspace' and by regulation becomes

immediately notifiable.

The Department of Transport air fleet

The Department maintains a fleet of 17 aircraft, made up of 8 twin- engined aircraft and 9 single-engined aircraft for checking navigation aids, aerial surveys and other matters connected with the Department of Transport that require air transport. The aircraft are distributed

throughout the regional areas of the Department. The twin-engined aircraft are used for deploying staff when large numbers of personnel need to be moved. The light single-engined aircraft are used for deploying navigational aids and the like. In the course of their

flights these aircraft report any unusual events observed.


As will be observed from the Commission's conclusions and

recommendations in Parts VI, VIII, and XIV of the Report, the important role presently played by the Department of Transport in preventing, detecting, or anticipating, illegal importations of drugs into Australia should be substantially increased.

The Commission also sees the many and varied facilities of the Department making a substantial contribution not only to its role in coastal surveillance but also in the input of information to the National, and where appropriate the State Criminal Drug Intelligence

Centres which the Commission recommends in Part XIV of the Report be set up.

The Commission sees the Department, particularly through the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre, being one of the most important catalysts for marshalling all of Australia's resources, Commonwealth, State, local, and private in the fight against drug importation and



fficking. The Commission again sounds a warning that to achieve maximum co-operation with the States and Territories, a real presence throughout those areas needs to be felt, the more so if the centre for Australia's coastal surveillance is to remain in Canberra.

Relevant recommendations are made Surveillance'. in Part VIII, 'Coastal



hapter 4 Department of Defence

Role of the Department

The Department of Defence was established in 1901. At the outbreak of war in 1939 it was renamed the Department of Defence Co-ordination, and Navy, Army and Air Departments were established. In April 1942 the Department was renamed the Department of Defence. The Departments of

the Navy, Army and Air were abolished in November 1973 and their

functions were transferred to the Department of Defence.

The role of the Department is to develop policy and advise the Minister for Defence; to co-ordinate and execute approved policy; and to direct the Defence Force. To facilitate this role regional offices have been set up in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth

and a sub-office has been established in Darwin. These regional offices provide support for the various service elements in the region and meet the needs of functional divisions in Defence Central in Canberra. The permanent strength of the Defence Forces at 30 June 1978 was 69 870 and

the number of civilians employed full-time by the Defence Department totalled 30 123.

In the 1978 Defence Report the peace-time strategy of the Department of Defence was described by the Minister for Defence, who stated to Parliament on 22 September 1977:

Our present peace-time strategy is to support as best we may, over a range of policies, the continuation of the presently favourable prospects for our national security; to maintain effective defence relations with our friends and allies, especially the United States and in our neighbouring regions; and to maintain a substantial and efficient force-in-being that

demonstrates our military capability to deal with situations that could develop with shorter warning and to expand in time should the need for this arise during the longer term. (Open Exhibit 654 p. 1)

While the maintenance of national security, effective defence relations and an appropriate military capability are the major functions of the Department, it also performs a number of 'civil' functions. In providing aid to the civil authorities, Australian military forces are

governed by principles reflected in the Australian Constitution and Defence legislation such as recognition of the primacy of the civil power whereby the military forces act only at the request, and in support, of the civil authorities; the use of minimum force; and

accountability before civil courts for action taken.

Coastal Surveillance

Coastal surveillance is the 'civil' function of greatest importance to the Department of Defence and of most direct relevance to this Commission's Terms of Reference. The 1978 Defence Report had this to



y about coastal surveillance undertaken by elements of the Defence Force in 1977 — 78:

The past year has seen a significant further increase in the involvement of the RAN and RAAF in coastal surveillance in support of civil agencies, notably the Departments of Primary Industry (fisheries) and Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

(immigration). In addition, dedicated operations in special support of the Customs authorities have involved all Services in heightened levels of operations. The Defence Force role in all these fields is strictly supportive of the civil agencies who carry direct responsibility for the enforcement of

legislation in these areas. Nevertheless, the Defence contribution to civil coastal surveillance and enforcement has now become substantial.

During 1977--78 some 300 hours-- representing 35 percent of Air Force maritime patrol— were flown by RAAF aircraft in civil coastal surveillance dealing particularly, but not exclusively, with fisheries matters. This figure includes 540 hours in

special support of Customs authorities. RAN Tracker aircraft based in Darwin flew 1320 hours augmenting the normal

surveillance effort with the particular aim of detecting Vietnamese refugee boats which began arriving in Australian waters in significant numbers late in 1977. Seven of the Navy's 12 Attack-class patrol boats were devoted virtually full

time to civil surveillance and law enforcement operations. The direct cost of these operations rose from $0.65 m in 1973--74 to $9m in 1977 — 78. The estimated direct cost in 1978--79 is $11.3m.

(Open Exhibit 654, p. 12)

After commenting on fishing vessels under surveillance during the period, the Report continued:

Recognising the growth that had already occurred in civil coastal surveillance operations and desiring to assess the further implication of its decision to introduce a 200-

nautical-mile Australian fishing zone, the Government decided in January 1978 to task a Committee of Departmental Permanent Heads to undertake a comprehensive review of current programs and policies. Following this review, the Government announced on 9 July 1978 that it had decided upon a program involving the expansion of both civil and military surveillance efforts, and improvements in intelligence, reporting and system management arrangements.

The Defence Force contribution to civil coastal surveillance uses equipment acquired for military purposes, and servicemen recruited and trained for military tasks. To the extent that these activities overlap with training requirements they afford a cost-effective contribution to the civil task. Beyond this, use of Defence resources may compete with training programs


required for the development and maintenance of military skills and capabilities. (Open Exhibit 654, pp. 12,14)

Evidence received by the Commission revealed a poor understanding in the community of the surveillance role of the Department of Defence. Some witnesses were unaware that the Department was involved at all while even fewer knew the extent of its role in coastal surveillance.

Among the better informed witnesses, Dr E. M. Stack, Mayor of Darwin, proposed that defence should be looked at in the broad sense of protecting the population against drugs and other 'evils' (OT 5840). She advocated cheaper, less sophisticated boats and planes for use in

search and rescue and surveillance operations and believed these should be funded from a larger Defence Vote for the use of the Department on behalf of other departments. Other witnesses, including several senior Defence Force officers, referred to the training and morale benefits

resulting from Defence Force involvement. Mr Gordon Scholes, Member for Corio in the House of Representatives, cautioned against duplicating expenditure and equipment and argued that the Defence Force should have

the major role in any co-ordinated surveillance effort (OT 9033).

The monitoring of Australia's area of maritime jurisdictii civil purposes by the Department of Defence commenced in a signifi way in 1968 when the Department of Primary Industry obtained services of the RAN and the RAAF to make fisheries patrols on its behalf

in the newly established 12-mile Australian Declared Fishing Zone. Today, most aircraft and vessels used in civil coastal surveillance and enforcement operations are from the Defence Force, and they are made

available if specifically defence-oriented training and other activities are not compromised.

Air Vice-Marshall J. C. Jordan of the RAAF, Chief of Joint

Operations and Plans in the Department of Defence, stressed (OT 1643) that the Defence Force only assisted with civil law enforcement when requested by civil authorities and did not have the legal power to act on its own initiative. Its resources were allocated only if, when, and

to the extent requested by civil departments and agencies. He

summarised the Defence Force involvement thus:

In summary, the involvement of the Defence Force in matters concerning the movement and trafficking of drugs is limited to the provision of vehicles and personnel to complement those of the Bureau of Customs if, when and to the extent requested, subject to conformity with the provisions of relevant


(OT 1646)

Air Vice-Marshall Jordan explained that assistance to the Bureau of Customs by the Department of Defence did not include the provision of intelligence in relation to drug use or trafficking, although the Joint Intelligence Organisation carried out low-level monitoring in South-East



ia. The main areas of assistance to the Bureau of Customs were in the form of either routine area surveillance or special operations.

Routine area surveillance.

The Department of Defence is represented on the inter-departmental Coastal Surveillance Standing Committee (CSSC), which is responsible for organising and co-ordinating civil coastal surveillance and for determining priorities. Part of its task is to make recommendations on the adequacy of resources and on funding arrangements. A representative of the Department of Transport chairs the CSSC and, aside from Defence, the departments of Business and Consumer Affairs, Immigration, Health

(Quarantine) and Primary Industry (Fisheries) are also represented. Law enforcement activities are specifically excluded.

Patrolling programs are worked out in the smaller, lower level working committee of the CSSC on which the Department of Defence is represented. Day-to-day co-ordination including data collection and the dissemination of surveillance reports, is the responsibility of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre of the Department of Transport but the Defence Force retains command of its own ships and aircraft.

As far as the law enforcement powers of Defence Force personnel are concerned, it is only where an Act specifically empowers Defence personnel that members have a legal right to act on their own. In the Customs Act the powers accorded to Customs officers do not automatically apply to Defence Force personnel. The definition of 'officer' in Section 4 of the Customs Act does not include a serviceman. Defence Force personnel are not authorised to arrest and detain suspected persons under the Fisheries Act. However, under the Customs Act a Customs Officer acting under a warrant may have the assistance he

requires under that Act, so RAN personnel can legally arrest and detain persons when acting under the direction of a competent Customs officer.

Special operations

The Bureau of Customs is assisted by the Department of Defence when special circumstances exist involving an actual or expected breach of Customs laws and where the Bureau's resources are insufficient to permit adequate surveillance or to apprehend the offenders. In these circumstances the Bureau asks the Defence Force to assist, either by detecting or shadowing vehicles or persons believed to be engaged in illegal activities or by intercepting those vehicles or persons to enable Customs officers to make an arrest.

When offenders are apprehended the over-riding principle is that the civil authority is solely responsible for the enforcement of the law. The Bureau of Customs provides an officer who is responsible for all law enforcement actions but military personnel may support the Customs Officer under the provisions of the Customs Act. Procedures for, and

limitations on, the use of force by servicemen in such circumstances are


contained in the Customs Act and are amplified in operating procedures agreed between Customs and Defence.

In order to provide an overall picture of the Defence Force

involvement in coastal surveillance the contribution of the RAAF and the RAN is now described briefly. A more detailed outline of the Defence Force contribution is to be found in Part VIII of this Report, Coastal


The Royal Australian Air Force

The RAAF carries out long-range maritime patrols through its two Maritime Reconnaissance Squadrons based at Edinburgh, South Australia. These squadrons are equipped with P3B and P3C Orion aircraft, which are particularly suited to surveillance work.

Details of the program of coastal surveillance undertaken by Orion aircraft were given to the Commission in confidential session but it can be said that it consists of regular patrols between the north-eastern tip of Arnhem Land and the north-western corner of the Kimberleys area, between Sydney and Perth via the northern coast, and from Perth to

Sydney across the Great Australian Bight and around Tasmania.

The duties of the crews undertaking these patrols are primarily to report any unusual activity in the patrol area, specifically to report foreign fishing vessels in or near the declared fishing zones and any sightings of interest to Customs. In carrying out these duties the crew immediately reports anything that the commanding officer considers should be reported. The report is made primarily to RAAF Operational Command at Penrith, NSW, which redirects this information to other interested agencies, e .g ., Customs, Immigration, etc.

The Royal Australian Navy

The contribution of the RAN to coastal surveillance currently takes two main forms:

* a flight of Grumman Tracker aircraft based in Darwin;

* a number of Attack class naval patrol vessels patrolling northern waters.

Grumman Tracker aircraft are based in Darwin at the request of the inter-departmental Committee on Surveillance (CSSC). Their primary task is to search for Vietnamese refugee boats. As a secondary task they report the location of foreign fishing vessels and any other activities of interest. In view of their primary role of searching for refugee boats the aircraft carry out daily patrols (depending on the weather) of

the area between Darwin and Timor and work in conjunction with a naval patrol boat which is permanently based between Melville Island and the Australian mainland. The procedure followed in relation to sightings is



hat the information is passed to the authorities in Canberra needing to know, such as Navy, Defence, Air Force, Customs and Immigration.

Attack class naval patrol craft are based in Darwin and Cairns. Those based in Darwin form the Third Australian Patrol Boat Squadron while those based in Cairns form the Second Australian Patrol Boat Squadron.

The primary task of the Darwin Squadron is fisheries patrol. The squadron covers an area of roughly 3 000 square nautical miles from Thursday Island around the coast to North-West Cape. These naval patrol boats are in communication with Darwin 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All commanders are instructed to report immediately any vessel or aircraft that excites their suspicion. They are also instructed to

report the sighting of any light aircraft approaching from the north. The job of the squadron in relation to civil surveillance is to search for or, on receipt of information, to intercept violators, or possible violators, of Australian laws. The Cairns squadron functions primarily

in the Queensland area, including the Gulf of Carpentaria, but there is no arbitrary limit and patrol boats from this squadron occasionally operate as far north as Darwin and as far south as Sydney. The boats patrol anchorages and inlets and around islands, and report such things as suspicious new habitations and airfields, wheel tracks on the sand leading to the water, and so on.


As will appear from the Commission's Conclusions and recommendations in Part VIII of the Report in respect of coastal surveillance the Commission sees a continuing and substantial role for the Army, Navy, and Air Force in the detection of the illegal importation of drugs into Australia. The Commission is of the view that the armed forces have an expertise, and consequently a potential contribution of a magnitude which at times may not be fully appreciated even by the Defence

Department. In the course of its inquiries the Commission had

opportunities of seeing members and units of the armed forces at work. In other countries the Commission was able to see and appreciate, in varying degrees, the extent of the assistance available to drug control agencies from the armed forces. The Commission does not see the armed forces in Australia being involved in any police role, but rather as providing the vehicle, or platform, on land, sea, and in the air from

which appropriate operations in support of enforcement bodies could take place.

The Commission needs mention only two of the more noteworthy seizures of illegally imported drugs in recent times to demonstrate the capacity of the armed forces to provide essential assistance. The first concerns the interception of Tait in the Northern Territory directly due to the alertness of an RAAF radar officer at Darwin providentially assisted by the presence of a RAAF Hercules returning to Australia.



n the second case, that of the seizure of the yacht Anoa and its large cargo of cannabis, the chances of an interception ever being effected would have been much less but for the outstanding surveillance work of RAAF Orion aircrews and the back-up assistance of RAN vessels.


Such use of the armed forces in such drug law enforcement activities carries with it a beneficial effect of increased morale and pride for the personnel involved in that they-- and the Australian public-- can see the armed services performing a valuable service not always

recognised as part of traditional defence responsibilities. On the other hand, it must be recognised that the undertaking of such

activities can involve heavy expenditure of manpower and material resources.

The Commission strongly urges that if the armed services are to be expected to carry out these activities and to provide their full coX operation in efforts against drug smugglers, sometimes at short notice, there must be no penny-pinching attitude towards reasonable requests on their behalf for adequate compensation such as replacement of spare parts and fuel. Obviously, activities such as surveillance of

particular aircraft or vessels suspected of drug smuggling cannot be allowed to inhibit the armed services in their maintenance of a state of readiness to perform their prime role at short notice if called upon.

Recommendations relating to the role of the armed services in drug law enforcement are made in Parts VIII and XIV of this Report. If decisions made in respect to coastal surveillance as a consequence of these recommendations require provision of additional resources to the armed services, the Commission believes these additional resources

should be provided.


The Commission on several occasions had the opportunity to observe the results of work performed by the Department of Defence's Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO). In its discussions in Part XIV concerning the establishment and role of the proposed National Criminal Drug Intelligence Centre, the Commission will make reference to the potential role, albeit a limited one, it sees for the JIO in respect of

the Centre.

In Part IX of the Report, reference is made not only to the work of Narcotics Bureau liaison officers in South-East Asia in the field of international co-operation on drug-related matters, but also, for example, to the important role which the former Australian Defence

Attache in Rangoon was able to play in Burma where a large amount of drugs is produced and where the armed forces play a leading role in law enforcement. It may well be that other opportunities may present themselves from time to time for Australian defence personnel serving in



ustralian overseas missions to make similar contributions to Australia's efforts to combat international drug trafficking.

Drug Abuse and Trafficking in the Armed Services

The Commission's consideration of evidence outlined in Parts III and IV of the Report lead to the conclusion that service personnel as a group are under-represented among Australian drug users. This underX representation may be a reflection of the fact that servicemen are subject to a discipline to which the public, of course, is not. Another consideration is an awareness by senior officers of the problem of drug abuse-- both real and potential---and the development of programs and procedures to counter it.

On the other hand, some evidence was received which indicated there was reason to believe that alcoholism among service personnel may be higher than in most other Australian population groups.

The Commission received no evidence implicating service personnel in drug trafficking of a significant scale or regularity.



hapter 5 Scientific Laboratories

A laboratory service is essential for drug law enforcement and for monitoring illegal drug use in the community. The police require laboratory analysis of drugs for several reasons:

* To prove that the substance in question was an illegal drug.

For this purpose qualitative analysis or identification is sufficient. It is enough to call the analyst to say that the

substance examined was or contained an illegal drug.

* To know the purity of illegal drugs on the market.

Here, quantitative analysis is required. Knowledge of the purity of drugs can be very important. Police undercover agents must be able to convince drug traffickers that they can tell the difference between high grade and low grade drugs. A user would have little

difficulty in doing this, but the undercover agent must rely on the laboratory. In addition, the police must be familiar with the current prices of drugs, and price is based on purity and quantity.

For this reason drugs purchased by or on behalf of a police agency must be analysed to determine their real market value. Police intelligence officers are greatly assisted by knowledge of the changes in the purity and the price of drugs such as heroin.

* Drugs may be ' finger-printed' by analysis to determine their origin.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has requested its laboratory to undertake a study to determine the feasibility of using the chemical and physical characteristics of heroin to help to identify the source and to trace movements in the illicit traffic. Although it has not yet been proved feasible to trace heroin back to

its place of origin, there is no doubt that it is possible, by investigating the adulterants used for cutting heroin prior to sale on the illegal market, to discover the common source of

geographically diverse seizures of drugs. The Commission received evidence of one instance where Narcotics Bureau officers in Sydney, by liaising with other sections of the Narcotics Bureau, were able to discover that a seizure of heroin in Perth was connected with

earlier seizures in South Australia and New South Wales.

The body of knowledge and expertise which scientific laboratories are able to give to enforcers of drug laws is invaluable. There are other reasons why drugs should be analysed. The availability and purity of an illegal drug, together with its price, are a reliable indicator of the level, of abuse of the drug in the community, when looked at along with other indicators such as the number of persons reporting for

treatment for drug abuse. The final reason for analysing illegal drugs is that no person should be convicted of an illegal drug offence unless there is evidence that the substance in question is, in fact, an illegal drug. Mr J.' E. Ryall, Chemist in the Tasmanian Government Analyst Laboratory, gave the Commission the example of a person charged several years ago with possession of heroin:



t was only after the magistrate had ordered the white powder to be analysed that it was found that the defendant had

purchased at high price a powdered Valium tablet. The case was dismissed but it should not have gone to court in the first place without prior analysis of the powder. (OT 1413)

At times an analysis is necessary if the penalty provided for by legislation varies according to the quantity of drug involved in the offence.

In this Chapter the laboratories now assisting drug law enforcement in Australia are examined, and it is also convenient to consider where forensic scientists in Australia are located. It seems incorrect to examine one aspect of forensic science-- namely, drug analysis-- without dealing with forensic science as a whole. Part XIII, Chapter 3 treats the national requirements for forensic science services; drug analysis being only one aspect. This Chapter therefore reviews the present position with respect to drug analysis in Australia and considers some

specific proposals made to the Commission on the assumption that the drug analysis situation remains much the same as it is now.

Mr H. Bates, then Assistant Secretary of the Investigations Branch of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, told the Commission in December 1977:

Forensic science in Australia is predominantly practised by States' laboratories. Generally there is a large degree of work fragmentation because of the specialist needs within each discipline e.g. serology, ballistics, toxicology etc.

...the Commonwealth carries out work in the forensic

sciences... only for those specialist functions which have been given force by the Constitution or by Australia's extraX territorial treaty obligations. Presently, the largest Commonwealth forensic science effort resides in the drug analysis support to the Australian Narcotics Bureau.

The Drug Analysis Sub-section began operation in January, 1972 as a unit within the then Customs laboratories in Sydney and Melbourne. (CT)

Fragmentation in the Federal Sphere

At the present time, drug analysis is extremely fragmented in Australia. The Australian Government Analytical Laboratories, which are part of the Department of Science, carry out analyses for the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. However, as Mr Richard Norris, the Australian Government Analyst, commented:



e laboratories are a service organisation which undertake work on request for other government departments and official bodies and hence cannot directly control their workload, despite the limitations on their resources imposed by staff

ceilings. So far, the Directors of laboratories, and they are the most senior men in each of the regional laboratories, have managed, by moving staff, to meet the narcotics workload. But to satisfy any significant increase in samples there would need

to be a re-definition of priorities, or the acceptance of a backlog, or recruitment of additional staff. (OT 1987)

Mr Norris described the Drug Analysis Sub-section of the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories in the following terms:

The drug analysis section is headed by a chemist class 3--senior chemist-- Dr Ivars Dainis who is stationed in Sydney. He is supported in Sydney by two chemists class 2 and by one chemist class 1. Now, in addition, there are three chemists in Melbourne and one each in Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Darwin who are committed to drug analysis work. Now, all of those persons, whether in Sydney or in any of the other places, are

guided on technical matters by Dr Dainis. Now Dr Dainis

responds to requests from the Narcotics Bureau in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. He does that from his laboratories in Sydney. The other people in the other states-- Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Adelaide-- they respond locally but if they require

support, support will be given by the senior chemist, Dr Dainis, and his group in Sydney. Dr Dainis maintains links with all the laboratories of the Australian Government Analyst

and obviously with all the State Government laboratories engaged in similar work and he has a regular seminar each year on work of that nature. He also maintains liaison with

international agencies engaged in scientific aspects of drugs of abuse. This latter liaison includes conferences for discussion and exchange of information on illicit drugs. The

group also provides lectures to the Narcotics Bureau and national training courses such as police forces. (OT 1983)

Since Mr Norris gave his evidence, in December 1977, Dr Dainis has moved to the laboratory in Adelaide.

The Australian Government Analytical Laboratories have examined legal drugs since their establishment. Mr Norris told the Commission:

Initially they were established to provide scientific data on the analysis of imports for the Collector of Customs in each capital city. As their expertise developed their services were used by other departments as well. As legislation relating to

illicit drugs has developed, the laboratories have examined illicit drugs in addition to their other work. (OT 1978)



n January 1972 the Drug Analysis Sub-section began operation as a unit within the then Customs Laboratory in Sydney and Melbourne, but when the Customs Laboratories were transferred to the newly created Department of Science the Drug Analysis Sub-section was outposted in

1973 as the Forensic Laboratory to the Department of Customs and Excise. During this period the laboratory utilised the Customs and Excise management services and operated on its own budget, as supplied by Customs, for operations and capital expenditure in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin. The present situation came about as a result of the Department of Science reorganisation of January 1974, which followed

interdepartmental discussions held in November 1973.

The Australian Government Analytical Laboratories have a drug research unit which does some work for government departments other than the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, but the drug analysis unit works almost entirely for that Department. It is possible that material from Federal agencies, such as the Commonwealth Police or the Armed Forces Police may come through the Department of Business and

Consumer Affairs to the drug analysis unit, Mr Norris informed the Commission.

The Drug Research Sub-section was described by Mr Norris as follows:

The Drug Research Section comprises a senior chemist, Dr Colin Dahl supported by 2 class 2 chemists, 1 technical officer, and 1 technical assistant grade 2. It conducts research into drugs of abuse on problems of a long term nature and has participated in joint drug research programs with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration under the auspices of the

US/Australia Agreement on Scientific and Technical CoX operation. The section has undertaken studies on drugs of dependence including the pyrolysis of cannabis... The original program for the section has been largely completed, but work on

pyrolysis of cannabis and identification of synthetic cannabinoids is proceeding. In the absence of new requests from the Narcotics Bureau, or the Drug Analysis Section, most

of the staff have been diverted to other tasks. Nevertheless, the section has useful expertise which could be devoted to new tasks if required. (OT 1981)

The Australian Government Analytical Laboratories do not have a laboratory in Brisbane or Canberra and samples are sent to Sydney from these two cities.

Mr F . E. Peters, former Australian Government Analyst, recommended that the Federal Government accept responsibility for the analysis of narcotic drugs and other drugs of abuse and that this work be done by the Narcotic Drug Analysis Sub-section of the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories (OT 3417).



here is considerable conflict on how well the present Federal arrangements are working. Mr Norris thought that, subject to workloads and staff ceilings, they were working well. Mr Peters thought that because Dr Dainis was under the control of the Regional Director, New

South Wales, his control of the interstate chemists, particularly those in Melbourne, had been seriously hampered (OT 3423).

At the Federal level it must be remembered that it is essential to have good international relations. It was, for this reason, Mr Peters said, that the Drug Research Sub-section was to give its attention to areas of international co-operation as well as co-operation with the State authorities:

An agreement was reached with the United States under the terms of the United States--Australia Science Co-operation Agreement to work in areas of drugs of abuse. A meeting was held in San Diego in November 1974 to discuss with United States chemists mutual problems and results of research... the work of this

group has largely been discontinued and the expertise and overseas contacts built up by its officers is being lost. (OT 3424)

Mr Peters was of the view that for the most efficient service it is essential that the Drug Analysis Sub-section and the Drug Research SubX section be closely integrated with the Narcotics Bureau.

On the other hand, Mr Norris said:

The present arrangement whereby the small group of expert chemists required for this service are integrated into a laboratory service such as the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories is considered to offer several advantages.

(OT 1978)

Mr H. Bates summed up the present situation, as he saw it, thus:

Prior to 1972, Commonwealth analysis work on illicit drugs consisted almost exclusively of routine yes/no identifications. Quantitative analysis was done rarely, and when carried out was done only on the principal drug of interest and relied upon

relatively non-specific records. There was very little liaison between chemists engaged in forensic drug analysis, and also between chemists and law enforcement officers. Very little practical knowledge of drug intelligence existed, and court

appearances by chemists usually involved only evidence of fact as detailed earlier...

...it is emphasised that the post-1972 work was only made possible by, and hence derives its only validity from, a basic foundation of routine analysis and testing. The general strategy implemented since 1972 has been to expand the routine



is base to support both general and specialist

objectives. By this means it was intended to bring Australia's forensic drug analysis and also drug intelligence efforts into parity with those of other progressive countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK.


The continued increase in the analytical workload is now seriously jeopardising drug intelligence operations. Without adequate drug intelligence, as defined earlier in this paper, the Sydney laboratory (and thus all laboratories) will quickly return to a pre-1972 analysis situation.


Mr Bates made the following recommendations:

(1) Outpost chemists from the Department of Science to the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs in the numbers and at the levels required to provide both a routine and specialist testing and analysis service. The former Department should then maintain a pool of trained chemists for this purpose, so that the duration of such outposting does not exceed three years continuous service for any one chemist.

(2) Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to provide all finance, including salaries. This funding will necessarily include reimbursement for costs incurred in the purchase of chemicals and supplies through the Department of Science or other laboratory systems.

(3) Centralisation of all specialist analysis, research, drug intelligence, and training work.

(4) The officer-in-charge, Sydney, to be appointed by, and to be on the establishment of, the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, and to report directly to an officer in that Department who is at least one level higher than the Director of the Narcotics Bureau.

(5) This officer-in-charge to have full operational

responsibility for the training, direction and co-ordination of all outposted chemists, for direction and contracting of research projects, for liaison with other Australian and overseas laboratories, and also for maintenance of effective liaison between outposted chemists, Crown Law officers, and law enforcement officers.

(6) Rotation, training and movement of outposted chemists, and also their interchange with States' and overseas chemists to be decided by an inter-departmental committee set up for this purpose.



7) The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to provide all administrative and clerical support.

(8) Accommodation and services to be provided as in (7).

(9) Exchanges should be facilitated, wherever possible, between outposted chemists and their colleagues within the States' forensic science laboratories.

(10) Provision for the above exchanges to lead the

Commonwealth forensic science service into areas of forensic science work other than drug analysis, when and if such areas of work need establishment on a Commonwealth basis. (CT)

There was considerable evidence of a marked increase of workload in recent years, Mr J . P. Lonergan, then Acting Secretary of the Department of Science, said in a letter to the Commission:

In connection with this workload, I have noted the recent announcement of a proposed substantial increase in the staff of the Narcotics Bureau. If that increase results in a

proportionate increase in samples received, then I doubt that they could be handled under present arrangements and with existing staff. As you will appreciate we are constrained by both staff ceilings and space in Sydney.

The Minister for Science has already written to his colleague the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs seeking information on the likely consequence for the Analytical Laboratories of the strengthening of the Narcotics Bureau, offering to investigate possible solutions to any problems that might be anticipated.

It was also from consideration of present and likely workload that our submission to the Commission included two proposals which, in our view, would reduce the workload on the chemists by reducing the time that they are required to spend in Court:

these suggestions were that Certificates of Analysis be accepted as evidence and also that evidence be confined to the identification of the drugs and not on their source. (CT)

State and Territory Laboratories

In addition to the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories, the laboratories given in Table VII■1 analyse drugs for the benefit of State police forces. There are two forensic laboratories on this list, in Victoria and the Northern Territory. All the other laboratories have


Tab le V I I . l Labo ra to r ies ana ly s ing d rug s fo r S ta te po l ice fo rce s

S ta te Labora tor ies Depar tmen t or Body

New Sou th Wa les

D iv is ion of Ana ly t ica l Labo ra to r iesX D iv is ion of Fo rens ic Med ic ine / Un ive rs i ty of New Sou th Wa les Un ive rs i ty of Sydney

Hea l th Comm iss ion

Macqua r ie Un ive rs i ty

Depa r tmen t of Ag r icu l tu re CS IRO Depa r tmen t of Labou r and Indus t ry Fo res t ry Comm iss ion of New Sou th Wa le s

M ines Depa r tmen t . J Bu reau of Me teo ro logy The Aus t ra l ian Museum Hosp i ta ls Comm iss ion

Aus t ra l ian A tom ic Ene rgy Com m i ss ion Aus t ra l ian Conso l ida ted Indus t r ies L td James M i l le r & Co . P ty L td

V ic to r ia . No rman McCa l lum Po l ice Fo rens ic Sc ience Labo ra to ry . . . Po l ice Co rone rs Labo ra to ry . . . Law

Queens land . Gove rnmen t Chem ica l Labo ra to ry . ] The Labora tory of M ic rob io logy and > Hea l th Depa r tmen t Pa tho logy . . . . j The D iv is ion of P lan t Indus t ry

Labo ra to ry . . . . Depa r tmen t o f P r ima ry Indus t r ies Po l ice Labora tory . . . Po l ice Depa r tmen t Den ta l Labora tory and Depa r tmen t ! of Ana tomy , Queens land Un i - )■ Un ive rs i ty Comm iss ion

ve rs i ty

Sou th (Chem is t ry D iv is ion ) Tox ico logy Aus t ra l ia Labo ra to ry . . . . Depa r tmen t of Se rv ices and Supp ly Aus t ra l ian M in is te r ia l Deve lopmen t Labo ra to r ies . . . . M ines Depa r tmen t

Ins t i tu te of Med ica l and Ve te r ina ry Sc ience Labo ra to ry . . . Hea l th Depa r tmen t Po l ice Techn ica l Se rv ices Labo ra to ry Po l ice Depa r tmen t Gas and Exp los ives Labo ra to ry . Depa r tmen t of Se rv ices and Supp ly

Wes te rn . Gove rnmen t Chem ica l Labo ra to ry . M ines Depa r tmen t Aus t ra l ia . S ta te Hea l th Labo ra to r ies . . Hea l th Depa r tmen t Po l ice Depa r tmen t Labo ra to ry . Po l ice Depa r tmen t Wes te rn Aus t ra l ian He rba r ium . Depa r tmen t o f Ag r icu l tu re

Tasman ia . Gove rnmen t Ana lys t Labo ra to r ies . Depa r tmen t o f Hea l th Se rv ice s



able VII.l —continued

State Laboratories Department or Body

Australian Capital Territory

Public Health Laboratory and Patho-1 logy and Histology Section Lab- > oratory . . . . .1

Forensic Medicine Centre, Glebe,] Sydney .......................................... L

Division of Analytical Laboratories School of Textile Technology, Uni-’ versity of New South Wales .

Research School of Chemistry at Aus- r tralian N ational University (ANU)

A.C.T. Health Commission

New South Wales Department of Health

University Commission

Explosive Division Laboratory . New South Wales Department of . Mines

Defence Standards Laboratory, Maribyrnong, Victoria . . D epartment of Defence

Botanical Section, Laboratories of ANU and CS1RO . . . University Commission and CSIRO

N orthern Police Laboratory . . . Police Department

Territory Darwin Hospital Laboratory . . Health Department

South Australian Forensic Biology South Australian Department of Laboratory Services and Supply

Mines Laboratory . . . Mines Department

Botanical Section Laboratory .

Animal Industry and Agriculture CSIRO

laboratories . . . . Department of Agriculture



responsibility for analyses of substances other than drugs in aid of law enforcement.

The Queensland State Cabinet is now giving consideration to the setting up of an institute of forensic science for Queensland and, resulting from a detailed submission to Cabinet by Dr J. I. Tonge, Director of the Queensland State Health Laboratory, has approved the establishment of an interdepartmental committee to consider all aspects of the proposal. Preliminary discussions have been held with the Commissioner of Police, the Principal Government Medical Officer and the Directors of the Government Chemical Laboratory and the Laboratory of Microbiology and Pathology, and some of their conclusions the committee may consider are that:

a. the establishment of a central institute of forensic science is most desirable;

b . the institute should function separately from the Police Department and should in general be staffed and directed by civilians;

c . the services of the institute should be available for police investigations as well as to prosecutors and defendants in criminal matters, and could be made available to parties in civil matters on a basis to be determined;

d. the major sub-sections of the institute should be--

forensic biology toxicology (including narcotics and alcohol) botany ballistics (including explosives and toolmarks)

documents (including handwriting) photography administration;

e . scene-of-crime investigations would remain primarily the responsibility of the Police Department with the assistance of forensic science institute personnel in appropriate cases and in the training of scene-of-crime officers.

Dr Tonge mentioned past occasions when there had been duplication of effort in that some of the police scientific staff had expressed opinions about their examinations of human hair, which examinations in his opinion would have been better done in his own laboratory:

The police laboratory, with the exception of ballistics and perhaps documents about which 1 know nothing, was trying to do too much and it was poorly equipped, and still is, and the expertise is lacking insofar as the people who are assigned to the scientific staff at the moment, their duties are mainly concerned with the investigation of scene-of-crime and there are very few scene-of-crime officers in the Police Force and so the diocese is Queensland-wide and it would be impossible for them, and is virtually impossible for them, to carry out



fficiently the scene-of-crime investigations and to carry out laboratory investigations which would be a full-time activity. Therefore, in my opinion, the police aspect of forensic science is unsatisfactory in the extreme, with the exception of ballistics and those aspects in which they have particular

skills, such as the examination of documents.

...In consultation with the present Commissioner of Police and the previous Commissioner of Police my impression is that they are only too willing and anxious to shed forensic science even if this means, as it probably would, the incorporation of the existing scientific staff of the police into some conjoint

forensic science institute. In answer to your previous question, in our proposed plan we have felt that botany, documents and ballistics should be part and parcel of the new forensic science institute and we felt in fact that an

institute for the investigation of all aspects of crimes from the laboratory point of view should be divorced from the police and be seen to be divorced.

... this could be safely left with the police if they were

adequately trained and knew full well what was required of them by the laboratory. In London they have, in fact, civilian scene-of-crime investigators but throughout the rest of England this is in the hands of the police and we have thought about

this problem and we feel that, the geography of Queensland being as it is, it would be necessary for scene-of-crime people to be part of some organisation and subject to police

discipline, perhaps, and I see no reason whatever why this could not be left to the police if they were adequately trained and I think this training would be one of the functions of this institute.

... By 'scene-of-crime' I mean the person who actually is called to the scene of a crime where a murder or some incident has occurred and it is their duty to see that evidence is not disturbed and to collect the relevant specimens and to see that photographs are taken, to collect any weapons or exhibits and

to have them delivered to the relevant scientific laboratory.

... I don't want to imply that some of the scene-of-crime

people in the police force are not highly competent at the moment. Some of them-- of the few in number that there are---have had a lot of experience and are most co-operative and helpful but the task before them is too difficult it is too

great. Our own biological laboratory is involved in scene-of- crime work on occasions when there are particular problems concerning bloodstains or semen or something of this sort. Where the police consider that our scientists can contribute to

the investigation of the scene of crime, they occasionally call upon them to go. There are advantages in this in that some of our scientists can make a contribution and perhaps pick up

things which the police might have missed but it is far from an



deal situation insofar as if they were to be called to every scene of crime it would be impossible and they would be quite incapable of dealing with their laboratory load.

... it should be pointed out quite clearly that for an

efficient scene-of-crime investigation it must be done by really trained and competent people because no matter how great the expertise in the laboratory is, if the scene of crime is not properly investigated and the exhibits are not collected

as they should be, the expertise is wasted. (CTJ

Dr I. S. Wilkey, Deputy Director of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Pathology in the Queensland Department of Health said:

I think it is very difficult to define where the

police/civilian interface should be. Ideally, I suppose, you would have science at the scene of crime. fCTj

Mr J . E. Ryall, Chemist in the Government Analyst Laboratory, Tasmanian Department of Health Services, gave an example of the type of problem that occurs where a laboratory has divided responsibilities:

We now find ourselves in the laboratory situation with a vastly increased workload in the area of drug analysis. The number of drug samples directed to the Government Analyst Laboratory has increased over seventeen-fold in only six years. However, due to the severe limitations of space in the present laboratory quarters there has been no increase in staff or instrumentation to handle the samples.

... compare this with the increase in the number of Drug Bureau officers which over the same six year period has increased from four to twelve. In other words, that is a three-fold increase.

Not only is the drug problem being reflected in the number of drug seizures made by the Drug Bureau but also in the

widespread abuse of prescribed and over-the-counter drugs. Arising from this latter category has been a vast increase in the numbers of biological specimens... being directed to the Government Analyst Laboratory from hospitals...Most frequently these specimens are sent to the laboratory for drug screening for the identification of often complex mixtures of unknown drugs. The table... below shows the number of drug samples directed to the Government Analyst Laboratory over recent years. The figures were taken from annual reports of the Government Analyst and Chemist.



logical specimens

Drug Samples from State Drug Bureau

1971— 72 nil 34 from 23 cases

1972 — 73 nil 63 from 35 cases

1973--74 nil 254 from 86 cases

1974--75 nil 285 from 82 cases

1975--76 124 460 from 96 cases

1976--77 286 583 from 121 cases

(OT 1406)

Mr Ryall continued:

...we are required to analyse the drug samples from the State Drug Bureau as soon as practicable and generally speaking we would get out reports in no more than two weeks. Sometimes it's longer...

As far as the biological specimens go, we know there are

patients on the other end of these specimens and we try to give those priority over anything else.

If it is desired that the Government Analyst Laboratory continues to handle the analysis of illegal drugs, and the hospital biological specimens, then those responsible for drawing up the legislation ought to be prepared to provide the

requisite back-up facilities in the form of space, adequate staff and equipment.

Staff is required not only to handle the day-to-day case work but there must be sufficient personnel to allow for research, investigational work into methodology, and collaborative studies with the other State and Commonwealth laboratories. I

I recognise the very real limitation^ on space in the present Government Analyst quarters, and I am glad to say that at last, planning for new laboratory quarters at Mt. Nelson is well advanced. However, the present fact remains that due to the physical lack of space for more staff, I have personally performed the bulk of the drug analyses for the Drug Bureau

throughout the State, for the hospitals, as well as for the Coroners. (OT 1407)

Increasing the Contribution of Scientific Laboratories

The picture presented is that at the Federal level alterations would have to be made to satisfy those charged with law enforcement. At the State level there is an unsatisfactory situation and in most places delays are occurring in the processing of drug analyses because the

laboratories to which the samples are submitted have other

responsibilities. Any 'casual' observer would be struck by the undesirable fragmentation of the Australian approach to forensic laboratories generally and to drug analyses in particular.



seems to be a need in Australia to raise forensic science to a standard where it is regarded as a discipline in its own right. The present situation seems to have come about by a series of decisions made without any effort to achieve a rational system. It is desirable that

forensic scientists should be independent so that their work obtains the respect which comes with scientific independence. If one were introducing for the first time forensic laboratories into Australia, the analogy which would be best to follow would be provided by Australian universities. These are autonomous institutions funded partly by State moneys and partly by Federal moneys; in point, of course, they are funded entirely by Australian citizens and tax payers. Leaving aside their teaching role in tertiary education, they are responsible for advancing learning and making discoveries in technology, the benefits of which are available to the whole community. A university can

concentrate on achieving special distinction in a particular field. Those employed by one university can transfer to another university in furtherance of their careers or to acquire special expertise. The universities make available to any member of the public, for a charge, expert services where it can be demonstrated that those services are not otherwise available.

The future planning in Queensland and other places for forensic science laboratories is considered in greater detail in Part XIII, Chapter 3.

The major complaint about the present services offered by

laboratories to drug law enforcement bodies is that their services are too slow because laboratory resources are inadequate. It is for this reason that quantitative analyses are not always performed. It is extremely important that quantitative analyses should be made if at all possible. More than one witness appearing before this Commission

thought that provision should be made for the use of analysts'

certificates. At present, the legislation in some States forbids this. Mr R. C. Norris, Australian Government Analyst, drew the Commission's attention to such provisions in New Zealand legislation and in legislation in Singapore.

It is not possible to envisage a standard prosecution because so many things can occur in any trial. However, there will always be a large number of cases where the defence does not contest the accuracy of the analyst's examination of the substance alleged to be, or to contain, a drug.The more serious the case, the more likely there will be a challenge to every element of the prosecution case, including the analysis. As already mentioned, there is good reason for requiring in drug cases that no person be convicted of an offence unless 1 the substance in question has been analysed and certified to contain the drug. To do this in every case would mean an increasing laboratory workload. On the other hand, if analyst's certificates were made prima

facie evidence, the present requirement for analysts to attend court hearings merely to give formal evidence of their analysis could be eliminated. Only in a case where there was a real contest in relation to the analysis would the analyst be required to attend. The greater the integrity of the scientific laboratory, the fewer the cases where a certificate would be contested. The ideal course would seem to be a



tatutory requirement that every sample be analysed and a certificate by the analyst be served on the defendant or his legal representative: unless the defendant gives notice that he contests the accuracy of the certificate, the certificate should be admitted in evidence and the truth of its contents accepted in court. If the defendant gave such notice, then, of course, the prosecutor would call the analyst.

To counter the giving of notice frivolously by a defendant the court should have power to order that the costs of the analyst's attendance be paid by the defendant in any event. It could be expected that the courts would use such a power sparingly, but its existence would certainly tend to limit to appropriate cases the giving of notice

contesting the analyst's certificate. There is no doubt that much time would be saved if this type of provision were introduced. For some time the Queensland Health Act had a provision according evidentiary value of this kind to analyst's certificates. On 17 December 1976 an amendment was made to the Act, making the certificate of a botanist admissible as prima facie evidence of the truth of its contents. Dr R. W. Johnson, Director of the Botany Branch of the Queensland Department of Primary

Industries, gave evidence relating to the Botany Branch's involvement in court cases, showing in Table VII.2 hours spent in the laboratory and in court in connection with cannabis:

In the latter half of 1977, following changes to the Health Act allowing the use of signed certificates as prima facie evidence in court, there has been a marked reduction in the number of hours spent in court but the number of identifications received has continued to rise.

(OT 5212)

...I would think since the middle of 1977 the number of court appearances would be only about 12 in seven months, that is, since the introduction of those certificates.

I think certificates were first issued on 9 May (1977) and there were hangover cases and appearances prior to the use of certificates.

(OT 5213)

Table VII.2 Botany Branch Involvement in Cannabis Sativa

No. o f cases No. o f hours (laboratory)


appearances No. o f hours (court)

Total hours

1 9 7 1 - 7 2

1 9 7 2 - 7 3 . . 5 6 4 3

Several 5 3


1 6 9 2 0 2

1 9 7 3 - 7 4 . . 2 5 6 1 1 9 2 7 2 1 6 3 3 5

1 9 7 4 - 7 5 . . 4 4 3 2 1 7 7 5 5 4 0 7 5 7

1 9 7 5 - 7 6 . . 5 6 1 2 7 9 8 7 5 0 7 7 8 6

1 9 7 6 - 7 7 . . 8 4 4 3 4 8 9 7 4 3 5 7 8 3



considerable body of evidence was received supporting a statutory provision to make certificates of origin admissible. The concept of a certificate of origin comes from the requirement of Federal authorities prosecuting under the Customs Act to prove that the drug in question was

imported. Unless a drug can be proved to be an import there is no

breach of the Customs Act. Generally, where a drug is intercepted near the Customs barrier no problem arises. Where the drug is discovered in Australia away from the Customs barrier the only evidence of importation may be the opinion of an analyst that the drug was manufactured in a place outside Australia. In a serious case evidence for the prosecution may be hotly contested by the defence.

The question arises, why should it be necessary to charge under the Customs Act when there is room for doubt as to the origin of a drug? There are State Acts under which the offender could probably be charged, but because the Federal authorities have only the Customs Act they will endeavour to charge under that Act. The use of the Customs Act for prosecutions where the drug is found beyond the Customs barrier is

really adding an unnecessary issue to the trial. Nevertheless, that issue is a critical one, and the success or failure of the prosecution can turn on its resolution. Where the success or failure of the

prosecution can turn upon the opinion of an analyst that a drug has been imported, one should be very reluctant to accord to that opinion the additional weight that comes with giving evidentiary force by statute to a certificate. It is not recommended that this be done. The

appropriate course is not to make certificates of origin admissible but to charge a trafficker with some other appropriate aspect of his activity, e .g ., selling. It should be unnecessary to charge under the Customs Act in this type of case.



The Commission has concluded that the support given to law

enforcement in Australia by modern science is considerably less than it should be. There has been too fragmented an approach to forensic science generally. There has certainly been a very fragmented approach to the use of forensic science in drug law enforcement. A completely new approach to the whole subject of forensic science is necessary in Australia if law enforcement is ever to have the assistance which modern technology can provide. The conflicting demands which are made upon the agencies presently providing forensic science support to law enforcement bodies make it impossible for them to give adequate advice. The degree to which the support is unsatisfactory varies from place to place but in view of the recommendations which the Commission will make in relation to forensic science there is little point in attempting to measure the degree of variation.

The Commission sees any acceptance of the present situation as being merely a stopgap measure. It is reluctant to make recommendations that accept the present situation, which it believes should have been altered years ago. For this reason the Commission has not taken up

recommendations made to it. Mr Bates made 10 specific recommendations,



hich have been set out above, but analysis of these recommendations shows that they merely endeavour to patch-up an existing, unsatisfactory situation.

The Commission considers that there should be a uniform Drug Trafficking Act. This is further discussed in Part XIV of the Report. Traffickers who are detected away from the Customs area should be charged under this Act which makes the origin of a drug immaterial. Where Customs officers detect persons bringing drugs into Australia, for

example in the wharf area or at an international airport, they will charge the persons under the Customs Act. From the circumstances of the case there will be no need to produce evidence of the origin of the drug

by calling an analyst. In addition, there would be no need to change the legislation to make analysts' certificates of origin of drugs admissible as evidence. The Commission noted that no problem would ever have occurred if the Customs Act was being enforced only at the Customs barrier. The problem which the proposed legislative change is designed

to solve has arisen only because officers of the Bureau of Customs, namely, Narcotics Bureau officers, have moved away from the Customs barrier in search of drug smugglers.

The Commission has concluded that, although the submission for certificates of origin should be rejected, legislation should contain provision for making certificates by analysts of their examination of drugs admissible in evidence. This will ensure that it is unnecessary

to call the analyst in every case. The Commission believes that

adequate protection of the defendant can be obtained in legislation making certificates admissible.

The other conclusions of the Commission in relation to Scientific Laboratories appear under the heading 'Forensic Laboratories' in Part XIII, Chapter 3, of this Report. At the end of that Chapter

recommendations on the future of forensic laboratories in Australia are made.


The Commission recommends that:

** Law enforcement agencies dealing with drug matters should be provided with access to scientific facilities to permit the rapid analysis of drugs to establish their identity and legality. Law enforcement agencies should also be provided with access to

quantitative analysis.

** The results of drug analysis should normally be capable of being proved in court by the production of the analyst's certificate. The analyst should be called only when his presence is really necessary.

** Scientific support should be developed in the context of forensic laboratories (this is discussed in Part XIII Chapter 3).



* It should not be necessary to charge drug offenders with an offence in respect of which the establishment of outside Australia is an essential element. the origin of the drug

** Laboratories engaged in carrying out the analytical functions referred to above should be supported by effort. a co-ordinated research



hapter 6 Fisheries Protection Organisations

Under Section 51 (x) of the Constitution the Commonwealth Parliament has power to make laws with respect to 'Fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits'. Commonwealth legislation controls the taking of fish and other marine life in the Declared Fishing Zone and

controlled areas of the Continental Shelf. Surveillance of the areas in which legislation operates is required to ensure compliance with the provisions of the legislation and this is done by ships and planes of

the Australian Defence Force. The RAN and RAAF and members of the Defence Force have certain powers to assist them in enforcing those provisions, but their powers only relate to Commonwealth offences.

Each of the States and the Northern Territory also has fisheries legislation. This legislation controls the taking of fish and other marine life in the coastal areas within their respective jurisdictions. Various State and Northern Territory legislation is administered by

different authorities and the Commission examined the activities of those authorities to gauge their possible contribution to Australian coastal surveillance. The authorities provided details of their marine resources and the areas patrolled by them.

In general, this Chapter discusses the situation prior to the introduction of the 200 nautical mile Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ), which came into being on November 1, 1979. The introduction of the AFZ is discussed at the end of this Chapter.


As far as the Commonwealth is concerned the Department of Primary Industry administers fisheries matters through its Fisheries Industry Division. There is an Australian Fisheries Council administered by the Department and its role, since its formation in 1969, has been to enable

continuous consultation between Commonwealth and State Governments on all aspects of Australian fisheries administration and management and to promote the welfare and development of the Australian fishing industry. The Standing Committee on Fisheries reports to the Council on matters

relating to co-operation in research and development while the Australian Fishing Zone Committee reports on guidelines for foreign participation in the Australian fishing industry. A third committee,

the Fishing Industry Research Committee, was established under the Fishing Industry Research Act 1969 and it makes recommendations about proposals for expenditure of moneys from the Trust Account.

The legislation of the Commonwealth in relation to fisheries regulates the taking of fish and whales and the methods by which they may be taken in Australian waters beyond the territorial limit. It also regulates the taking of sedentary organisms from controlled waters of

the Australian Continental Shelf beyond the territorial limits. There are three acts involved, namely the Fisheries Act 1952, the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act 1968 and the Whaling Act 1960.



Fisheries Act 1952

This Act relates to the taking of swimming fish, turtles and dugongs in Australian waters beyond territorial limits. The Act applies to foreign fishermen in the Declared Fishing Zone only. Under the Act it is an offence for a person to use a foreign boat in the Declared Fishing Zone for commercial or private fishing unless the vessel has been issued with a licence under the Act or is engaged in traditional fishing. Traditional fishing is fishing by methods which have been the tradition over decades of time.

Under the Act a foreign boat is a boat which is not an Australian boat, and the Declared Fishing Zone is the zone of proclaimed waters enclosed by the baseline of the territorial sea and a line to seaward, every point on which is 12 nautical miles from the nearest point on the baseline. Proclaimed waters do not include territorial waters, so the declared fishing zone is, therefore, the strip of water 9 miles wide immediately seaward of the 3 miles territorial sea.

An officer under the Act may be an authorised Commonwealth or State employee, a member of the Defence Force or a member of Commonwealth, State or Territory Police Forces. Section 10 of the Act specifies powers an officer can use to board and search foreign or domestic boats; examine equipment in or on a foreign boat; seize, detain, remove or

secure fish, boats or equipment; arrest without warrant any person he believes has offended under the Act; bring in or direct persons in charge of boats to an Australian port; and obtain information on boats, crews and passengers.

The Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act 1968

This Act regulates the taking of sedentary organisms from

Australia's Continental Shelf seaward of the three miles belt of territorial sea. The Act provides for the proclamation of sedentary organisms to which the Act applies and for the establishment of

controlled areas. By the Act, certain offences are created concerning searching for or taking sedentary organisms in a controlled area of the Continental Shelf for commercial purposes except under licence. The Act applies to foreign fishing vessels and their crews.

The Continental Shelf is the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the coast but outside the area of the territorial sea, to a depth of 200 metres, or beyond that limit, to where the depth of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the natural resources of the area. Sedentary organisms are marine organisms which, at the harvestable stage, either are immobile in or under the seabed or are unable to move except in constant physical contact with the seabed or subsoil. Some sedentary organisms proclaimed under the Act include corals, sponges, pearl, shell, clams and abalone. Section 14 of this Act empowers 'officers' in a similar way to 'officers' under Section 10 of the Fisheries Act 1952.



e Whaling Act 1960

This Act regulates the taking and killing of whales in Australian waters beyond territorial limits. It creates offences in relation to the taking or killing of various types of whales, which are protected by the Act, and using ships, aircraft or factories for the purposes of

hunting, killing, taking, towing, holding on to or scouting for whales in or over any Australian waters, and for treating whales taken or killed in Australian waters, except with the authority of a licence under the Act. The various persons who are authorised to enforce the provisions of the Act are given certain powers to enable them to carry out their duties.


The fisheries legislation of the States and the Northern Territory Fisheries Ordinance, regulates the taking of fish and sedentary organisms in the territorial sea. As with the Commonwealth, the various State and Territorial legislation gives certain powers to the officers

authorised to enforce the legislation.

If Queensland is used as an example, in that State under the

Fisheries Act of 1976, Fisheries Inspectors are empowered under Section 18 to enter and examine any place (except a dwelling when the owner's permission or a warrant is required) or question any person to ascertain whether the Act is being breached.

If an inspector finds or suspects a person to be committing an offence against the Act he can require that person to provide his own or, where relevant, any other person's name and address. The production of any documents may be requested and these may be read and copies

taken. For the purposes of the Act an inspector can stop any person, vessel, vehicle or other conveyance. He is also empowered to search any place on reasonable suspicion of an offence against the Act and may break open and search every bag, bottle, package or other receptacle in

that place.

In New South Wales, the relevant Act is the Fisheries and Oyster Farms Act 1935. Among its provisions, Fisheries Inspectors are given the same powers in relation to the enforcement of the Act as are police officers. Victoria's Fisheries Act 1968 empowers its Fisheries

Inspectors to enter upon any lands or Victorian waters, or any tent, building or structure (except a dwelling house). The Fisheries Inspectors may search, without warrant, any parcel, basket, bag, box, receptacle, boat or vehicle, or any factory, processing establishment, market, ship, store or other trade premises for any fish or fishing

equipment. For such purposes they may require the operator of a boat or the driver of a vehicle to stop the boat or vehicle or to proceed

elsewhere for inspection. Section 50 empowers a Fisheries Inspector to arrest without warrant any person found committing an offence against the Act who refuses to give his name and address or gives a name and address which the inspector reasonably suspects is false.



n South Australia, the Fisheries Act 1971 is the relevant Act. It confers similar powers including arrest powers as the Victorian Act and as indeed are conferred by the Fisheries Act 1905 in Western Australia. The Tasmanian Fisheries Act 1959 empowers officers to perform duties with the same power and authority as are conferred upon police officers under the Act. When a Tasmanian officer detects an offence he may

require that offender to desist and to state his name and place of abode or be arrested.

In the Northern Territory, the Fisheries Ordinance 1949 enables inspectors at all reasonable times to enter any boat, ship, building or place where fish are or are suspected to be for sale or are prepared for export or sale. Powers to arrest without warrant are also given to

inspectors under the ordinance.


Each of the State or Territory bodies with marine resources suitable for surveillance was approached for information. This was because of evidence received by the Commission that a number of police and other agencies have capacities to engage in patrolling close-in coastal waters, especially harbours, bays and river estuaries. The extent that

these resources could be made available for drug law enforcement is obviously of interest to this Commission in considering all resources capable of preventing the importation of drugs into Australia.


If Queensland is again taken as an example, marine resources with surveillance capability in that State are for the most part under the control of the Queensland Police Department or the Department of Harbours and Marine. The latter is, among other things, responsible for boating and fisheries patrol and fisheries management, research and licensing in the State.

The Department provided a list of 24 vessels which could be used on request for specific surveillance, subject to their availability from essential services, such as pilotage duties. These range in size from two 22.86 metre, 17 knot vessels operating out of Brisbane to 5 halfX cabin cruisers capable of cruising at 30 knots in sight of land in daylight and fine weather. Six of the vessels are based at Brisbane, two in Maryborough, Rockhampton, Bowen, Townsville and Cairns and one each at Weipa, Thursday Island, Mourilyan, Lucinda Point, Mackay, Hay Point, Gladstone and Bundaberg.

As far as coverage by these vessels is concerned the 'Tanu1

operating out of Thursday Island covers the whole Gulf of Carpentaria to the New Guinea border and Port Moresby to Cairns. From Weipa the 'Roland Masterman' travels from Thursday Island to 200 miles south of Weipa and 50 miles off the coast. Cairns vessels operate from Princess Charlotte Bay to Innisfail and within the outer limits of the Barrier Reef. The area from Cairns to Townsville within the Barrier Reef is



red from Mourilyan Harbour and from Cairns to Mackay from

Townsville. Innisfail to Townsville within coastal limits from Lucinda Point, Townsville to Mackay from Bowen, Bowen to Rockhampton from Mackay, and Bowen to Shoalwater Bay within the outer Barrier Reef from Hay Point are other North Queensland areas traversed.

In Central and South Queensland the area from Mackay to Maryborough and within 50 miles of the coast or the outer Barrier Reef is covered from Rockhampton while vessels out of Maryborough and Bundaberg cover Rockhampton to Brisbane. Vessels from Brisbane have the task of

covering the area between Sandy Cape and the NSW border, also 50 miles off the coast.

The Queensland Fisheries Service has one 23 foot craft available at Deception Bay near Brisbane and two 23 foot craft and one 19 footer at Cairns, all capable of a maximum 30 knots and with a range of 75 miles (OT 22801). No regular water patrols are carried out because of the

research nature of their work but the boats and staff could be made available for special purposes if required. Periodically the Service has staff operating in remote areas of the coastline.

Areas of concern of the Port of Brisbane Authority are within the Brisbane River and occasionally Moreton Bay and the Authority is willing to assist by reporting any suspicious activities in and around this area (OT 22802). Its trawler 'Wyuna' has a range of 2000 miles and a speed

of 9.5 knots and the 'Akuna' and 'Barku' can do 25 and 20 knots

respectively outside Moreton Bay in good conditions. The dredge 'Sir Thomas Hiley' works around Brisbane and Moreton Bay for 6 months, and goes up to other Queensland ports as far as Weipa for the balance of the year. The 'Sir Thomas Hiley' has assisted the Coastal Surveillance

Program in the past.

From its base on the Brisbane River the Queensland Water Police Station operates a number of seacraft in and outside Moreton Bay, as far north as the Sunshine Coast and south to the border with NSW. Staff are trained in navigation and seamanship and a diving team trains regularly. The Queensland Police Department submission on these matters was

confidential so precise details cannot be made available. In general terms, however, the Department has a launch 'N.W. Bauer' with a 500 nautical mile range for extended Bay patrols and search and rescue activities. Another launch 'Vedette III' has similar range, speed and

technical aids to the 'N.W. Bauer' and is also used for extended patrols. Two launches of shark cat construction are the 'D.G. Gordon' and 'G.J. Olive' and these are capable of quite high speeds. Similar craft outside Brisbane are at Southport and Cairns with non sea-going monohull craft, dinghies and powered aluminium hulls also based at various locations throughout the State.

Seacraft from the Water Police Station have assisted the Bureau of Customs in searching for drugs in the past and there is a capability for doing more, despite the Police lack of a high speed ocean-going craft capable of operating in all conditions. Closer liaison and interagency



raining were proposed by the police to bring about great benefits to the Queensland Water Police and the surveillance effort.

New South Wales

The Maritime Services Board in this State has 10-knot pilot vessels at Newcastle, Sydney, Botany Bay and Port Kembla available 24 hours each day. New pilot vessels are due to replace the old, cruising at

approximately twice their speed. In harbours, bays, and river estuaries a number of fast runabouts regulate pleasure boating activities but they are unsuitable for sea-going work. Boating Service officers are

requested by Customs to keep nominated boats under surveillance and this has been done for some years past (OT 22788--B9).

The New South Wales State Fisheries Department carries out patrols on behalf of the Commonwealth for which they are reimbursed. The Department has a number of seacraft in use, such as a 55 foot patrol vessel based in Sydney with a range of 400 miles and a cruising speed of

16 knots. A 26 foot patrol vessel undertakes patrols between Merimbula and the Victorian border, and Newcastle and Sydney have 24 foot vessels to patrol local fishing activity. Smaller vessels do inshore and estuarine patrols.

The Water Police in New South Wales have full time stations in Sydney, Newcastle, Broken Bay and Botany Bay, where ocean-going vessels are stationed, as well as stations with trailerised vessels attached.


In Victoria the Police Motor Boating Squad, formed in 1964, enforces the provisions of the Motor Boating Act and Regulations and carries out maritime search and rescue operations. A 54 foot vessel is based at Williamstown with a range of 1500 miles and a speed of 9.5 knots. Two 28 foot cabin cruisers are moored at St. Kilda with a 200 miles range and a speed of 32 knots.

Seacraft owned and operated by the Port Melbourne Authority (PMA) are primarily used for dredging operations, except the 'Vanguard1 emergency vessel. The PMA does not operate craft specifically for surveillance of its waters but it has assisted Customs in the past with information on suspicious sightings. It has two self-propelled hoppers, three diesel tugs, one inspection launch and fourteen motor boats.

Based at Geelong and available to its Harbor Trust Commissioners are four vessels capable of going to sea, plus six other vessels. No vessels from there have been used to assist Customs in drug law


The Fisheries and Wildlife Division of the Ministry for Conservation in Victoria has a number of craft available for fisheries surveillance



nd research but with a limited capacity for use in other law

enforcement work. There is a 16.9 metre patrol vessel based at

Melbourne which operates in all Victorian waters, with a cruising speed of 20 knots and a range of 1100 kilometres. In addition 6 shark cat patrol boats are used to patrol inshor > coastal waters, especially local abalone and crayfish activities. A 19 foot fisheries research vessel is

fully engaged on research work.

Finally in Victoria, the Portland Harbor Trust Commissioners have two tugs, a pilot boat and a launch which are restricted to Port limits and cannot be used for open sea operations because of union minimum manning requirements. No water patrols are carried out by these craft

and they have never been used in drug law enforcement work.

South Australia

There are two groups in the Water Police in South Australia, one based at Port Adelaide and the other at Glenelg during summer. The Port Adelaide group carries out daily patrols of the Port River and ocean nearby. It has an arrangement to assist Customs on request. Group two

at Glenelg patrols beach areas and certain ocean waters on weekends but it has had no involvement so far in drug law enforcement.

The Department of Marine and Harbors has twelve small vessels used exclusively for pilotage, mooring and survey work. These vessels are either pilot vessels or mooring or survey launches. Vessels are located at Port Adelaide (6) Port Pirie (3) and Port Lincoln and Giles, Wallaroo and Thevenard.

The Department of Fisheries in South Australia has fourteen fisheries patrol vessels assigned to fisheries management. There are also eight vessels assigned to its Research Branch, but these are not involved in law enforcement.

Two of the fisheries patrol vessels, the 'Gadara' and the 'Kaluna' operate out of Adelaide in State coastal waters. They have a maximum speed of 40 knots and cruise at 25 knots. The 'Papari' from Southend and the 1Makara' from Port Lincoln both cruise at 25 knots up to five miles off the South Australian coast. The 'Cape Arid' operates in

coastal waters out of Victor Harbour and can cruise at 30 knots. There are four 1 Clark Corvette' vessels, with one operating out of Port Lincoln, three miles off the coast, and another operating out of Kingston in waters off Coorong and the ocean from Kingston to Robe, each

capable of cruising at 20 knots. The other two vessels, one operating three miles off the coast from Port Kenny to Fowlers Bay, and the other from Mount Gambler, which patrols in coastal waters between Carpenter Rocks and the Victorian border, each have a maximum speed of 18 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots, lour fibreglass half ton vessels with 30 knots maximum and 18 knots cruising speeds are located at Whyalla, Victor Harbour, Port Pirie and Mini.iton. Patrols by these vessels are made on both the eastern and western shores of the Upper Spencer Gulf,

from Normanville to Murray Mouth, and in waters of both the St. Vincent



d Spencer Gulfs adjacent to Yorke Peninsula. Finally, the 'Safari' from Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, cruises waters adjacent to Kangaroo Island at 18 knots.

From January 1980, a new vessel, the 'Cape Borda' with a 30 knot cruising speed will operate out of Port Lincoln. All vessels have endurance of seven hours except the 'Cape Arid' and the 'Cape Borda', which have 10 hours endurance. In addition, the Department charters a Bell 206B helicopter for patrol work.

Western Australia

Two vessels are attached to the Water Police Section in this State. One is capable of 24 knots while the other has a range of 230 miles and a top speed of 35 knots. Neither are all-weather craft for exposed waters.

The Harbour and Light Department is the State Marine Authority and Navigation Authority for the State operated ports on the north-west coast and for several of the southern regional ports. Its sea-going vessels based at Fremantle regulate commercial and private pleasure

craft. They comprise the 68 foot 'Vigilant' with a 700 nautical mile range and the 28 foot 'P.V.I.' with a 300 nautical mile range, both of which are capable of 22 knots. There is also the 'Melville', a 33 footer capable of 16 knots. Protected waters are patrolled by another

10 small craft only capable of ocean work in good conditions. Within port limits 7 pilot vessels operate throughout the State and do some sea search and rescue work. None of these vessels from the Department has been involved in Customs or drug law enforcement and only the 'Vigilant' would be capable of extended surveillance patrols if available.

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in Western Australia has had a small fleet of offshore patrol and research vessels for more than twenty years. Officers of the Department enforce the provisions of the State Fisheries Act within Western Australian waters and extraX territorially under the authority delegated under the Commonwealth Fisheries Act and the Continental Shelf (LNR) Act. The Department is prepared to assist with personnel and equipment, provided its own commitments and priorities are not jeopardised.

Information was provided by the Department showing the disposition of its field staff and equipment in 19 coastal areas of Western

Australia. It also provided a description of the Department's four ocean-going patrol vessels. Each carries a crew of three and patrols for some 150--160 days annually. Normally the craft operate some 50 miles off the Australian mainland or offshore islands, but in special cases they have operated up to 1200 miles from their home port and as far as 200 miles offshore.

The 'Freycinet' operates out of Carnarvon in the Shark Bay area with occasional patrols to Exmouth Gulf and Nichol Bay. Its range is 500



autical miles and it has a speed of 13 knots. The 'Phillip King' has Geraldton as its home port, and patrols from Jurien Bay to Shark Bay, including the Abrolhos Islands area. Its speed is 18--22 knots and it has a range of 500 nautical miles. From its home port of Fremantle, the

1 Abel Tasman', with a speed of l8--22knots and a range of 600 nautical miles, patrols from Bunbury to Jurien Bay, with occasional patrols from Esperance to Shark Bay. Finally, the 'Pelsart', based at Fremantle, patrols from Bunbury to Jurien Bay at a speed of 10 knots over a range

of 400 nautical miles. The 1Pelsart' will be replaced by a larger and faster vessel in mid-1980. The Department also has a radio network which covers the State between Wyndham and Esperance and is often used now by RAN patrol vessels.

The Fremantle Port Authority controls four all-weather craft which operate within the boundaries of the port. Customs personnel are carried on these craft when required to board ships and they are

available on request for drug law enforcement.

'Stateships', the Western Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, operates three coastal cargo vessels capable of 15.5 knots. They can operate from Fremantle to Darwin and return without refuelling and are regular reporting units to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre. The 'Nyanda' and 1Boogalla' operate from Fremantle to Dampier, Port Walcott, Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Cockatoo Island, Koolan Island, Wyndham and Darwin. Another ship, the 'Kimberley' goes on the east-west

route as far as waters south of Tasmania.


Marine resources available to the Water Police in Tasmania include two shark cat type vessels and fourteen other trailerised rescue runabouts with limited value for offshore work. Two vessels are attached to the Water Police, Hobart but these are to be sold and

replaced with higher speed vessels with interception capabilities. No patrols are made at present with Customs which uses its own offshore cruiser instead. The Transport Commission in Tasmania operates the 'Straitsman' in the Bass Strait trade between Melbourne, King Island and


The Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority has two offshore and 5 coast-hugging patrol vessels. Both vessels in the former category have a range of 600 miles and are capable of 17 knots. They have been used on several occasions in drug-related investigations by Customs and Drug Bureau officers. The 5 smaller vessels are capable of 45 knots. A Report by the Government of Tasmania on 'Coastal Surveillance of Tasmania' (Open Exhibit 584) expressed that State's concern about the

level of surveillance done in south east Australian coastal waters. It called for extra resources to be applied to supplement the Police Department, Fisheries and Transport Commission vessels in order to confront the particular coastal surveillance problems of Tasmania.



orthern Territory

Marine resources available to the Northern Territory Police comprise one sea-going craft based at Darwin. It has a range of 150 nautical miles, cruises at 14.5 knots, and is better suited to sheltered waters than open sea conditions. The launch could assist in search and

surveillance duties although its regular work is in Darwin Harbour. Shark cat vessels are to be located at Groote Eylandt and Melville Island Police Stations and other locations are being considered. A system of Police aides is being established in remote communities to report suspicious coastal movements. Eight water craft comprising aluminium dinghies also patrol in rivers and sheltered waters around the Territory.

The Fisheries Division of the Department of Industrial Development has one patrol vessel, a 40 footer capable of 20 knots and a range of 460 miles and the Division has offered to assist Customs where

practicable. Delivery is expected in 1980 of a second patrol vessel which will be larger, faster and with greater range. It will be based at Gove and operate in the Gulf of Carpentaria and along the northern Arnhem Land coastline.

Marine equipment available to the Northern Territory Port Authority includes the vessels 1Larrakia1 and 'John Stokes', the latter suitable for harbour duties only. The former has a range of 500 miles and a speed of 12 knots. Both boats can be made available for surveillance, but only for short periods.


In addition to these maritime resources controlled by the States and the Northern Territory the CSIRO operates a large number of craft of varying sizes in its Fisheries and Oceanography research programs. These vessels are fully committed to their research programs and no

request for their use has ever been received from Customs. A list of these vessels provided by CSIRO (OT 22806--11) shows that it owns two sea-going vessels, the 'Karin' and the 'Penaeus', charters four others, and has a large number of small motor vessels. The 'Karin' cruises off Cronulla, NSW, at 9 knots maximum speed while the 'Penaeus' is used in and around Moreton Bay in Queensland.


A related issue to the use of the various fisheries organisations in the States and the Northern Territory was the suggestion made by many witnesses to increase the use made of individual fishermen or fishing organisations as coast watchers.

Mr J. E. Hatton, representing the electorate of South Coast in the NSW Parliament, proposed that, as coastal surveillance in his area was 'a joke', (OT 12655) the fishing 'organisations should be asked to assist, along with the local abalone divers, in a volunteer coastal



trol effort. Financial rewards would be powerful incentives to amateur and professional fishermen to report unusual sightings and to retrieve unusual objects.

Another witness on this theme was Mr C. P. Wood, Marine Surveyor, Darwin with the Commonwealth Department of Transport. He gave evidence (OT 575S--64) of passing on to the then Marine Operations Centre in Canberra anything he heard as a result of his good relationships with

all local ship operators, the Masters of the coastal cargo ships calling at Darwin, and at least 50 per cent of the local fishing industry. Fishing boats and barge operators do not participate in the coastal surveillance scheme but they do report sightings of foreign fishing vessels within the twelve mile fishing limit. Mr Wood said that fishing boats operating out of Darwin were largely prawn trawlers with a permanent fleet of some 100 boats. In the course of a year Darwin would be visited by about 360 vessels, all of which have high frequency radio

telephones. He felt that a lot of prawn trawlermen would participate in a surveillance scheme, as would most fleet owners. About 120 barramundi boats are licensed to operate out of Darwin and a large proportion of

these were likely to co-operate, as would seismic survey ships operating in the Timor Sea. All these should be approached in Mr Wood's opinion.

Captain M. J . Taylor, Naval Officer Commanding Northern Australia, gave confidential evidence of his naval responsibilities from the Gulf of Carpentaria to North-West Cape in Western Australia. The program for his patrol craft is based on known fishing activities by foreign vessels, and the primary task is fisheries patrol in an area of some

3000 nautical miles. Captain Taylor explained that his sources of information include merchant ships and fishing vessels.

The Western Australian Marine Services Association presented a submission to the Commission through its spokesman, Mr M. G. Kailis. The submission emphasised increased expenditure on suitable vessels and bases rather than voluntary surveillance by organisations and


Mr J. V. Milne, Assistant Director, Service and Operations Branch of the Department of Transport in Queensland, in presenting the

Department's Queensland submission, referred to merchant shipping, fishermen and the like as sources of surveillance information. He said that the managements of major Australian shipping companies supported their ships providing surveillance information voluntarily (0T 4825).

Mr Milne, in this regard, referred to AUSREP, the Australian Ship Reporting Service (OT 4827--30). AUSREP, part of the marine search and rescue framework since 1973, is a voluntary system, seeking the coX operation of Australian registered vessels and all foreign registered vessels in the AUSREP area. The witness explained:

Basically the system requires participating ships to make a sailing plan, which on departure from a port or when entering



he area is sent to the Marine Operations Centre, Canberra, where a plot is maintained showing the movement of the vessel. Daily position reports are also sent, at a time nominated by the Master, to enable the plot to be updated until the vessel arrives at her port of destination or leaves the area. The Master then sends an arrival report, indicating ship's safe arrival or final report if leaving the area.

(OT 4827)

Mr Milne added that this voluntary system did not involve all vessels:

When legislation is passed by the Australian Government the system will apply only to vessels to which the Navigation Act applies. Thus smaller vessels, such as launches, yachts and pleasure craft will not be required to participate in the ship

reporting system.

(OT 4830)

Secondary sources of surveillance such as Australian merchant ships, fishing vessels and navigational aid service vessels were discussed by Mr P. B. Eccles, Acting First Assistant Secretary of the Coastal Services Division of the Commonwealth Department of Transport. Mr Eccles said that fishermen were encouraged to make reports and did make

reports to the then Marine Operations Centre.

As far as fishermen co-operating was concerned, the difficulty according to Mr Eccles was their lack of a spokesman organisation and their attitude to such co-operation. In the West some co-operation occurs now but not to the same extent as in Queensland where the

fishermen are closer to the areas where poaching occurs. Mr Eccles summarised the position in this way:

There is considerable difficulty as the fishermen are not welded into one organisation even though they do have a Federal body, but in fact it is not the spokesman. We have approached

the Fishery Co-operatives in several ways individually, not being able to go through a total embracing Federal body. You may recall that I told you that our senior co-ordinators do trips around the coast calling on the various co-ops and spreading the good news as they go around. We have education through the Department of Primary Industry Fisheries Newsletter, that excellent magazine that all fishermen read, because it is an excellent quality publication and free. For example, we have distributed 138 copies of our surveillance manual through Primary Industry to State Fisheries offices, so the Fisheries offices are carrying the news as well. We have had some intensive publicity campaigns. On two occasions we have sent direct P.R. packs to the 80 newspapers that are published between Geraldton and Cairns-- the little country newspapers. On two occasions we have sent them packs on

surveillance, again trying to get the word down to that level. (OT 20995)



e manual for surveillance units to which Mr Eccles referred provides information and reporting procedures for units in waters surrounding the Australian coast. Civil agencies as well as government authorities receive the manual and these include Australian shipping

companies, fishermen's co-operatives and the Torres Strait Pilot Service. Advice is given to reporting units that activities of all foreign fishing, whaling and fisheries research vessels sighted off the Australian coast should be reported and, in special circumstances,

reports of the operations of individual Australian fishing vessels and of foreign freighters serving Australian fishing fleets may also be required.

The best example of the value of co-operation within the total fisheries area was given by Mr J . A. Travers, Chief Investigator of the Western region of the Narcotics Bureau. He referred to Operation Peron near Carnarvon in Western Australia when 145 kilograms of Buddha sticks were seized in 1977 near Point Peron in Shark Bay. A fleeing yacht was

intercepted by a State Fisheries Department launch, with the crew spotted in the act of throwing Buddha sticks overboard. Mr Travers commented:

If we had not had access to the Fisheries Department launch, which was the only boat available, they would have been able to get out of Shark Bay possibly within two or three hours. (OT 650)


From 1 November 1979 the provisions of the Fisheries Amendment Act 1978 came into force giving Australia a 200 nautical mile Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) in accordance with International Law. Within the AFZ foreign fishermen now must have Australian licences and comply with

terms and conditions of access determined by Australia. The AFZ imposes international obligations for the proper management of fisheries resources.

In his statement to the House of Representatives on this matter made on 25 September 1979, the then Minister for Primary Industry explained that foreign boats allowed to fish in the AFZ fell into three

categories: foreign fishing under bilateral arrangements, feasibility fishing, and commercial joint ventures. The zone of 'proclaimed waters' includes all waters beyond the territorial limits of Australia or of

another country which are within 200 nautical miles of Australia. The States and the Northern Territory continue to administer fisheries inside their territorial seas.

A Working Group was established by the Australian Fisheries Council to report upon potential problems associated with a 200 nautical mile fishing zone. It reported in November 1977 that difficulties with surveillance and enforcement should not interfere with the management, utilisation and development of the fisheries of the AFZ. The view of

the Group was that significant portions of the AFZ, although itself equivalent· to the Australian land mass, would require minimum



urveillance as they were of low potential for fisheries. In addition the seasonality of some fisheries should require surveillance only at certain times, according to the Working Group (Open Exhibit 664, p. 76).

The announcement of the upgraded Australian civil coastal

surveillance program on 9 July 1978 by the Federal Minister for

Transport explained that one of the reasons for the program was the need to enforce Australian fisheries laws after the AFZ commenced. Thus licensed boats would report positions every two days, and approval to enter or leave the AFZ, enter an Australian Port or to travel in the AFZ outside their authorised fishing areas would have to be obtained in advance. Detecting unlicensed foreign intruders would be made easier by this strategy, according to the Minister for Transport (OT 15090).

Concerning the prospects for an 1 invasion' of foreign fishing vessels when the AFZ comes into effect the Department of Transport estimated in its submission (OT 15092--15107) that up to 120 foreign fishing vessels have been operating around the Australian coast at any one time. The average number however is approximately 60. Most

detected foreign fishing activity has taken place between Geraldton and Gladstone. Between February 1975 and the submission, made in August 1978, sixty-nine fishing vessels were apprehended for illegal fishing. The Department of Transport concluded that no foreign 'invasion' could be expected to occur to increase the difficulty which government and non-government fisheries bodies have in contributing to adequate maritime surveillance against drugs and illegal imports.



In the conclusions and recommendations on coastal surveillance (Part VIII, Chapter 6) a recommendation is made that priority should be given to the identification of resources which can be used for civil coastal surveillance. Specific reference is made to the identification and mobilisation of the resources of the States and Territories and to the meeting towards these ends of Federal, State and Territory Ministers held in November 1978 to discuss these matters. The legislation of the States in respect of fisheries and in relation to fauna and flora protection, the arrangements made for and the resources allocated to enforcing the legislation, provide valuable resources which should be regarded as available for the surveillance of Australia's coastline in aid of the detection of the illegal importation of drugs.


The Commission recommends that:

** State and Territory resources for fisheries protection should be coX ordinated along with similar resources into a coastal surveillance system as comprehensive as existing circumstances permit.



hapter 7 Quarantine, Flora and Fauna Protection Organisations

Commonwealth responsibilities in coastal and offshore areas include the prevention of breaches of quarantine laws as well as monitoring such activities as illegal foreign fishing, importation and immigration. The power over quarantine stems from Section 51(ix) of the Constitution which gives powers to the Commonwealth Parliament in quarantine matters.

The Commonwealth Department of Health, which implements Government policies and administers legislation in health and related fields, administers the principal Federal Acts, the Quarantine Act 1908 and the Quarantine Amendment Act 1979, through its Quarantine Division. This Division controls and co-ordinates animal, plant and general

quarantine activities in Australia.

It may seem that quarantine and flora and fauna protection

organisations in Australia are the most indirect of drug law enforcement agencies but these organisations and the legislation which governs them were examined to see what lessons could be learned as far as drug control was concerned. Moreover the methods of breaching and upholding

quarantine laws and of trafficking in flora and fauna bear a great resemblance to like activities in drug-related matters in Australia.


Quarantine is concerned with preventing infectious diseases in man, animals and plants from entering a country from overseas. In Australia quarantine problems struck as early as 1789 when a smallpox epidemic had terrible effects on Aboriginals and this and other imported diseases

rapidly caused Australia to become aware of quarantine. Hence, after Federation in 1901, the Federal Quarantine Service was formed, to be taken over by the Department of Health when the latter was created in 1921.

Quarantine Act 1908

The Federal Parliament enacted the Quarantine Act in 1908 to provide that certain vessels, persons and goods arriving from overseas are subject to quarantine and cannot enter Australia until they have been disinfected or cleared of infectious disease. The Act requires overseas vessels arriving in Australia to enter only at places declared to be a

first port of entry, and, in the case of aircraft arriving from

overseas, to land only at a proclaimed 'landing place'. To enable Quarantine officers to carry out their duties, the Act confers certain powers of inspection and interrogation on them. The Quarantine

Amendment Act 1979 amended the Quarantine Act 1908 mainly by providing for increased penalties for breaches of the Quarantine Act.

While some of the States have old Quarantine Acts which are still in force and others have certain quarantine provisions contained in their



levant Health Acts, the Commonwealth Act overrides any such State Acts by virtue of Section 109 of the Australian Constitution.

The scope of quarantine in the Act is defined in Section 4 which states that quarantine relates to measures for inspection, exclusion, detention, observation, segregation, isolation, protection, treatment, sanitary regulations and the disinfectation of vessels, persons, goods, things, animals or plants. The object is the prevention of the

introduction or spread of diseases or pests affecting man, animals or plants.

Vessels subject to quarantine, according to Section 17 are:

* all overseas vessels until pratique (i.e. permission to have contact with the port) has been granted or until it has been released from quarantine;

* every vessel (whether Australian or overseas) on board which any quarantinable disease or any disease which there is reason to believe or suspect to be a quarantinable disease has broken out or been discovered (whether pratique has been granted in respect of such vessel, or such vessel has been released from quarantine or not); and

* every vessel ordered into quarantine by a Quarantine officer.

Persons who are subject to quarantine under Section 18(1) of the Act are as follows:

* every person on board a vessel which is subject to quarantine or who has been on board the vessel (being an overseas vessel) since her arrival in Australia;

* every person who is infected with a quarantinable disease;

* every person who has been in contact with or exposed to infection from any person or goods subject to quarantine; and

* every person who is, or has been within a period of 14 days in an

area which is a quarantine area.

Goods which are subject to quarantine are as listed below, according to Section 18(2) of the Act:

* all goods on board any vessel which is subject to quarantine or which have been on board any such vessel (being an overseas vessel) since her arrival in Australia;

* all goods which are infected with a quarantinable disease; and



all goods which have been in contact with or exposed to infection from a quarantinable disease, or from any person or goods subject to quarantine.

Section 20 makes it an offence for a master of an overseas vessel arriving in Australia to enter any port other than a port declared to be a first port of entry, unless from stress of weather or other reasonable cause. Similarly it is an offence for the master, or an aircraft

arriving from overseas, to land at any place in Australia other than a proclaimed landing place.

It is provided under Section 20B that where the Governor-General is of the opinion that there is a danger of the introduction into

Australia, by aircraft, of disease from any place beyond Australia, he may by proclamation declare the place to be a place from which entry by air into Australia is prohibited.

Quarantine officers may board any vessel in port or in place in Australia and enter and inspect any part of such vessel, inspect any animals or goods on board and inspect the passenger list, log, manifest, journal and any other papers relating to the vessel or to any person,

animals or goods on board the vessel. A Quarantine officer may require the master of any vessel to produce these papers for inspection.

Section 71 provides that a Quarantine officer boarding any vessel may remain thereon for such time as he considers necessary or desirable. Under Section 73, a Quarantine officer may ask the master or medical officer of any vessel any questions he thinks fit to ask concerning any

sickness on board the vessel or the sanitary condition of the vessel. He may ask any person subject to quarantine any questions concerning his personal health or liability to infection(s) and, if he thinks fit, may require any person of whom he has asked questions to verify his answers

to such questions by a Statutory Declaration.

Evolution of Quarantine in Australia

The Annual Report of the Director-General of Health, 1977 — 78 traced the way current quarantine practices evolved in Australia:

Changing patterns of world disease, increasing travel, development in public health, increasing emphasis on individual freedom, advances in technology, and more enlightened and better-informed bureaucracies-- all these factors have led to major changes in the philosophies and strategies of human quarantine in recent times, and especially in the last decade.

Changes have been no less significant in animal and plant quarantine fields. It is only in comparatively recent decades that the natural quarantine protection afforded by Australia's geographic location has been eroded. The comforting isolation

of our island position and the natural barriers of time and



became less and less relevant as transport became speedier and more flexible, trade and travel increased, and as our needs and priorities as a major agricultural producer and exporter developed.

(Open Exhibit 593, p. 1)

The responsibility for quarantine is a heavy one as breaches in the quarantine screen can effect both the human health and the economic position of the country. New and dangerous human diseases emerge from time to time and serious outbreaks of, say, foot and mouth disease would

cost Australia dearly, particularly its rural industries.

Despite the virtual elimination of smallpox worldwide, Australia remains susceptible to a number of quarantine diseases. Food and water borne diseases on international aircraft are of real concern, in particular the occasional typhoid or cholera case. High standards of health care and sanitation lessen the prospects of the dangerous new viral haemorrhagic African fevers, such as Lassa fever, taking hold here but exotic diseases must be guarded against in each State.

Animal quarantine capabilities recently have been advanced by approval for the construction of an offshore animal quarantine station on Cocos Island, a large quarantine complex at Wallgrove in Sydney, and additions to the animal quarantine station at Torrens Island in South Australia. Plant quarantine has increased in scope with monitoring programs introduced across northern Australia to guard against pest

incursions from neighbouring countries.

Contemporary problems mentioned by the Director-General in his 1977--78 Report included the arrival of the so-called 'boat people1 from South-East Asia, lucerne aphids spreading across the continent, a new world equine disease, a Newcastle disease threat arising from Indonesian bird imports, and a bluetongue virus detected in the Northern Territory.

As a sign of the effectiveness of Australian quarantine procedures however, the Director-General noted that Australia has a proud quarantine record. Many agricultural diseases and pests common in other countries have never been seen here, and foot and mouth disease has not appeared since 1872, despite its presence recently in all other major agricultural producing countries. While surveillance at all ports of entry into Australia is of vital importance, during 1977 — 78, almost seven tonnes of material of plant or animal origin such as plants, fresh fruit and eggs, were seized from passengers entering Australia through Sydney Airport.

The recent outbreak in Northern Tasmania of an 'exotic1 disease, unidentified at the time of writing, resulting in the slaughter of a large number of stock, highlights the gravity of the problem and the constant need for effective surveillance.

Quarantine and the New Coastal Surveillance Program

When the Commonwealth Government introduced its new coastal surveillance program in July 1978 quarantine breaches along Australia's



orthern coastline were the cause of much of the Government's concern (OT 15086). To quote from the Minister for Transport's News Release:

The Government is aware that unauthorised landings pose a risk of introducing a wide range of exotic diseases, some of which could have grave economic consequences.

While effective quarantine controls are maintained at all established ports of entry, special quarantine measures are required for Australia's sparsely populated northern coastline

where unauthorised landings may occur. Regular aerial surveillance for the area concerned is regarded as the most practical basis for an adequate system of quarantine control. (OT 15089)

In its background report on the new program the Department of Transport noted (OT 15095--96) that quarantine experts were worried by the level of activity by foreign fishing and other vessels off the Australian coast as most had recently visited countries where exotic diseases were well established. Unauthorised landings on remote parts

of the coast were also highlighted because of the implications for Australia of disease in important agricultural areas.

These threats encouraged the Government to take special action and, accordingly, a daily coastal air search of the northern coastline from Geraldton to Cairns in charter aircraft was announced. Approximately 10 charter aircraft will each cover some 1000 kilometres of the coast,

seven days a week. Special quarantine response teams will meet needs as they arise, using chartered aircraft. The enhanced program also involves increased offshore surveillance by RAAF maritime aircraft and the allocation of extra naval vessels to improve the overall response capability when reports of unauthorised activity are received.

The new quarantine features of the program will account for $3.9 million of the total additional non-defence expenditure of about $5 million during 1978 — 79. Total annual costs of the daily coastal search are estimated at $4.3 million, with a review of the aerial surveillance program to be made within two years.

Customs and Quarantine

Parcels Post areas in the mail exchanges have as one of their

principal functions the screening of all overseas mail for breaches of Quarantine Regulations. This activity is specified in Section 35 of the Customs Act 1901. Confidential evidence received from the Australian Postal Comi.ission described the procedures used. In broad terms

quarantine examination may take place at the Mail Exchange or at the premises of the quarantine authority, depending upon the nature and extent of the quarantine action required. Records are maintained of items required to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of and addressees

are informed. Articles from within Australia with contents reasonably suspected to contravene the Quarantine Act may be opened by two



uthorised persons to permit the examination of the contents by the appropriate quarantine authority. Contents contravening the Quarantine Act are passed to the authority concerned for disposal, and addressees or senders are informed.

Other evidence received in confidence indicated that operational staff of the Narcotics Bureau, a part of the Bureau of Customs, had always conducted the drug detection training of Quarantine officers. Mr K. T. Owen, when giving his evidence in March 1978, was Acting Regional Director of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in Darwin. He described the interface between Quarantine and Customs when refugee boats arrived at Darwin. When the boat is secured to the quarantine buoy it is boarded by Quarantine officers who clear the health of the passengers and conduct a plant and animal quarantine check. The boats are checked by Customs at the quarantine buoy. After the refugees have been cleared by Customs they undergo health screening at the Quarantine Station (OT 6354).

The Special Services Section of the Bureau of Customs maintains a preventive screen to combat the unlawful importation or exportation of goods. The principal element of the Section are the Preventive Officers who conduct waterfront and tarmac patrols, the searching of ships, aircraft and the goods carried in them, and the processing of sea and air passengers, including the searching of passengers' baggage. Quarantine is one of the matters for which basic processing is carried out. Disembarking passengers go to a Customs 'primary barrier' and present their declarations, passports and immigration cards to a Customs Preventive Officer. They are then directed to the appropriate

'secondary barrier'. Where quarantinable goods have been declared or detected, such as meat or fruit, the officer manning the barrier is a Quarantine officer from the Department of Health who decides whether to release or seize the goods (CT).

A submission made by the NSW Branch of the Customs Officers' Association of Australia, Fourth Division, was presented by its President, Mr P. P. Bennett, and Secretary, Mr R. G. Spanswick. This submission criticised current quarantine procedures:

Quarantine protection under the present structure and procedures of Customs is a piecemeal facade. Quarantine Officers at S.K.S.A. (Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport) have expressed continuous dissatisfaction at Customs procedures. A great responsibility is accepted by Customs to provide the community with an effective quarantine service, in lieu of having to develop the quarantine service into a separate protective community screen. However, Customs is not

effectively carrying out its quarantine obligations. (OT 12475)

In addition, the submission continued:

There are goods in the nature of flora and fauna which are being trafficked to and from Australia in growing quantities.


There is a considerable amount of documentation and evidence on this matter. It appears that the outer coastal areas on the continent are used for this purpose as much as the normal export/import areas. There is very little effort applied or enacted by the Customs Bureau to control this situation although it is the Bureau's responsibility.

(OT 12475--76)

According to the Customs Officers' Association some of the costs borne by the community as a result of these shortcomings are: the cost to quarantine services in supplementing control points not adequately covered by Customs control; the cost of quarantine procedures when

dangerous goods pass the Customs controlled areas; and the cost when dangerous quarantine goods slip through and harm a part of the

community, together with the secondary cost arising from that harmful situation (OT 12476--77).

In responding to these criticisms, the NSW Collector of Customs, Mr G. E. Sheen, referred to effectiveness surveys which had been carried out at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport in March 1974:

The effectiveness of passenger baggage examination for quarantine purposes is monitored. Statistics indicate an 85 per cent effectiveness. The random check percentage needs to be increased considerably to gain a relatively small percentage

increase in effectiveness. (The increase to achieve in the order of 90 per cent effectiveness would need to result in the examination of baggage of one in every two to three


(OT 17727)

He mentioned that continuing and more regular effectiveness surveys were being introduced by Customs management and noted that, during the first six months of 1977, there were some 2300 seizures of undeclared quarantinable goods at Sydney Airport (OT 17727).

Mr Sheen also reported that in 1977 staff of Customs successfully launched 19 prosecutions for fauna trafficking (OT 17729). He believed that the suggestion that Customs might also assume a Quarantine officers role was attractive from the viewpoint of economy but there could be practical difficulties (OT 17733).


Commonwealth legislation in this area is based on the provisions of the Customs regulations relating to the importation and exportation of birds and animals and to the powers of Customs officers in enforcing those regulations.

The Customs Act and Regulations

Regulation 4 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations prohibits the importation of birds and animals of all kinds into



ustralia unless the permission in writing of the Minister has been granted. Regulation 4 of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations prohibits the exportation of all animals and birds native to Australia, their skins, plumage, eggs and eggshells and the exportation of Birds of Paradise and their plumage, unless the consent of the Minister is first obtained.

In enforcing the above Regulations, Division 1 of Part XII of the Customs Act gives power to Customs officers to:

* compel to bring to, or land at the airport, any ships or aircraft which do not bring to, or land at the airport when lawfully required or signalled;

* require the master of any ship, or the pilot of any aircraft

hovering within 3 nautical miles of the coast or of land, to depart, and if such ship or aircraft fails to depart within 12 hours, the officers may board and bring such ship or aircraft into port or airport and search her;

" board and search any ship, boat or aircraft and to secure any goods on any ship, boat or aircraft;

* patrol upon and pass freely along and over any part of the coast or any railway or the shores, banks or beaches of any bay, harbour, lake or river;

* question any person on board any ship, boat or aircraft, or who may have landed from or got out of any ship, boat or aircraft, as to whether he has any dutiable goods or prohibited imports, or any prohibited exports upon his person, or in his possession or baggage;

* detain and search any person reasonably suspected of unlawfully carrying or having prohibited imports or exports secreted about him;

* in pursuance of a Writ of Assistance or Customs Warrant, at any time enter into and search any house, premises or place, and to break open the same and search any chests, trunks or packages in which goods may be, or are supposed to be;

* seize any forfeited ship, aircraft or goods upon land or water, or any ship, aircraft or goods which they have reasonable cause to believe are forfeited; and

* arrest without warrant any person who they suspect is guilty of committing, or attempting to commit, or of being concerned in the commission of the offences, of importing prohibited imports or exporting prohibited exports.

State Legislation

Each of the States and the Territories has enacted legislation aimed at protecting fauna and flora. In some States such as Queensland all fauna is protected, whilst in others, such as NSW, only certain fauna is protected. Generally speaking all States and Territories make it an



fence to take or kill any protected fauna, or remove protected flora, or to import fauna into or export fauna out of, the State or Territory, except with the authority of a licence or otherwise in accordance with the appropriate State Act or Territory Ordinance.

The various officers authorised to perform duties under these Acts and Ordinances have certain powers conferred upon them by their respective Acts and Ordinances. The relevant Acts in the States are the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 in NSW; the Game Act 1958 in

Victoria; the Fauna Conservation Act 1974 and the Native Plants Protection Act 1930 in Queensland; the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 in South Australia; the Fauna Conservation Act 1950 in Western Australia; the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970 in Tasmania;

the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Ordinance in the Northern Territory and the Animals and Birds Protection Ordinance 1918 in the Australian Capital Territory.

Trafficking in Fauna and Flora in Australia

Evidence received by the Commission from a variety of sources referred to a relationship between the smuggling of fauna and flora out of Australia and the smuggling of drugs into Australia. One convicted drug smuggler claimed to the Commission that he raised money to

illegally import drugs into Australia by illegally exporting Australian birds to South-East Asia. A number of other witnesses adverted to operations involving the illegal importation of drugs into Australia and 'back-loading' with Australian fauna for exportation from Australia and

sale overseas. In some cases the witnesses were not in a position to know-- they were simply repeating something they had heard. In other cases the Commission was inclined to think the evidence had a greater degree of credibility. There have also been suggestions of connections between operations involving the illegal exportation of fauna and flora

from Australia and organised crime figures in the United States.

The second report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Conservation, entitled 'Trafficking in Fauna in Australia' presented to Parliament in September 1976, dealt with the organised smuggling of Australian native birds. It described the

activity as:

...a highly capitalised and organised activity involving land, sea, and air operations and a network of contacts throughout Australia and overseas. It is a thriving commercial activity

involving an annual turnover estimated by some to exceed one million dollars, and by others to be several times that figure. (Open Exhibit 656)

The Committee had received evidence suggesting a two-way traffic drugs smuggled in, fauna smuggled out.





In the conclusions and recommendations on coastal surveillance (Part VIII, Chapter 6) a recommendation is made that priority should be given to the identification of resources which can be used for civil coastal surveillance. Specific reference is made to the identification and mobilisation of the resources of the States and Territories and to the meeting towards these ends of Federal, State, and Territory Ministers held in November 1978 to discuss these matters. The legislation of the States in respect of fisheries and in relation to fauna and flora protection, the arrangements made for and the resources allocated to enforcing the legislation, provide valuable resources which should he

regarded as available for the surveillance of Australia's coastline in aid of the detection of the illegal importation of drugs.

Allegations were made in evidence before the Commission by Customs officers that the enforcement role at the Customs barrier in respect of drugs was at times circumvented by the introduction of matters associated with quarantine. Suggestions were made that a passenger, by voluntarily raising a quarantine problem, would avoid a search for drugs. Likewise, passengers directed for quarantine examination were often not searched for drugs. Whilst the Commission felt that on isolated occasions this might have occurred, it was of the view that there was no conclusive evidence of conscious neglect of the duty to search for drugs in appropriate cases.

The Commission believes that, on the evidence available, there is a correlation between drug smuggling and the illegal exportation of native animals, especially birds, and, to a lesser extent, of plants. Whilst the evidence does not permit the Commission to come to a firm conclusion that well known criminals were involved in both pursuits, there were several suggestions that this was so.

In its conclusions and recommendations on coastal surveillance in Part VIII the Commission has stated its view that it sees no ground for distinguishing in relation to surveillance between drug smuggling on the one hand and, for example, quarantine and fauna and flora protection on the other. It accordingly is of the view that the three aircraft dedicated solely for Customs use on coastal surveillance, should be made available to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre for general surveillance if required.


The Commission recommends that:

** State and Territory bodies with responsibility for enforcement of quarantine regulations and for the protection of native fauna and flora should be co-ordinated along with similar resources into a



tal surveillance system as comprehensive as existing

circumstances permit.

The proposed National and State Criminal Drug Intelligence Centres should be supplied with all relevant information from as many sources as possible to permit them to monitor any relationship that may be shown to exist between drug smuggling and the illegal export

of native animals and plants.





hapter 8 Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office administers legislation relating to income tax, sales tax, estate duty, gift duty, A.C.T. pay-roll tax, wool tax, stevedoring industry charge, tobacco charge, canning fruit charge and A.C.T. stamp duty; assesses and collects taxes; enforces

Commonwealth taxation laws; and considers taxation policy, legislation and administration. The head office of the Department is in Canberra and there are branch offices in each State. The branch offices

administer taxation laws as directed in the area concerned, examine and assess returns and collect tax, investigate taxpayers affairs, initiate default action and provide valuation services.

While the Taxation Office administers a variety of tax legislation, this paper is concerned solely with those provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 which might have a bearing on drug law enforcement. These provisions create the liability to pay income tax, impose the

obligation of filing annual returns of total income, define what is assessable income, confer broad investigative powers on the Commissioner of Taxation, protect the privacy of taxpayers' affairs, and impose penalties for failure to comply with the Act.

Section 17 of the Act creates a liability to pay tax on income

derived by residents and non-residents while Sections 6(1), 19 and 25(1) define the income on which that tax is to be assessed. Obviously, if the Commissioner is to assess the amount of tax payable by each

taxpayer, some method must be provided whereby the Commissioner can obtain the necessary data concerning a person's income on which his tax assessment is based. Thus through Section 161(1) all persons liable to pay tax are required to lodge with the Commissioner annual returns

containing a full and complete statement of the total income derived by them during the preceding year. No distinction is made between income derived from legal sources and income derived from illegal sources. A drug trafficker, for example, is legally obligated to furnish in his annual taxation return a full and complete statement of the total income derived by him from drug trafficking (as well as any other income from any other legal or illegal sources), just as an ordinary person is

legally obligated to furnish a full and complete statement of the total income derived by him from legal sources.

It is well known that some persons attempt to evade payment of their tax by various means. To assist the Commissioner in ascertaining the correct income on which a person's tax assessment is to be based, certain powers are conferred on the Commissioner. Thus the Commissioner has power to require a further or fuller return of the whole or any part

of the income of a taxpayer (Section 162(1)). He has access to

buildings, places, books, documents, etc., (Section 263). He may require information from any person, government department or local authority, examine on oath any person or any officer of a government department or local authority concerning that or any other person's



e and he may require the production of books, documents, etc., relating to the income of any person (Section 264). In addition, Section 218 provides a method whereby the Commissioner can obtain payment of the tax payable by any person in circumstances where money due to that person is held by another person.

Section 16 of the Act is of importance in terms of matters considered in Part XIII Chapter 5 1 Financial Controls'. It is therefore necessary to deal with it in some detail. Having defined 'officer' the section includes the following provisions:

(2) Subject to this section, an officer shall not either directly or indirectly, except in the performance of any duty as an officer, and either while he is, or after he ceases to be an officer, make a record of, or divulge or communicate to any person any such information so acquired by him.

(3) An officer shall not be required to produce in Court any

return, assessment or notice of assessment, or to divulge or communicate to any Court any matter or thing coming under his notice in the performance of his duties as an officer, except when it is necessary to do so for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Act or of any previous law of the Commonwealth relating to Income Tax.

(4) Nothing in the section shall be deemed to prohibit the

Commissioner, a Second Commissioner, or a Deputy Commissioner, or any person thereto authorized by him, from communicating any information to---

(a) any person performing, in pursance of any appointment or employment by the Commonwealth or by a State, any duty arising under any Act administered by the Commissioner of Taxation,... for the purpose of enabling that person to

carry out any such duty;...

(d) the Repatriation Commission for the purpose of the administration of any law of the Commonwealth relating to pensions;

(e) the Director-General of Social Services for the purpose of the administration of any law of the Commonwealth relating to pensions, allowances, endowments or benefits;

(f) the Director-General of Health for the purpose of the administration of any law of the Australian Capital Territory or of the Northern Territory which is

administered by the Minister of State for Health;

(g) the Commissioner for Employees' Compensation, holding office under the 'Compensation (Australian Government Employees) Act' 1971-73, for the purpose of administration of that Act;



ga) the Commonwealth Statistician for the purposes of the 'Census and Statistics Act' 1905-1949 in relation to statistics as to employment...

(h) the Secretary, Department of Defence, for the purpose of the administration of any law of the Commonwealth relating to payments in respect of dependants of members of the Defence Force; or

(i) the Secretary, Department of Education, or the

Commonwealth Scholarships Board for the purpose of the administration of any law of the Commonwealth relating to financial assistance to students.

(5) Any person to whom information is communicated under the last preceding sub-section, and any person or employee under his control shall, in respect of that information, be subject to the same rights, privileges, obligations and liabilities, under

sub-sections (2) and (3), as if he were an officer.

The implications of the provision of the Income Tax Assessment Act and of the Australian Taxation Office, to drug law enforcement are dealt with in Part XIII Chapter 5 'Financial Controls', where recommendations are made.

Compliance with Australian income tax laws brings into existence detailed records relating to the financial position of individuals and companies. The Commission considers that access to these records may have potential in dealing with high level drug traffickers. The matter

is further dealt with in recommendations made in Part XIII Chapter 5 'Financial Controls'.





hapter 9 Department of the Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia Movement of Funds

Evidence received by the Commission has established that there is considerable movement of funds out of Australia to purchase drugs illegally imported into the country. The evidence also indicates that the proceeds of illegal drug trafficking, on occasion, leave Australia and either remain overseas (in the sense of being converted into other currency or assets) or are returned to Australia after the original source of funds has been disguised-- an exercise commonly referred to as

'laundering'. These funds, and the funds which have remained in Australia, are available, and are used, for the furtherance of criminal activity including, but probably not restricted to, drug trafficking. The funds are also available for use in business enterprises of varying

degrees of legitimacy. In this way some funds are invested in

businesses not previously the subject of any contact with criminals.

The scale of funds which might thus be generated is illustrated by the example of two heroin traffickers mentioned in Part IV Chapter 7, 'The Organised Basis of Drug Related Crime'. In the case quoted, approximately three months of activity generated profits of the order of $130 000. The aggregation of the proceeds of many such operations which must exist in Australia would seem to justify estimates as high as $A100 million for funds leaving Australia as a consequence of the heroin

trade, as mentioned later in the same Chapter.

The Commission has also received evidence that other countries, notably the United States, utilise the records routinely created in the course of internal, and particularly foreign exchange control over the movement of funds, in the investigation of crime with particular

emphasis on illegal drug trafficking.

Foreign Exchange Control

Foreign exchange control in Australia is the responsibility of the Reserve Bank of Australia and is administered (subject to the directions of the Treasury) through the Bank's administration of the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations made under Section 39 of the Banking Act

1959. The basis of the system imposed by the regulations is to forbid foreign exchange transactions save with the consent of the Reserve Bank. The Regulations (particularly Regulation 44) empower the Reserve Bank to authorise agents to discharge the Reserve Bank's functions of approving

transactions. In this way the major trading and savings banks are authorised, subject to limits and upon specified terms, to deal on the spot with many personal and commercial payments requiring authorisation under the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations. The use of the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations is further considered in Part XIII: 'Improving Some Existing Controls', Chapter 5 'Financial


The Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations are a complex piece of legislation which it is impossible conveniently to summarise. In essence they are directed to giving effect to a system whereby a person or a corporation is not to take or send money out of Australia, create a



ht to receive a payment in Australia in favour of a person resident out of Australia, to draw on Australian funds to effect a payment to a person outside Australia or to incur a liability which may give rise to such a payment. The Regulations go on to provide generously for

circumstances in which such payments can be made on the authority of the Reserve Bank, or a trading bank acting as an agent of the Reserve Bank, when the proposed transaction is not within the authority of an agent. When the amount exceeds $A2000 or its foreign currency equivalent a written application must be made either to an agent bank or to the Reserve Bank. Written application may be either on a standard

application or by correspondence. Generally speaking, applications relating to transactions of a capital nature are required to be submitted to the Reserve Bank. In addition, particular attention is given to certain categories of current transactions to ensure that they are not disguised capital transactions.

When a transaction is within the authority of an agent bank the bank must satisfy itself that the application is genuine. Whilst there is a general discretion as to the method to be adopted by the banks in this regard, the Reserve Bank has given certain directions. For example, in the case of an application relating to overseas travel the authorised bank may be required to sight a current passport if one is necessary for the journey in question or to sight a ticket as conclusive evidence that a passage has been booked and a fare paid. As regards payment for imports, evidence in the form of invoices, Customs stamped documents, or the like, is required to be sighted.

There are controls over the export of Australian notes and coins. Travellers are permitted to take with them out of the country $250 in notes and $5 in coins. The Commission heard evidence from one

experienced criminal, who the Commission had no doubt had adopted the course himself, and who said that the best way to remove Australian currency from Australia was to take out a suitcase full of notes. Others in a similar position gave the Commission confidential evidence

in support of this. The Commission also heard of the discovery of envelopes full of Australian currency being sent overseas, frequently for tax avoidance purposes. The Commission also received evidence, which for obvious reasons ought to remain confidential, of the ways in which moneys can be removed out of Australia for illegal purposes under

the guise of a payment for legal imports. The Commission has no doubt on the evidence that many such methods are resorted to by those engaged in illegal activities including the illegal importation of and traffickX ing in drugs.

The important point about the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations is that in the course of complying with them a record is brought into existence of virtually every foreign exchange transaction engaged in. The record reveals the identity of parties engaged in a transaction and describes the transaction. Whether the particulars are true is, of course, another question.

Copies of documents received by the agent banks in the course of the exercise of their authority pursuant to the Regulations are forwarded to the office of the Reserve Bank in the capital of the State or Territory on a regular basis. There they are reviewed, for example, to see that the bank has not exceeded its delegated authority. The documents are then bundled together on a monthly basis. Applications in relation to


travel are permanently filed alphabetically and kept current. The internal system adopted by the agent bank varies according to the procedure of the individual bank in question.

The Commission was told by an officer of the Reserve Bank that Regulation 6 of the Reserve Bank Regulations precluded the free access by law enforcement authorities to exchange control documentation. Regulation 6 was equated to Section 16 of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Regulation 6 provides:

An officer, agent or other person carrying on any business of the Reserve Bank shall not,

(a) permit a person to have access to, or furnish to a person copies of, or extracts from, books or papers belonging to, or in the possession of, the Reserve Bank; or,

(b) furnish to a person information relating to the business of the Reserve Bank, not being information with respect to matters of a customer of the Reserve Bank furnished to, or on the order of the customer,

except by the direction or authority of the Reserve Bank or under compulsion or obligation of law.

The Department of the Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia are agencies with an indirect enforcement role because international illegal drug transactions of necessity breach Australia's Foreign Exchange Control laws. Further, an unidentified proportion of the funds generated by domestic trafficking is removed from Australia either to return,

having been laundered, or remain overseas. The necessity for approval to engage in foreign exchange transactions has a consequence of records of such transactions being created. These records have potential to aid the investigation of criminals engaged in drug trafficking. These

matters are further dealt with in Part XIII Chapter 5 'Financial Controls' where specific recommendations are made.





hapter 10 Postal and Telecommunications Authorities

Postal, telecommunications and radio communication services in Australia are the responsibility of a department and two statutory authorities which come within the responsibility of the Federal Minister for Post and Telecommunications. The department is the Postal and

Telecommunications Department and statutory authorities are the Australian Telecommunications Commission and the Australian Postal Commission.

The Postal and Telecommunications Department was established on 22 December 1975. It took over the residual functions of the former Postmaster General's Department remaining after two new statutory authorities, the Australian Postal Commission and the Australian Telecommunications Commission, had undertaken responsibility for postal

and telecommunications services within Australia from 1 July 1975. The role of the Department is to provide policy advice to the Minister in respect of postal, telegraphic, telephonic, broadcasting and other like services on the subject of legislation which it is the Minister's responsibility to administer. The Department also has the

responsibilities in respect of radio and television which it acquired from the former Department of the Media and administers the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905 which is concerned with the radio frequency spectrum.

The Australian Telecommunications Commission was established pursuant to the Telecommunications Act 1975. It provides national telecommunications services within Australia under the name 'Telecom Australia'. The Commission is constituted by a number of Commissioners with one full time Commissioner who is its Managing Director. To

operate its $6 billion network Telecom Australia employs a full time staff which at 30 June 1978 was 87 444. Its Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 1978 states the organisation's charter to be:

As derived from the Telecommunications Act 1975, Telecom Australia is responsible for the provision, maintenance and operation of the telecommunications services to best meet the social, industrial and commercial needs of the Australian people. It is required to make its services available

throughout Australia so far as is reasonably practicable. Revenue must cover current expenses each year and provide not less than half of capital requirements. Services are to be kept up to date and operated efficiently and economically with

charges as low as practicable. (Open Exhibit 659, p .2)

Telecom Australia provides its services from district offices which will number 83 when all have been phased in throughout Australia. In December 1977 it established its first corporate plan for the strategic aims of Telecom Australia for the period 1977/1978--1986.

Telecom Australia's functions are relevant because the Royal Commission heard both advocates and opponents of the provision of statutory powers in aid of drug law enforcement to intercept

communications passing over the telecommunications system operated by



t organsation. The Commission's views in respect of this matter are further dealt with in Part XIII 'Improving Some Existing Controls', Chapter 7 'Interception of Communications'.

As with the Australian Telecommunications Commission, the Australian Postal Commission was established by the Postal Services Act 1975 and commenced operation on 1 July of that year. It operates under the name 'Australia Post'. The Commission provides a national postal service pursuant to Part II of the Act. In its 1978 Annual Report the

Commission stated its objectives as being:

The Australian Postal Commission operates postal services for the transmission of postal articles in Australia and between Australia and other countries. It is required by the Postal Services Act 1975 to operate these services in such a manner as will best meet the social, industrial and commercial needs of

the Australian people. The Commission also is required to operate its services as efficently and economically as practicable and to have regard to the special needs of

Australians residing and carrying on business outside the cities.

...The overall objective of Australia Post is-- 'to provide a fast and efficient postal service with the least possible cost at standards which reasonably meet the needs of the Australian community'.

(Open Exhibit 660, p . 1)

Australia Post has a monopoly over the carriage of letters of 500 grams and less in weight. Its other services generally face competition from other enterprises. Surface, air and express mail services for the carriage of letters, cards, aerograms, newspapers and packets and parcels are provided by Australia Post within Australia and to other countries. At 30 June 1978 Australia Post had a full time staff of 39 489. The Commission's Annual Report for 1978 reveals that for the financial year 1977— 1978 over 2300 million articles were dealt with. Approximately 2069 million were posted and delivered within Australia. Some 85 million were posted for places abroad and 149 million were

received from abroad. A total of more than 1952 million standard letters were handled. Of these, 1775 million were posted and

delivered within Australia, 68 million were posted for places abroad and 110 million were received from abroad. In the same year 1447 official and 4124 non official post offices handled 323 million standard articles, 108 million priority paid articles and 21.3 million parcels. 23 per cent of the official full time staff of the Commission were involved in sorting mail.

So far as Australia Post is concerned, this Commission has heard much support for empowering law enforcement authorities to intercept communications passing through that organisation's system in aid of drug law enforcement, on the grounds that drugs, notably heroin, are illegally imported into Australia by mail and are transmitted within Australia through the postal system.

The 1978 Annual Report of the Commission commented on the detection of drugs in overseas mail:


Australia Post co-operated with the Bureau of Customs in the trial of x-ray machines and specially trained dogs to test their effectiveness in detecting the presence of narcotic drugs and prohibited goods in postal articles received from overseas.

After a successful trial of an x-ray machine at the Perth mail exchange, other machines were installed in the mainland central mail exchanges and the Winnellie mail sorting office Darwin.

German Shepherd dogs, trained to detect heroin, opium, hashish oil, and marihuana were tried at the Central Mail Exchange Sydney, to determine their effectiveness within the environment of a major processing centre. They had previously been

successful at wharves, airports and bond stores. The trial is still continuing. (Open Exhibit 660, p.11)

The same report stressed the importance of the privacy of the mail and drew attention to the possibility of conflict between the

introduction of measures designed to increase surveillance of the mails and the need to maintain privacy.

The mail processing system in Australia Post consists of a number of separate but related operations involving both domestic and overseas origin mail. It consists of collecting mail at posting boxes or post offices, transporting non-local mail to a major sorting centre,

injecting overseas mail into the processing system at major centres near the ports of entry, and progressively sorting mail articles to their local or overseas destinations. Extra transportation and delivery of domestic mail and despatch and loading of overseas destined mail are also part of the system.

Mail may enter Australia at any port but generally it comes through a State capital. In the case of air mail, it enters at one of the major international airports, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin. Upon entering Australia, mail is transported to the nearest mail

exchange. It may arrive from overseas at Brisbane after coming through another capital city in the containers in which it arrived from overseas. Either way overseas mail then comes under Customs

surveillance at the mail exchange and when cleared is treated in the same way as domestic mail.

The responsibility for detecting illegally imported drugs resides with the Bureau of Customs under Section 35 of the Customs Act 1901. The Bureau's responsibilities go beyond the detection of illegally imported drugs. They include the detection of other prohibited imports

and ensuring payment of appropriate duty on all goods imported by mail. A Sub-Collector and support staff of the Parcels Post Sub-section of the Bureau of Customs in each Collectorate are stationed at principal mail

exchanges to discharge those responsibilities. As the previously quoted extract from the Australia Post Annual Report for 1977 78 indicates, x- ray machines and drug detector dogs are used. Mr K. M. O ’Shea, SubX Collector at the Melbourne Mail Exchange stated that the formal

objectives of Parcels operations were to:



dminister legislative control over goods imported as overseas mail, with a minimum of delay, so as to protect Australian Industry, Community Welfare and Commonwealth Revenues. (OT 2521B)

He described the Parcels Post Sub-section as a self-contained Customs Unit, interfaced with Australia Post in screening both commercial and private importations through the mail system. Drug detection receives high priority because of the number of positive finds made. Screening of letter class articles is specifically aimed at detecting drugs and many of the parcel checks are exclusively drug oriented.

Overseas mail screened through Parcels Post falls into three postal classifications: parcels, registered or insured mail, and letter class and other articles mail (LC/OA), which is made up of standard letters and non-standard articles. Parcel mail, any postal article weighing more than 500 grams but less than 20 kilograms, and registered or

insured mail are sorted by Australia Post at the 'gateway' or entry port without the presence of Customs and are forwarded under bond to the local Customs region for screening and subsequent release. The balance of letter class and other articles mail is in bags addressed to

Australia or to the 'gateway' port where postal officers open the bags for screening. In this case suspect articles are extracted by the Customs screener who arranges for Australia Post to forward the suspect matter to the local Customs region by registered post. In the category

of letter class and other articles mail, are grouped standard letters and letters less than 500 grams in weight and of maximum dimensions of 120mm times 235mm times 5mm, while non-standard articles include letters smaller or larger than standard size, small packets, business papers, printed papers, books and merchandise.

Parcels Post regard all letter class and other articles mail from certain countries as being high risk for drug importation and this mail is more closely screened. Screeners are also assisted by information on methods of concealment and on suspect persons and addresses. What the

screeners do with the various types of mail is set down in the Postal Services Regulations.

Parcels and other articles, for example, are opened by Australia Post officers if so requested by Customs. If such an article contains a narcotic drug it is forfeited under Regulation 46 and sent to Customs for disposal. Regulation 40 enables Customs to open parcels and other articles but Regulation 41, which is applied to letters, is taken not to permit such opening in the absence of the addressee or his

representative-- or at least in the absence of notification of the addressee. Letters endorsed to allow official opening, namely letters accompanied by a Customs declaration, may be opened by a nominated Australia Post official if a Customs representative requests it.

A body of evidence given to the Royal Commission claims that drugs are sent through the domestic mail system. So far as domestic mail is concerned Australia Post has no policing function in respect of drugs sent by mail within Australia. There are no screening procedures for domestic mail and the only occasion when it could come to the notice of Postal Officers that a mail item contained drugs is if it became damaged or if it was not able to be delivered and was consequently opened at the dead letter office.



e evidence received by the Commission does not permit the

formulation of any accurate view as to the extent to which the domestic mails are used for the illegal trafficking in drugs. While

Australia Post does not keep statistics on the number of cases in which domestic mail has been found to contain drugs or suspected drugs it was able to say that between 24 October 1974 and 23 November 1977, eighty- nine undeliverable domestic articles were found to contain narcotic drugs. Australia Post officers stressed that this figure could only be

regarded as a very rough estimate of the extent to which drugs are being carried in the domestic mail.

The responsibilities of the Department in advising the Minister on aspects of the postal services and telephonic, telegraphic and radio communications are described in this Chapter as is the role of the Australian Postal Commission and the Australian Telecommunications

Commission. Specific recommendations are developed in Part XIII concerning the interception of communications by law enforcement agencies when there is strong reason to suspect that individuals or groups of individuals may be using the postal or telecommunications

systems of Australia to further drug trafficking.





a r t VIII

C oastal Surveillance


art VIII Coastal Surveillance

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

Chapter 5.

Chapter 6.

The Need for Coastal Surveillance

Unauthorised Intrusions

Resources Available for Surveillance

Suggested Acquisitions for Surveillance

Other Suggestions Relevant to Survei11ance

Conclusions and Recommendations

Many witnesses criticised the adequacy of Australia's surveillance of her coas t l i n e . There has been in recent years much public debate on this issue. This Part

summarises the evidence received by the Commission on the whole topic of coastal surveillance. In reading this Part it is necessary to bear in mind that a number of government

organisations have a direct interest in surveillance of the coast for purposes falling within their areas of responsi­ bility. Defence, Business and Consumer A f f a i r s , Immigration and Ethnic A f f a i r s , Health, Transport and Primary Industry

are Commonwealth departments which have a direct interest in surveillance for special p u r p o s e s . State departments such as Police, F isheries, Wildlife and Maritime Services have their special interests in the matter. The picture

then is one of many organisations and many interests. The

unifying theme is the interest that Australia has in detect­ ing unlawful intrusions into Australian territory.

It is believed the Chapter headings are self4explanatory. Conclusions and recommendations appear in Chapter 6.





hapter 1 The Need for Coastal Surveillance

Surveillance, in this context, has been defined as the systematic observation of the sea and air space surrounding the Australian coastline and its island territories to determine the extent, nature and

purpose of ship and aircraft movements possibly prejudicial to the peace, good order and security of Australia.

The size of the task can be simply illustrated. Australia has a coastline of over 12 000 miles and a number of outlying island

territories-- Norfolk, Lord Howe, Macquarie, Heard, Cocos and Christmas islands. In addition, the introduction of a 200 nautical mile fisheries or exclusive economic zone generates a maritime area of over 2.5 million square miles, or nearly 4 million square miles if claims are upheld in

respect of the island territories.

As already mentioned, the interests associated with surveillance of the Australian coast go far beyond the prevention of the clandestine importation of illicit drugs. This proposition was put succinctly in a submission to the Commission on behalf of Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Limited:

The protection of our coastline against illicit entry is a much wider problem than just the ingress of drugs and must be

considered together with the illicit entry of illegal migrants and other undesirables, the problem of transmission of human, animal and plant diseases and parasites, the smuggling out of protected fauna and flora as well as bullion and currency.

(OT 9618)

Surveillance also covers marine search and rescue, the efficiency and security of marine navigation aids and automatic weather stations, the prevention and detection of oil and other types of pollution at sea, and the safeguarding of Australia's interests on the continental shelf. Furthermore, even this list only reflects the need for coastal

surveillance to protect civil interests, and does not take into account the need for coastal surveillance for military purposes.

The need to detect and intercept illicit drug importations is obviously one of the primary concerns when considering the need for adequate surveillance of the Australian coast. Indeed, in the words of Commodore (Retired) K. D. Gray:

Failure to detect large scale drug running could have

ramifications for the whole fabric of Australian society. (OT 12807)

On the same theme another witness closely associated with the drug problem, who gave confidential evidence during May 1978, calculated that in purely monetary terms the effect on Australian society had been that



n the last three years many millions of dollars worth of illicit drugs had been marketed in Australia. He said:

...in the last three years they (Police and Customs) have seized about 450 million dollars worth of drugs, and if you accept overseas figures as being reliable, you can recognise that this is under 10% of the total volume of drugs. So in a period of three years you are looking at four and a half

thousand million dollars worth of drugs involved here in Australia. (CT)

This figure must be looked at in the light of the statement in the first submission of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to the Commission that 80% of drugs, including all the heroin consumed in Australia, originates from South-East Asia. The representatives of law enforcement agencies appearing before the Commission were unanimous in their view that South-East Asia was the source of most of the illicit drugs consumed in Australia, and this view was corroborated by other witnesses including Dr B. A. Rexed, Director of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (OT 9529).

In receiving evidence from the many witnesses with an interest in this subject, the Commission felt constrained to pose the general question: is the current level of surveillance of Australia's coastline adequate?

Chapter 2, Unauthorised Intrusions, and Chapter 3, Resources Available for Surveillance, of this Part assemble and examine the factual evidence that might lead to a resolution of this question. It is interesting to note that in the subjective assessments of most witnesses who expressed an opinion there was a broad consensus that the

coastal surveillance effort currently being mounted was inadequate to meet the threat imposed by the illicit importation of drugs and the other menaces associated with the security of Australia's coast. The sentiments expressed in a submission to the Commission by the Reverend

Ian Lymburn, Pastor of the Gawler Baptist Church in South Australia, on behalf of his parishioners, perhaps typified the concern felt by most lay people:

We view with grave concern the entrance of so-called 'hard drugs' into Australia from overseas countries, and would like to draw the Commission's attention to what appears to be an

inadequate surveillance of our extensive coastline. (OT 14275)

While the Commission was taking evidence in Darwin in March 1978 a senior departmental officer referred in confidential hearing to a list of Vietnamese refugee boats that had landed recently in Darwin showing the name of the vessel, where the landing took place and the number of people involved, and he remarked:



cannot indicate how many of these craft were observed before arriving in Australian waters, but I do know of several boats which arrived unannounced. For example, one such craft arrived at Anson Bay,south of Darwin, another arrived at Doctor's Gully

which is within Darwin Harbour near the Travelodge. All craft had signs painted across their decks 'SOS Vietnamese Refugees' in large letters. They were trying to be seen. (CT)

The evidence disclosed that since 27 April 1976, 53 refugee boats carrying a total of 2067 persons have arrived in Australia.

Furthermore, the Commission was told that although 84 foreign fishing vessels had been apprehended for breaches of Australian fishing laws and escorted into an Australian port, others had escaped detection only to be impounded by local authorities upon returning to their home ports.

One such example was the reported apprehension of 7 Taiwanese fishing junks in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in the three months to August 1979 laden with clam meat allegedly poached from the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Tasmanian Government, after an extensive review of surveillance in Tasmanian waters, made a detailed submission to the Federal Government in October 1978. The opening paragraph of that submission expresses the Tasmanian Government's disappointment with the present state of surveillance:

Tasmania is concerned that not sufficient is being done by the Federal Government to increase the surveillance of South East Australian coastal waters. Indeed, the surveillance of foreign fishing in this area, including the waters surrounding the

state, has never been properly undertaken. (Open Exhibit 584)

But perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the alleged inadequacy of the current level of surveillance of Australia's coast was given by a senior police officer in confidential evidence in Brisbane in December 1978:

...A Taiwanese fishing boat went up the Brisbane River just some months ago. It went past the quarantine station. It went past the Navy and the Customs offices and it went past the Water Police station, but was sighted up the river and that is when the alarm went up. It was stopped up near the Toowong Reach.

(Question) Where was it going?-- (Answer) It had sailed right around the top from Darwin, and using a school book atlas, fished all the way on the maps that he had in his atlas showing good fishing spots, and they lived on board. It took them

about three months.




lthough all agencies engaged in coastal surveillance generally acknowledged short-comings in the present system and advocated, or at least accepted, the need for a greater investment of equipment and manpower, a cautionary note was sounded by many. Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, giving evidence in Brisbane in September 1978 said:

Because it is neither sensible, acceptable to society, nor even possible to patrol every kilometre of the vast Australian coastline, watch every isolated airstrip, search every passenger, examine every article imported, intercept all ships and aircraft, large and small, a judgement must be made about the extent to which these activities should reasonably be undertaken, having regard to available resources of personnel and material, and government policies about their provision.

(OT 16122)

In his contention that complete surveillance of the Australian coast is an 1 impossible task', Mr Besley was supported by several senior law enforcement officers appearing before the Commission. In addition, the Honourable D . J. Wordsworth, M.L.C., the Western Australian Minister for Transport, in a written submission to the Commission incorporated into the transcript, quoted his Director-General of Transport as saying that it would be financially and practically impossible to put a 100% protective cordon around Western Australia, and that world experience had shown that a 100% detection rate in coastal surveillance was unattainable, irrespective of the resources devoted to the task (OT 5131).

However the hypothesis that surveillance of Australia's coastline is an 'impossible task' was not accepted by the representatives of the New South Wales Branch of the Customs Officers Association of Australia (Fourth Division) when they gave evidence to the Commission in Sydney in May 1978. Mr P. Bennett, President of the New South Wales Branch, and Mr R. Spanswick, State Secretary, in presenting the Association's

submission maintained that if the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs had been effective in policing and controlling the illegal movement of goods and people across Australia's national border there would be much less of a drug problem today. They said that the

geographical expanse of the coastline and the economics of providing a suitable screen were the major excuses used for the Bureau of Customs' failure to provide effective community protection in this matter, and that these excuses were 1 red herrings', as millions of dollars were being wasted within Australia in an attempt to compensate for this failure. Their argument was that if all those goods and people who should be controlled when entering Australia were in fact properly

controlled, there would be almost no need for the enormous costs of secondary or back-up organisations that currently exist within Australia. They cited, inter alia, as examples of the secondary or back-up organisations, the Narcotics Bureau, State police drug squads, health services to drug addicts, and the establishment of rehabilitation centres for drug addicts. They also referred to community costs which they said were the direct result of the Bureau of Customs' failure to control importation at the border. These were, inter alia, the cost to the community of the tragic loss of life and manpower caused by



llegally imported drugs, the cost to the community of crimes related to drug abuse, including the provision of corrective services, the cost of quarantine procedures when dangerous goods were found to have entered the country and the cost to the economy in the form of lost revenue when duty was evaded or not paid because of the lack of customs control.

Messrs Bennett and Spanswick then summarised the position as they saw it, in the following words:

There appears to be a Departmental philosophy which will reduce the scope of existing customs responsibilities of border protection. Other organisations will have to be developed to cope with these unattended matters. The philosophy seems to promote the procedure of attempting to control the situation

(and correct the damage to the community) after the goods and people have entered and adversely effected the country.

To suggest that it is not an economically viable proposition to effectively control all these areas in need of control at the actual point of entry rather than once entry is made, is false economy at best or stupidity at worst.

(OT 12478)




Chapter 2 Unauthorised Intrusions

This Chapter broadly surveys the evidence before the Commission relating to the extent of illegal importations of drugs across the Australian coastline and the methods used by those attempting to so import the drugs.

The evidence received by the Commission indicated that the following means are used:

* light aircraft

* small boats

* 'sea drops'

The area of Australia most geographically proximate to South-East Asia and the 'Golden Triangle', the source of most drugs illicitly imported into Australia, takes in parts of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Representatives from each State referred to

the methods used to import drugs across their respective areas of coastline during evidence to the Commission. There was consensus, at least insofar as certain types of drugs were concerned, that illicit drugs are being clandestinely imported across Australia's coastline using these methods. The position was broadly stated by Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, in

the first departmental submission to the Commission:

Intelligence activity, together with a number of detections, indicates that large illicit drug importations have been made using small craft at remote areas on the west and north-west coast, by sea drops from merchant vessels, and by the use of

light aircraft landing from overseas at remote, deserted airstrips, often uncharted, in the far north of Australia. (OT 47)

Mr H. Bates, Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau, in giving evidence to the Commission in Canberra in November 1977, sought to relate the methods used to import illicit drugs to the type of drugs being imported. He said that the method of importation varied depending

on the drug. Cannabis, which has an extremely high volume to weight ratio, is imported using light aircraft and yachts, the aircraft using deserted airstrips in the north of Australia and yachts making landfall on the remote west coast. With heroin, the preferred method appeared to

be couriers using either body concealment, corsets or jackets, or false compartments in luggage, or concealment in other personal items. In relation to hashish and hashish oil in quantity, which also had a fairly high volume to weight ratio, the preferred method was concealment in a wide range of imported cargoes including motor vehicles (OT 327).



nauthorised Aircraft Flights

Mr C. J. McGorey, the Airport Director of Darwin International Airport, spoke about the situation where light aircraft were sighted crossing the northern Australian coast from South-East Asia (OT 5765-X 67). He told the Commission that, by regulation, light aircraft flights leaving Australia for overseas were required almost invariably to exit through a designated international airport. By the same token, flights entering Australia from overseas are also required to land at a designated international airport. Consequently, flights of overseas origin entering Australia between Darwin and Broome to the west, and between Darwin and Horne Island to the east, would prima facie be unauthorised flights.

The question of flight authorisation was considered more fully during the evidence of Mr D. R. McKinlay, Assistant Director, Air Operations Branch of the Queensland Region of the Commonwealth Department of Transport. He told the Commission that there were established procedures for informing the appropriate authorities of the travel of aircraft entering and leaving Australia and that this flowed

from the necessity to either obtain approval or provide flight information in order to comply with the requirements of the Air Navigation Regulations (OT 4815). In addition, in remote areas the pilot was required, apart from meeting other operational requirements,

to provide flight details and to maintain radio reporting with the particular Airways Operations Unit responsible for that area. In any event, pilots planning flights of a distance greater than 50 nautical miles were required to provide flight notification. Great suspicion must therefore attach to aircraft entering Australian air space across the remote coast when no flight notification has been received.

However, the ease with which unauthorised flights can be made into Australia was the subject of a comment by a senior Royal Australian Air Force officer to the Commission in a confidential session. He said that it was, in his operational experience, a very easy matter to fly into Australia on an unauthorised flight as there were a lot of air fields available which would not normally be policed and there were many ways that the system could be used to fool the authorities into thinking that an aircraft was at one place when in fact it was elsewhere.


A large amount of information about alleged importations of drugs by light aircraft was given in evidence to the Commission. The quality of this information varied enormously from proven fact to mere speculation. The evidence was classified broadly as either proven or suspected

importations to achieve a better appreciation of the situation, however, the nature of the information was such that a more precise

classification was considered impossible. A similar attempt at classification was made in relation to the evidence on importations by boat and by 'sea drops'.


Proven Importations

On 22 January 1978 Donald Roy Tait crash-landed an aircraft

containing 250 kg of cannabis at Katherine in the Northern Territory. The evidence seems to indicate that in many ways this incident had a catalytic effect. A common attitude was that admitted to by Mr T. I. Pauling, a Stipendiary Magistrate for the Northern Territory, who told

the Commission:

I confess to have been sceptical of claims that planes landed unannounced from Asia at remote airstrips in the Northern Territory until the Tait case and the two identified entries that followed. That drugs were imported by sea was well


(OT 6222)

It is further known that in August 1976 Tait was arrested in

Indonesia when he was about to fly an aircraft loaded with cannabis to Australia. There is also evidence before the Commission which suggests, but does not prove, that Tait may have made up to five previous trips to Australia with drugs, landing at a place approximately 50 miles south of Darwin.

Another instance of what might be classified as a proven importation or attempted importation of drugs by light aircraft about which the Commission heard evidence was a scheme by a group of persons in March 1973 to import cannabis from Indonesia, initially to a remote airstrip near Derby, Western Australia, and later to Pakenham, Victoria.

The Commission has notice of an importation of drugs by light aircraft which occurred in the Cape Tribulation area of North Queensland in October 1977. Two packages of drugs are believed to have been

dropped from a light aircraft, one of which was subsequently recovered by officers of the Narcotics Bureau and found to contain 378.5 grams of heroin.

The Commission is also aware of the arrest of two persons at Daru in Papua New Guinea on 4 May 1979 following the alleged discovery of 22 kg of cannabis in a life-raft in their light aircraft. The aircraft was said to have been en route to Australia.

Suspected Importations

The evidence contains many references to sightings of unidentified aircraft, most of which were reported either to the police, the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (ACSC) or to the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support (CASOS) Group of the Bureau of Customs, and most of which remain unresolved to this time. These sightings cover a two year period, August 1977 to August 1979, but are almost certainly not the

only sightings made during this time. CASOS and ACSC researched their records at the request of the Commission and compiled separate lists of



a r w i n _ _ > > !+ -

Kununurra '+ Cairns Λ+

Broome Townsville

M a c k a y Port Hedland

Rockhampton·) Gladstone'

Alice Springs

£ Carnarvon


l» P e r t h





Locations of unresolved unidentified aircraft sightings — August 1977 to August 1979 •/H obart


he sightings of unidentified aircraft reported to their respective organisations.

These lists, together with the other sightings in evidence have been surveyed by Commission staff with a view to eliminating duplication. At the close of the Commission's final sittings in Canberra on 5 September 1979 a total of 109 unresolved sightings for which there were, at least, firm dates and places of sighting had been brought to the Commission's attention.

In addition to these reported sightings, law enforcement agencies have received information from time to time about attempted, planned, or suspected importations of drugs into Australia by light aircraft. Several law enforcement officers have passed information of this kind to the Commission. For instance, a senior officer of the Queensland Police Force, during confidential evidence in Brisbane, cited two examples of

suspected or attempted importations of drugs into Australia by persons operating aircraft into Queensland from New Guinea and the Islands.

Furthermore, as Tasmania is an island State, the term importation was used by the Tasmanian Police to cover importation into the State from the mainland States as well as direct importation into Australia from overseas. Inspector T. W. Cashion, Officer-in-Charge of the Tasmanian Police Drug Squad, told the Commission during a confidential hearing that drugs were imported from Victoria and South Australia to

remote airfields in the north-west area of the State.

Persons other than law enforcement officers also placed secondary evidence before the Commission which indicated that drugs were being imported into Australia by light aircraft. The Mayor of Darwin, Dr E. M. Stack, told the Commission that she had known that planes were violating Northern Territory air space since she became Mayor in 1975

(OT 5839). In saying this she was supported by Mr J. M. Robertson, Cabinet member for Community and Social Development for the Northern Territory. He said that he had received, over a period of time, a number of reports of light aircraft sightings in the area south of Darwin (OT 5860--73).

A businessman and former commercial pilot gave evidence to the Commission about approaches made to him and his associates in the late 1960s to fly packages containing drugs into Australia. A pilot for an aircraft charter company servicing remote stations and settlements in the Northern Territory spoke of responsible local citizens who had

spoken to him on several occasions about aircraft seen flying low over the sea at night without navigation lights. Several other witnesses told the Commission in confidential session that they had personal

knowledge of drugs being flown into Australia in light aircraft; one such person was a prisoner who had been convicted of, and was serving a sentence in relation to, the importation of heroin into Australia.



the evidence received by the Commission in relation to the importation of drugs by light aircraft indicates that such importations are not solely confined to the use of isolated or remote outback airfields. There is some evidence, albeit speculative, that major metropolitan light aircraft aerodromes, such as Bankstown Airport in Sydney and Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne, are also being used.

The Problem of Remote and Isolated Landing Areas

A substantial amount of evidence was placed before the Commission concerning remote airfields and isolated landing areas, particularly in northern Australia, and the difficulties the authorities face in controlling the use of these airfields for clandestine flights to and from Australia by light aircraft engaged in illegal activities.

Several witnesses pointed out that although there were many hundreds of airfields in varying stages of repair in the northern portion of Australia, many of which were abandoned wartime airfields, it was possible for light aircraft to make successful landings on the natural

land in many areas and consequently identifiable airfields were not really necessary. For instance, it was pointed out that Donald Tait emergency-landed a multi-engined aircraft in a paddock during his flight into Australia with drugs on 22 January 1978. Furthermore, there are numerous private aircraft operated from properties in the north of Australia, and whilst there is a requirement for flight plans to be

lodged on every occasion these aircraft are used, there is obviously a reluctance by operators to comply because aircraft are used by property owners and employees as a standard form of transport on the vast properties of outback Australia, and for such routine activities as cattle mustering.

The Commission was told that remote airfields are useless to a potential drug smuggler without reasonable access to transport fuel to, and the drugs from, the aircraft. Nevertheless, with four-wheel drive vehicles there are few remote airfields out of reach of a determined

smuggler, at least during the dry season, and the evidence shows that there are many unlicensed airfields with good access including several fully sealed wartime airstrips along the Stuart Highway within 30 miles of Darwin.

Authorised Landing Areas

The types of landing area and the regulations governing the landing of aircraft outside government and licensed aerodromes, were broadly put to the Commission by Mr L. R. Newton, Assistant Director, Air Operations of the Commonwealth Department of Transport. He told the Commission that, broadly speaking, there were three types of landing area, firstly government aerodromes, secondly licensed aerodromes, and thirdly, authorised landing areas. Licensed aerodromes are not government owned but are private aerodromes licensed by the Department of Transport. They have various classifications depending upon the physical length of the runway and the terms of the licence. These terms require such aerodromes to be maintained to a specific standard. The administration



f licensed aerodromes is the responsibility of the licensees. In relation to authorised landing areas, Mr Newton said that a pilot could land an aircraft not exceeding 5700 kg all-up weight outside a

government or licensed aerodrome if he ensured that the area complied with the approved standards specified in the Operations Manual as being applicable to the type of aircraft and the class of operation in which

he was engaged. Certain minimum dimensions are involved, and for light aircraft an area where there are no houses, or an abandoned road, or a strip of beach, or a partly cleared field may meet the requirements. In effect, if these general conditions are met, a pilot may land anywhere

(OT 992--93).

Several witnesses gave examples which illustrated the fact that a prepared airfield is not necessary for light aircraft, even aircraft of a fairly advanced type. One witness told of a road building contractor who, instead of moving his base camp at the end of each day, flew his men to the work site and landed on the road. This was occurring every

15 miles along that road; the road was demonstrably a usable airstrip.

The Number of Remote and Isolated Landing Areas

On a regional level, an assessment of the number of such areas appears to have assumed importance only in Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. The concern in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory appears to have

resulted from the fact that the northern parts of those areas are within light aircraft range of South-East Asia. The concern in Tasmania probably reflects the possibility of importation by light aircraft from the mainland across Bass Strait.

The most comprehensive assessment of remote and isolated airstrips in northern Australia is contained in the confidential evidence of a senior officer of the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) of the Bureau of Customs. In describing a map placed before the

Commission, he said:

...We then indicated the number of airstrips known to Customs that exist in those areas, and within the 750 nautical mile range from Bali there are 78 known airstrips. Within 1000 nautical miles from Bali-- of course, this is inclusive of that

78-- there are 685 known airstrips. Within 750 nautical miles of Dili there are 1027 known airstrips. Within 500 nautical miles of Port Moresby there are 164 known airstrips and within 750 nautical miles from Port Moresby there are 605 known

airstrips. Some of these, of course, are duplicated because the areas overlap.

(Question) A thousand might be getting towards the limit of endurance?-- (Answer) Twin-engined aircraft---very few would not do 1000 miles.



nowing there are duplications and that the sum total of airstrips cannot be gained by dividing by the number I said before, as at 24 September 1978, the total number of known airstrips within those ranges was 2039.


Perhaps the final word on the subject of remote landing areas was uttered by Mr L. R. Newton when he agreed with the Commission that there are virtually unlimited opportunities for anyone to put an aircraft down and take off again with reasonable safety in the northern areas of Australia (OT 992— 93).

At the request of the Commission, Mr Newton looked at the problem of remote landing areas from the point of view of aircraft availability. He produced a list of aircraft registered in Western Australia and indicated that his staff had surveyed this list to determine on a rough basis the percentage of those aircraft which would have the

characteristics and necessary range to fly to South-East Asia and land on an unprepared surface. The list, which was not restricted to privately owned aircraft but included aircraft owned by commercial operators, showed a total of 630 general aviation aircraft registered in Western Australia of which 93 could be so used. Mr Newton went on to

indicate that if one were to take single-engined aircraft into account, an additional 240 aircraft in that register could also be used. Consequently, approximately one half of the aircraft currently registered in Western Australia have the capacity to fly between South East Asia and the north of Western Australia (OT 1000).

Mr P. B. Eccles, First Assistant Secretary, Coastal Services Division of the Commonwealth Department of Transport, in evidence to the Commission in Brisbane said that 5570 light aircraft were registered with the Department in Australia. By 'light aircraft' he meant an aircraft with an 1 all-up-weight' of under 12 500 pounds, and this included both single and twin-engined aircraft.

It may or may not be valid to make a similar division, but it is probably fair to say that there are currently over 2000 light aircraft in Australia capable of flying to South-East Asia and landing on unprepared strips. It is also interesting to note that Australia had, at 31 December 1978, 3780 licensed commercial pilots and 20 296 licensed private pilots.

Availability of Fuel at Remote Airstrips

Evidence before the Commission showed that fuel is available at many remote airfields, unguarded and unsecured, and able to be used by itinerant aircraft. An excellent illustration of this occurred on 8 February 1978. On that date, an unidentified aircraft was sighted

crossing the Australian coast at Gove in the Northern Territory; two hours later the pilot of an unidentified aircraft was reported as having stolen some 318 litres of fuel from a fuel dump at the site of the Roper River Settlement airstrip.



senior officer of the Commonwealth Department of Transport in Darwin gave evidence of similar fuel dumps beside other airstrips in the remote north of Australia, many of which are on the coast and on the offshore islands, having been left there by survey parties.

In June 1978 the Royal Commissioner joined an Orion P3C aircraft of No. 10 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron of the RAAF on a regular maritime patrol around the Australian coastline. On 14 June, the Orion left Darwin and flew along the Western Australian coast to Learmonth.

In the course of this flight, the Commission was able to confirm the existence of fuel dumps alongside the landing strips at Troughton Island and Kalumburu Mission. At Troughton Island, the site of a former weather station destroyed in a cyclone and now deserted, there were

signs of possible recent use by light aircraft, some wheel marks being clearly visible in the grass.

There is also evidence before the Commission of other remote airstrips in Queensland and the Northern Territory with drums of aviation fuel stacked unsecured on the side of runways.

Suggested Solutions

Dr E. M. Stack, Mayor of Darwin, during evidence to the Commission, proposed that unused airstrips in the north of Australia be ploughed up and the bush allowed to regenerate (OT 5839). Dr Stack's suggestion was subsequently put to Mr P. B. Eccles of the Commonwealth Department of Transport to obtain the Department's reaction. Mr Eccles told the

Commission that he had consulted with a senior officer of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and both Departments were of the view that Dr Stack's suggestion was not feasible or useful because there were so many airstrips in the outer areas of Australia (OT 21004).

A more comprehensive solution was put forward in a submission by Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Limited. This suggestion centred on an automatic unmanned warning system, consisting of a self-activated, sound-triggered radio transmitter, which would alert a customs base that

an aircraft was using the airstrip. Hawker de Havilland proposed that such a system would be tied to a flying enforcement branch of the Bureau of Customs equipped with STOL aircraft, which would be on stand-by to intercept intruding aircraft (OT 9619).

The use of remote electronic sensors to guard isolated landing areas is more fully dealt with in Chapter 4, Suggested Acquisitions for Surveillance.


Proven Importations

In this context 'proven' means that some physical evidence of the importation of drugs by boat is available. This may be provided by a



izure of drugs and/or the apprehension of persons involved in the importation. The references to such importations were extracted from the evidence and totalled. Some 12 such importations occurring between 1971 and June 1978 have been brought to the attention of the Commission.

Suspected Importations

The Commission was told of information available to law enforcement agencies concerning drug importations by boat which have not, to this point of time, resulted in a seizure of drugs and/or the apprehension of persons whose involvement is suspected. There is information before the Commission that 10 such suspected importations took place between 1969 and July 1978.

As well as evidence from law enforcement personnel detailing suspected importations of drugs by boat, the Commission has before it other secondary evidence from lay witnesses. For instance, an anonymous witness, identified by the pseudonym Mr Melbourne No. 1, gave evidence

to the Commission in Melbourne of an incident which occurred towards the end of December 1973 whereby he was responsible for importing what he now believes to have been 3.5 kg of heroin (OT 2488--S9). He alleged that he was transported by fishing boat to Thursday Island where he transferred to a Hamilton jet boat which ran down the coast of

Queensland to an area north of Cairns where the drugs were taken ashore.

Another first-hand account of a suspected importation of drugs was given by a fisherman in a confidential written submission to the Commission. The fisherman referred to a series of incidents in 1965 when he observed men throwing parcels over the stern of a ship into a

small boat a few miles south of Cooktown.

Mr M. G. Kailis, Chairman of the Western Australian Marine Services Association (WAMSA), in giving evidence to the Commission in Perth, related some of the experiences of the members of his Association (OT 13846 — 71). Some members, fishermen operating out of Broome and other places along the Western Australian coast, were from time to time picking up high speed vessels travelling towards Australia on their radars,but these vessels would shy away before coming into visual range. He said that his members used to worry about what these vessels were up

to as it was obvious to them that they were engaged in some illegal activity.

The Commission also heard from four convicted drug smugglers about the use of boats to smuggle drugs into Australia. One of these

convicted persons made the following reply, during confidential evidence, to a question about the method he would adopt in any future attempt to import drugs:

If I was doing it, if I-- heaven forbid---wished to embark upon another scene like that I would come in by sea; come in with a



ht; come into a cove somewhere, some sheltered isolated place.


Other evidence was more speculative. Some witnesses sought to draw an inference that drugs had been imported or were being imported, merely because there was an obvious opportunity for doing so.


Proven Importations

Where drugs were found washed up on the coast, the Commission felt justified in assuming that these drugs were part of a ’sea drop1, unless there was evidence to the contrary. References in the evidence to such incidents were extracted, and it would appear that between August 1975 and December 1976 there were five importations indicated in this manner.

Suspected Importations

As with the previous methods of importation across the coast, the Commission received evidence from law enforcement officers detailing suspected importations of drugs by 1 sea drop1.

Confidential evidence was received in Brisbane from a senior officer of the Bureau of Narcotics about a vessel suspected of being involved in the importation of drugs into Australia. It had sailed from Singapore via Papua New Guinea in early 1977 and was searched on arrival at its first port of call, Sydney, with no result. The Narcotics Bureau

subsequently received information that the vessel had dropped its cargo of drugs on a reef near Sydney.

The fact that ’sea drops' of drugs are being made off the New South Wales coast was supported by the confidential evidence of another Customs officer who said that in conversations he had with yachtsmen he was told that they had seen drops of goods picked up at sea. He also

told the Commission that he had a conversation with an electronics engineer who had been approached by a syndicate to make sophisticated equipment for use in 'homing in' on drops of drugs.

Customs officers in Victoria also told the Commission of 'sea drops' in Port Phillip off Dromana where ships pass very close to shore.

In Queensland, a senior police officer told of information he had received that several trawlers, which were operating out of Caloundra and Mooloolaba, were picking up contraband from overseas ships by arrangement. He said, in confidential session, that buoyant and waterX tight parcels were being thrown overboard from large vessels at predetermined spots well within sight of the inhabited coastline. These parcels were weighed down with an open-weave bag containing rock salt.


When the salt dissolved after several hours the parcel would float to the surface and be picked up.

Another Queensland police officer gave evidence about a vessel which travelled along the Queensland coast as a tourist vessel and picked up boxes at sea believed to contain heroin.

In Western Australia there was a consensus among both Federal and State police that sea drops of drugs were occurring off the Western Australian coast, while in Tasmania, a Narcotics Bureau officer told the Commission that there had been constant rumours of drops of drugs from overseas vessels being picked up by small fishing boats.

Lay witnesses appearing before the Commission also spoke of reports that sea drops of drugs were being made. In New South Wales, the

Reverend F. J. Nile, National Co-ordinator and New South Wales State Director of the Australian Festival of Light, spoke of receiving reports of illegal drugs being dropped off ships off the coast of northern New South Wales (OT 10365), while in Victoria a welfare worker said that she had been told that Mallacoota Inlet and Port Phillip Bay were places where packages of heroin were being dropped from passing ships to be retrieved later by small boats (OT 2401). The latter claim was

subsequently partly corroborated in evidence by the representative of a drug rehabilitation organisation. He claimed that the drugs were being dropped into Westernport Bay, rather than Port Phillip Bay.

In Tasmania, a self-confessed drug addict and trafficker gave confidential evidence about a parcel of drugs containing 4 kilograms of cannabis oil being dropped into the sea off the west coast of Tasmania from a light aircraft.

Finally, a witness estimated, in a confidential statement to the Commission, that some 30% of all illicit drugs imported into Australia were being 'dumped off the coast'.


The Commission sought to answer this question through witnesses who could have been in a position to provide a reasonable assessment, particularly in the light of the Minister for Transport's announcement of 9 July 1978 of the Commonwealth Government's decision to upgrade Australia's civil coastal surveillance and enforcement capabilities. Mr Nixon said:

The changes reflect the Government's concern over increased evidence of smuggling, unauthorised landings, quarantine breaches and other illegal activities along Australia's northern coastline.

(OT 15086)


However, most of the witnesses said either that there was

insufficient material available to make a judgement or, that the numbers of violations were less than those claimed.

A large body of evidence before the Commission serves to delineate the area or areas of the Australian coast where importations of illicit drugs 'across the coast' are more, or most, likely to take place. Perhaps the dominant theme running through this evidence is that, although the area of greatest risk is obviously northern Australia, especially those areas most proximate to South-East Asia, there is virtually no part of the Australian coastline where violation, or the

threat of violation, by drug runners and other persons engaged in illegal importation activities, could not occur.

Commodore (retired) K. D. Gray in his submission to the Commission on coastal surveillance, summarised the position as follows:

Drug-running, as opposed to drug-smuggling, is geography and craft restricted. Aircraft and surface craft used for this purpose would be small and of relatively short range; and if surface craft would have relatively poor sea keeping qualities.

Transits through foreign air fields and ports would probably be linked to small facilities where local authorities could be encouraged to turn a blind eye. Arrival points in Australia would need to be isolated and a local organisation would be needed to provide fuel, onward passage of the cargo, etc. For

all practical purposes, it is likely that drug-running, or the illegal running of other highly valuable cargoes, would take place only along the northern and north-western coasts in an arc from Port Hedland to Townsville but more particularly in

the arc from about Broome to Cape Arnhem. Drugs and other highly valuable cargoes could, of course, be dropped overboard at selected positions from ships on normal trading activity to Australia. Surveillance of this type of activity, except in

acting in pursuance of information received, would be

impractical... Based on these guiding principles, it is possible to establish the degree of surveillance which, desirably, should be applied to various sections of Australian waters. (OT 12809)

As Tasmania is an island, the most southerly of the Australian states and the farthest away from South-East Asia, it might be thought, particularly when one applies the criteria enunciated by Commodore Gray, to be a relatively low risk area in relation to the importation of drugs

'across the coast'. However, in evidence to the Commission, Tasmania was described as an 'Achilles heel' by the former Collector of Customs for Tasmania, Mr R. J. Beattie, during the presentation of a submission on behalf of the Tasmanian collectorate to the Commission. He said that

although Tasmania was far removed from the main world drug supply areas, it is nonetheless near the main ocean trading routes and in this respect could present an 'Achilles heel' in the overall prevention screen. He said that the main trading routes around Australia are heaviest through Bass Strait but also heavy around the south of Tasmania. In addition, there are a large .number of small craft and fishing vessels in Tasmanian



rs, both local and foreign vessels, and some of these foreign vessels come from 1 suspect areas' (OT 1160— 62).



hapter 3 Resources Available for Surveillance

Evidence received by the Commission indicated that resources from a range of activities and organisations were or could be used for

surveillance of Australia's coastline.

They included:

* The Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS) of the Bureau of Customs;

* Customs Patrol Vehicles ;

* The Royal Australian Air Force;

* The Royal Australian Navy;

* The Australian Army;

* The Commonwealth Department of Transport;

* Merchant Shipping;

* The Fishing Industry;

* Meteorological Radar;

* Various State Government Organisations;

* Volunteer Coastal Patrols.


(As CASOS formerly was within the responsibility of the Narcotics Bureau it is also dealt with in Part VI, Chapter 3 of this Report.)

The background and role of CASOS was briefly explained by Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, during the presentation of the Department's first submission to the Commission concerning the role of the Bureau of Customs in enforcing

Commonwealth legislation pertaining to drugs. Mr Besley said:

Early in 1974 it was recognised that the capability for

exploitation of the remote areas of Australia for the

introduction of contraband by small craft and by light aircraft was being utilised by smugglers.

An inability of the Bureau of Customs to cope with this problem (lack of resources-- manpower, vehicles, equipment, organisation) was seen. A central organisation-- the Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS)-- was established in July 1974 because of this problem.


The primary objective of this group was to develop the Bureau of Customs' capability to counter smuggling by small craft and by light aircraft in the northern areas of Australia. The solution was seen as intelligence/surveillance/reaction.

With a total lack of anti-smuggling resources, other than manpower in major towns, the initial role undertaken by CASOS was--

. to develop an intelligence data base relating to the

actuality of and the potential for smuggling in the remote areas of the north of Australia and where necessary, investigate.

. to provide/arrange logistic support for operational groups for the Bureau of Customs.

. to undertake the necessary liaison with defence in

obtaining and co-ordinating defence assistance in antiX smuggling operations.

CASOS, in its central office organisation, comprises a Chief Inspector in Charge of the section and two officers in each of its operations planning subsection and operational intelligence subsection.

(OT 105 — 106)

CASOS later became a sub-section within the Narcotics Bureau, but has reverted to the Bureau of Customs following the incorporation of the Narcotics Bureau into the Australian Federal Police.

On 21 November 1978 and again on 3 September 1979 the Commission inspected the CASOS establishment in Canberra.

The CASOS area of geographical interest (presumably in relation to its primary objective) extends from Geraldton in Western Australia to Gladstone in Queensland. The total CASOS area of interest has been sectionalised for ease of management into 320 smaller areas. F.ach of these covers 3600 square nautical miles. The known information about each area is evaluated and the potential for illicit importation and exportation is considered. CASOS then assigns a risk rating to each area, either high, medium or low. As part of its intelligence gathering

function, CASOS maintains a network of contacts in remote areas. The idea is to maintain contact with individuals in likely risk areas to foster an awareness of the Bureau's activities and needs regarding information on unusual or suspicious activity.

The Commission was told that CASOS had recruited several hundred contacts in the remote areas of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, and that these people were fishermen, mission station personnel, farmers and graziers, etc. In addition to these

contacts, a 'drugs hotline' , foreshadowed in a media release by the



inister for Business and Consumer Affairs on 30 April 1978, is

operational, and can be called free of charge from anywhere in Australia.

Criticisms of CASOS

Several criticisms were made of the functioning of CASOS, the more important of which are set out below.

In evidence to the Commission many witnesses spoke of the time delay occasioned by the requirement to refer unidentified sightings, especially of aircraft, to CASOS in Canberra and await a response before action is taken to follow-up the sighting. One focus of this criticism was the sighting of an unidentified aircraft at Gove in the Northern Territory on 8 February 1978. In discussion of this incident in a

confidential session of the Commission in Darwin, a senior officer of Customs agreed with the Commissioner that it took Canberra (CASOS) three and a half hours to make a decision about pursuing the aircraft.

The Commission noted that delays resulting from intra- and interX departmental confusion concerning the sightings of unidentified aircraft did occur and were contributed to by the lack of lateral regional communication of those sightings.

In addition to delays occasioned by the lack of lateral

communication and the necessity to report sightings to CASOS in Canberra, there are instances in evidence before the Commission where the CASOS communication and information gathering system has failed to operate at all.

A senior Department of Transport officer in Darwin discussed with the Commission the report of 8 February 1978 of an unidentified aircraft at Gove in the Northern Territory. He told the Commission in

confidential evidence that two or three days before this incident occurred he had received a telephone call from one of his superiors in Adelaide who gave him the names and telephone numbers of two Customs personnel in Canberra who were to be notified immediately an American-

registered aeroplane was planning to come into Australia in the Darwin area. He said that the senior operations controller on duty at the time of the 'Gove incident1 reported to him but he could not raise either of these two persons in Canberra on the telephone numbers he had been


A senior officer of Customs in Darwin was asked in confidential session to comment about two other sightings of unidentified aircraft and he replied that although he had a record of all the vessel and aircraft sightings that had been received and recorded by Customs, neither of those two sightings was on that record.

The Commission was told by a senior officer of the Narcotics Bureau in confidential session in Darwin that the first information that the

24001/80-13 B377


arcotics Bureau had received of the 'Tait incident', as far as he was aware, was upon the interception of Tait1s aircraft by an RAAF Hercules over the coast of the Northern Territory, despite the fact that the Northern Territory Police Force had known for some weeks that such an

incident might occur.

Several Customs officers in the field expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of CASOS. One senior officer, referring to the 'Tait incident' and reports of three subsequent intrusions over the northern coastline, said in confidential evidence that these incidents had exposed the need for a faster exchange of more accurate information, a faster response time to make interception possible, and the availability of several pursuit and interception aircraft under the direct control of the responsible agency.

However, the blame for problems or potential problems of inadequate communications does not rest solely with central office; there is evidence before the Commission which indicates that problems could be experienced at the regional level.

Some attempts have been made by informal arrangements at a regional level to overcome the lack of lateral communication. For instance, in Darwin the Commission heard of informal arrangements whereby the local Air Force and Navy commanders would let the local Customs people know of

sightings by telephone while simultaneously reporting to CASOS in Canberra through the Department of Defence Communications Network.

Much criticism has been levelled at the Bureau of Customs in general and CASOS in particular for the failure to acknowledge reports of sightings and other information passed to those bodies by individuals, agencies and organisations.

Perhaps the most comprehensive criticism was made to the Commission in confidential session by a senior Air Force officer about the lack of 'feedback' to the crews of Orion maritime patrol aircraft engaged in civil surveillance for user departments such as Customs. He said that the only feedback forthcoming in relation to reports by the crew of Orion aircraft occurred when a request was received for further information, or for photographs to be taken, or an intelligence brief was compiled for a further mission which omitted reports of sightings which had been made previously. He went on to say that there were

several disadvantages stemming from the lack of feedback. Firstly, there was a demoralising effect on the crew who wondered whether they were fulfilling a need, and whether their vigilance, the result of considerable strain and effort, was being productive. Secondly, and even more basically, whether the crew were looking at and reporting the right things. Thirdly, whether the next patrol was to waste its time reporting the same thing and taking photographs.



e Royal Commissioner gained some first-hand knowledge of these criticisms when he joined the crew of an Orion aircraft on a regular patrol of the Australian coast in June 1978. However, subsequent evidence given to the Commission by another senior Air Force officer

approximately 12 months later indicated that there had been some improvement in this area. After discussion with the Commissioner, the witness agreed that the lack of feedback was fairly easily remedied and that the problem not only rested with Customs but also within the Air Force. He thought that the whole surveillance effort should be better

organised with the Air Force being tasked with policing the coast rather than continuing the current situation.

A more serious criticism in terms of the overall coastal

surveillance effort was levelled at CASOS by Mr P. B . Eccles, Officer- in-Charge of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (ACSC), that information was passed to Customs (CASOS) via the tieline between ACSC and CASOS but it was a 1 one way street', nothing being received in return even where that information may have been important to other user departments (OT 15756). He illustrated the problem by providing the Commission with the following summary of aircraft sightings reported to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre from November 1977 to September 1978:

Total reports received at ACSC 41

Reports passed to Customs by ACSC 41

Reports on Customs list on which 26

no information held in ACSC

Reports passed to ACSC by Customs 1


The Commission then requested information on whether Customs (CASOS) was prepared to co-operate and feed information back to the ACSC in such non-contentious matters as oil spills, damaged navigation aids, etc. Mr Eccles confirmed that there had been no such feedback to the ACSC by

CASOS (OT 15750). However, Mr P.J.B. Smith, who appeared before the Commission in September 1979 as acting officer-in-charge of CASOS, explained this lack of information flowing from CASOS to ACSC in non- contentious matters as the result of Customs launch crews 'not seeing

anything that would fall within the ACSC criteria'.

Perhaps the final word in disillusionment with the attitude alleged to have been adopted by Customs came in a frank exchange between the Commission and a senior officer of the Commonwealth Department of Transport in confidential session:

(Question) what about the federal level?-- (Answer) I have problems with the attitude of my colleagues in Customs... they just hide behind the word 'covert' all the time. Where we try to be open and frank in passing information, we do not get the

flow-baqk from them.



..I do find co-operation very difficult with them, but not at the working level; the operators. I understand from talking to my operators that they are told not to dialogue. (CT)

There was some criticism that CASOS regularly programmed maritime patrol aircraft to fly certain sea corridors which invariably proved to be unproductive.

This was evident when the staff of the Commission joined a regular patrol of the Australian coastline by a P3C Orion aircraft of No. 10 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron of the RAAF and circumnavigated Australia. On Wednesday 14 June 1978 the Orion left Darwin and flew along the Western Australia coast to Learmonth. In the course of this

flight the aircraft made a deviation some 200 miles out to sea in a line towards Bali, as part of a CASOS exercise. During this exercise, no craft was located.

On Thursday 15 June 1978 the Orion aircraft left Learmonth and proceeded north-west on a bearing towards the Lombok Strait in Indonesia. This again was part of a CASOS surveillance exercise and again no craft was located.

The Commission was told by the crew of the Orion that these aircraft were given the same exercise to perform each patrol, although they had rarely made a sighting while surveying these corridors for CASOS. These taskings were generally regarded by operational air force personnel as a waste of time, money and resources.

A former member of the Narcotics Bureau gave confidential evidence to the Commission during which he criticised the standard of reports submitted by Customs officers conducting surveys for CASOS purposes. He said he knew of two operations involving the use of a helicopter and a light aircraft. He later saw the report on one of those exercises which he severely criticised. In the main, the photographs were useless from an intelligence point of view because of the height from which they were taken or the lack of any apparent detail by which the vessel depicted could be identified. Furthermore, there was no suggestion that the vessels photographed were acting suspiciously or even suspect, and the

report itself, even when summarised, contained no useful intelligence and appeared to be a wasted effort which had cost the department a great deal of money which might have been better spent elsewhere.

A senior officer of the Commonwealth Department of Transport criticised Customs (CASOS) for its failure to use the expert advice available within his Department. He said in confidential evidence that when he chartered an aircraft on behalf of his Department, he consulted with the Senior Air Traffic Controller in the State in which the aircraft was to be chartered. On the other hand, Customs had never used his Department's aviation experts, and this had led in the past to Customs' chartering unsuitable aircraft.



esponse to Criticisms of CASOS

Mr J. G. Keating, Chief Inspector and then Officer-in-Charge of CASOS, during hearings of the Commission in Brisbane on 14 October and 15 December 1978, was given the opportunity of replying to criticisms made of CASOS. He was first asked to deal with the sighting of an

unidentified aircraft at Gove in the Northern Territory on 8 February 1978 and the criticism that the necessity to refer that sighting to CASOS in Canberra occasioned a needless delay in sending off an aircraft in pursuit (OT 17071--72). Mr Keating said that it was necessary to

refer such sightings to CASOS in Canberra as it might be that CASOS had information available to it that was not within a local repository, and that the delay was minimal in the interests of ensuring that the total information was available.

Mr Keating then went on to correct what he said was a wrong

understanding the Commission had about a regional office of the Department being unable to charter an aircraft without obtaining the approval of CASOS in Canberra. He said there was a ruling that where there was an 'emergent circumstance' the local office had the authority

to charter a vehicle (an aeroplane, a boat, a land vehicle, etc.) at its discretion and advise CASOS after the operation. However, in response to the Commission's request for the instruction, Mr Keating,

during a subsequent appearance before the Commission, said that he could not find a written instruction which was a general instruction, but that there was a memorandum dated 8 September 1977 going to the Collector of Customs in Western Australia and the Sub-Collector of Customs in the Pilbara region which set out the CASOS policy in relation to chartering

in ' emergent circumstances'. The Commission expressed some concern to Mr Keating that other regional offices might not be aware of the

authority to charter in 'emergent circumstances', and in fact, seemed to have proceeded to date in ignorance of that authority.

Mr Keating was asked to respond to criticisms by Air Force personnel of the CASOS inspired patrols of sea corridors, and, in particular, to comment upon the practical result of flying these corridors. He replied that very little had been achieved to date, and although not conceding

that these patrols were not worthwhile, he said that it meant that perhaps the search patterns were wrong and the wrong corridors were being flown.


As is outlined in Part VI, the Bureau of Customs has proclaimed control points spread throughout Australia through which all goods must be imported.In 1979 Customs control points included 69 proclaimed ports, 33 airports and six inland sub-collectorstes as well as eight Narcotics Bureau offices.

The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submissions to the Commission pointed out that those Customs officers designated Preventive Officers and other Customs officers stationed at main ports and at other points designated as 'outports' seek to impose a 'Customs screen around



ustralia and thereby deter, by the imposition of physical controls, all illegal importations and exportations, including drugs.

Beyond these main ports and outports, the 1 Customs screen' comprises three sea-going patrol launches and private charter aircraft flying with Customs officers as observers. Some patrols on land are also conducted, often in conjunction with revenue oriented Customs responsibilities.

Air Patrols

The chartered private aircraft flying with Customs officers as observers provide surveillance, by way of forward air cover for the Customs lauches, the aircraft maintaining radio contact with the launch and directing it to vessels sighted. Prior to the Minister for

Transport's announcement of the new arrangements for coastal surveillance on 9 July 1978, these chartered air patrols were running at the rate of 900 hours per annum. Assistance is also provided by RAAF

and Navy aircraft while on their regular patrols.

Under the general direction of CASOS in Canberra, patrols are also made by air of inland areas. These inland patrols are said to be

designed to update intelligence on specific areas, to intercept sightings and to investigate suspicious activity. The intelligence gained from land, sea and air patrols is used to identify risk ratings of particular areas and to determine the timing/frequency of future patrols.

Some of the difficulties which the Commission was told hampered the success of surveillance operations were the length of the coastline and the small number of patrol vessels.

The New Arrangements

The new arrangements, insofar as Customs air patrois are concerned, mean that three light aircraft are being chartered, fitted with special equipment search radar, avionics and long-range navigation equipment-- and dedicated solely to Customs tasks. They are being based

in Darwin, Broome and Townsville. In the interim pending the

availability of these Customs aircraft the Department is continuing to use charter aircraft.

Additionally, as part of the new arrangements, there are to be daily air searches of northern coastal areas between Geraldton and Cairns by civil aircraft on charter to the Commonwealth Government. These littoral searches, while primarily established to meet quarantine check requirements, will provide information of interest to other civil agencies such as Customs, and Customs will be able to call on any of these charter planes for back-up.



lthough when the Commission initially heard evidence about the role to be played by these aircraft it was said that they were acquired primarily as response vehicles, it was subsequently brought to the Commission's attention that the specified speed for the aircraft had been reduced from 220 knots to 150 knots to allow the Nomad aircraft to

be the subject of tender. In this regard, the Commission is aware that the Aero Commander flown by Tait had a speed in excess of 200 knots. The Commission was therefore unable to ascertain with any precision the role of these three Customs aircraft.

Sea Patrols

The primary vehicles for Customs sea patrols are three 'J ' class launches. These launches were acquired after submissions to Cabinet highlighting the vulnerability of Australia's remote north and northX west coastline to drug smuggling. Three 14-metre launches designed for

Customs coastal operations were procured, the first of which became operational in March 1976, and the last in late 1977. These launches were formerly stationed at Cairns, Broome and Darwin, but under the new arrangements, two have been redeployed to Geraldton and Port Hedland, with the third retained at Broome. This capability is to be

supplemented by a 'priority claim' on naval patrol vessels in other areas to benefit from their sea-going capability to respond to specific incidents.

Each launch has a crew of five Preventive Officers and a Senior Preventive Officer in command. The crew undergo a three month training course in marine operations. The Department said that the launches provided Customs with some sea-going anti-smuggling capacity for about 500 miles on either side of their base ports and that they were used principally for pre-programmed regular anti-smuggling patrols.

Apart from the 'J' class launches, the Commisson was told that Customs possessed a further 15 assorted launches used for harbour duties like boarding, harbour patrol and transport of personnel. Sydney has five such launches, Melbourne two, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gladstone, Townsville, Thursday Island, Darwin, Port Adelaide and Hobart one each. Few of the 15 launches are capable of coastal operations. There are

also 25 small open boats used by divers and in estuaries.

The point was made that under the Customs Act the Department has authority only within three miles of Australian land territory.

The Commission received a large body of evidence in relation to Customs launches and Customs sea patrols, including submissions from the Collectors of Customs in each State and the Northern Territory.

New South Wales

The vast majority of evidence in relation to this topic in New South Wales concerned t^he situation on Sydney Harbour. However, certain



ts were made which were applicable to the New South Wales

situation as a whole. The Commission was told that no patrols were being carried out on the New South Wales coast between Tweed Heads and Gabo Island or, with the exception of Port Stevens, Newcastle and Sydney Harbours, on any of the multitude of bays, rivers and ports along the New South Wales coast. In fact, the Commission was told that during

1977 a Customs launch for the first time in Customs history had

travelled the full length of the New South Wales coastline.

It was said that in the whole of New South Wales there is only one boat in the Customs fleet which is adequate for harbour patrol and that is the Beltana. The Beltana has an average maximum speed of 35 knots and is fitted with a radar set, however, the average maximum speed of the other boats used by Customs is about 10 knots.

It was also alleged before the Commission that the maintenance of Customs launches in New South Wales is inadequate as the maintenance personnel are not qualified, and the staff of three is not sufficient to maintain seven launches.

As previously indicated, the preponderance of evidence concerning Customs sea patrols in New South Wales related to the situation on Sydney Harbour. Several witnesses were highly critical of what they saw as the Department's neglect of its reponsibilities in this area.

One witness, a former employee of the Bureau of Customs, told the Commission in confidential evidence that in 1965 a 24 hour a day patrol by a Customs launch was instituted on Sydney Harbour and that this operated for approximately eight years before it was discontinued as an economy move. He said the patrol was reinstated on a trial basis in early 1977, but was still haphazard and there was frequently no patrol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In any event, the patrol was misdirected as

it concentrated on the wharf areas of Sydney Harbour only, whereas it should have been concerned with the whole harbour, particularly the Heads, to monitor the entry of vessels. In 1971, the patrol received permission to go around Middle Head into Middle Harbour and there found

18 foreign registered yachts for which the Department had no organised list.

The witness then spoke of an initiative taken by several Customs officers to institute a new method of «Launch patrol whereby enquiries were made from various persons around the harbour. This patrol was stopped by the Department four months after its inauguration because, according to the witness, pressure was exerted on the Department. It was subsequently conceded by a senior officer of the Narcotics Bureau in evidence to the Commission that it was almost impossible to see where each vessel in the harbour had been without interviewing the crew.

The Commission was told of the so-called 'honour system' whereby small craft arriving from overseas were required to report to Customs. Under this system, the Master or Agent of any vessel has the onus of



eporting the vessel's arrival to Customs within 24 hours. It was conceded that enforcement of the system fell largely on the initiative of individual Customs officers. The whole system caused the Commission great concern and was the subject of close scrutiny. It was generally

conceded by witnesses that the system was ingenuous and was wide open to abuse. Indeed, several witnesses acknowledged to the Commission that a yacht owner smuggling drugs could, in fact, under the honour system, be in port for 24 hours, take all his drugs ashore, ring Customs and advise

his arrival and still be complying with the law in relation to his obligation to report.

Certain senior officers of the New South Wales Collectorate of the Bureau of Customs sought to reply to the criticisms levelled at the Department's operations in New South Wales, especially those criticisms relating to the Department's patrolling of Sydney Harbour.

Mr G. E. Sheen, Collector of Customs for New South Wales, told the Commission that private yachts arriving from overseas were invariably boarded when their presence became known to Customs; however, he conceded that the vagaries of weather, currents and other things meant

that there was very little precision in determining when a vessel of this kind might arrive at a particular port (OT 16319). Customs would not necessarily have prior knowledge of a small private yacht arriving from Asia.

In relation to the detection of such craft, he said that the

Department had received excellent co-operation from entities such as other Australian government departments, State government authorities, police, lighthouse keepers, yacht clubs, marina operators and boatsheds, and furthermore, a measure of patrolling by car and launch was also

undertaken by Customs. Despite this, Mr Sheen admitted that a number of vessels had been detected in Sydney Harbour without proper Customs clearances.

The senior Assistant Collector (Services) of Customs in New South Wales, Mr J. G. Gallagher, spoke at length on the current position of Customs launch patrols of Sydney Harbour (OT 16388--89). He said that there was no total launch patrol, that is, 24 hours a day, seven days a

week, because of launch and staff availability and because of the judgments passed by the Supervising Preventive Officer in charge of each shift as to his priorities. The Supervising Preventive Officer might decide in his unfettered discretion that the workforce available to him at the start of the shift might be better employed ashore.

In commenting upon the effectiveness of Customs launch patrols, Mr Gallagher said that the public could be left with the impression that there was very little control over small craft coming into Sydney Harbour (OT 16391). He said that although he could not agree with this,

it would be rather foolish to state categorically that small craft could not get in and out of Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, Pittwater, Wollongong, Newcastle and elsewhere without being detected.


Mr Gallagher was asked about the stopping of Customs launch patrols of Sydney Harbour and answered directly and frankly that, because of the lack of trained staff, the launch patrol was stopped between November 1975 and March 1977 (OT 16393). In relation to the specialist launch patrol referred to previously, Mr Gallagher admitted that there was such a patrol which ran for four months from October 1977 to February 1978. When told that the Department had been severely criticised by certain Preventive Officers for bowing to outside pressure and stopping this patrol, Mr Gallagher replied that it had been discontinued because these officers had gone completely outside their charter and caused complaints to be made (OT 16395— 96).

The Commission's puzzlement with the Department's ready abandonment of this patrol was compounded by statements made by a subsequent departmental witness, Mr R. P. McMahon, Chief Inspector (Special Services) of the Bureau of Customs in Sydney. Mr McMahon recognised the diligence and enthusiasm of the Preventive Officers who formed the nucleus of this special harbour patrol but explained that they had exceeded their charter (OT 16422— 24). He admitted that this might have been due to faulty briefing by the Department and that these officers were obtaining valuable information. The patrol was abandoned owing to

complaints about the methods of operating the patrol and, in particular, intercepting and boarding small craft. The launch crew, in operating this way, were duplicating the efforts of other Departmental staff.

Departmental representatives virtually conceded in evidence to the Commission that the criticism of the ' sea-going' capacity of Customs launches in New South Wales was substantially correct, and that, with the current fleet, there was some difficulty in going out of Sydney Heads except in virtually 'mill-pond' conditions.

It was also conceded that there was a requirement for a capacity to patrol areas outside port limits in order to detect 'sea-drops' of contraband from overseas ships in the approaches to large ports. The Commission was told of detailed submissions by the New South Wales Collectorate to the Department's Central Office requesting ocean-going vessels to conduct such patrols.

Another senior New South Wales Customs officer agreed in

confidential evidence with the criticism that there were problems in maintaining the New South Wales fleet of Customs launches. However, he said that action was in hand to refurbish the workshop area and this was due to be completed in 1979; this would substantially improve the level of launch maintenance.

Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the inadequate maintenance of Customs launches, and indeed, of the inadequacy of the equipment itself, is a reference in the transcript to a Customs launch which broke down 83 times in travelling from Eden to Brisbane, and was not able to get closer than 14 miles to the ship it was supposed to shadow.




Two witnesses gave evidence about the patrolling of Victorian waters by Customs vessels. A senior Customs officer, in presenting a

submission on behalf of the Victorian Collectorate to the Commission, said in confidential session that because of the shortage of staff, launch usage in preventive work had been extremely limited. In the calendar year 1977, the average montly usage was at a level of 42.53 hours. The other witness, a senior Preventive Officer representing members of a staff association, in a confidential submission to the

Commission, said that there was no coastal surveillance carried out in Victoria by the Bureau of Customs on a regular basis. In any event, the present vessels, one small launch on a trailer and a boarding vessel, were not adequate for this purpose.


Three senior Customs officers gave confidential evidence to the Commission in Queensland relevant to this topic. It was said that the Department maintained a Customs launch Kamerunga in Brisbane capable of patrol activities as far north as Bundaberg and south to Ballina. This

launch carried out planned patrols at irregular intervals up and down the coast within these limits and also within the Brisbane River.

Customs launches were also based at Thursday Island, Cairns and Gladstone, with the craft at Cairns being the only other vessel capable of open ocean patrol. This vessel was a 'J' class launch which, under the new arrangements for coastal surveillance, was to be moved to the West Australian coast. The 'J' class vessel was said to have done very

good work in Cairns, providing the Bureau of Customs with information and intelligence on anchorages and mooring places along the Queensland coastline, but it lacked speed. These witnesses considered that a more sophisticated vessel was needed to adequately patrol the Queensland


South Australia

A senior Customs officer made the following points about Customs sea patrols in South Australian waters while giving confidential evidence to the Commission in Adelaide. There was one Customs launch in South Australia; a 26 ft twin-engined 'Savage', adequately equipped with modern communication facilities and radar which was used mainly for patrol and surveillance operations in and around Port Adelaide. Extensive operations had shown conclusively that the launch was quite

unsatisfactory for sustained patrol operations in even the relatively calm waters of St Vincent Gulf and Spencer Gulf. Because of the

unsuitability of the launch and the personal risk involved, similar operations could not be contemplated in the heavier open seas of the south-east.

Subsequent to this witness's evidence, the Commission received information that this launch had been transferred to Darwin, and South Australia was without a Customs launch of any kind.



estern Australia

Several witnesses made brief personal observations about the facilities available to the Bureau of Customs in Western Australia to patrol the State's coastal waters. These observations largely concerned the adequacy of the Customs 'J ’ class launches to patrol the seas normally encountered off the Western Australian coast and, as such, have greater relevance in view of announcement by the Minister for Transport of the redeployment of all three 'J' class Customs launches to the Western Australian coast (Broome, Port Hedland and Geraldton).

Mr M. G. Kailis, fishing fleet owner and Chairman of the Western Australian Marine Services Association (WANSA), made several statements about the Customs 'J' class boats while presenting a submission on behalf of his Association to the Commission in Perth (OT 13869). He said that the 1J ' class launches were not sea-going vessels because the were not big enough at 46 feet in length. To tackle the seas off the Western Australian coast, a vessel 70 feet in length was needed. Furthermore, the hulls of the 'J' class launches were designed for overseas conditions, and their 1 big flash bow' did not give them good

sea entry. In Western Australia a prevailing wind blows at 15--35 knots, necessitating a vessel with a good sea entry.

The operational limitations of the 'J' class launch stationed at Broome were also the subject of comment by a senior officer of the Narcotics Bureau. Referring to an operation in which it was found necessary to provide sea surveillance off Exmouth, he said that the Customs launch Jacana, had to be recalled to Broome, refuelled, and the

crew rested for 24 hours (OT 13869). It would have taken another 26 hours to reach Exmouth. He suggested that there was a requirement for a trailer-borne Carribean launch available to each Sub-Collector of Customs along the Western Australian coast.

Mr J. G. Keating, formerly Officer-in-Charge of the CASOS Group of the Bureau of Customs, gave evidence to the Commission that in 1978, 12 small craft reported to Customs in the area between Broome and Geraldton having come directly from overseas. He said that none of these craft had been seen by air or sea patrols prior to reporting to Customs.


The former Collector of Customs for Tasmania, Mr R. J. Beatty, while presenting a submission to the Commission on behalf of the Tasmanian Collectorate, was asked by the Commission about Customs boats in Tasmania and replied that the one boat that Customs had at the moment was only suitable for estuary work and not suitable for open sea patrols

(OT 1163— 64). He said that with the weather conditions prevailing around Tasmania, a sea-going vessel was needed.

Northern Territory

The Collector of Customs for the Northern Territory, Mr P. W. English, gave evidence to the Commission several months before the


announcement concerning the upgrading of coastal surveillance by the Commonwealth Minister for Transport on 9 July 1978 (OT 5702C). That announcement forshadowed the relocation of the Customs 'J' class launches then stationed in Darwin and Cairns, to Port Hedland and Geraldton in Western Australia. At the time that Mr English spoke, the

Northern Territory Collectorate had two 'J' class patrol vessels under its authority, one stationed at Darwin in the Northern Territory, the other at Broome in Western Australia.

Mr English described these vessels as long-range ocean-going patrol vessels and said that their worth could not, at that time, be fully assessed as they had been operating only since mid-1977 (OT 5707). However, there was an evident need for additional vessels to provide

effective cover of the coast and shipping lanes to Asian countries.

Mr English commented that the success of Customs sea-patrols undertaken in his Collectorate was being hampered by factors such as the length of the coastline and the small number of patrol vessels. He was also faced with a serious understaffing problem which resulted in no preventive cover at all between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Saturdays and

Sundays anywhere in the Northern Territory Collectorate, and only one man on duty during these hours during the week.

On Tuesday 13 June 1978, during the second sittings of the

Commission in Darwin, the Royal Commissioner and his staff inspected the Customs 'J' class launch Jerboa during a 2-hour view of Darwin Harbour and its surrounds. The Commission understands that this launch has now been transferred to the Western Australian coast. The only patrol craft

currently based in Darwin is the 26-foot Customs launch formerly based at Port Adelaide in South Australia.

The National Picture

Mr J. W. Cahill, a First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, during evidence before the Commission in Brisbane in September 1978, said that the Department was reviewing its whole launch fleet, some units of which had outlived their useful lives,

and that this review could lead to a phased re-equipment program (OT 16271). A report entitled 'A rationalisation of the Australian Customs launch fleet' was tendered in evidence to the Commission as a

Confidential Exhibit. The Commission takes the view that the broad conclusions drawn by that survey can be referred to without destroying the confidentiality of that Report. The main conclusions reached were:

* The present fleet consists of 17 vessels of 12 varieties which range from two 70 foot personnel carriers to a 20 foot half - cabin

runabout. Their ages range from 3 years to 33 years. In addition, there are 27 open boats which range from an 8 foot inflatable boat to an 18 foot river truck.



There is no technical reason for such a large variety of boats, and it appears to have occurred because of an ad hoc approach to boat acquisition over a long period.

* The Department is pouring good money after bad to maintain vessels which could not possibly be effective units.

* The time-scale for programmed replacement of all but the ’J ' class boats is six years and should be started now. The long lead times involved, particularly for prototypes, dictate the need for early decisions. For example, the time lapse from go-ahead to delivery of a 20 metre (65 foot) vessel is about two years and for a 12 metre

(40 foot) vessel, about one year.

* If approval is not forthcoming, then the Department will not be able to maintain its commitment to having a maritime screen because within five years all its existing vessels except the three 1J 1 class launches and one other will have reached the end of their economic life.

" Boats can only be proven to be effective anti-smuggling vehicles when they contribute to an apprehension. This has been rare throughout the history of Customs both here and overseas because the chance of a launch discovering an offence in the course of

commission is remote. Launches are usually justified on the grounds that in some areas not having a surface response capability may mean that a major apprehension will not be accomplished. In the

meantime, the vessel can undertake lesser tasks and may act as a deterrent.

* Customs launches can be more effectively used by:

- stationing launches in those areas of greatest risk;

- allowing launch operators to undertake aggressive patrols and take action for all branches;

- acquainting respective users with the availability,

capabilities, and limitations of launches and marine staff;

- giving launch operators prior knowledge of suspected offences.

In its final submission to the Commission in September 1979, the Department informed the Commission that a six-year program of rationalisation and replacement to upgrade its launch fleet had been approved, and that funds had been allocated in 1979/80 to allow the following acquisitions:

12 metre craft for Melbourne 7 " " " Newcastle

7 7 7 5 5 5

" Port Kembla " Hobart

" Adelaide " Cairns

" Groote Eylandt " Weipa


In this context the Commission notes that several witnesses appearing before it criticised the sea-going capacity of even the three 14 metre 'J' class launches possessed by the Department.


The Commission received a large body of evidence from various persons including Members of Parliament, service personnel, departmental officers, representatives of organizations and lay people on the current, future and desirable role of the Defence Force in conducting

surveillance of Australia's coastline.

There seemed to be considerable ignorance on the part of many about the role already being played by the Defence Forces in providing coastal surveillance for civil agencies. This misconception normally related to the extent of the Defence Force involvement in coastal surveillance, but occasionally it related to ignorance of any Defence Force involvement in this task.

On the other hand, the Mayor of Darwin, Dr E. M. Stack, in a

submission to the Commission, made the point that the role of the Defence Forces in guarding the territorial integrity of this country has been far too narrowly interpreted to this point in time. She said:

...Defence is defence of your resources and defence of your people from things other than bullets. (OT 5856)

Dr Stack said she was not thinking of defence in an aggressive way but as a concept which should be more broadly based and include

protection of Australia's resources and protection of its people against evils such as drugs. In this way the Defence Vote represented the country's insurance and the amount being currently spent on the policy was ridiculously low. She said that a certain amount of an increased Defence Vote should be used in search and rescue and surveillance

equipment which meant more and cheaper aircraft and boats, with only sufficient expensive and advanced weaponry to allow the members of the Defence Forces to develop and maintain expertise in its use (OT 5840).

Several other witnesses made the observation that Defence Force participation in coastal surveillance could provide good training for personnel as well as contributing to the protection of 'Australia's frontiers'. Indeed, several senior serving Defence Force officers told

the Commission that the use of Defence vehicles on civilian surveillance tasks could have the effect of boosting interest and morale among service personnel. For instance, one officer made the following remark to the Commission in confidential evidence about a civilian surveillance operation in which he and his crew had taken part;

(Question)...what was the reaction of the crews and I gather you were one of the crew that flew on that operation..?



nswer) I think in general terms the crews felt that it was some of the best work that they had ever done in their lives. (CT)

Mr Gordon Scholes, M.P., the member for Corio and Opposition spokesman on Defence, in a written submission to the Commission, referred to the need to avoid duplication of expenditure and equipment (OT 9031— 32). He said that the Australian Defence Force should be charged with the major surveillance role. This would avoid duplication of expenditure and equipment as long as there was proper control and coX ordination of the total operation involving the various Commonwealth and State interests. He believed that the current objections by some senior service personnel to the Defence Forces performing the civilian surveillance role must be overcome.

There would appear to be little difference between the policies of both the Government and the Opposition on this point. In a background paper to the Minister for Transport's announcement of 9 July 1978 of the new program to upgrade Australia's civil coastal surveillance, the

rationale for the increased use of defence resources for civil surveillance was explained:

The Government considers that, provided unacceptable detriment to the national defence interests can be avoided, use of the Defence Force in civil surveillance roles is a cost-effective practice. The vessels and the aircraft involved are purchased

to meet defence needs, and the fact that during peace-time they can also make a highly effective contribution to civil surveillance is something of a bonus to the taxpayer. (OT 15106)

Prior to the announcement of 9 July 1978 the Defence Force was already contributing substantially to civil coastal surveillance. This included the full operational time of seven RAN patrol craft and some 2700 flying hours annually by maritime patrol aircraft. These resources were, and still are, only allocated if, when, and to the extent

requested, by civil departments and agencies. The Defence Forces did not, and do not, undertake civil coastal surveillance on their own initiative, but rather on the basis planned by the Inter-departmental Coastal Surveillance Standing Committee which is responsible to the Minister for Transport for, inter alia, overall organization of routine area surveillance and the determination of priorities. The Department of Transport chairs the Committee and represented on it are the Departments of Business and Consumer Affairs, Defence, Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Health and Primary Industry. The Working Committee of

the Coastal Surveillance Standing Committee identifies the routine surveillance requirements of all those departments having off-shore or littoral responsibilities and applies the resources available, primarily from Defence, to meet those requirements.

Although the upgraded program announced on 9 July 1978 only marginally increased the level of Defence Force assistance to civil coastal surveillance by increasing from seven to nine the number of RAN patrol boats directly available for civil surveillance and by extending


aerial surveillance by RAAF long-range maritime patrol aircraft to cover the 200 nautical mile fishing zone and other special requirements, it did lead to a more subtle breakthrough described by a senior officer of the Commonwealth Department of Transport as the acceptance of a responsibility to conduct civil surveillance of the Australian coast as opposed to the previous attitude of merely helping out.


Long-range maritime patrols

There are two maritime reconnaissance squadrons in the RAAF; these are No. 10 and No. 11 Squadrons based at the RAAF base, Edinburgh, South Australia. These squadrons are supported by the Maritime Training Squadron (MATS) and No. 492 Squadron, a maintenance squadron. Both No.

10 and No. 11 Squadrons have seven aircraft crews each, and the MATS has two aircraft crews. No. 10 Squadron is currently being equipped with P3C model Orion aircraft while No. 11 Squadron has been operating P3B model Orion since January 1969.

The primary role of both No. 10 and No. 11 Squadrons, which together with the Maritime Training Squadron and No. 492 Squadron, form No. 92 Wing, is that of anti-submarine warfare.

The Orion is a specialised reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft, with a long history of development over a period of 15 or 16 years from the Electra civil passenger aircraft. The latest model, the P3C, is currently being brought into service with the United States Navy. Senior Air Force personnel appearing before the Commission were

asked to comment on the Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft in relation to its capabilities for civil coastal surveillance as opposed to anti-submarine warfare. It was said that the Orion has certain characteristics which suited it better to this role in Australia than almost any other type of aircraft currently available. Firstly, it has a long range at low altitudes, that range being over 4000 miles. Secondly, when flown for maximum endurance, the Orion can stay airborne

for more than 17 hours. This gives it the ability to track a slow

moving target for a long time. Thirdly, the Orion has extremely

accurate navigation aids. This is especially true of the C model Orion, which uses inertial navigation and Omega systems, although the B model has a similar capability but not quite as advanced.

Against this background the Orion was said to possess a vast

superiority over light aircraft for coastal surveillance, with superior navigation, superior radar, superior range, greater stability, less crew fatigue, and in the case of the P3C Orion, the availability of an 'on board' computer and an infra-red capability for night visibility.

The program of coastal surveillance being undertaken was basically that every four days there was a patrol between Cape Wessel (the northX east tip of Arnhem Land) and Cape Leveque (the north-west corner of the Kimberleys area); every seven days there was a patrol between Sydney



Perth via the northern coast; and once per month there was a patrol from Perth to Sydney across the Great Australian Bight and around Tasmania. The Commission understands that at the time of going to press this routine has been altered to the extent that the Orion aircraft are now patrolling the 200 nautical mile Australian fishing zone and leaving the littoral (beach) search to the light aircraft on charter to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre of the Commonwealth Department of Transport for a daily quarantine search under the 'new arrangements'.

The Commission sought the answer to what was required to mount a daily surveillance of the Australian coast from Brisbane to Perth by Orion aircraft. The answer obtained was broadly put, that it could be done with the available aircraft but it would mean an increase in the number of aircraft crews. It was said that such a schedule would mean a doubling of the present rate of Orion operations and an increase of six or seven crews. Although the air frames would be able to cope with this workload it would also be necessary to obtain further maintenance crews. However, to return the same service in an aircraft the size of a Fokker Friendship some 31 000 flying hours would need to be flown simply to get

round the coast, and in an aircraft of smaller size again, for instance, a Nomad aircraft, there would be a further substantial increase in the number of flying hours. Therefore, although it was generally agreed that to have Orion aircraft permanently doing surveillance work would be an expensive operation, it was also said that at the present level of utilisation there was a fairly substantial unused capacity for this type of work.

This matter was put to the Department of Defence by the Commission and a response invited. In doing so, the Commission pointed to evidence of higher usage rates of Orion aircraft operated by the United States Navy. The Department, in a letter to the Commission, responded in the

following terms:

With specific regard to the query concerning RAAF and USN usage rates for Orion aircraft, it should be understood that present usage rate is directly related to the level of funding

provided. In peace-time, Defence Force equipment is generally operated below its maximum potential levels. Manpower and spares support are planned to be commensurate with the flying hours for which budgetary provision is made. Individual RAAF Orion aircrew fly a comparable number of hours each year to USN

Orion aircrew. However, the crew-to-aircraft ratios and logistic support resources of the RAAF and the USN are

different. The RAAF Orions could fly a greater number of hours with an increase of manpower in both air and ground crew and an increase in spares support. Each factor would involve

increased cost and, in some cases, lead times may be long. (CT)

In addition the Department of Defence noted that the advantages enjoyed by the Orions over aircraft such as the twin-engined types currently employed on the daily littoral air patrols were greatly reduced in inshore areas, and the operating costs were very much higher being comparable to a large commercial airliner like a Boeing 707;



owever the Department conceded that the Orions had proved particularly cost-effective in civil surveillance when covering large areas of ocean.

An appreciation of the capabilities of the Orion aircraft for coastal surveillance can be gained from a recent operation in which aircraft from both squadrons were utilised. This involved the covert surveillance of the 44 ft ketch Anoa from Cairns, through New Guinea waters, to the New South Wales coast. The operation was underway from

23 May to 10 June 1978. Again, it was generally agreed by witnesses appearing before the Commission that no aircraft short of an Orion aircraft could have conducted this surveillance because of the ranges involved and the need to remain covert throughout the entire operation;

even these aircraft were required to go close to their limits of

endurance. These aircraft were the most important resources used in that operation and the crews generally recognised that it was some of the best coastal surveillance work they had ever done. The Commission

notes, with some disappointment, that there was little, if any, public recognition of the efforts made, and the professionalism shown, by the Orion crews during an operation which led to the biggest seizure of illicit drugs in Australia's history.

The Commission received no direct criticism of the coastal

surveillance capacity of the Orion long-range maritime patrol aircraft, and any criticisms that do exist in evidence, relate purely to the fact that craft have landed undetected on Australian shores. This may simply reflect the fact that the current level of patrol frequency is not

sufficient to guarantee the requisite level of detection of itinerant craft.

As previously mentioned, the Royal Commissioner and some of his staff, by arrangement with the Department of Defence and the Royal Australian Air Force, joined an RAAF Orion P3C aircraft (A9-751) of No. 10 Maritime Reconnaissance squadron on a routine around-Australia

coastal surveillance flight. The flight left Edinburgh Air Base in South Australia on Saturday 10 June 1978 and completed the patrol and circumnavigation of Australia by returning to Edinburgh Air Base on the following Saturday, 17 June 1978. The Orion P3C aircraft used for this patrol was the first of the P3C series aircraft delivered to Australia

and was on its first surveillance flight. The Commissioner was thus able to gain first-hand experience of the capacity of the aircraft and its crew, the difficulties associated with the identification of itinerant small craft, the policing of foreign fishing vessels, and the vast open-ness and difficult terrain of northern Australia.

Other RAAF Facilities

There is evidence before the Commission that other RAAF aircraft have been pressed into service in support of civil surveillance whenever the circumstances appear to justify such action. The RAAF Hercules transport aircraft, which carried out the interception of Tait's Aero Commander aircraft over the coast of the Northern Territory, is one

example, and the use of two RAAF Chinook helicopters during the

operation to apprehend the ketch Anoa is another.



e Commission heard in evidence from the commanding officer of the RAAF base at Darwin, Group Captain C. J. Pryor, that there is no

permanent operational flying squadron based at Darwin, Australia's most northerly air base, and the base most proximate to South-East Asia (OT 6303). However, there is one Second World War vintage Dakota aircraft which is used for communications flights, some surveillance work, and search and rescue. In addition, there is a detachment of Grumman Tracker aircraft operated by the Navy.

Great faith was placed by some witnesses in the 'over the horizon' radar system currently being investigated and developed by the CSIRO as the answer to the surveillance of Australia's 12 000 miles of coastline. Perhaps the most sanguine assessment of the capabilities of this system was contained in a submission to the Commission by Mr Gordon Scholes M.P., the Opposition spokesman on Defence, who said that if the system worked as planned, it would be able to detect almost any object

approaching the Australian coast at a considerable distance (OT 9033). However Mr Scholes' optimism about the 'Jindalee' project was not shared by senior Air Force officers who thought that it was very doubtful whether the system would help detect small vessels and small aircraft.


The contribution of the Royal Australian Navy to coastal

surveillance currently takes two main forms, firstly, a flight of three Grumman Tracker aircraft based in Darwin, and secondly, nine Attack class naval patrol vessels patrolling northern waters. Other naval facilitj.es are made available from time to time as the need arises.

Grumman Tracker Aircraft

The Tracker aircraft have been based in Darwin since the 1st November 1977 at the request of the Inter-departmental Committee on Coastal Surveillance. Initially there were two, and a few weeks subsequently they were joined by a third aircraft. The primary task of these aircraft is to look for Vietnamese refugee boats. As a secondary task, the crew have been instructed to report the location of foreign fishing vessels and any other activities of interest; however, as a senior naval officer pointed out to the Commission in confidential evidence, the crews in fact report everything from sailing boats to super-tankers and other aircraft.

Currently these aircraft are flying 1800 hours per year which represents about half of total Grumman Tracker operational flying.

The Grumman Trackers go out on daily patrols, the type and area of patrol depending upon the weather. They normally spend 5--6 hours aloft, seven days a week. One aircraft is aloft and patrolling, another is on stand-by, and a third is undergoing maintenance. In view of the aircraft's primary role to search for Vietnamese refugee boats they largely cover the area between Darwin and Timor and work in conjunction with a naval patrol boat in the Beagle Gulf.



he crew of the aircraft on stand-by during the day is available for almost immediate operation, but during the night crew members have to be called from their beds, and so there would be some delay in getting these aircraft airborne.

A senior naval officer appearing before the Commission was asked to comment about the availability of these aircraft for the interception of a light aircraft detected by Darwin radar as in the 'Tait incident'. He replied that although it would be available it would not have the capability of intercepting other aircraft such as the one being flown by Tait as it would be too slow pnless it was airborne and in the vicinity of Darwin at the time of the radar detection. Furthermore, while the Grumman Trackers are based in Darwin, they can only cover a relatively

small area of the northern coast on a frequent basis. They are a

medium-range aircraft with slow speed and are designed specifically as carrier-borne anti-submarine aircraft.

In relation to the effectiveness of the patrols undertaken by the Grumman Trackers, the Commission was told in confidential evidence that on a good day a patrol would cover 90% to 95% of the area between Darwin and Timor with a guarantee of detection.

Certain criticisms were made of the Grumman Tracker aircraft based in Darwin. These criticisms centred on the suitability of the aircraft for the allotted task. In a discussion with the Commission, one senior Air Force officer referred to the operational range and speed of the

aircraft which he indicated were 900 miles and 140 knots respectively. In confidential session, he pointed out that a lot of light aircraft in the class of the Aero Commander 680 would fly substantially faster than the Grumman Tracker. In addition, the radar aboard the Tracker would

have difficulty in detecting small targets, particularly those made of wood and fibreglass, as well as small aircraft. Some other criticisms were made by non-service personnel, reference being to the aircraft's radar, visibility and endurance which were said to make it unsuitable

for the surveillance role.

However, these criticisms must be set against the fact that the detection rate of refugee boats approaching Darwin has increased dramatically to over 80 per cent since the introduction of the RAN Tracker aircraft flights in November 1977.

Attack Class Naval Patrol Craft

The Commission received evidence about the disposition and tasking of naval patrol craft in northern Australia waters from various Defence Force personnel. The major base facilities are at Darwin, the

headquarters of the Northern Australia (Naval) Area, and at Cairns, headquarters of the Second Australian Patrol Boat Squadron, R A N .

The Northern Australia Area for naval purposes is formally bounded by the borders of the Northern Territory, but for practical purposes it



ds from the centre of the Gulf of Carpentaria to North-West Cape in Western Australia. Following requests by the Inter-Departmental Committee on Coastal Surveillance, four Attack class naval patrol boats, Ardent, Aware, Assail and Adroit, and three S2G Grumman Tracker antiX

submarine aircraft were allocated to the Northern Australia Area. The first naval patrol craft arrived in Darwin at the end of 1967 and four such vessels have been available since March 1975.

The four Attack class naval patrol vessels based in Darwin are programmed for six months ahead to patrol various areas of the

coastline. The program is based upon known fishing activities by foreign vessels as the primary task of the patrol craft is that of fisheries patrol. The area covered extends from Thursday Island around the coast to North-West Cape, and is roughly 3000 nautical miles in length.

Because of the Vietnamese refugee situation, one patrol craft is kept in the Beagle Gulf continuously. This gulf is roughly between Melville Island and the Australian mainland. The basing of a craft in this area provides some scope for reaction capability. Apart from this, the craft are fully committed to their regular patrols.

The patrols are programmed on the basis of information received from three sources; Service sources (other naval patrol boats, naval Grumman Tracker aircraft, and Air Force Orion aircraft), the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (reports from merchant ships, fishing vessels and airline pilots around the coast), and naval coast watchers

(unpaid volunteers such as missionaries, local police, station owners, etc., who watch and report activities along the coast).

The Commission was told that the naval patrol craft attached to the Northern Australian Area are constantly in communication with headquarters in Darwin 24 hours per day, seven days a week. All

commanders are told to report immediately any vessel or aircraft that excites their suspicion. In addition, a further instruction has been issued that any light aircraft sighted approaching the Australian coast from the north is to be reported.

In addition to the four Attack class naval patrol boats based at Darwin in the Northern Australian Naval Area, a further three craft, Barricade, Barbette and Bayonet, are based at Cairns in North

Queensland, and together form the Second Australian Patrol Boat Squadron, Royal Australian Navy. This squadron is part of the

surveillance force, like the associated squadron in Darwin.

The Second Australian Patrol Boat Squadron functions primarily in the Queensland area including the Gulf of Carpentaria; however, there is no arbitrary limit and the patrol boats from the squadron

occasionally operate as far north as Darwin and as far south as Sydney.



e Commission was told that the patrol boats of the Second

Australian Patrol Boat Squadron work in a somewhat different environment to their counterparts attached to the Northern Australian Naval Area. There is so much traffic up and down the Queensland coast, particularly during the windy season when there are very large numbers of yachts,

that it is impossible, and not very helpful, to report every sighting. So a general overview is kept and anything unusual reported. The boats of the squadron patrol anchorages, inlets, and around islands, and report such things as suspicious new habitations and airfields, wheel

tracks on the sand leading to the water, etc. Furthermore, the squadron is, from time to time, tasked to look for specific targets.

The role and function of the base at Cairns (HMAS Cairns) was said to be threefold. Firstly, to provide support, maintenance and administrative facilities for the Second Australian Patrol Boat Squadron which is based there; secondly, to provide re-fit facilities for the

four Darwin-based naval patrol boats, the three Cairns-based patrol boats, and the five patrol boats based in Papua New Guinea; and

thirdly, to operate the Second Australian Patrol Boat Squadron and to provide 'work-up1 facilities for other craft re-fitting in Cairns.

Witnesses appearing before the Commission could not recall any incident in which a drug smuggling craft had been intercepted by naval patrol boats, however, naval patrol boats regularly intercepted, that is, discovered and boarded, foreign fishing vessels and Vietnamese

refugee boats. It was pointed out that in peace time naval personnel cannot board a civilian craft, no matter how suspiciously it is acting, without a request from the civil authorities. The situation with foreign-flagged fishing vessels is different because the navy is

empowered under the Fisheries Act to board those craft.

The Commission was told of two matters that could arise during the course of naval patrols for civil purposes which troubled senior naval personnel. The first matter related to the crew of a naval patrol boat having no police powers apart from the fishing legislation and the

recently proclaimed 200 mile limit. It was said that if, during the course of a patrol, the patrol boat happened across persons landing drugs, the captain and crew would be powerless to intervene and could only keep the scene under observation and radio for help. The second, and related matter, dealt with the isolation and remoteness of Australia's northern area. It was pointed out that from Cooktown to Thursday Island, a 400 mile stretch of coast in close proximity to New

Guinea and the islands, there is not one police station nor one

permanently stationed police officer. A call for assistance by the captain and crew of a patrol boat, or indeed, any other agency, could not be answered without considerable, and perhaps irretrievable, delay.

The announcement of the decision of 9 July 1978 to upgrade

Australia's civil coastal surveillance brought an increase from seven to nine in the number of naval patrol boats directly available for civil surveillance and enforcement. Furthermore, the Bureau of Customs was said to have a 'priority claim' on the naval patrol craft so allocated.

Consequently, the two Customs 'J' class launches in Darwin and Cairns



released for duty on the Western Australian coast at Geraldton and Port Hedland, the so-called high risk areas.

Having heard criticism of the ability of the Customs 'J' class launches to handle open sea conditions, the Commission sought some guidance from Mr P. B. Eccles, Officer-in-Charge of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre about the 1 sea-keeping’ qualities of Attack class patrol boats in weather which might be encountered off the Western Australian coast. He said that these craft would not go to sea in force 5— 6 winds, whereas the larger foreign fishing vessels, especially the Japanese vessels, would be at sea in that weather (OT 15747--48).

In relation to the use of other naval vessels for civil coastal surveillance, the situation would appear to be similar to the situation discussed above in relation to the RAAF. If the circumstances are such that other naval vessels are in a position to render assistance to the civil authorities then that assistance will be forthcoming. For instance, during the operation surrounding the apprehension of the ketch Anoa both HMAS Swan, a Type 12 frigate, and HMAS Flinders, a

hydrographic survey vessel, assisted the New South Wales police and the Bureau of Customs respectively.

The Royal Australian Navy has 15 new patrol craft on order, which should enhance its patrol craft capability. The Commission understands that there are plans to improve the patrol craft facility at Cairns in Queensland, to upgrade the facility at Darwin, and to base some patrol

craft at Perth. A feasibility study has been commissioned to

investigate the siting of a new patrol boat base in the Kimberley-Pilbara coastal region of the north-west.


In June 1979 the Minister for Defence, Mr Killen, and the Acting Minister for Transport, Mr MacPhee, announced temporary changes to the arrangements for coastal surveillance, brought about by a shortage of the aviation fuel Avgas. Mr Killen said that up to five Army Nomad aircraft would be made available for coastal surveillance between Geraldton and Darwin. The Nomad aircraft is powered by turbo-prop engines which run on Avtur, an alternative aviation fuel, and there is no major supply problem in relation to this fuel. Subsequently the Commission was advised by the Department of Defence that these aircraft would be based at Port Hedland in Western Australia and their continued use in assisting civil surveillance would be reviewed by the Government after an initial 3 months period.

At present the only scheduled task is routine daily littoral surveillance flights. The Army Nomads alternate with the civil contractor, Trans-West, flying for six days between Port Hedland and Geraldton and then six days between Port Hedland and Bigge Island. This task currently absorbs over two thirds of the Army's Nomad operations. As with civil aircraft engaged in this program, their use is primarily



n the littoral search, but, within the limits of their performance characteristics they have a capability to support any follow-up action.


From early 1975 the Commonwealth Department of Transport has played a central role in the organisation of routine civil surveillance of the coastal and off-shore areas of Australia.

An Australian coastal surveillance organisation was set up by the Federal Government in February 1975 to manage and co-ordinate coastal surveillance for civil purposes. It was envisaged that existing resources would be utilised in the development of the system. The main

features of the decision provided for a Standing Committee chaired by the Department of Transport and composed of representatives of all those departments which supplied and/or had need of surveillance information; a subordinate working committee, responsible for detailed planning of

routine patrolling, vehicle availability and efficient reporting procedures and 'the Marine Operations Centre (MOC) responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of surveillance activities and the receipt and

dissemination of surveillance reports, in addition to its other functions including safety at sea. The Marine Operations Centre has now been renamed the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (ACSC).

The Coastal Surveillance Organisation has representation from those Commonwealth departments that supply and/or require surveillance services. These include Primary Industry (Fisheries), Business and Consumer Affairs (Customs and Narcotics Bureau), Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Health, Defence and Transport. The organisation is responsible

to the Minister for Transport who consults with his ministerial colleagues as required.

The main surveillance effort is provided by both RAAF and RAN aircraft, and RAN patrol boats supplemented by secondary sources of surveillance which include customs launches, Australian merchant ships and fishing vessels, navigational aid service vessels, lighthouse keepers and flight service officers of the Department of Transport. Civilian aircraft, mission and cattle stations and other resources are also used as necessary. In 1976 — 77, over one-third of all reports came

from secondary sources.

All vehicles engaged in routine surveillance, either as a primary task or on a voluntary basis, are briefed to provide information on a number of matters including:

foreign fishing vessels,

unauthorised oil exploration units,

foreign research vessels,



marine pollution and environmental damage,

- small vessels sighted well off-shore,

- malfunction or damage to navigational aids,

- damage to automatic weather stations,

- vessels contravening ship routeing systems,

- any unusual activity (e.g . , vessels without lights, vessels in unusual locations for their type and size, unusual activity at nonX commercial airstrips).

The information gathered is disseminated to relevant departments by the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre (ACSC) which also coX ordinates further investigatory action if required. In addition, the ACSC issues a daily status report to all departments involved in the

scheme. The results of surveillance activities are recorded in monthly summaries and distributed to departments and authorities involved in the coastal surveillance scheme.

The Government's decision of 9 July 1978 to upgrade air and sea surveillance of Australia's northern coast led to a concomitant increase in the role of the Department of Transport. A press release

accompanying the announcement by the Minister for Transport of the government plans quoted the Minister as saying that the Department of Transport would continue to co-ordinate civil surveillance operations in close consultation with other Commonwealth departments. In line with the upgraded surveillance program, the Department of Transport's Marine Operations Centre-- which co-ordinated surveillance activities in the past-- was strengthened and renamed the 'Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre'. However, the press release made it clear that any matters involving drug smuggling would continue to be handled by Customs. The background paper also spoke of a streamlined standing Inter-Departmental Coastal Surveillance Committee with higher level departmental representation.

Mr P. B . Eccles, Officer-in-Charge of the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre, during extensive evidence to the Commission covering several appearances before it, spoke of the main sources of information flowing to the ACSC, many of which were Department of Transport facilities. The main source, and so recognised in several places in the Minister's statement of 9 July 1978, as well as by Mr Eccles, is not controlled or operated by the Department of Transport.

It is the Defence Force surveillance.

Littoral Quarantine Search

One of the new programs announced by the Minister for Transport on 9 July 1978 was the 1 introduction of daily air searches of northern coastal areas between Geraldton and Cairns by civil aircraft on charter to the Commonwealth'. This littoral or beach search employs 10 charter



ircraft and is operated by the Department of Transport on behalf of the Department of Health.

Although primarily a quarantine search, the input is to the ACSC and other departments such as Immigration and Customs (Business and Consumer Affairs) have access to the information so gathered (OT 15739).

Currently this littoral search involves 14 separate sorties each day by light twin-engined aircraft with an aggregate total flying effort of about 26 000 hours per annum. This compares with a total aerial

surveillance rate of 4600 hours in the previous year.

A further initiative was announced in December 1978 involving the use of the Australian designed Nomad aircraft for several surveillance tasks.

In addition to allocating three Nomads for exclusive use on Customs tasks and reserving four for the littoral search task, the Government decided that a further three Nomad aircraft would be chartered for evaluation roles. Two of these aircraft are to be fitted with high performance radar, navigation and communications equipment and based in Darwin to supplement Defence units in undertaking searches of the Darwin

approaches for refugee boats and littoral surveillance of the off-shore islands to the north of Darwin. The continued use of Navy Trackers in their present coastal surveillance role is to be assessed when the Nomad evaluation is complete. A similarly equipped Nomad aircraft is to be

stationed on the central Queensland coast to undertake regular patrols of the Great Barrier Reef.

Lighthouse Staff

The Department of Transport operates 46 manned light stations throughout Australia in addition to 231 unattended light stations and sundry other marine navigation aids.

The Department has an on-going program to 1 unman1 light stations around the Australian coast because of the 'significant financial savings' that can be achieved. This program was severely criticised before the Commission because of its effect in depriving Australia of a valuable coastal surveillance resource.

Navigational Aid (Nav-aid) Vessels

Another Department of Transport facility, used in the parlance of the Department as secondary coastal surveillance vehicles, are five vessels whose primary function is the provision and up-keep of marine navigation aids.



rious Department of Transport officials appearing before the Commission provided information in relation to these vessels. There are five vessels, three Cape class vessels (Cape Don, Cape Pillar and Cape Moreton) and two smaller craft, one working on the northern Barrier Reef and based in Cairns the other, working around the gulfs in South Australia and based in Adelaide. The Cape Don is based in Perth and has a responsibility from Esperance right round the West Australian coast and along the coast of the Northern Territory to Groote Eylandt. However, this vessel is only in the north-west 1 as required'. The Cape Moreton is based in Brisbane, and, together with the Lumen (one of the

smaller vessels referred to) is employed full-time in touring the Queensland coast checking and maintaining unmanned light stations. The Cape Pillar is based in Melbourne and is occasionally used as far north as the Queensland coast.

The three Cape class vessels are significant in size, 220 feet in length, 2500--3000 tonnes and very stable, all-weather vessels. They have a crew of about 38 who are good seamen and used to rough weather. They carry an amphibious vehicle (a Lark) a speed boat and very good work boats for rough weather work. However, the Cape class vessels are not very fast. They have carried helicopters on board from time to time although some modification would be required if this was to be done on a regular basis.

In its discussions with Mr P. B. Eccles of the Commonwealth

Department of Transport, the Commission showed considerable interest in the use of the Cape class vessels for coastal surveillance. The Commission saw this resource, a large all-weather craft available to the Government, and plying the coast for substantial periods while engaged in the servicing of navigation aids, as indicative of the resources that already exist and could be utilised, or more fully utilised, in the surveillance of the Australian coast. Mr Eccles disclosed that the Department of Transport was in the process of having all masters and mates of the Department's vessels instructed in fishery officers'

functions and gazetted as fisheries officers (OT 15761). He also told the Commission of an initiative taken by the Department in relation to the use of one of its Cape class vessels on fisheries management, hydrographic surveying and coastal surveillance.

In relation to this initiative the Commission notes with interest the announcement of the Minister for Transport in October 1978 that the Department of Transport nav-aid vessel Cape Pillar would be released to act as a 'primary surveillance vessel'. Since that announcement the Commission understands that the Cape Pillar has undertaken fisheries surveillance and management patrols as well as participating in combined air/surface patrols of the littoral areas on behalf of the Department of Health.

Airways Operations Units

Airways operations units, either Air Traffic Control or Flight Service units, are located at government aerodromes throughout Australia and provide another input to the Australian Coastal Surveillance Centre



nder the control of the Department of Transport. During evidence to the Commission, Department of Transport officials spoke extensiv