Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 998 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
should be drawing a distinction between the right of police to question a youth and the right of police to search a youth. I do not feel comfortable that there is no requirement in this legislation for the police proposing to search one of my children to call me to say, "I am proposing to search your child. I will be conducting a frisk search on your daughter. I suspect that she is carrying a knife". I do not think it is appropriate. I have, as I said, major concerns about this legislation. The Labor Party will not be supporting this clause.
MS TUCKER (12.14 am): I have already spoken on this briefly. I will not take a lot of everyone's time, but I would just like to seek leave to table the legal opinion. It may be of interest to people who are looking at this at a later date. I seek leave to table it.
MR SPEAKER: Did you want to incorporate that in Hansard?
MS TUCKER: Yes; I seek leave to have that incorporated in Hansard.
Document incorporated at Appendix 2.
MR RUGENDYKE (12.15 am): Mr Speaker, I speak to clause 5, in response to Mr Stanhope's speech. The search power included in this Bill is one of two or three within the Crimes Act 1900, the difference being that the other two provisions for search - the frisk search and the ordinary search - have a precondition that the person to be searched must be arrested. This clause allows for that not to happen. For example, in a practical sense - and I speak as an ex-police officer with a practical idea of how this might work - it might be appropriate to do the search, to locate a knife, to caution a child, to caution the person carrying it, to summons the person, to have him attend a diversionary conference, or you might wish to arrest him; but this power of search leaves all those options open. There are other search powers, of course, throughout other pieces of legislation - search powers in the Drugs of Dependence Act and other search powers in other Acts. This is not a one-off. It might be an extra one, but it is not a draconian one.
There are, in this clause, conditions that need to be considered prior to a person being searched. The person doing the search has to establish that he is a police officer; he has to inform the person of the reason for the search; and, as soon as practicable after that search has been conducted, under this clause the police officer who has conducted the search shall record the time, location and nature of the search. In my discussion with Mr Stanhope yesterday, it was suggested that a register be kept of all the people that are searched. The register is the police officer's notebook; it is a key part of the search. So, Mr Speaker, I stand by this power of search; it is not unreasonable and is a key to the success of this Bill.