CLA says no Australians – including AFP officers – should be obliged to give up their DNA against their will. DNA testing should be voluntary, not compulsory, and it should not be used to screen applicants for jobs.
Wed 27 Sept 06
DNA testing should not be mandatory – CLA
DNA testing should be voluntary, not compulsory, Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) says.
No government body should introduce DNA testing until there had been a robust national debate, and firm rules and guidelines for use of people’s DNA were established, according to the civil liberties body.
“We call on the Australian Government, with state and territory cooperation, to hold a public inquiry into potential DNA use and public safeguards,” CLA’s CEO, Bill Rowlings, said.
“There is a real danger that Australia will slide into a society where you have no right over the very core essence the DNA of
“In the UK, police can take DNA samples without consent from anyone arrested on suspicion of any recordable offence including begging, being drunk, and taking part in an illegal demonstration. The DNA samples are kept on file even if the person arrested is never charged, or is acquitted.
“We don’t want such a police state in Australia.
“The AFP Association’s aboutface is very strange: the last discussion we had with them, they were adamantly against compulsory DNA testing.
“We wonder whether they have been promised a tradeoff on wages and conditions for caving in on such a fundamental, individual, personal right.
“It appears the police association is supporting screening tests for applicants before they join the AFP. That is far beyond compulsory testing of police officers it is compulsory testing of Australian citizens before they’re allowed to apply for a job.
“The problem is that a DNA database is a very slippery slope to testing for insurance and superannuation reasons, for testing for ‘bad habits’ like smoking cigarettes or marijuana, or for genetic profiling.
“CLA believes the AFP Association has done its members, and all Australians, a grave disservice by not standing up for its members’ individual rights.
“If individuals want to give DNA voluntarily, that is fine and
we see no reason why most if not all AFP police officers would not give samples on a voluntary basis.
“But no Australian should be compelled to give up their DNA unless they are subject to formal, serious criminal allegations,” Mr Rowlings said.