Editor, CLA Your Opinion: The Tax Commissioner’s defence of his powers to break into homes and businesses without judicial warrants as ‘trust me, I’m a good guy’ is a dangerous argument. Powers such as these should be resisted when proposed, and removed where they exist. Many societies have lived to regret their complacency in allowing them. In the 1970s the Statistician asked for these powers to gather statistics. After a vigorous campaign, they were deleted.
If, as the Commissioner says, the powers are rarely used, then the same judicial controls society imposes on police investigating serious crimes are appropriate. We are becoming far too complacent about the erosion of our civil liberties, and too trusting that our governments always act with discretion.
Executive Member, NSW Privacy Committee 1975-82
Neutral Bay, NSW