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Monday, 13 October 2008
Page: 5768


Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (3:27 PM) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Senator Evans) to a question without notice asked by Senator Bob Brown today relating to an East Timor citizen, Mr Campos.

It was drawn to my attention at the end of last week that Mr Guy Campos was in Australia on a visa issued to enable him to come to World Youth Day when the Pope visited Australia some months ago. I had not been aware of the reportage on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program by James Thomas of previous activities by Mr Campos, but I am now—and the matter alarms me greatly.

On the fact of it, the allegations are that Mr Campos was a collaborator with the Indonesian military’s occupation of East Timor over many years. Amongst other things, the allegations are that he pointed out East Timorese patriots who had the courage to be defending their country’s interests during that occupation, and that a number of these people pointed out by Mr Campos—and the number goes into at least double figures—were taken off to summary execution.

There are further allegations that Mr Campos was involved in the torture of East Timorese patriots—and I mean directly involved. This included the application of electric shocks and water torture to prisoners in torture camps and cells in Dili and perhaps elsewhere in East Timor. There is a specific and verifiable claim that, when an 11-year-old boy who had been in the bush in East Timor came to Dili, he was taken under control, effectively, by Mr Campos and consequently beaten to death. It was allegedly required of this boy that he give information about Fretilin’s activities in the bush.

What the program has shown is Mr Campos admitting to at least being present when that boy was beaten to death. Mr Campos says that he later called for a doctor. Whatever the case, he was apparently convicted by the then judicial system and sentenced to three years jail for the beating to death of this hapless little boy, who either did not know anything or, with extraordinary courage, refused to give any information about the Fretilin activities at the time.

These are very grave allegations about very serious and criminal activities by a man who is present in the country. He came here on a visa, the application for which, I presume, would have required him to say whether or not he had a conviction for a criminal offence. I am pleased that the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Evans, has informed the chamber that the Australian Federal Police is now investigating these matters. I have furnished the minister with copies of the programs in which these allegations are made and in which Mr Campos is interviewed and makes the specific admissions regarding the death of the 11-year-old boy. It is extraordinarily important that we do not lightly harbour people who are convicted of or who are under allegation of such ferocious and inhumane activities which, if they had happened in our country, would lead to the full force of the law but which, on the face of it, breach international covenants protecting the rights of citizens in a country like East Timor.

I intend to raise this matter in estimates next week, and to pursue it. I am alarmed that the man might leave the country before investigations have been completed. I am pleased that the minister has given assurances, as he did during question time, that he is looking at the matter. It is a matter of great alarm and, as Australians committed to a decent go for people, it is a matter that we cannot allow to escape justice in this country.

Question agreed to.