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Tuesday, 26 May 1987
Page: 3294

Mr N.A. Brown —My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I welcome him back. I remind the Minister of his answer to my question on the Libyan People's Bureau on 28 April when he said that the Bureau would not be closed and that that decision had been made on grounds that were, as he said, `sound' and which `continue to be sound'. I ask the Minister: What specific facts occurred between 28 April, when there were no grounds for closing the Bureau, and 19 May, when the Prime Minister announced that the Libyan People's Bureau would be closed because it had, to use his words, intruded `into our domestic affairs, causing dissensions and confrontation between communities', was `causing deep concern' and was `serving to facilitate Libyan destabilising activities'? With respect to each of these facts which occurred between 28 April and 19 May, when did they first come to the notice of the Minister?

Mr HAYDEN —I thank the honourable member for welcoming me back to Australia. I also welcome him back to Australia. I seem to recall that in his own way he made his mark when he was overseas too. When I made that statement it was a properly based statement. There were a number of developments, some of which had been under observation but which extended beyond where they were at the time I made that statement. As the honourable member will appreciate, highly classified matters, including sources, are involved. With regard to the information on which we based the decision, I can only say that it is a decision that I strongly support. I believe that it has had a salutary effect and has demonstrated the firmness of intent of the Australian Government. I regret that I am unable publicly to say any more about the matter.