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Tuesday, 4 November 2003
Page: 21912


Mr McCLELLAND (2:18 PM) —My question is to the Attorney-General. Is the Attorney-General aware of claims that Willie Brigitte was investigated for involvement in events surrounding threats to the 1998 Soccer World Cup in Paris? When was the government first made aware of these claims? Given the claims the Minister for Foreign Affairs just delivered about how closely we are working with the French government, what arrangements, if any, did the government make with French authorities to share information on potential security threats in the lead-up to Australia's hosting of this year's Rugby World Cup?


Mr RUDDOCK (Attorney-General) —The advice I have is that the government had no information about Mr Brigitte at the time of his arrival in Australia on 16 May.

Opposition members interjecting


The SPEAKER —I am having trouble hearing the minister.


Mr RUDDOCK —As I previously advised, as far as Australian authorities are aware, the French authorities advised us about Mr Brigitte as soon as they established a possible link with Australia. The French agencies, as advised by the head of ASIO last night to a Senate estimates committee, have been central to the progress of our investigations here in Australia. As I made clear in my answer yesterday, it is a nonsense to suggest that countries share details in respect of their own citizens without good reason. We would not accept that in relation to Australians, and most other countries would not accept that in relation to their own citizens. I simply make the point again that the French authorities advised us about Mr Brigitte as soon as they had established a possible link with Australia.