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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2426

(Question No. 1228)

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs , upon notice, on 17 October 1984:

(1) Has the Minister for Foreign Affairs noted the answers given by the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) to my previous two questions concerning recruitment of professional killers (see answers to Question No. 562, Hansard, 2 April 1984, page 1078 and Question No. 253, Hansard, 1 November 1983, page 2031) wherein, inter alia, he said of the Soldiers of Fortune magazine '. . . the Australian circulation is 2,600 copies per issue . . .'.

(2) Does the Australian Government, in addition to implementing Australia's anti-mercenary laws in the provisions of the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978, oppose the employment and recruitment of mercenaries in foreign countries for operations in other countries; if not why not.

(3) Did the evening television news on ATN Channel 7 in Sydney, on 3 October 1984, include a report and an interview with United States Senator Christopher Dodd concerning the employment and open public recruitment of significant numbers of mercenaries by Mr Robert Brown and the other principles of the American magazine Soldiers of Fortune and did the report indicate that the recruitment of these professional killers was carried out in the name of that magazine and its affiliated organisation(s).

(4) Did the news report also indicate that:

(a) the recruited mercenaries' main task was to overthrow various Central American and other governments; and

(b) the recruitment was in clear breach of American foreign and domestic policies and Congressional decisions.

(5) Was the report accurate and can the Minister ascertain the number of professional killers involved.

(6) Does the June 1984 issue of the Soldier of Fortune magazine, which has been distributed in Australia contain, in addition to the promotion of products for mercenaries and articles encouraging the employment and recruitment of professional killers, inter alia, the following advertisements;

(a) 'Merc for hire, 43, work alone, short term only. Bounty hunting. Will take commission job. Jim, P.O. Box 415, FAIR OAKS, CA 95628 (82)', page 105;

(b) 'Ex platoon leader, USMC Vietnam looking for high risk, good paying work overseas. Honest. Dependable. Fearless. Don, (913) 462 3585 (82)', page 106;

(c) 'Bounty hunting, legal for anyone and very profitable! For legal statutes and employment information send $2 and SASE. Rush orders $3 cash. Research Unlimited, Box 90, DEPEW, NY 14043 (81)', page 107;

(d) 'Merc for hire, highly skilled and professional individual or team available for high risk contract. All offers considered and held strictly confidential. Immediate response and action world wide. NG, Box 302, CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, NJ 08210', 108; and

(e) 'Merc for hire, novice, Marine Viet Vet, demo, age 37, jungle preferred. 608 Barnegat Blvd, BEACHWOOD, NJ 08722', page 109;

and do other recent issues contain similar material.

(7) If the answer to (6) above is yes, will the Minister immediately write to Mr John Hepworth, Chairman, Gordon and Gotch Ltd, 114 William Street, Melbourne, telephone 67 9901 (Australian distributors of Soldiers of Fortune) and request the company to refrain from distributing the magazine in Australia, for so long as the magazine, its principles and its front affiliated organisations(s) are associated with the employment and recruitment of professional killers, as well as asking whether, and if so when;

(a) the Board of Directors (Messrs Hepworth, Scott, Stewart, Dowling, Lapthorn, Nealey and Skurrie); and

(b) the shareholders of Gordon and Gotch,

have specifically approved the distribution and sale of the magazine in Australia and the related activities of Mr Robert Brown and his associates; if not, why not.

(8) What revenue has Gordon and Gotch received for the sale of this magazine since it first undertook distribution and what amount was transmitted from Australia to the American publishers for the same period.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) Yes.

(3) to (5) I did not see the television news report referred to, and as it related to matters within the United States as the honourable senator suggests, I cannot vouch for its accuracy or otherwise.

(6) and (7) The material quoted as appearing in the June 1984 edition of Soldier of Fortune magazine does not appear to be in contravention of the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978. It is therefore not my intention to write to the distributors.

(8) I suggest this information be sought directly from the publishers.