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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1391

Senator SHORT —Does the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs recall advising me on 15 April 1986 in response to a question that the three Libyan officials who were ordered to leave Australia earlier in 1986 were leaving either on that day or within a week? Is the Minister aware that five months later in the Victorian Parliament, on 9 September 1986, the Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Race Mathews, said that one of the three officials, Mansour Shokry, the former Director of the Libyan Arab Cultural Centre in Melbourne, was the subject of investigations by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, that his whereabouts were not known and that he was considered a persona non grata at that time? I ask the Minister: Has Mansour Shokry yet been found? Has he left Australia? If he did leave Australia, has he returned at any time? Can the Minister also assure the Senate that the other two Libyan officials who were to have left Australia in April 1986 have done so and have not returned?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am advised by the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs that matters reported in the Press article on this matter-I think the particular one that has laid it all out, and I am not sure whether Senator Short mentioned it, was the Australian of today, 26 March-are misleading. Although details relating to the movements of people into and out of Australia are normally not released, Mr Mansour, who is also known as el-Shokry, left Australia in April last year, and there is no record of his return. As to the other officials whom Senator Short mentioned, I have no specific information on them, and I will seek a further response from the Minister concerned.

Senator SHORT —I wish to ask a supplementary question. I thank the Minister for that answer. I assume from that answer that it, therefore, must mean that the response of the Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services on 9 September 1986 was incorrect. Can the Minister confirm that?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not know the circumstances or the content of the Victorian Minister's reply on that date. I will seek further information before acceding to the suggestion in Senator Short's supplementary question.