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Immigration Minister and Department guilty of gross dereliction of duty

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and Ethnic Affairs


Senator Jim Short

Shadow Minister for Immigration the Leader on Multicultural Affairs

IMEA 21/94

Immigration Minister and Department guilty of gross dereliction of duty.

The Minister for Immigration, Senator Bolkus, and his department are guilty of gross dereliction of duty by allowing the entry into Australia of alleged Afghan Communist war criminals, and an alleged assassin of a Lebanese political leader.

The Minister for Immigration, and his senior departmental officers, today admitted, in Senate Estimates, that they had "stuffed up" over the entry to Australia of high ranking officials of the former Najibullah regime.

One named member, who was deputy head of the secret police (Khad), deputy Defence Minister, and an active member of the KGB, Mr Miakhel, has been granted Australian permanent residency.

The Khad was infamous for its brutality and persecution of Afghanis, as part of the Najibullah regime's ruthless and repressive campaign to hold onto power during the 1980's. It was closely connected to the Soviet KGB. During its time, it carried out torture, systematic murder and mass

terror throughout Afghanistan.

Despite warnings by the Australian-Afghan community to the then Minister for Immigration, Senator Ray, in 1989, and then further notice to Minister Bolkus last year, the Labor Government has completely failed to look after Australia's national interests.

It is not good enough for Minister Bolkus to say his department "stuffed up". That is correct, but it is disgraceful that he has attempted to absolve himself of-any responsibility.

The fact is that he, as Minister, is ultimately responsible for this situation. In particular i he failed totally to ensure investigation of a major breach of security and migration procedure.

To add further condemnation to the Minister and his department's appalling performance, neither he nor any of the large number of senior officials at today's hearings professed to have any knowledge of the presence in Australia of a Mr Obeid, for whom a warrant for his arrest has been issued in Lebanon in connection with the slaying in 1990 of the Maronite Christian political

leader Mr Dany Chamoun and his family. This is beyond comprehension, if for no other reason than that the ease was reported in the media last week.

The Department has taken on notice several important questions from me about this. I will be pursuing both matters further in the Parliament as a matter of urgency.