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Thursday, 15 September 1983
Page: 956

Mr COLEMAN(10.19) —During Question Time yesterday the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr West) a question about the Libyan delegation presently visiting Australia led by a man who has been reported to be a former director of the Libyan Foreign Liaison Office, which is an important element in international Libyan terrorism. The honourable member for Warringah was seeking information. He wanted to know on what basis the Minister had granted this man entry to Australia. I repeat: The honourable member was seeking information. The Minister told us that he had examined the matter and that there was no perceived threat to the security of Australia and no perceived threat of terrorism. He stated that he was, in effect-I am paraphrasing now-against political censorship in immigration matters.

There are two points to be made. One, of course, concerns the leadership of this delegation and the other the extraordinary and notorious record of terrorism of the Libyan regimes. I shall start with the second point, which is of great concern throughout the world. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Libyans in various countries despise the Gaddafi regime and want to see their country move in the direction of democracy. If they are persuasive and outspoken they go on a hit list for 'physical liquidation', in the words of the Libyan revolutionary committee at Benghazi in 1979. After that Benghazi decision, four Libyans were murdered in Rome, two in London, one in Bonn, one in Athens and one in Milan.

Mr Hand —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Is it honourable for an honourable member to raise these issues and criticise a country, and the leader of a delegation from that country, with which this country does $100m worth of trade?

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.

Mr COLEMAN —After the Milan killing in June 1980 Colonel Gaddafi called for an end to these liquidations, except in the case of Libyans collaborating with the United States of America, Israel and Egypt, which of course would be a large number. He also warned, I believe cynically, that he was sure he could not control the revolutionary enthusiasm of the revolutionary committees. So in Colorado in October 1980 another Libyan student took two bullets in the head. When we add to this the reports of the Libyan revolutionary sponsorship of the murder of 11 Israelis in Munich and two American diplomats in Khartoum, the shooting of 33 passengers on a Pan Am plane in Rome, and the kidnapping of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries oil Ministers in Vienna, and then add reports of Libya seething with up to 20,000 foreign terrorists in training, we get some idea of why Britain and the United States have expelled Libyan representatives and why many Australians wonder why Libyans are permitted to be so active in Australia, with their offices, their newspaper, their friendship association, their East German connections, and their attempt to recruit mercenaries in Australia.

The concern was even greater when it was noted that the Foreign Liaison Office in Tripoli is a key unit in the organisation of Libyan terrorism and that the leader of the delegation visiting Australia, with the approval of the Minister, is Mr Ahmed Shuhati, once the head of that Office. Of course, Mr Shuhati may have had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorism to which I have referred, I simply do not know, but the Minister's reply evaded the issue. He said, in effect, that he saw no evidence that Mr Shuhati would be a threat to Australia's security. That may be so, but it is an inadequate criterion. The Foreign Liaison Office establishes a network of agents of influence in foreign capitals--

Mr Milton —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Surely this is a misrepresentation of the Minister and an insult to the--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.

Mr COLEMAN —The Office does not necessarily kill people everywhere, but people are concerned that Australia should not play a role in that international network. The Minister carefully did not say, and would not say, whether he had sought advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs or from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Why will he not tell us where he got his advice from? Was it from Mr Bill Hartley? The House is entitled to know.