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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 1984

Senator COLEMAN —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs seen the report in the `Overflow' column of the Times on Sunday dated 12 April 1987 linking the International Freedom Foundation through Pearson and Pipkin Inc. with the South African Government? I remind the Minister that it was this same IFF which sponsored a series of disgusting, misleading and very expensive full-page advertisements in a major Australian newspaper directed against the African National Congress during the recent visit of Oliver Tambo. Does the Minister have any information as to whether the purported linkage between the IFF and the South African Government is a reality? If so, will the Australian Government rethink any permission which may have already been given as to the opening of an office in Australia by the International Freedom Foundation?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Yes, I have seen the report, and if it is true it reinforces my own disgust at the hamfisted propaganda campaign that was waged by the South African Government and its stooges, some of whom are now scattered across three conservative parties opposite, at the time of the Tambo visit to Australia. As to whether the report is in fact true about the particular connections of this front organisation, the Government is seeking, through our representatives overseas, to obtain more background on the International Freedom Foundation, so-called, and whatever associations it may have. I will certainly ensure that Senator Coleman is kept informed of the results of these investigations.

Finally, the question of permission for the opening of an office for this organisation does not arise in the foreign affairs context unless a foreign national were to seek entry to Australia for that purpose. In that event, and depending upon the outcome of our investigations in the meantime, the Government would, of course, wish to satisfy itself that a person operating any such office was not operating under false pretences or in any manner contrary to Australian law.