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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18705

Mr RUDD (2:57 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Does the foreign minister recall a Sydney Morning Herald report last Friday that the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, has said that, while Australian police were involved in a joint raid with the Indonesian police on a JI cell in Semarang in June, the Australians were not provided with specific information on JI targets that had been identified in documents found in a Semarang house? Does the minister also recall a statement by the head of the Indonesian intelligence agency, BIN, A.M. Hendropriyono, that an Indonesian police report had identified 51 separate targets? Minister, given the government's repeated statements about the effectiveness of its MOU on intelligence sharing with Indonesia, will you confirm on the parliamentary record, firstly, that all JI documents and all JI target lists seized in the Semarang raids were given to Australian authorities and when and, secondly, whether this documentation or any other documentation obtained by the government identified as a JI target that part of Jakarta where the Marriott hotel was located?

Mr DOWNER (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —By coincidence, just as the honourable member got up to ask his question I was reading a transcript of a debate on the Sunrise program this morning that he had with our excellent Minister for Small Business and Tourism. I notice that the member for Griffith was making the argument that the government exaggerates the threat of terrorism. On the one hand, part of his argument is that the government is running a scare campaign on terrorism: be alarmed not alert—which according to him is some sort of glib line with which the government frightens people over terrorism—but on the other hand he makes the argument that the government understates the threat of terrorism. I know the Treasurer has pointed out the incoherence of the Labor Party's fiscal policy, but that incoherence seems to extend to the Labor Party's security policy. If you want to convince the public that you are ready for government, you must convince people that you are strong against terrorism and you are strong on national security issues.

During the course of last week—and the honourable member asked about this—there were media reports of a Jemaah Islamiah hit list. The so-called target hit list mentioned in last week's media was in fact a list, prepared by the Indonesian police, of locations in Jakarta that will receive enhanced protective security; it was not a JI target list. The list appeared to draw on information which had come to hand from recent raids on terrorist hideouts and other sources. It included some places which Indonesian police guessed would be likely targets. It was very sensible of them and it is pleasing to see that the Indonesian authorities are taking such precautionary action. We have very close cooperation with the Indonesian police. I know it comes as a disappointment to the member for Griffith, but we had a joint operation investigating the Bali bombings, which has been the absolutely pivotal event in drawing to the Indonesian's attention the threat of Jemaah Islamiah.

Mr Rudd —I rise on a point of order. The question was about information obtained from Semarang raids, to which he has not referred.

The SPEAKER —The member for Griffith will resume his seat. I believe the minister indicated that he had concluded his answer.