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Tuesday, 15 October 1985
Page: 1217

Senator JESSOP —Has the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs read statements reported in the South Australian Sunday Mail and other media as having been made by one Ali Kazak who describes himself as the Palestine Liberation Organisation's spokesman in Australia? Is he aware that Mr Ali Kazak reportedly warned that Australians could be targets for Arab extremists and cited the fact that two Austrians were earmarked for execution by the hijackers of the Achille Lauro in the belief that they were Australians? Under what arrangements is this gentleman permitted to live in Australia? Is he a permanent resident? Is he being offered or afforded de facto diplomatic status? Further, has the Government made any inquiries with respect to this gentleman and his alleged threats? If not, will the Government take action to make inquiries and deal with him if he is not a permanent resident of Australia?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The situation is that Mr Kazak is not recognised by the Government as a Palestine Liberation Organisation representative and his views are simply those of an Australian citizen. The Australian Government has received no suggestion from official PLO sources that the views expressed by Mr Kazak in the newspaper article reflect official PLO thinking. To the extent that the reported statements of Mr Kazak do give rise to some concern, as they have in some quarters, I simply make the point that has been made publicly since by Mr Young, the Special Minister of State, who is responsible for the Australian Federal Police and for Government activities in this area generally-that Australia has an effective national counter terrorist capability, developed through co-operation between Federal and State governments, and a national anti terrorist plan has been prepared to ensure a co-ordinated response to an incident and provide for effective crisis management should that circumstance ever arise. Equally, we have a very well developed intelligence exchange system with many other countries on the subject of terrorism and, of course, we have domestic arrangements in place which keep the Government very well informed of what might be likely to occur in this area. So I believe I can say with some conviction on behalf of the Government that there is no ground for particular concern arising out of the reported statements to which the honourable senator has referred.