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Tuesday, 5 November 1985
Page: 1602

(Question No. 520)

Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 11 September 1985:

(1) Has the Australian Government instigated an inquiry as to how French agents, involved in the bombing of the `Rainbow Warrior', managed to use bureaucratic immigration checks at Norfolk Island to escape New Zealand police.

(2) Has the Australian Government considered through what intelligence the French agents knew that Norfolk Island was the most effective route through which to escape.

(3) Does the Government believe that this intelligence was from inside Australia.

(4) Have the Australian authorities confirmed the identity of the Frenchman who was at the Sydney picture theatre with French agent Maniguet when Federal Police arrived.

(5) Have the Federal Police questioned this Frenchman since 15 July 1985; if not, are Federal Police trying to track down this person, who may be an accessory to an act of murder and terrorism.

(6) Has the Government thoroughly investigated any other Australian connections, either official French agents or others.

(7) Would the Australian Government concede that:

(a) it would be most unlikely that no other base outside New Zealand and France was used by the French for the bombing; and

(b) another country close to the scene would be needed and this other base on available evidence was Australia.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)-(3) I have been informed the alleged French agents did not escape from Norfolk Island. They were questioned on the Island by New Zealand Police and no charges were laid against them.

(4) When the Australian Federal Police (AFP) spoke with Xavier Maniguet on 16 July 1985 he was in company with one Pierre Roussel, an Australian citizen and a resident of Sydney, New South Wales.

(5) The AFP have not questioned the person Roussel since 16 July 1985. The crimes alleged against the French crew of the yacht Ouvea were committed in New Zealand and therefore the AFP can only act to assist New Zealand Police upon their request. No request to interview the person Roussel has been received by the AFP.

(6) I refer the honourable senator to Senator Evans' answer to his question without notice on 9 October 1985 (Hansard, page 905).

(7) (a) and (b) I have no basis on which to concede the propositions put forward by the honourable senator.