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Monday, 13 October 2008
Page: 5754

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (2:26 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Evans. I refer to Guy Campos, the East Timorese alleged criminal who came to Australia for World Youth Day. Is it a fact that Mr Campos was convicted of being involved in the bashing to death of an innocent 11-year-old boy and sentenced to three years jail, a sentence which he did not serve? Is it also a fact that he was involved in sending many East Timorese patriots to their deaths during occupation? When did the government become aware of these facts? What action has the government taken about Mr Campos, and will the government ensure that he does not leave this country until these matters are thoroughly investigated?

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) —I thank Senator Brown for the question. I am aware of the reports in the media about Mr Guy Campos, and they have been referred to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. First of all, I cannot confirm the allegations Senator Brown has made. They are very serious allegations, and I have no proof of those. In fact, one of them I was not aware of until he just stated it—but, as I say, these are allegations.

We treat allegations of noncitizens in Australia being involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity extremely seriously—I think the whole parliament does. In line with established whole-of-government processes, the department of immigration refers any allegations of involvement by noncitizens in Australia in war crimes or human rights violations to the AFP and other relevant authorities for further investigation.

Any person who applies for a visa to come to Australia undergoes a range of character checks. These checks were carried out in relation to Mr Campos. At the time that Mr Campos was granted a visa, the department was not aware of Mr Campos being wanted for, charged with or convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity. My department has referred the allegations against Mr Campos to the AFP and other relevant agencies for evaluation and continues to actively assist them to progress the case. The investigation into these allegations is ongoing. Obviously, though, I cannot say anything about the veracity of the claims made other than to say that these allegations have been made.

I understand that Mr Campos is not currently the subject of any warrants, charges or convictions in relation to such conduct. But my advice was in relation to allegations of war crimes or crimes against humanity; I am not sure on the aspect of the claim Senator Brown made about an attack on a child, and I will take on notice that aspect to see if there is any knowledge of that because I want to be clear. As I say, my brief related to allegations of crimes against humanity or war crimes, and that may well have been a normal criminal charge. But, as I say, as far as we are aware, Mr Campos is not currently the subject of any warrants, charges or convictions in relation to that conduct. But, as I say, that is in the context of war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Prior to being granted a visa for Australia, though, Mr Campos, like all noncitizens, was assessed against health, character and national security requirements. At that time the department was not aware of any allegations, outstanding warrants or convictions against Mr Campos. I will continue to work with other agencies as these matters arise and take appropriate action should adverse information come to light. So I suppose the short answer to Senator Brown, Mr President, is that those allegations have been taken seriously by the department. They have been referred to the AFP and the AFP is undertaking an investigation into those allegations, but I have no further information and, as I understand it, the investigation is ongoing.

Senator BOB BROWN —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer and I ask the minister: will he assure the Senate that Mr Campos does not leave the country before those investigations are complete? And I ask the minister: if I send him this afternoon the Channel 7 program covering the matter, will he view the record in which Mr Campos admits to being involved in the bashing to death of an 11-year-old boy whose only crime was that he did not have information about the whereabouts of Fretilin operatives during the occupation by the Indonesian military? And can the minister give this chamber an assurance that the case of the sister of this boy, who now lives in this country, will be heard before Mr Campos leaves the country?

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) —I thank Senator Brown for the supplementary question. The information regarding the allegations about Mr Campos has all been referred to the AFP. The AFP are responsible for investigating those claims and, no doubt, they will do so thoroughly. In terms of the question about Mr Campos’s capacity to leave the country, I understand that he has applied for another visa to stay, which probably indicates that he is not intending to flee. But, nevertheless, I will take on notice and ask the Minister for Home Affairs, responsible for the AFP, what the situation is in relation to any intention to depart. I just do not know that; I will take that on notice.