Senate Question Time
Monday Oct 13 2008
BROWN, Senator Bob James, Tasmania
Leader of the Australian Greens
Senator BOB BROWN (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?
EVANS, Senator Chris Vaughan, Western Australia2
ALPMinister for Immigration and Citizenship
Senator CHRIS EVANS 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 itbut, as I say, these are allegations.
We treat allegations of noncitizens in Australia being involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity extremely seriouslyI think the whole parliament has. 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.
Senator BOB BROWNMr 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 EVANSI 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.
Senator BOB BROWN (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (3.27 pm)I move:
That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Senator Evans) to a question without notice asked by Senator Bob Brown today relating to Mr Guy Campos.
It was drawn to my attention at the end of last week that Mr Guy Campos was in Australia on a visa issued to enable him to come to World Youth Day when the Pope visited Australia some months ago. I had not been aware of the reportage on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program by James Thomas of previous activities by Mr Campos, but I am nowand the matter alarms me greatly.
On the fact of it, the allegations are that Mr Campos was a collaborator with the Indonesian military’s occupation of East Timor over many years. Amongst other things, the allegations are that he pointed out East Timorese patriots who had the courage to be defending their country’s interest during that occupation, and that a number of these people pointed out by Mr Camposand the number goes into at least double figureswere taken off to summary execution.
There are further allegations that Mr Campos was involved in the torture of East Timorese patriotsand I mean directly involved. This included the application of electric shocks and water torture to prisoners in torture camps and cells in Dili and perhaps elsewhere in East Timor. There is a specific and verifiable claim that, when an 11yearold boy who had been in the bush in East Timor came to Dili, he was taken under control, effectively, by Mr Campos and consequently beaten to death. It was allegedly required of this boy that he give information about Fretilin’s activities in the bush.
What the program has shown is Mr Campos admitting to at least being present when that boy was beaten to death. Mr Campos says that he later called for a doctor. Whatever the case, he was apparently convicted by the then judicial system and sentenced to three years jail for the beating to death of this hapless little boy, who either did not know anything or, with extraordinary courage, refused to give any information about the Fretilin activities at the time.
These are very grave allegations about very serious and criminal activities by a man who is present in the country. He came here on a visa, the application for which, I presume, would have required him to say whether or not he had a conviction for a criminal offence. I am pleased that Senator Evans has informed the chamber that the Australian Federal Police is now investigating these matters. I have furnished the minister with copies of the programs in which these allegations are made and in which Mr Campos is interviewed and makes the specific admissions regarding the death of the 11-year-old boy. It is extraordinarily important that we do not lightly harbour people who are convicted of or who are under allegation of such ferocious and inhumane activities which, if they had happened in our country, would lead to the full force of the law but which, on the face of it, breach international covenants protecting the rights of citizens in a country like East Timor.
I intend to raise this matter in estimates next week, and to pursue it. I am alarmed that the man might leave the country before investigations have been completed. I am pleased that the minister has given assurances, as he did during question time, that he is looking at the matter. It is a matter of great alarm and, as Australians committed to a decent go for people, it is a matter that we cannot allow to escape justice in this country.
Question agreed to.