Thursday, 10 September 2009
MR Guy Campos
- That the Senate calls on the Government to ensure alleged war criminal Mr Guy Campos remains in Australia until investigations into the allegations about his actions in occupied Timor Leste are completely finalised.
Anyone who has watched the reports on Today Tonight will be familiar with the name of Guy Campos. He is a self-confessed child beater and alleged war criminal and murderer. He has been living right here in Australia, only a couple of kilometres away from the family of the boy he has allegedly bashed to death. The Australian government has known about these serious allegations against Guy Campos for well over 12 months. The government has taken way too long to ensure that this person is brought to justice. We do support this motion for those reasons. It would be outrageous to see this person being able to leave this country without Australia following through with its obligations to actually bring this person to justice.
The motion calls on the government to ensure that Mr Guy Campos remains in Australia until investigations against him are finalised. For the record, Mr Campos is currently in Australia on a bridging visa issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The AFP is investigating allegations relating to the conduct of Mr Campos in East Timor in the 1990s. It is this government’s position that we do acknowledge the grief of people whose lives have been deeply affected as a result of the conflict in East Timor over many years. This motion is misleading and inappropriate as it is currently formulated. As Mr Campos is currently lawfully in Australia on a bridging visa, he is free to leave the country if he chooses to do so. As Mr Campos is currently lawfully in Australia on a bridging visa, a criminal justice stay visa cannot be issued. It is unclear whether the senator is seeking a change to the law and to our system of justice. It is also unclear what the senator has in mind for keeping Mr Campos in the country or what he thinks this motion might lawfully achieve under our current law. The senator has been kept informed of the steps that agencies have taken in relation to Guy Campos and is aware—
Honourable senators interjecting—
The Senate has been kept informed of the steps that agencies have taken in relation to Guy Campos and is well aware of the laws within which they operate. This motion is thoughtless at best and unfairly misleading to the families affected by war crimes. The government has indicated that it does not support the motion.
It is very alarming indeed that the minister has made that statement, because one has to take from it that Mr Campos may well leave the country before police investigations are finished and before the Commonwealth prosecutors have an opportunity to make a decision as to whether a prosecution can be made against Mr Campos based on evidence from real people who were tortured in Timor Leste during the period of occupation in which it is alleged Mr Campos was a collaborator. I am very alarmed indeed, and I hope the Senate will share that alarm, that Mr Campos may, in the coming days—certainly in the coming weeks—go back to Timor Leste or to Indonesia and be out of reach of the criminal justice system in Australia.
This nation has never, as far as I know, brought to court a war criminal within its borders. There are very serious allegations against Guy Campos. He should not leave the country until the Australian Federal Police has finished its investigations or until the prosecutor has made a determination. That is the challenge in this motion from the Senate to the government. I certainly hope the Senate will support this motion because it puts on notice to the government that it ought to allow the Australian investigation and policing system run its full course before Guy Campos leaves the country.
That the motion (Senator Bob Brown’s) be agreed to.