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ASIO admits foreign influence in Parkin case

Melbourne, 22 May 2007: ASIO did not rely solely on information on deported US citizen Scott Parkin's activities in Australia when it deemed the peace activist a threat to national security, lawyers for the domestic spy agency told the Federal Court in Melbourne today.

Charles Gunst QC, appearing for ASIO chief Paul O'Sullivan, said that Mr O'Sullivan denied that ASIO depended solely on information related to Mr Parkin's activities in Australia in making the adverse security assessment.

Following Mr Parkin's removal from Australia in September 2005, Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock denied that there was "any foreign government influence" [1] in ASIO's decision to issue an adverse security assessment of Mr Parkin.

In October 2005, Mr O'Sullivan told a parliamentary committee that "there was no consideration of any particular matter coming from abroad" in Parkin's case, and that the assessment was "related to his behaviour subsequent to his arrival in Australia". [2]

The full bench of the Federal Court today revoked ASIO's leave to appeal an order that the parties confer with regard to a list of documents sought by Mr Parkin's legal team.

This morning, supporters of Mr Parkin released twenty-six statutory declarations collected from people who attended talks and workshops given by Mr Parkin between his arrival in Australia in May 2005 and his removal in September 2005.

The sworn statements assert that Mr Parkin did not engage in or advocate any form of violence during his time in Australia.

Notes:

1 "No politics in activists detention: Ruddock", ABC Victoria News, 13 September 2006.
2 Australia, Senate 2005, Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee Estimates, 31 October 2005, p. 139.

 
   
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