Senator Chris Ellison Interview

MARK DAVIS: Senator Ellison, thanks very much for your time.

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If these allegations about Mr Brown and other Australians are proven to be correct, does Australia or the Government bear any responsibility for what’s occurring in Indonesia?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON, JUSTICE MINISTER: Well, we certainly take these allegations very seriously. I believe Australia is leading the fight internationally against paedophilia and the Australian Federal Police have officers oversees who are dedicated to this task. In the case of Mr Brown, I can’t pre-empt the outcome of that, for obvious reasons, but we do take the matter very seriously. We’ve stationed an Australian Federal Police officer in Bali now who’s working with the Indonesian police.

MARK DAVIS: That’s a positive sign but have we done enough to reign in suspected Australian paedophiles, specifically in Indonesia, given that it was subject, at least partially, of a National Crime Authority report some seven years ago?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, in particular, in relation to Indonesia, there was an investigation in 1996 and the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police has outlined very clearly the different circumstances that existed then in relation to the evidence that we needed, existing circumstances at the time. We operate in a very different environment today. We’ve dedicated resources to the Australian Federal Police and I am confident that we are doing all we can as a government, and also through the Australian Federal Police, to crack down on paedophilia which is an abhorrent crime.

MARK DAVIS: Well, perhaps if we look at a recent event, a senior Indonesian police officer involved in the Brown case, has claimed that if the Australian Government had provided information that was accurate, we could have prevented what has happened. Now did we provide full and accurate information to the Indonesian authorities in recent years?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, I can’t go into the current investigation, that’s an operational matter and of course, it’s now subject to proceedings in Indonesia. But I can tell you that we are cooperating with Indonesian authorities and we’ve resourced the Australian Federal Police in relation to the fight against paedophilia. AFP is working throughout South-East Asia, including Indonesia, in fighting paedophilia, be it Australians who travel oversees to commit those crimes or others.

MARK DAVIS: Well, perhaps in a general sense, again concentrating on that NCA report from ’97, there was very specific information and very specific names of individuals that were mentioned in that report. Was that information – were those names passed on to the Indonesians, given the nature of the offences that were being discussed?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, the NCA did not provide those names to the police ministers council at the time and it said that that was not an area for the NCA to look into. Now a lot has been said about those names. As I understand it, the Australian Federal Police have been carrying out an investigation in relation to that matter and it’s operational. We certainly monitor the movements of paedophiles. We do that with the Australian Customs Service and we liaise with oversees law enforcement.

MARK DAVIS: Look, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to re-read that NCA report, but we’ve received a copy and it very specifically refers to Mr Brown, Dolly Dunn and three other Australians as being part of a paedophile group sexually exploiting children in Lombok. Now it can’t get much more specific or detailed than that. To the best of your memory, would that information have been passed on?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, can I tell you that that advice as to the names was not passed on to the police ministers council. I wasn’t part of it at that stage, but that’s my advice. It was provided to other law enforcement officials and the NCA said that it was not within its jurisdiction to investigate that. Now the Australian Federal Police did carry out an investigation in 1996. That has been made public, it’s on the record. But due to insufficiency of evidence and a number of other factors, it could not take the matter further. I might add that we’ve succeeded in successfully prosecuting 12 people in relation to child sex tourism and I think that is testament to the good work the Australian Federal Police are doing.

MARK DAVIS: Well, without the document in front of you I won’t press the issue, but would you be disturbed if very detailed information was in that report and that information wasn’t passed on to Indonesian authorities concerning the activities of Australians, specifically in Lombok and Bali?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, there was an investigation carried out in 1996 in Indonesia and the Australian Federal Police has made it very clear that due to the circumstances of the time, that investigation could not be successfully progressed. Now, Mr Brown has been charged, he’s subject to proceedings in Indonesia and we are cooperating fully with the Indonesian law enforcement authorities there. We take this very seriously, not only in Indonesia, I might add, but throughout the world and we’ve signed agreements with other countries in relation to cracking down on paedophilia and the Australian Federal Police international network is doing just that.

MARK DAVIS: Alright, thanks again, Senator, for joining us.

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: It’s a pleasure, thank you.