THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET
Mr Brenton Holmes
[date stamped 'Received 6 June 2002]
Dear Mr Holmes,
Thank you for your letters of 8 May and 28 May 2002 (the latter signed on behalf of Senator the Hon Peter Cook) seeking the minutes of People Smuggling Taskforce (PST) meetings between 27 August and 9 November 2001.
Please find attached copies of the minutes with some deletions. Each deletion is marked with the letter A or B. Text marked 'A' has been deleted because its publication could reasonably be expected to prejudice law enforcement activity or intelligence gathering: text marked 'B' has been deleted because its publication could reasonably be expected to cause damage to defence or international relations. Private telephone numbers have also been deleted. No material has been deleted on the basis that it was not considered relevant to the Committee's terms of reference.
The minutes were internal PM&C documents which were not circulated to other agencies on the PST and therefore contain minor inaccuracies that would otherwise have been corrected. For example, the attendance at People Smuggling Taskforce meetings as recorded in the minutes may not mirror the attendance listed for each meeting in the People Smuggling Taskforce Meeting Dates and Attendance table provided to the Finance and Public Administration Committee on 21 March 2002. This table includes attendees identified by relevant agencies and PM&C security visitor lists and video security footage. The Committee may also wish to note that reference to SIEV 8 in the minutes of 22 October 2001 is incorrect. SIEV 8 arrived on 28 October 2001 off Bathurst Island carrying 31 Vietnamese unauthorised arrivals.
As you are aware, PM&C also provided the Committee on 21 March and 26 March 2002 with evidentiary material accessed by Ms Bryant during the course of her inquiry into advice provided on the SIEV 4 incident. As advised, the package did not contain information that was still being declassified or cleared for release by other agencies. This included documents that had been provided to Ms Bryant by the Department fo Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA).
I now also enclose the DIMIA evidence pack, excluding DIMIA Intelligence Bulletin 52/2001 of 23 November 2001, which was available to Ms Bryant during her inquiry but which I understand has been provided separately to the Committee.