The UNIMA Australia website reports today that US citizen - puppeteer and activist, Scott Parkin detained by the Australian Federal Police and immigration officials on the grounds that he constituted a threat to Australia's national security, has been deported. Australian officials refused to explain the basis on revoking the visa that they had allowed him to enter the country on six weeks earlier. In the absence of any explantion for the reasons for his arrest, some media wondered whether it was because Australian agencies had discovered something about protest activity he had been involved with in the U.S.
Greenpeace Australia's Campaigns Manager, Danny Kennedy said Parkin had been arrested for a minor offence at once at a protest at ExxonMobil while working for Greenpeace. "He once dressed as Tony the Tiger and ran around the Exxon Mobile headquarters in Texas along with 20 other Tony the Tigers. He wasn't charged with a violent crime," Mr Kennedy said.
"Scott has never advocated violence. He has only ever advocated non-violence and peaceful protest. And if Mr Ruddock knows better he needs to make it clear and transparent and explain it to Scott so that he can defend himself," Kennedy told the Sydney Morning Herald. In a statement released the day before he was deported Parkin expressed his incomprehension of what occurred. "I find this entire experience incomprehensible and am still baffled as to why my visa has been cancelled," he said.
"I am a student of mass social movements in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jnr and I think that these movements have shown us the way to achieve positive social change," said Mr Parkin. Following the deportation of Parkin, former Office of National Assessments (ONA) analyst, Andrew Wilkie, dismissed claims that Parkin was a security threat.
For further information, click here or listen to the interview on ABC Radio National 'The Deep End' (click 15 September)