The Courier-Mail (Brisbane)
Wed 07 May 1997, p9
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl ignored protesters wearing Nazi SS uniforms as he boarded a boat for a Sydney Harbour cruise yesterday afternoon.
A group of 30 Church of Scientology members, some wearing Nazi SS uniforms and carrying placards reading “Hands Off Our Religion” and “Is Germany Really A Free Country?”, heckled Dr Kohl before his cruise.
Protester Liz Reeve said the German Government was orchestrating a campaign against Scientologists, even taking their children from schools.
“That shouldn’t be happening to children in any country,” Ms Reeve said.
The German Scientologists have accused the German Government of discrimination by not recognising it as a legitimate religion with the attendant tax advantages.
Dr Kohl and his delegation, including 15 German business leaders, were rushed past the protesters to their cruise boat.
On board, New South Wales Premier Bob Carr paraded his Ministers including “his youngest one”, Sports Minister Gabrielle Harrison.
Earlier, Mr Carr introduced Opposition Leader Peter Collins to Dr Kohl as “leader of the conservative bloc” of parliament, “like your Christian Social Democrats”.
Mr Carr was to have given a short speech welcoming the chancellor but this was put aside probably so Dr Kohl could enjoy a meal of Tasmanian salmon, washed down with Tyrells champagne, while taking in the views of a sunny Sydney Harbour.
Other guests included former prime minister Paul Keating – who is believed to have talked about German architecture with the chancellor – NSW Chief Justice Murray Gleeson and former premiers Neville Wran and Barrie Unsworth.
Dr Kohl, who arrived in Sydney earlier yesterday for the final leg of his five-day tour, was also shown around the Opera House.
A police motorcade escorted the chancellor through Sydney streets.