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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 100

(Question No. 632)

Mr Evans asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, upon notice, on 22 November 1993:

  (1) Were `Father and son' voyages on HMAS Adelaide scheduled for 28 October and 3 November 1993 cancelled; if so, (a) why, (b) what notice was given to intending participants, (c) were the crew and their families given timely notice, (d) how many families were involved, (e) will the Department of Defence reimburse families for any expense they incurred in organising travel arrangements for participation and (f) have the families of the crew been formally notified of the reason for the cancellation.

Mr Beazley —The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

  (1) No. The cruises planned on this occasion were not cancelled, rather the dates were amended to accord with HMAS Adelaide's revised program.

  (a) HMAS Adelaide was to conduct a series of parent/child cruises on its return to home port in Western Australia from Sydney in October and November 1993. In accordance with the standing Maritime Orders, Family Days are normally conducted at the discretion of the Commanding Officer, when programs permit, keeping Maritime Headquarters informed of the timings. HMAS Adelaide's Family Days were to be conducted during the ship's passage to Western Australia. Periods at sea were scheduled between Sydney—Melbourne, Melbourne—Adelaide and Adelaide—Perth. The first of the families were due to embark in Sydney on Wednesday 27 October 1993.

  On Tuesday 19 October 1993 the ship failed its Operational Evaluation, and consequently was required to remain in the East Australian Exercise Area until it achieved the requisite standard of operational readiness. Notice of the change was advised to the ship's company on Wednesday 20 October 1993. The ship conducted a successful reassessment and then departed the Sydney area on Tuesday 2 November 1993.

  (b) When the change was announced on Wednesday 20 October 1993 the ship was at sea, however every effort was made to enable those affected to contact their families immediately. The onus of informing the families of any changes is left upon the ship's company.

  (c) A Ship's company is invariably briefed on the required flexibility of a ship's program including the fact that short notice changes for a number of reasons will occur. On this occasion eight days notice was given to the families for the first cruise and sixteen days to the families joining for later cruises. Additionally, the opportunity was given to all families to join in Jervis Bay on Tuesday 2 November 1993 just prior to Adelaide's departure for passage west.

  (d) Initially, thirty-nine families were to have taken part, but with the amended program twenty-seven family members availed themselves of the seariding opportunity.

  (e) Noting the voluntary participation that is offered to families, no Departmental liability exists.

  (f) Not applicable.