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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2648

Question No. 589

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 6 October:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the article 'Defending the Sunburnt Country ' by M. Hayes in Chain Reaction in the August-September 1983 issue.

(2) If so, will he table in the House promptly any Congressional testimony or technical publication regarding the new radome for Pine Gap referred to on page 14 of the article.

(3) What attitude has Australia expressed to the current United States of America first-strike counterforce policy.

(4) Is he able to say what cost assessments are available for an (a) effective anti-missile and first-strike capability, in terms of existing and projected incomes and defence budgets of the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and (b) international communications, military surveillance disarmament monitoring, peace-keeping and armistice-policing force using joint facilities installed in Australia by USA military and intelligence agencies.

Mr Scholes —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Contrary to the statement in the article in Chain Reaction, it is not US practice to publicise details of the equipments at the Joint Defence Space Research Facility at Pine Gap and their purposes. I do not have any such Congressional testimony or technical publications to table. I can however advise that the purpose of the radome is to protect the enclosed antenna from the effects of the weather.

(3) The characterisation of US strategic policy as a first strike counterforce policy is not accurate. Authoritative statements of US policy emphasise that US strategy is purely defensive and that pre-emptive or first strike action by the US has been ruled out. In this context I draw the honourable member's attention to the FY 1984 Defense Report issued by the US Secretary of Defense, Mr Weinberger, which contains the following statement on page 33:

'Our strategy excludes the possibility that the US would initiate war. The US would use its military strength only in response to aggression, not to pre-empt it.'

(4) No.