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Monday, 15 September 2003
Page: 20122

Mr Bevis asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 12 August 2003:

(1) Further to the answer to question No. 1960, what factors led to the reversal of the decision to import the Iraqi jet fighter aircraft, given that it had been “taken to a staging base in the Middle East in preparation for return to Australia”.

(2) What office within the “command authority” authorised the acquisition of the “other military hardware from Iraq”.

Mrs Vale (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) As Australian forces withdrew from operations in Western Iraq, the Iraqi jet fighter was moved to the staging base for safe keeping, pending a formal decision on whether the aircraft, and other captured items, would be imported into Australia. The factors that led to the decision not to import the Iraqi jet fighter aircraft were:

(a) it was captured on the ground in a non-operational condition; and

(b) at the time of capture it was quite evident that the jet had not been involved in combat operations.

As such, it was determined that the jet was of minimal historical value, and that its subsequent display in the Australian War Memorial would not have been the most appropriate representation of the Australian Defence Force's participation in the 2003 Gulf War.

(2) The Chief of the Defence Force.