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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2012


Senator WALSH —During Question Time Senator Chipp asked me a question in which he gave two quotations. He asked me whether I was aware of those quotations having come from Mr Macaulay, a native patrol officer working in the Maralinga area during the 1950s and 1960s. I said that I was aware of the first quotation having come from Mr Macaulay. I was not aware of the second quotation having come from Mr Macaulay, although it had appeared in almost identical form in the Canberra Times a couple of days ago, though not attributed to Mr Macaulay. That was correct. Since then, however, Senator Chipp has provided me with a photocopy of a letter signed by R. Macaulay which I presume came from the Department of Defence, although that is not clear, in which this paragraph appears:

Natives have been living well inside the Maralinga Prohibited Zone continuously from before the establishment of the Atomic Weapons Testing Grounds. It is reasonable to assume that they did not move further east than Long. E.131* and further south than Lat. S.29* 30'.

I am told that the conjunction of that latitude and longitude is the Lake Maurice area which is roughly 100 kilometres north west of the Maralinga Village and, therefore, I would expect, some 60 kilometres from the Maralinga test site. The eastern extremity of longitude 131* would at some point from that clearly be some distance closer than 65 kilometres to the Maralinga test site. I add that I was not able to contact the Department prior to answering Senator Chipp's question. It was dropped into my office about 12 o'clock but the member of my staff who handles questions was out until about 1.30 p.m.