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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2096

(Question No. 710)

Senator Coleman asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 7 March 1984:

(1) Are Australian ships or aircraft capable of launching nuclear weapons.

(2) Do the FA18 fighter bombers on order have that capability; if not, are they easily convertible.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) No weapon or weapons delivery system in the possession of the Australian Defence force is equipped with nuclear ordnance. The standard design of many modern weapons and weapons delivery systems is such that they have been or can be modified to have a nuclear capability. This applies to various items in the Australian inventory including the FA18 aircraft on order for the Royal Australian Air Force.

On 2 April 1984 the Prime Minister stressed Australia's complete and unequivocal commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its permanent and binding obligation on Australia not to acquire nuclear weapons.