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Tuesday, 5 June 1984
Page: 2481


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security) —I also seek leave to have the text of the statement relating to items 7 and 8-the documents on the British nuclear tests at Maralinga-incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

I foreshadowed in the Senate on 31 May 1984 my intention to table certain documents relating to British nuclear tests in Australia. Yesterday I informed the Senate that tabling of one of those documents had been delayed because of British concerns about classified information. I expect to be able to table that document before the Senate rises for the winter recess.

The documents just tabled are:

1. Report of the Expert Committee of the Review of Data on Atmospheric Fallout Arising from British Nuclear Tests in Australia;

2. The Indoctrinee Force: A Note on Radiation Levels Experienced by its Members in the Buffalo Series Tests conducted in 1956 at One Tree and Marcoo on the Maralinga Range, S.A.

The Government will be giving urgent attention to the conclusions and recommendations of the Atmospheric Fallout Committee Report.

The document on the Indoctrinee Force is a British document dated 3 April 1984. Over recent weeks there has been a number of media reports concerning this Force of British, Australian and New Zealand officers who experienced the effects of two of the weapons tests in South Australia at close range. This document has been tabled to ensure that its full contents are publicly available, rather than have the public rely on somewhat selective reports that have appeared in the media. The document sets out the British view that the radiation exposure levels of those involved were well within the prescribed limits. My Department has certain information on the Australian involvement relating both to the personnel involved and their individual radiation exposure levels. Such information is of a similar character to personal medical records and I am not in a position to table the information on individuals without their approval. Consequently, when the records of the Australian personnel involved (about 100) have been collated I will make them public after deleting any references which could identify the individuals. My Department is comparing this material with that in the British document with a view to ascertaining if there are any inconsistencies between the aggregate figures and the records held on individuals.