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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2877

(Question No. 827)

Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 2 May 1984:

(1) Has the Minister for Defence seen the article in the National Times of 27 April to 3 May 1984, in which it is indicated that documents from the United States Air Force Space Command illustrate that Nurrungar is an entirely American operation with no vestige of Australian control.

(2) Does the article state that the United States squadron has 'responsibility for monitoring performance of Australian civilians' at Nurrungar.

(3) Is it still the Government's position that this base is under joint control ; if so, why.

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

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) Yes. The author or the article is quite wrong in his claim that there is a lack of Australian control or participation in the joint defence space communications station at Nurrungar. Australian and United States personnel are fully integrated in the station's operations and management. This includes the operations room where standing procedures provide that there be at least one Australian service officer on each shift crew, and where in fact at the present time three of the four shift directors are Australian officers. The performance of Australian civilians at Nurrungar is monitored by their supervisors, be they United States Air Force personnel, Australian military personnel or Australian civilians. This is in accordance with normal management practice in any well conducted organisation.