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Tuesday, 4 September 1984
Page: 434

(Question No. 908)


Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 29 May 1984:

(1) Have allegations been made by Australians working with refugees on Thailand 's borders, that chemical warfare is being used by Vietnam against Kampuchea.

(2) Has Mrs Adelia Bernard claimed that in 1982 she was instructed to obtain evidence of such warfare by and for the Australian Government.

(3) What action has been taken on any evidence supplied by Mrs Bernard by the Australian Government.


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

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) The material supplied by Mrs Bernard to the Australian authorities was analysed by the Defence Materials Research Laboratories in Maribyrnong, Victoria who were unable to find evidence of any toxicity.

Whatever its source, all evidence available to the Australian Government concerning alleged use of chemical weapons in Indo-China is carefully assessed by the Australian Government agencies concerned. The Government has made clear on many occasions its abhorrence of chemical weapons, its utter condemnation of their use and its determination to work for the conclusion of a Chemical Weapons Convention that would eliminate existing stocks of chemical weapons and their means of production as well as prohibiting their use, all this under effective verification. In this connection please see my reply to Question No. 751 in the House of Representatives (Hansard, page 3470, 7 December 1983).