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Monday, 10 September 1984
Page: 697


Senator McINTOSH —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, follows upon the questions asked by Senator Tate and Senator Chipp. Given the recent statement by the United States Department of Defense that the President has the right to initiate a nuclear first strike without first consulting Congress, does this not imply that the Australian Government would also not be consulted in the event of such a first strike? In the light of this, will the Australian Government reconsider its continued maintenance of United States Military bases at Pine Gap, North West Cape and Nurrungar, as these bases constitute a vital part of the United States nuclear first strike capacity, and are supposedly subject to joint United States -Australian control?


Senator GARETH EVANS —It is not part of the Australian Government's understanding of the use of these bases that they do have that role or capacity. I think I have made that clear in answer to numerous previous questions. I will refer Senator McIntosh's question to the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence in order to see what further information in response to his question they might be willing to provide.