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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 885


Senator BOLKUS —Has the attention of the Minister for Resources and Energy been drawn to newspaper stories last month that secret agreements between Australia and the United Kingdom covered the arrangements between those two countries for the Maralinga nuclear weapons test range? Can the Minister confirm whether or not these agreements are in fact secret? Further, can the Minister assure the Senate that copies of those agreements will be made available to the McClelland Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia between 1952 and 1963? If the agreements are in fact not secret, is the Minister willing to make them available to the public as soon as possible?


Senator WALSH —There were Press reports in the Australian on 13 August this year about the memorandum of arrangements between the United Kingdom and Australia which were based on an article previously published in the Sunday Observer newspaper in London. That article claimed that the agreements were secret. The agreements were, in fact, declassified on 29 September last year. I am not sure whether the McClelland Commission has been supplied with copies of these agreements, but they certainly would be supplied on request. Indeed, in response to the last section of Senator Bolkus's question, I now table the two agreements , the memorandum of arrangements dated 7 March 1956 and the memorandum respecting the termination of those arrangements dated 23 September 1968.