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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 961

Senator BOLKUS —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, concerns an article in today's National Times on the use of United States of America bases within Australia, especially the Pine Gap base. Have such facilities, especially the one at Pine Gap, been deployed or are they proposed by any country to be deployed for the purpose of monitoring and/or intercepting communications with Greece or communications related to Greece in any way? Is it also a fact--

Senator Jessop —I wouldn't worry about that too much.

Senator BOLKUS —The honourable senator does not worry about anything too much. Is it also a fact that one reason for this action is United States concern at the direction of the Greek Government? In view of the fact that the United States has a history of intervention in Greece and that this proposal runs counter to the policy of the Australian Government as to the use of such bases, can the Minister give an assurance that the bases will not be used in this way?

Senator BUTTON —The Government is neither in the habit of commenting nor is it in a position to comment on all sorts of speculation or assertions about the joint facilities at Pine Gap or Nurrungar beyond the Prime Minister's statement to Parliament on 6 June last year. In that statement the Prime Minister said that the joint facilities at Pine Gap and Nurrungar contribute to arms control verification and early warning as well as to effective deterrence. That is the position which the Government adopts. I say by way of observation that, if the United States Government were concerned at the direction of the Greek Government, I have no doubt that it would deploy a wide range of other means of intercepting communications which are totally unrelated to facilities in Australia.