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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1223

The following answers to questions were circulated:


Senator Gareth Evans —On 16 April 1985 (Hansard, page 1036) Senator Reid asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Defence, a question without notice concerning the award of medals to Australian servicemen who have served or are serving in the Sinai with the Australian peacekeeping force. In reply I undertook to seek an answer from the Minister for Defence. The Minister has provided the following response:

Last year, in accordance with a Government decision, an Interdepartmental Committee was established to review honour and awards for Defence Force personnel. A specific task of the Committee was to consider the need for any new awards for Defence Force personnel in the Australian system. The need for an Australian award for the recognition of service in peacekeeping and other military but non-warlike operations such as the MFO in the Sinai was considered by the Committee and its views on the matter have yet to be considered by the Government.


Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, without notice, on 25 March 1985:

I ask the Minister a supplementary question. Will the Government check the information that has been given to me, that in fact these weapons are now at the stage where they might be still used but are rusting away and that the unserviceability issue which the Minister raised in such a derisive fashion is, in fact, due substantially to the engines.

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

The hulls and turrets of the Centurion tanks are in long term storage and should remain in a serviceable condition for some considerable time. They are not rusting away. Regular inspections are conducted to ensure their preservation and where necessary programmed maintenance is carried out.

Should the need arise to re-introduce the hulls and turrets of Centurion tanks into service, it will be necessary to replace the present engines, the weapon and fire control systems and to extensively refit the crew compartment. These requirements were taken into account when the decision was made to place Centurions into long term storage.