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Notice given 25 June 2002

*395  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs—

(1) Is the Minister aware that the United Kingdom (UK) War Pensions Agency is now awarding war pensions to nuclear test veterans, including those who were at Monte Bello and Maralinga, for cancers of the pharynx, the colon and the prostate and for multiple myeloma and generalised anxiety conditions.

(2) Is the Minister aware that the New Zealand (NZ) Government has recently announced that the crewmen of HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury who were sent by the NZ Government to protest the French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll in 1973 have been provided with full war pension access.

(3) Will the Australian Government adopt either the UK or the NZ approach to war pensions for Australian nuclear test veterans; if not, why not.

*396  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to the document recently released by the department, ‘Chemical Warfare Testing Sites (File No. A6456 R8216/10)’, written by a joint Australian/United States (US) survey team on suitable sites within Australia for chemical and biological weapons tests:

(1) Was this series of tests an extension of research on: (a) decontamination of water supplies containing nerve gas, carried out at Maralinga in 1959; (b) mustard gas tests, held on Brooks Island in 1944; and (c) malaria trials.

(2) (a) What other chemical and biological weapons have been tested in Australia; and (b) what are the details of these tests.

(3) Is it the case that Iron Range was the site of a ‘simulated’ nuclear test on 18 July 1963.

(4) Were chemical or biological weapons involved in Operation Blowdown.

(5) Were defoliating agents tested in Australia prior to their use in Vietnam.

(6) Have chemical weapons ever been stored in Australia; if so, where.

(7) Have there been any accidents involving chemical weapons in Australia; if so, what are the details of these accidents.

(8) Did any of these accidents involve sarin gas.

(9) Was sarin gas used by the Tropical Trials Unit.

(10) Can records from the Tropical Trials Unit be made available.

(11) What was or is the role of the Defence Standards Laboratories in Proserpine and Maribyrnong.

(12) Was Australia’s cooperation with the US Government in providing ‘tropical’ chemical, biological and nuclear weapons testing grounds seen as necessary for Australia’s entry into the then American/British/Canadian Tripartite Agreement as an equal fourth member.

(13) (a) What were the sea vulnerability trials, completed in 1963, and did they involve nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

(14) Was it the view of the Department of Defence representative on the sea vulnerability trials at the time that Australia’s past acceptance of nuclear tests and the basing of U-2 aircraft on Australian territory, meant that biological warfare and chemical warfare testing was likely to be permitted.

*397  Senator Bartlett: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—

(1) (a) Is it a fact that, as reported in previously released documents, the 1994 report of the Australian Geological Survey Organisation’s North East Study cost $1000; and (b) can a full list be provided of the companies or organisations that have purchased that report.

(2) With reference to the indefinite moratorium on petroleum exploration activities immediately adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park announced by the Government in July 1990: (a) is that moratorium still in force; if not: (i) when did it end, (ii) who ended it, and (iii) what reasons were given for its termination; (b) what areas does Geoscience Australia (GA) understand are included in the moratorium; and (c) what activities are deemed to constitute exploration for purposes of the moratorium.

(3) Did the 1999 Franklin Cruise conduct both core sampling and seismic surveying.

(4) Was part of the Franklin’s objective ensuring that the Ocean Drilling Program (leg 194) did not encounter hydrocarbons.

(5) Could any of the data derived from the Franklin Cruise be used to assist in determining petroleum prospectivity in the North East Region.

(6) When did the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO) commit to the Franklin Cruise.

(7) Does the SAR satellite data purchased by AGSO indicate areas of oil and/or hydrocarbon seepage; if so, where.

(8) For what areas has SAR data been purchased.

(9) What is the total cost of the SAR data acquired.

(10) What is the total cost of determining weather compliance for the data purchased.

(11) Has the SAR data been provided, either directly or indirectly, to any organisation or company.

(12) Is the data, or summaries of the data, for sale; if so, at what charge.

(13) Is the definition of exploration given by Dr Powell, Deputy CEO and Chief, Petroleum and Marine Division, Geoscience Australia, during an estimates hearing of the Economics Legislation Committee ( Hansard , 3 June 2002, p. 89) an accurate definition of ‘exploration’ as used by GA; if not, what is the definition used by GA.