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Notice given 31 July 2006

2268  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—

(1) What knowledge does the Government have of the use of directed energy weapons, including high energy microwave, lasers or the ‘Active Denial System’ by forces of the United States of America (US) in Iraq.

(2) Is the Government aware of claims, made in a documentary aired by Italian TV station RAI on 16 May 2006, that such directed energy weapons have been responsible for numerous deaths and casualties, specifically at the battle for Baghdad Airport in 2003.

(3) What information does the Government have about these casualties.

(4) Did the US Government inform the Government that it was planning to use directed energy weapons; if so, what briefings did the Government receive about these weapons and the danger they posed to civilians and to Australian troops.

(5) What does the Government know about the ‘Project Sheriff’ vehicles, which are equipped with a range of directed energy weapons, including the Active Denial System, or so-called ‘Pain Ray’.

(6) Are Australian troops involved in any way with the use of any of these weapons.

(7) Is the Government aware that US Brigadier-General James Huggings, Chief of Staff for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, has requested 14 ‘Project Sheriff’ vehicles for deployment to Iraq.

(8) What is the Government’s position regarding the use of directed energy weapons.

2269  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Is the Minister aware that on 25 July 2006 a member of the House of Lords asked a written question of the British Government concerning its knowledge of any payments made by British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Limited to Ansett Transport Industries Operations Limited and East West Airline Operations Limited, under an agreement dated 3 September 1993, in connection with design flaws in the BAe 146 aircraft, allowing contamination of cabin air by oil and other fumes.

(2) Is the Government aware of any payments pursuant to such an agreement: (a) if so: (i) what is the quantum of these payments, (ii) what are the full terms of the agreement, and (iii) can a copy of the agreement be provided; and (b) if not, will the Minister investigate this matter.


 2270  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) How many reports have been made to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) since 27 September 2002 relating to air contamination in BAe 146 aircraft.

(2) In each case: (a) when was the report lodged; (b) who lodged the report; and (c) what action was taken by CASA in response.

(3) Are all instances of suspected contamination reported to CASA.