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Wednesday, 17 October 1956

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I must ask the honorable member for East Sydney to refrain from interjecting while an answer is being given to a very long question.

Mr BEALE - It is known, of course, that the Communists in Australia are putting out the story about the grounding of aircraft, and no doubt that is where the honorable member for East Sydney got the story; but I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that no plane was grounded and no plane waa diverted. The course of the atomic cloud was exactly as expected and predicted by the scientists. As to the delay in the taking place of the explosion, again on that matter the honorable gentleman is not only ignorant, but is also glorying in his ignorance, because the simple fact is that no decision is made on the morning of a particular day that the test will take place that afternoon. The decision to fire the weapon is not made until the last moment and until all the meteorological data are brought to hand which make completely certain that there will be no change of circumstances which could create any danger. What happens, of course, is that because these tests take from twelve to fifteen hours to mount, men have to go into the area, machines have to be set up, cameras have to be loaded and set going, and so forth.

Because of the long time required to mount tests, when it seems likely that there is going to be a favorable occasion the preliminary - and provisional - notice is sent out hours before. But, I repeat, no decision is taken to fire a weapon unless it is completely certain that there can be no danger to any one.

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