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Monday, 20 May 1957

Mr BEALE - The answer to the honorable member's question is, " No ". The United Kingdom Government is not playing a lone wolf game, as the honorable member so pleasantly calls it. I saw the report of some comment by the Leader of the Opposition to this effect the other day. He went so far as to suggest that some alleged failure to inform the Australian Government was an indication that this Government was being reduced to a cipher, as I think he put it. I thought at the time that he was emulating the Mauretanian tiger, which used to lash itself into a fury with its own tail. The whole basis of his allegation, like that of the allegation of the honorable member for Wilmot, was quite false. In the first place, these are British tests, not Australian tests, and, therefore, the position might well be that this Government would be no more entitled than any other government would be to specific and detailed information about these tests. In any case, nobody can tell the precise time - the " exact time " was the phrase used by the Leader of the Opposition - when a test is to be held. Our experience at Maralinga, where we had to wait some days for favorable conditions, shows that. However, the Australian Government was given a great deal of information about these tests, including the timing of the tests, and the best proof of that is that our observers were sent to the Christmas Island area some time before the tests took place and they actually witnessed the tests. I cannot speak for the New Zealand Government, but there is no justification whatever for the allegation that the Australian Government was not properly informed.

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