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Thursday, 11 June 1970

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - If I may seek a point of clarification from the honourable member, did he ask me to table in the Parliament details of the contractual arrangements-

Mr Barnard - The details of the contractual arrangements for the purchase of the Phantom aircraft as was done in the case of the FI 1 1 aircraft in 1968.

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I thought the honourable' member was asking 'me about documents which were in fact tabled in 1968. There could be some misunderstanding by the honourable member because what the Commonwealth has been investigating and what the special RAAF evaluation team under the leadership of the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Air ViceMarshal Read, went to the United States of America to examine and report on was the lease offer made by the United States Government to the Australian Government. Of course this had inherent in it the long term possibility, if later events made it necessary or desirable, of the conversion of that lease offer to a purchase. The honourable member asked me would i table the documents relating to the acquisition of the Phantom aircraft. He is jumping ahead too fast, lt has not been long since Air Vice-Marshal Read has been back in Australia. My Department and the Department of Air have been examining the report very closely. In fact I have only very recently been able to circulate a submission to Cabinet concerning these matters. Whether a statement can be made during this sitting of Parliament will depend on what flows from that, as the honourable member would well know. If it is possible to make a statement to the House on this matter I will, but with the limited time remaining for this sitting it might be unlikely.

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