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Wednesday, 17 November 1976

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Prime Minister a question. My question refers to this week's edition of the Bulletin which reached Canberra this morning. I am sure that the attention of the Prime Minister will have been drawn to the cover, which states 'Exclusive: Canberra Leaks Defence Secrets to Russians?', and to the story inside, which alleges that the Prime Minister is deeply dissatisfied with certain aspects of the present administration of the Defence Department', in particular 'security and evidence of communications between Australian Defence officials and Soviet authorities'. I should add that the report contains no substantiations of these allegations. They are merely assertions by the author who, however, as the Prime Minister would know, in the past has claimed contacts at the highest level in the Liberal Party. In view of the extreme gravity of the allegations and the publicity they undoubtedly will attract both here and overseas, I ask the Prime Minister whether he can categorically deny the substance of the report. If not, will he inform the House what measures are being taken to remedy the allegedly inadequate security within the Department ofDefence?

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