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Tuesday, 13 September 1983
Page: 719

Question No. 125

Mr Ronald Edwards asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 11 May 1982:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the fact that the United Nations General Assembly has met twice since 1978 to discuss disarmament and both sessions have called for an increase in information dissemination to allow world public opinion to have a positive influence on the armaments race.

(2) If so, (a) does he have full information on the carriage and storage of nuclear weapons on ships, aircraft and other vehicles visiting Australia or its territories or passing through its airspace and (b) will the Australian Government release that information to the general public in support of the United Nations' request for information dissemination.

Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Special Sessions of the UN General Assembly devoted to Disarmament question have now met twice in New York: In 1978 and 1982. The 1982 session, which recognised that world public opinion may exercise a positive influence on the attainment of meaningful measures in arms limitation and disarmament, as well as the need for it to be well informed to discuss and debate all points of view relating to disarmament issues, launched the World Disarmament Campaign, which has three primary purposes:

'to inform, to educate and to generate public understanding and support for the Objectives of the United Nations in the fields of arms limitations and disarmament as stated in the Final Document adopted at the first Special Session .'

(2) (a) and (b) The nuclear powers whose naval ships have visited or are likely to visit Australian ports follow a policy of neither confirming nor denying the presence of nuclear weapons on board a particular ship. The same policy is generally followed in respect of nuclear capable aircraft, although I am advised that the US Air Force B-52 aircraft passing through Australian air space or landing at Darwin are involved exclusively in training and ocean surveillance activities and are not armed. I do not have available to me any additional information to the above.