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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1169

(Question No. 1117)

Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 6 September 1984:

(1) In what countries are Australian troops currently providing training or assistance.

(2) Under what Federal Government authority are those troops serving.

(3) What international agreements or understandings provide for the presence and conditions of Australian troops serving overseas.

(4) Are the terms of such arrangements publicly accessible.

(5) Does the Minister for Defence agree that such information should be available on the public record.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Australian Service personnel are providing training or assistance under the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) in Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Singapore, The Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Kiribati.

Australia also maintains a Royal Australian Air Force/Army presence at Butterworth in Malaysia, with periodic RAAF Mirage deployments to Singapore. These units provide training and assistance in the development of the Armed Forces of those countries.

(2) With regard to the DCP, Australian Service personnel are posted to provide training or advisory assistance under the authority of the Minister for Defence.

In Papua New Guinea, Australian Service personnel are serving in accordance with an undertaking made by the then Prime Minister in January 1977 and which I reaffirmed on behalf of the present Government during my visit to Papua New Guinea in June 1983.

The RAAF/Army presence at Butterworth and deployments to Singapore continue under the authority of the Government and the Minister for Defence of the day.

(3) In Papua New Guinea, Australian Service personnel serve under conditions laid down in:

The Agreement between Australia and Papua New Guinea regarding the Status of Forces of Each State in the Territory of the Other State; and, where appropriate ,

The Arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea on Consultations Regarding the Use of Australian Loan Personnel in Politically Sensitive Situations.

The RAAF/Army presence in Malaysia and Singapore is governed by the Exchange of Notes Between Australia and Malaysia and Australia and Singapore of 1 December 1971, under the Five Power Defence Arrangements. These arrangements also cover Australian Service personnel providing training and advisory assistance under the DCP in those countries.

In the other countries listed in (1) above, the status of Australian Service personnel providing training and advisory assistance under the DCP is defined in memoranda of understanding between Australia and the country concerned.

(4) Where the arrangements have the legal status of international treaties they have been made public.

(5) I agree that arrangements having the status of international treaties should be made public.

Note: In answering this question, Australian Service personnel serving in peacekeeping forces have not been included as they do not provide training, or assistance in the sense in which the term 'assistance' is generally understood.