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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1541

(Question No. 5036)

Mr Tim Fischer asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 17 February 1987:

(1) Did the Minister's Department provide a team of officers to be at the various airports and centres visited by His Holiness during the 1986 Papal Tour; if so, (a) were there 12 officers in the team, (b) what were the duties of each officer, (c) from which location was each officer, (c) from which location was each officer drawn and (d) what was the estimated cost of this aspect of departmental support for the tour.

(2) With the exception of Alice Springs, was a team of this size fully justified, given staffing resources of the Minister's Department available at all airports visited by His Holiness.

(3) Who was the senior officer of the Minister's Department who approved details of this particular departmental activity.

Mr Young —The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) (a) (b) and (c) During the Papal Tour of Australia in 1986, close personal protection for His Holiness was provided by two teams of 12 officers each, drawn from the eight Australian police forces (three from each force) and organised on a national basis; and

(d) the funds for air and ground transport and allowances for the 24 officers were provided by the Commonwealth through the Standing Advisory Committee on Commonwealth/State Co-operation for Protection Against Violence at an estimated cost of $51,000.

(2) Yes, given protective security assessments, the importance of the visitor, and the magnitude and duration of the tour.

(3) The concept of the combined close personal protection groups was agreed to by all State and Territory Police Commissioners and was endorsed by the Australian Government.