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Wednesday, 10 December 1986
Page: 3693

Senator COLLARD —I refer the Minister representing the Ministers for Defence and for Foreign Affairs to a report in today's Canberra Times about the disappearance of a linguist from the Defence Signals Directorate. Can the Minister confirm that an investigation is under way into the reported six-month absence without leave of a corporal from the DSD? Has this man been engaged in work of a highly sensitive nature which could give rise to a concern for national security? Is there any other information which the Minister can provide to the Senate on this matter?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I understand that this report originated in Truth, of Melbourne, so one can, perhaps, make one's own judgment about some of the more lurid aspects of the report, at least in its original form. My defence brief tells me that a corporal has been absent without leave since 20 May 1986, that investigations into the circumstances of his absence are continuing, and that all such cases of unauthorised absence-there are more than one arising from time to time-are investigated. This case is not being treated any differently.