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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1299

Senator COLEMAN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence and follows a question asked earlier this week by Senator McIntosh concerning the nuclear targeting of United States facilities in Australia. Can the Minister confirm the report in the Times on Sunday that Minister Beazley believes that the public is entitled to know of that possibility-that is, the nuclear targeting of United States facilities in Australia-and to be able to take precautions? If so, will the Government make available to the public the full text of the Defence Department's study of nuclear target possibilities and will the Government ensure that any proposed civil defence plans to handle such events are made public?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Like all other members of the Government, the Minister for Defence considers that the public is entitled to know the precise nature of the risk of nuclear attack on the Australia-United States joint defence facilities. As I said in answering Senator McIntosh, this Government takes seriously its responsibility for the civil defence of people living in the vicinity of the joint facilities. As I again said, the report is now being made available to State and Territory emergency services with a view to developing appropriate plans in consultation with the Department of Defence and the Natural Disasters Organisation. When this process of consultation with the States and Territories is complete, I am advised by the Minister for Defence, it is his intention to make public the document referred to by Senator Coleman.