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Tuesday, 9 September 2003
Page: 14612

Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (2:20 PM) —My question is directed to Senator Hill, representing the Prime Minister. Can the minister confirm that all ONA documents are routinely classified, numbered, bar-coded and individually grammatically configured to identify the source of leaked documents? Can the minister also confirm that all of these safety measures would have been used on the ONA report on Iraq written by Andrew Wilkie and dated December 2002? Does the minister therefore believe that these measures will assist the Australian Federal Police to quickly and accurately identify both the source of the leak of that document and any person who receives and uses the content of that classified report?

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —No, I cannot confirm the methods adopted by ONA to protect their documentation and, as I cannot confirm that, I really cannot comment further on the investigation being conducted by the AFP or on what will be the results of that investigation.

Senator FAULKNER —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I ask the minister to take on notice those issues that I have just raised and to report back to the Senate. While he is checking the veracity of that information, I also ask the minister to confirm that ONA is currently introducing technologies which allow for the identification of persons who have handled classified ONA reports. I ask him to establish whether he and the government would agree that these additional measures will assist in identifying every individual who may have recently handled the Wilkie report, which was classified top secret.

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —I will refer the question to ONA, but I will surprised if they wish measures that they adopt to protect their documentation to be put on the public record. I would have thought there are fairly obvious reasons why they might prefer not to do so, but we will wait for a response.