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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1380


Mr CALDER (Northern Territory) - I propose to speak about the Pine Gap installation. Some years ago when this matter was first mooted I welcomed this installation. A then Labor Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Council made the statement that it would attract Chinese rockets. I replied at that time that there would be a lot of other places suffering the same fate. That was years ago. Last Thursday the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) made these remarks in this place about Pine Gap:

During the course of the last 24 hours or so we have been made aware of this station.. ... A Mr Klass referring to his interview on the radio programme 'PM' - has gone on record on that programme and has spelt out in quite clear terms ... the existence in this country of bases of a type that we should not have here. Their only purpose in the overall scheme of things is connected with the American defence system. There can be no doubt in the minds of honourable members opposite the existence in this country at Pine Gap of part of a global communication system which will not add to the defence effort of Australia.

He went on to say that Australia was now a prime nuclear target.


Mr Foster - That is right.


Mr CALDER - Yes, that is right. Now it is Russia. It was previously China. He also said that the Americans had said that the people of this country were expendable. Let us suppose that Dr Klass is right in what he said on the programme to which the honourable member for Sturt referred. Dr Klass said:

I believe its primary role-

That is, Pine Gap's - is to serve as a relay point for receiving signals . . .

The honourable member for Sturt did not mention this, but Dr Klass went on to say:

.   . they might be targets but ... I think Australia and the whole world has much more to fear if nuclear war comes. If World War Jil breaks out with a thermonuclear exchange it would be small consolation to be spared from being hit by a weapon to have your people killed by the tremendous fall-out. So the object here is to prevent World War III and that is the vital function that the new early warning satellites are playing ... I call them secret sentries in space . . .

That is what the doctor said. Last Saturday speaking on the television programme 'Four Corners' a Mr Peter Ryan, who is an American authority on space exploration and avionics, said:

.   . but remember that if you wanted to destroy Pine Gap you would probably have to use a nuclear weapon to do it, and once that left the launch pad, of course, the chickens would be out of the nest and there would be trouble everywhere. So in a way it is not a first target. It would be one of the first targets. Indeed, it would be one of trie first targets amongst many cities so you cannot think of it as a particularly dangerous frontier.

That is what Mr Ryan said. In this matter the honourable member for Sturt has been proudly supported by his Australian Labor Party colleagues the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby), the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) and the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) who talked about taking the hysteria out of the whole thing. The honourable member also mentioned messages to submarines carrying missiles. Last night the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairbairn) said about Pine Gap:

It is an agreed activity under ANZUS. 1 had thought that the Opposition favoured the ANZUS agreement.

It would appear as though it does not. That is typical of the whole policy of the Australian Labor Party. The interviewer commenced the 'Four Corners' programme last Saturday by giving a description of Pine Gap. Then referring to a Skylifter aircraft at Alice Springs aerodrome, he said:

These planes land once a week from America via Richmond, New South Wales. All the equipment for Pine Gap has come in planes like this, landing in the late afternoon, unloading' behind a security screen, flying off into the night; the sound of their jets a reminder to Alice Springs of the world outside, its tensions and its perils.

What arrant nonsense. These aircraft land there during the day. One can see them on any day of the week. They sometimes fly over the town. The whole comment of the honourable member for Sturt was based on that sort of premise. If men like Klass and Ryan are correct Pine Gap is a defence base. In response to a question about what the American satellites were doing over the Pacific, Ryan said: . . they are watching out for nuclear submarines. When they are travelling under the water they leave a wake which ls slightly warmer water and this can be detected by infra-red techniques -

They are the submarines about which the honourable member for Reid was complaining. They are submarines of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Yet members of the Australian Labor Party rise in this House and say that there should not be such an establishment at Pine Gap. lt is a defence facility. Assuming that Klass and

Ryan are correct, what will happen now that I have read out tonight what they said? Honourable members opposite will not take any notice of my statement that it is a defence facility. The honourable member for Wills had the audacity to say in this House that it is a piece of national treachery to have such a base. The honourable member for Sturt said that it will not add to the defence of Australia and that a base of this type should not be here. Talk about national treachery! It lies right at the feet of the Labor Party.







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