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Tuesday, 29 May 1973
Page: 2732

Mr LUCHETTI (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Defence: Have the merits of the new Australian developed automatic rifle been brought to his notice? Have officers involved in defence production had an opportunity to assess the value of the weapon? If not, will an evaluation be made and if the weapon meets defence requirements will arrangements then be made to have the weapon manufactured at the Commonwealth Small Arms Factory, Lithgow?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - In answer to the honourable member's question-

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Oh! Another written one.

Mr BARNARD - No, it is not. This matter has been brought to my attention. As a matter of fact there had been correspondence, as I understand it, between the Department of Defence and the inventor of the weapon, since 1968 until on 30 May last year the Department of Defence wrote to the inventor to ask him whether the weapon could be made available for testing purposes. To date no reply has been received. In relation to the second part of the honourable member's question, obviously that would have to wait until the Defence Department has had the opportunity to test the weapon and to take into consideration the merits of the weapon. If the Department assesses it and regards it as being a weapon that could be incorporated into the defence system, consideration would be given to having it manufactured in Australia.

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