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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1899

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -My question is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence. Has a request for a royal commission into Australia's defence requirements been brought to the Minister's attention? Was the request made by the Thirty-Niners Association of Australia in an attempt to ensure that defence efficiency and preparedness have not been avoided or overlooked? As this is a very serious call by the Association, can the Minister inform the Senate what consideration has been given by the Government to the request and whether a reply has been sent to the Association?

Senator BISHOP - I am not aware of any such request by an association. I would think that if the request had any substantial support it might have been raised in this place or in the other place, because the defence situation has been debated recently and the spokesmen for the Opposition have put their points of view. The Opposition has not made any such suggestion; in fact, it has tested its view of the defence situation on the basis of what the Government and the defence advisers of the Government have stated to be the position. That test is based on assessments which the Government has made and which can be contested or considered by the Opposition. I will find out about the request but I would think that because it has not been mentioned by any substantial group or by the spokesman for the party which the honourable senator represents it would have to be considered as one of those odd requests. But I will find out and give the details to the honourable senator.

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