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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2461

Senator Primmer asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Royal Australian Navy co-operating with American scientists to hunt submarines of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics in the Indian Ocean, using sonar equipment.

(2)   Have the Americans set up sonar tracking stations around the Australian coast, including one inside territorial waters adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef; if so, was such a station established with the concurrence of the Australian Government.

(3)   What control over the station referred to in (2) does the Australian Government have.

Senator Bishop - The answers to the honourable senator's questions are as follows:

(   1 ) No. The Royal Australian Navy does not go into any ocean to hunt the submarines of any particular nation in cooperation with any other nation. The Royal Australian Navy does of course take a proper interest in any naval activity, surface or below surface, in the waters surrounding Australia. It also conducts surveillance, and will continue to do so. Australia also co-operates with friendly nations in the development and improvement of scientific techniques and equipment for such maritime surveillance.

(2)   No.

(3)   Not applicable.

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