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Wednesday, 27 March 1985
Page: 988

Mr PEACOCK —My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I refer him to reports that the United States Secretary of Defense is formally inviting Australia to take part in a program researching the possibility of the strategic defence initiative. I ask whether, if the reports are correct, the Government will respond positively to the invitation by our most important ally, particularly in the light of this statement last year by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his paper 'Uranium, the Joint Facilities, Disarmament and Peace':

President Reagan has asked that research be undertaken on the possibility of developing a US capability to intercept all incoming ballistic missiles. The purpose behind this is a highly moral one. It is to seek to replace the doctrine of assured destruction, based on attack, with a morally more acceptable concept of assured defence.

If the Government does not intend to respond positively, why not?

Mr HAWKE —The Leader of the Opposition has been in politics long enough to know that I do not answer hypothetical questions. But I will say this: I have not received any such invitation or communication from Mr Weinberger.