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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1909

Mr BEAZLEY (Minister for Defence)(11.00) —I wish to make some preliminary reply to the questions raised a short time ago by the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Baldwin) in regard to a counter-terrorist operation in Sydney some days ago. I was informed of the nature and details of the exercise in advance. It was a New South Wales Police exercise supported by the Special Air Service Regiment. The area of Snails Bay, including Pier 12 and Pier 13, was secured by a New South Wales police cordon and checkpoints and other areas were secured for public safety. The exercise did not at any time constitute a danger to residents. At no time did members of the counter-terrorist force carry explosives or live ammunition. To make the exercise more realistic, blank ammunition and pyrotechnics specifically designed for training were used. These were held in a secured area under military guard. There were small quantities of live ammunition and explosives stored at a military holding area in a disused warehouse at Mort Bay under both police and military guard, with police approval. As I indicated earlier the primary responsibility of the exercise rests with the New South Wales Police. It is handling the public aspects of it. I am concerned by the matter the honourable gentleman raised. I hope that some of the information I have given will set his mind at rest on some of the matters he has raised with me privately. I did not manage to hear all the points raised today. If they are also in his letter I will take that under advice and give him a further response at a later time.

Madam ACTING SPEAKER —Order! The debate having concluded, the House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11.02 p.m.