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Tuesday, 9 May 2000
Page: 16102

Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 16 February 2000:

(1) Further to his answer to question No. 391 (Hansard, 23 March 1999, page 4143), has a written guidance instructing Defence commanders not to send members under 18 years to an area of hostility except in unavoidable circumstances been issued; if so, on what date was that guidance issued and what was the text of the instruction.

(2) If a written guidance has not been issued, what is the reason for the failure to do so.

(3) Have personnel under 18 years been deployed to East Timor as part of the INTERFET force despite stated policy: if so how many personnel have been deployed by (a) Army, (b) the Navy and (c) the Air Force.

Mr Bruce Scott (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes, a directive was issued on 28 July 1999; a copy of the directive has been forwarded separately to your office.

(2) Written guidance has been given.

(3) Yes.

(a) 4.

(b) 1.

(c) 0.