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Friday, 2 December 1983
Page: 3233

Senator CHILDS —I refer the Attorney-General to the answer he gave to a question from Senator Sibraa on 29 November concerning allegations that Australian intelligence services were involved in the overthrow of the Allende Government in Chile in 1973. In that answer he stated that there was no foundation whatever to suggestions that any Australian intelligence agency was active in Chile around the time of the 1973 coup or assisted in any earlier operations directed against the Allende Government. In an article in today's National Times, Brian Toohey refers to alleged leaked material from Mr Justice Hope's report of the Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security which the National Times published on 18 March 1981, which stated:

ASIS was unaware of the help it was giving to the CIA by lending two officers to operate in Chile at the time of the destabilisation project against the democratically elected government of Salvadore Allende.

I ask the Attorney-General whether, in view of this claim and of similar allegations published in the Sydney Morning Herald around 1975, he is prepared to give a categorical assurance that neither the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service nor any other Australian intelligence agency or operative of any such agency was involved in activities directed against or aimed at destabilising the Allende Government at any time during the tenure of that Government.

Senator GARETH EVANS —In the answer to which Senator Childs refers I chose my words very carefully, and I do not wish to modify those words in any way at all in the light of anything that may have been written by Mr Brian Toohey or for that matter anybody else. I indicated in the course of that answer that I would have no further comment or amplification to make at any time, either inside or outside the Parliament, about the terms of that answer, and I stick to that commitment today.