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Tuesday, 3 April 1984
Page: 1090


Senator DURACK —My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I refer the Attorney to the Prime Minister's statement in the House of Representatives yesterday in answer to a question concerning the strategic defence basis document. The Prime Minister quoted a sentence from that document concerning the need for adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, saying:

I note that that crucially important sentence does not appear in the extracts in the National Times.

I ask the Attorney: Now that the Prime Minister has effectively acknowledged the authenticity of the material published in the National Times, will the Government formally admit that the newspaper has published extracts from a genuine document known as 'The Strategic Basis of Australia's Defence Policy'?


Senator GARETH EVANS —No.


Senator DURACK —I ask a supplementary question, Mr President. In light of that answer, will the Attorney-General explain the Prime Minister's statement that this quotation relates to an extract from the document?


Senator GARETH EVANS —When referring to the same matter yesterday I used the expression 'purported excerpts'. I am sure that that was implicit in everything that the Prime Minister said yesterday.