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Tuesday, 1 May 1984
Page: 1438

(Question No. 670)

Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 19 February 1984:

(1) Does the Department of Defence involve itself in security clearances of civilians in State administrations involved in key installations or otherwise; if so, what is the degree of such interest.

(2) Will the Minister for Defence revise his answer to my Question on Notice No . 577 in view of the answer to the above.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) State authorities are responsible for ensuring that Commonwealth classified information in their own organisations is safeguarded, and for arranging security measures, as necessary. The Department of Defence has in the past acted as a channel for arranging clearance of people nominated by State authorities in respect of installations of importance to defence, but on those occasions did not itself determine whether or not there should be access to classified material.

The Department of Defence currently has an industrial security program, which allows for employees of State instrumentalities to be cleared for access to security classified information if necessary. For example, in 1980 20 employees of the State Dockyard Newcastle-a New South Wales State Government instrumentality-were cleared so that they could work on naval vessels.

(2) Question No. 577 sought information in respect of the Defence Force. The activities mentioned in (1) above are or were carried out by Department of Defence civilians.