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Tuesday, 15 October 1985
Page: 1215


Senator VALLENTINE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. In answer to a question last week on the visits to Australia by United States warships the Minister said:

Information concerning the proposed visits is to be declassified some 10 days prior to the ship arrival and a public announcement of such visits is issued.

In view of this statement, first, will the Minister please state on what dates public announcements were made regarding the following warships visits: USS Carl Vinson, which visited Fremantle on 19 April 1985; USS Constellation, which visited Fremantle on 19 July 1985; USS Texas, which visited Hobart on 16 April 1985; USS Indianapolis, which visited Stirling on 30 January 1985; USS Buchanan, which visited Sydney on 5 March 1985; USS Brooke, which visited Sydney on 30 September 1985; and USS Pogy, which visited Darwin on 11 March 1985? Secondly, will the Minister please tell me who is responsible for making such announcements?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I just happen to have with me the information sought by the honourable senator. Although I keep asking her to put these questions on notice, she seems to want to ask them in the chamber, so here we go. While security requirements permit the declassification of information on visiting US ships some 10 days prior to the visit, the subsequent issuing of a public announcement depends on completion of the approval process. Except in the case of major exercises or visits which are of unusual significance, the responsibility for arranging these public announcements rests with the local Royal Australian Navy commander. As can be seen from the list which I will read in a moment, naval commanders often seek assistance from other authorities who have better facilities for issuing news releases.

The details sought by Senator Vallentine are as follows: The visit of USS Carl Vinson was announced by the Naval Officer Commanding Western Australia by Press release on 17 April 1985 and was also announced by the US Consulate in Perth; the visit of USS Constellation was announced by the Naval Officer Commanding Western Australia by Press release on 16 July 1985 and was also announced by the US Consulate in Perth; the visit of USS Texas was announced by the US Consulate in Melbourne at the request of the Naval Officer Commanding Tasmania on 12 April 1985; the visit of USS Indianapolis was announced by the Naval Officer Commanding Western Australia by Press release on 28 January 1985 and was also announced by the United States Consulate in Perth; the visit of the USS Buchanan was announced by the Naval Support Commander by Press release in Sydney on 1 March 1985 and this visit was also foreshadowed in the Minister for Defence's news release which announced exercise Flying Fish on 21 February 1985; the visit of USS Brooke was announced by the Naval Support Commander by Press release in Sydney on 30 September 1985-it should be noted that the USS Brooke arrived in Sydney on 1 October, not 30 September as was stated in Senator Vallentine's question; and finally, the visit of USS Pogy was announced by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory at the request of the Naval Officer Commanding Northern Australia on 8 March 1985.