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Wednesday, 6 November 1985
Page: 1652

Senator VALLENTINE —I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. I refer to his reply yesterday stating that `data derived from the Geosat has only indirect application to the Trident II program'. Is the Minister aware of the statement in congressional document PE 351 which describes the Geosat tests under the defence mapping support program as providing `a satellite system for observing geodetic information which will increase the accuracy of advanced submarine launched ballistic missile systems by reducing error sources'? It then states:

The secondary mission of the satellite is to provide oceanographic data to aid in the location and definition of ocean thermal boundaries to support ASW (anti-submarine warfare) operations.

Given that the only advanced submarine launched ballistic missile system being tested is the Trident system, does not this quotation from the document directly contradict the Minister's statement in the Senate yesterday?

Senator GARETH EVANS —No, it does not. I am familiar with the document from which Senator Vallentine quoted, congressional document PE 351. It refers to two particular uses, a primary and a secondary one. Both those references are to military uses in the way that Senator Vallentine described. It is the case, as I said yesterday, that that document is essentially an advocacy document seeking funding for an arm of the United States military and does not attempt to put the Geosat program in its wider context. Looked at in its wider context, the reality of the matter is that the Geosat program has all sorts of civil applications of the kind I spelt out before. The military applications are properly described in the way I described them yesterday as not being the primary ones. There is no contradiction and I stand by the answer I gave.