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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2334

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(11.31) —Senator Sir John Carrick has pointed out that there is an 18-odd per cent reduction in this item. He also accurately pointed out that that has hardly been explained in the text and it should be. The advice I am given, and I believe that this is correct, is that this does not reflect any change in the Government's desire to support the international agency. In fact, it reflects the ebbs and flows in the activities of that agency and the requirements of the Australian Government to participate in assisting those activities. This dip of 18 per cent reflects no more than that.

At the moment we are also considering the Australian Science and Technology Council report on nuclear safeguards and from that further activity will come in this area. I will refer to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) Senator Sir John Carrick's view-in fact all our views-of the importance of Australia's function in Vienna and his view about the need to strengthen that. I will see whether the Minister wishes to reply in any way. In all nuclear disarmament activities and issues of arms control generally I do not think it can be said that the Government has been slack. We have taken an active interest over the last three years and we have raised the profile of Australia in this area. I am sure we will continue to do so.