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Friday, 16 June 1989
Page: 4308

(Question No. 952)

Senator Vallentine asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 26 April 1989:

(1) Have Australian defence and/or scientific personnel visited the United States military's Biological Warfare Research Establishment at Fort Detrick, Maryland, over the past 5 years; if so, what were the names and positions of those individuals who went there, and what dates were they there.

(2) For what purpose were these visits undertaken.

(3) Do these visits indicate that the Australian military is keeping abreast of both offensive and defensive innovations in biological warfare research; if so, what is their objective.

Senator Richardson —The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) No. I am advised that there is no organisation known as the Biological Warfare Research Establishment either at Fort Detrick, Maryland, or elsewhere in the United States.

The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (AMRIID), however, is located at Fort Detrick. The following defence personnel have visited AMRIID in the past 5 years on the dates indicated:

a. Brigadier W. O. Rodgers

Director Medical Services-Army

2 July 1985

b. Lieutenant Colonel I. J. Pennell

Staff Officer Grade 1 (Operations & Plans)

Directorate of Army Health Services

2 July 1985

c. Lieutenant Colonel W. J. Kelly

Staff Officer Grade 1 (Medical Materiel)

Directorate of Army Health Services

2 July 1985

d. Major General W. O. Rodgers

Surgeon General Australian Defence Force and Director General Army Health Services

11 November 1986

e. Captain K. R. Delaney,

RAN Director of Naval Medicine

1 April 1987

f. Air Vice Marshal M. D. Miller

Assistant Surgeon General Australian Defence Force and Director General Air Force Health Services

16 November 1987

(2) These visits to AMRIID have been for the primary purpose of increasing the knowledge and understanding of naturally occurring infectious diseases with particular reference to their potential effect upon Australian defence personnel. The secondary purpose of the visits was to gain knowledge of advances in defensive biological countermeasures such as protective inoculations.

(3) No.