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Monday, 30 August 1993
Page: 621

(Question No. 377)

Senator Chamarette asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 24 June 1993:

  (1) Does the Government still support the defence exports guidelines as set out in the Department of Defence publication of March 1992 entitled Australian Controls on the Export of Defence and Related Goods: Guidelines for Exporters, if not, what is the current policy.

  (2) Are exports from Defence Co-operation and Defence (Australian Government Munitions Factory goods) subject to the same controls as described in the guidelines.

  (3) Which defence exports are not subject to controls in the guidelines and what controls apply to those exports.

  (4) Do the guidelines prohibit the export of defence goods to states `where foreign policy interests outweigh export benefits'.

  (5) Do the guidelines say that military goods may not be exported to unstable regions, or to a country that is involved in internal conflict.

  (6) Does the ongoing supply of weapons to Papua New Guinea (PNG) under both the Defence Co-operation Sub-program and Defence Export Program, contravene the guidelines; if not, why not.

  (7) Is the Government reviewing its supply of weapons and ammunition to PNG because of current tensions; if not, why not.

  (8) If a review is taking place, when will it be completed and will it be published; if not, why not.

  (9) With reference to military exercises planned for the remainder of 1993 and 1994, for each exercise what are the details of: (a) the name, locations and individual costs; (b) the participating armed forces, including the nationality if not Australian; and (c) the social and environmental impacts relevant to each exercise, including the Government's approach to dealing with these impacts.

Senator Robert Ray —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) The Government still supports the defence exports guidelines as set out in the Department of Defence publication of March 1992 entitled "Australian Controls on the Export of Defence and Related Goods: Guidelines for Exporters".

  (2) Yes.

  (3) All defence exports listed in the guidelines are subject to controls.

  (4) Yes. Applications to export military and related goods are considered on a case by case basis and in accordance with the terms of Australia's stated policy. The export of defence goods is not permitted where foreign policy interests outweigh export benefits.

  (5) Defence exports are not normally permitted to unstable regions or to a country involved in internal conflict. However in some cases such exports are permitted to friends and allies of Australia involved in conflict or where there may be an insurrection against the legitimate government of such a friendly country.

  (6) No. The export of defence and related goods to Papua New Guinea (PNG) is consistent with Australia's interests in the security of PNG and our close and longstanding defence relationship.

  (7&8) No. The Government considers that the supply of defence equipment to PNG is consistent with Australia's national interests, meets PNG's legitimate defence needs and accords with the guidelines on the export of defence and related goods.

  (9)(a&b) Details of future exercises are classified and therefore are not available to be released.

  (c) In assessing and dealing with the environmental, including social, impacts of exercises, Defence is bound by the provisions of the Environmental Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974.