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Thursday, 28 October 1993
Page: 2852

(Question No. 611)


Senator Calvert asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 27 September 1993:

  (1) Did the department, through the Forces Executive, Corporate Management Branch, purchase $2000 worth of music tapes from each of the following: (a) Warner Music Australia; (b) Sony Music Australia; and (c) Polygram Records.

  (2) What is the purpose of this purchase.

  (3) To what use will these music tapes be put.

  (4) Did the department, through the International Policy Division, Defence Support Centre Woomera, Finance and Logistics Services, purchase $2561.80 worth of educational tapes from Comex Systems Inc, New Jersey, United States of America (USA).

  (5) What is the educational purpose of this particular purchase.

  (6) Is it possible to purchase these educational tapes from an Australian manufacturer; if so, why were these educational tapes purchased from this company in the USA.


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

  (1) In accordance with standard practice, Defence Public Relations Branch has placed bulk orders with the following companies up to a limit of $2000 each for compact discs:

  Warner Music Australia Order No. B1044FE dated 5/7/93; Sony Music Australia Order No. B1043FE dated 5/7/93; Polygram Records Order No. B1045FE dated 5/7/93.

  To date, the Department has not purchased compact discs from either Warner Music Australia or Polygram Records. The Department has purchased a total of 11 compact discs from Sony at a total price of $205.11.

  (2) The purpose of this purchase is to boost the morale of our serving sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women who serve the country in remote parts of the world and are unable to listen to normal radio programs. During the ADF deployment to Somalia, Defence Public Relations Branch set up a new radio station—Australian Armed Forces Radio (AAFR)—which provided messages from families (for example, messages from wives who had given birth), updates on news and current affairs and contemporary music not normally available in places like Somalia or the Middle East.

  The service was so successful and in such demand from those who serve the country overseas that it was decided to extend the hours of broadcast to two hours per day, 365 days a year and the service is now designed to reach not only those who serve with United Nations forces overseas, but also our ships and aircraft around the globe. In the main, AAFR receives complimentary compact discs from music outlets and radio stations. The expenditure of $205.11 represents expenditure on CDs that have been specifically requested as dedications from partners of servicemen and women serving overseas and which are not held in stock by the Defence radio station.

  (3) See (2) above.

  (4) The Defence Support Centre Woomera (DSCW) purchased $2561 worth of educational tapes from Comex Systems Inc (purchase order U207) on behalf of the United States Air Force (USAF) using USAF funds. DSCW's actions on behalf of the USAF were in accordance with the Implementing Arrangements governing the Joint Defence Facility Nurrungar.

  (5) The educational tapes were required for a United States college level program aimed at assisting USAF personnel to gain credit towards United States college degrees. USAF personnel undertake these studies as part of their career development program.

  (6) The tapes meet United States educational requirements and are not available in Australia.