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Tuesday, 14 December 1993
Page: 4486

Senator CHILDS —I refer the Minister for Defence to recent press reports claiming that approval has been given to an application to export fragmentation grenades to Sri Lanka. Can the minister advise the Senate whether that application has been approved?

Senator ROBERT RAY —I was somewhat surprised to read in the press reports a claim that a final decision to approve the application was made by the Secretary to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Whilst the advice of the foreign affairs department is always valued in the consideration of these sorts of matters, the final decision is ultimately one for me.

  As honourable senators would be aware, applications of this kind are rigorously examined by the standing interdepartmental committee of defence exports to ensure that a full range of Australia's national interests, including foreign, strategic and commercial interests, is canvassed. I can now advise the Senate that I have decided not to grant approval in this case.