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Wednesday, 13 March 1968

Mr GORTON (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Prime Minister) - This is not a question, as was suggested by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, of permission being given or not given to the Minister for the Army to make a statement; I completely rebut the suggestion that that enters into the matter at all. The situation is this: Reports contained in a book written in generalised terms by an American correspondent and, in more particularity, statements by an Australian correspondent refer to an incident concerning a Vietcong spy who was observing the activities of the Australian base and reporting on those activities by radio, thereby endangering the lives of Australian soldiers by such possible actions ranging in mortar rounds and supplying information as to the position of ammunition dumps and other mmtory matters. That civilian spy was captured by Australian troops. The matter having been raised in the way in which it was, I would have thought that all members of the House would consider it sufficiently important for a proper investigation to be made by the Minister for the Army. When such investigation has been made the Minister will make a statement to the House on the whole matter. That statement will be made within the next two days of sitting.

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