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Wednesday, 15 May 1968

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for the Army) - The general situation is simply that whilst primarily the tactical area of responsibility for the Australian Task Force is geographically one-third of the province of Phuoc Tuy, it has always been understood that the Task Force was available for deployment anywhere in the III Corps Zone and also in Binh Thuan in the neighbouring II Corps zone. The honourable member has referred to the fact that we are currently operating in Bien Hoa. This is not the first time the Task Force has been operative in Bien Hoa. It is not the first time the Task Force has been out of its tactical area of responsibility. In fact, I recall some three earlier occasions on which we have been operative outside Phuoc Tuy. The situation under which we are operative is entirely a matter of the operational requirements of the area. These are matters for discussion and decision between the commander of the Task Force and the senior United States military commander in the area concerned. All I can say with regard to the forward pattern is that as far as we are concerned it is a situation of business as usual. Our troops are there doing a very fine job. Their morale is extremely high.

Mr Uren - Answer my question.

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