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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 196

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Is the Prime Minister in a position to state whether there is any truth in reports to the effect that just prior to the constitutional crisis of November 1975 secret discussions took place between the then commander-in-chief of Australia and the chiefs of the defence forces for the purpose of placing Australia in a high state of readiness or, as it is commonly known, on 'red alert'? Is he able to state whether there is any truth in the report that the then commander-in-chief discussed the same matter with Ambassador Marshall Green of the United States and apprised him of the possibility of Australian defence forces being placed in a high state of readiness, and that he asked the ambassador to indicate whether the United States would be prepared to send military aid to the new government in the event of a civil war?

Mr Anthony - Are you trying to get a headline, Clyde?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -This is not a funny matter. It is not a matter to joke about. I just want to know whether the Prime Minister is in a position to state whether it is true. Finally, is he able to state whether he himself was privy to discussions of that character? If he is in a position to state whether it is true, will he do so?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -The honourable gentleman seems to be excelling himself this morning. I understand that the reason he would be wanting to ask that question and to get the denial that he knows will be coming- because, of course, what he has suggested is highly fanciful- is so that he can add to his book and once again make quite sure that he can by implication, if the former Prime Minister ever said these things, nail them as something that is quite untrue and totally fanciful. There were high level discussions which could have led to common sense, but the Prime Minister of the day participated in them and as a consequence they did not lead to common sense.

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