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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3177


Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 22 August 1979:

(   1 ) In which countries have elements of the Australian forces been stationed at any time in the last 20 years.

(2)   Between what dates were they stationed in each country.


Mr Killen - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) It has been assumed that the terms 'elements . . stationed relate to substantial bodies of men and material in operational or quasi-operational roles over lengthy and continuous periods. The following is the relevant information:

(a)   Countries where the Royal Australian Navy has maintained a shore establishment or from which it has operated at least one vessel in the last 20 years are:

(i)   Malaysia, from the time that country was formed in 1964 until the separation from it of Singapore in 1965; and

(ii)   Singapore, from the time it became an independent country in 1965 until the present; however, the operating of ships out of Singapore has not been continuous throughout the period.

(b)   Countries in which the Australian Army has maintained a substantial force on a long-term basis in the last 20 years are:

(i)   Malaya, later Malaysia, until 1 970;

(ii)   Singapore, from 1970 until 1973; and

(iii)   Vietnam, from 1 965 until December 1 972.

(c)   Similar data for operational aircraft and supporting units of the Royal Australian Air Force are:

(i)   Malaya, later Malaysia, continuously to the present time;

(ii)   Vietnam, from July 1 964 until March 1 972; and

(iii)   Thailand, from June 1 962 until August 1 968.

Detail such as the rotation from time to time in the 1970s of an Australian Army company through the RAAF establishment at Butterworth in Malaysia is not included. It should also be noted that groups have served in UN forces operating, in some instances, in areas where national frontiers were in dispute. Recently a contingent served in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe as part of the Cease-fire Monitoring Force.

The administrative effort involved in assembling the information relating to all the various other assignments and activities abroad, against all the dates for the service of the relevant personnel overseas during the past 20 years, would be substantial, especially given that much of the activity has not been continuous in respect of particular countries over the period. However, more important examples are:

(a)   Training assignments, which have resulted in a flow of personnel to and from the United States and Britain and, on a less continuous basis, to and from New Zealand, Canada and other countries.

(b)   Major defencecooperation programs. Some hundreds of Defence Force personnel have been present in Papua New Guinea continuously since that former territory became an independent country. Also on a continuous basis or nearly so, varying small numbers of Australian Defence Force personnel have been engaged in defence cooperation projects in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore since the inceptions of the respective programs.

(c)   The acquisition of major items of defence equipment overseas, leading to the presence of teams of Australian Servicemen from time to time in major supplier countries such as the United States and Britain.







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