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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3254

Mr Kerin asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 1 May 1980:

(1)   Were drums of 24D and245T tipped out or sprayed on the perimeter wires of the Australian Task Force compound at Nui Dat, South Vietnam, in 1968-69; if so, how many.

(2)   Were500 gallon water tankers, normally used for the transport of domestic and drinking water, used in these operations.

(3)   Can he say whether other (a) herbicides, (b) insecticides and (c) other chemicals were used in the immediate vicinity of the Nui Dat headquarters during any time of Australia 's involvement in South Vietnam; if so, what are the details.

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

(1)   Repeated searches have uncovered no record of any operational use in Vietnam by Australia of any herbicide containing 2-4-5.T. The other substance, 2-4.D, was one of the ingredients of the herbicide known as Tordon SOD. Record has been found of the purchase of some 13 x 45 gallon drums of Tordon SOD for use in Vietnam by the Army. Tordon was sprayed around the perimeter of the Task Force area.

(2)   There is no record that any tanker, having been used to transport pesticides, was used subsequently to transport domestic water. Given the safety instructions in force, the proposition is inherently unlikely.

(3)   Numerous chemicals, including herbicides, insecticides, disinfectants, detergents, repellants, water purifiers, camouflage cream, and pharmaceuticals were in routine use at Nui Dat. The ones mentioned were used for the greater comfort, better health or enhanced safety from the enemy of Australian servicemen.

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