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Tuesday, 3 June 1969

Senator FITZGERALD (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Is it true that our Defence Department suspects that the Fill swing wing mechanism is still inadequate even after recent modification? Can the Minister tell us why the Commonwealth Government has asked for a testing period of 16,000 hours compared with the 8,000 hours which the United States Government accepts for its Fill aircraft? Is it because of fear of the wing deficiency? Finally, if this plane is the greatest available, why has the United States Government cut its order from 1,500 to 493 and why is it that this order might still be further reduced?

Senator ANDERSON - Many of the questions asked by the honourable senator were asked last week and I replied to them in considerable depth. I pointed out several times that the 16,000 hours requirement was part of the original agreement. This was made clear in the Prime Minister's statement which I read, not once, but twice. In those circumstances, I do not feel a need to reply to that part of the honourable senator's question. The other part of his question is purely hypothetical. Because somebody has said something, he suspects something. I do not think I am obliged to reply to that, either.

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