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Monday, 28 April 1980
Page: 1809


Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister and the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, follows upon the question asked by Senator Wriedt. If I might say so, the Senate would take the response of the Leader as indicating that the Australian Government is favourable to a policy of restraint and that in any discussions with the United States the Australian Government might well guard against taking a tougher policy with Iran. I ask the Minister: Firstly, is that presumption a correct interpretation of the Government's position? Secondly, in view of the possibility of the worsening situation which was mentioned by Mr Peacock last week, is it the Government's intention to brief fully leaders of the parties in the Parliament and, to the maximum extent possible, members of the Senate? I think he would agree that in respect of these matters members of the Parliament should have the fullest information possible, subject to some security arrangements.


Senator CARRICK -If I may take the second part of the question first, my understanding is that the Government intends to keep the leaders of the Opposition in both places fully briefed. My understanding is, subject to correction by Senator Wriedt, that within the last few days an extensive briefing has been made available. That is my belief at this moment. My understanding is that upon request Mr Hayden and Senator Wriedt will get full briefings by the Office of National Assessments and by the Department of Foreign Affairs.


Senator Georges - What you are saying is that you threaten ONA officers with the sack.


Senator CARRICK - The fact is that ONA has our full confidence and ONA will give impartial, accurate and objective advice to the leaders.


Senator Georges - Rubbish.


Senator CARRICK - The interjections are such that I take it, therefore, that because the

Whip of the Labor Party believes that would not be so, he would advise his Leader not to go to ONA and not to go to the Department because the information would not be effective.


Senator Grimes - What he is saying is that you prevent ONA from giving advice.


The PRESIDENT - Order!


Senator Grimes - You know what he is saying.


The PRESIDENT - Order!


Senator CARRICK -Nevertheless, that information is available. It is objective and it is as accurate as human nature -


Senator Grimes - How can they be accurate when you threaten them?


The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Grimes, I warn you to cease interjecting. You are persistently so doing.


Senator Grimes - You gentlemen make it very difficult.


The PRESIDENT - Order! I shall not warn you again.


Senator CARRICK -Senator Bishop asked me what interpretation he could place upon my appeal for restraint. That was restraint against actions which could provoke in fact violence of action. It is not to be thought that the Australian Government might not countenance some widening of sanctions, some- in the honourable senator's words- tougher action, if that were judged to be necessary and were judged to be moving towards effective circumstances.

We would need to judge circumstances on their merits as such. The appeal for restraint is an appeal against plunging the world into acts of violence which could lead to global war.







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