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Tuesday, 9 November 1971
Page: 3133

Mr BERINSON - I direct a question to the Acting Prime Minister related to the offer of Cockburn Sound naval base facilities, among others, to the United States of America. Would the use of Cockburn Sound by the United States Navy necessarily involve nuclear armed units of that Navy with a resultant increase in the attractiveness of the area as a target for nuclear attack itself? What consideration has been given in this respect to the loca tion of this particular base at the centre of an intensively developed residential and industrial section of the Perth metropolitan area?

Mr ANTHONY - The Prime Minister announced in Washington that favourable consideration would be given to allowing the Americans to use Cockburn Sound as a naval base and Learmonth Royal Australian Air Force establishment as an air base. This is consistent with our ANZUS understanding and the Government is very pleased to co-operate and negotiate with the Americans to have defence bases in Australia. There is nothing novel about nuclear warships coming to Australia. We have bad visits from nuclear warships at various times. These visits took place after discussions and an assurance that there was no risk involved in these nuclear ships being in this country.

But why the honourable member wants to create doubt about . Americans having bases in Australia I suppose is consistent with the attitude of the Australian Labor Party whenever we discuss any defence installation in this country. The Labor Party always takes a very grudging attitude to these bases and tries to write conditions into the establishment of them which makes it virtually inoperable for the Americans to be here.

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