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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 15

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) - I address my question to the Minister for Air. Is it a fact that the United States Government has made an offer to sell to Australia the Phantom aircraft currently on lease to the Royal Australian Air Force? Is the offer at a price very much below the world- market price for this aircraft? If so, does the Minister agree that the motive behind the offer is to delay an Australian decision on a replacement for the Mirage fighter and thus allow new American aircraft designs time to compete with other aircraft currently under consideration? Will the Minister assure the Senate that this Government will not enter into any agreement with the United States which might lead us into another Fill fiasco?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I think it would be fair to say to the honourable senator that an offer has been made by the United States Government and that this offer is under consideration at the present time. However, a report on the Phantom and the United States offer is now with the Department of Defence. While the head of the Department and the Air Member for Technical Services, Air Vice Marshal Hey, were recently in America, they obtained some further information on the offer. However, I want to say to the honourable senator that there is no truth in the statements he has made in regard to the delay of the decision on this offer, and there is no truth in the reasons that he has .given. The cost of the Phantoms is not yet known. If they are purchased, their cost would still have to be worked out between the Department of Defence and the United States Government.

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