Senator Bartlett (Queensland) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 9 May 2007:
Have any flyovers and/or bombing runs been conducted over the Northern Territory by planes taking off from the United States of America base in Guam; if so, how many.
Of the bombs that have been dropped over the Northern Territory:
are any of the bombs ‘bunker busting’ bombs; and
is tungsten or uranium a component of the bombs.
Are cluster bombs a part of the Australian Defence Force inventory.
Senator Ellison (Western Australia—Minister for Human Services)—The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Yes. The Australian/United States agreement signed on 19 July 2005 allows up to twelve practices per year taking off from Guam, with up to three aircraft per practice. To date there have been three practices, with two aircraft taking part in each practice.
All bombs used have been standard iron bombs identical to approved Royal Australian Air Force bombs containing no tungsten or uranium.
Cluster munitions do not form part of the Australian Defence Force’s operational weapons inventory. As advised in the response to question 2616 tabled on 20 March 2007, Defence holds some inert cluster bombs and inert cluster munitions, as well as a small number of cluster munitions collected from Afghanistan in 2001. These items, which are held separately from Defence’s operational munitions, were obtained for use in training explosive ordnance disposal specialists in identification and disposal of cluster munitions, and in the development of countermeasures to cluster munitions.