Response to Sydney Morning Herald article about unusual aerial sightings
8 June 2011
Defence has not accepted reports on unusual aerial sightings since 1996. Members of the public seeking make such reports to Defence are directed to their local police authorities. This policy is set out in Defence Instruction (General) (DIG) ADMIN 55-1 - [PDF-88 KB] of 13 November 2000 entitled “Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy”.
On 7 and 10 March 2011, Mr Linton Besser from the Sydney Morning Herald sought access under theFreedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to “a comprehensive schedule of records held by the Department of Defence and the Australian Defence Force which relate to unidentified flying objects (UFOs), allegations of sightings of such UFOs, allegations of the sighting of extraterrestrial organisms and any associated allegations or notifications to the department”
Defence reached agreement with Mr Besser that the request would be processed administratively, rather than under the FOI Act, and responded to Mr Besser on 17 May as follows
“Our office has conducted several administrative investigations to locate the documents you were seeking. Thus far, we have only been able to locate one file matching the scope of your request.
The file we have located is entitled ‘Report on UFOs/Strange Occurrences and Phenomena in Woomera’.
Please find a copy of the documents released administratively with privacy deletions attached.
We are continuing to conduct further searches and should these provide results, these documents will also be released to you.
Our office examined past FOI requests which related to UFOs and discovered that many of the files had been destroyed, as is normal administrative procedure.
We also discovered one file, which had not been destroyed but could not be located. In an effort to retrieve this file our office conducted searches of the Defence Record Management System, National Archives Australia (Canberra), National Archives Australia (Chester Hill), Defence Archives Queanbeyan and Headquarters Air Command, RAAF Base Glenbrook.
Despite searching these locations, the file could not be located and Headquarters Air Command formally advised that this file is deemed lost.”
Copies of the documents provided to Mr Besser are;