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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 91

Mr PRICE (8:28 PM) —I think it is remarkable that the opposition’s shadow defence minister could not mention one of the items of defence expenditure on these appropriation bills. He could not stand up at the dispatch box and say, ‘I support $87.8 million to reimburse defence for additional costs in Iraq.’ He could not say that he supported $307 million for salaries for the other ranks—for graded other ranks pay structure review, superannuation, rental allowance and higher fuel costs. He could not say for the ordinary serving men and women and the NCOs that he supported this $307 million expenditure. He could not say that he supported the $153 million additional costs arising from movements in the exchange rate that defence have suffered. He could not say that he supported the $29.4 million to cover unavoidable overspends in operations in the financial year which was funded by the government on a no-win, no-loss basis. It is extraordinary in an appropriations debate that a senior shadow defence minister—Defence arguably being one of the most important portfolios in the country—does not utter one word about the expenditure of defence dollars in these appropriation bills.

Debate interrupted.