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Wednesday, 19 November 1986
Page: 2553

Senator MacGIBBON(10.31) —On 3 June the Dibb Review of Australia's Defence Capabilities was presented. The Minister for Defence (Mr Beazley) said that he hoped it would receive a full debate in the Parliament. Characteristically, having made that promise, the Government reneged by the simple expedient of not providing enough time. The Dibb report, nevertheless, represents contemporary Labor thinking on defence. It does warrant a response which is why I am making these comments tonight.

The report proposes an insular isolationist approach to Australia's defence problems. It also lacks the intellectual strength that the subject demands. The fundamental assumptions on which it is based are wrong. It assumes that the nations in Australia's region are peaceful and stable and that this will continue in the foreseeable future. In the unlikely event of trouble arising, it assumes that we will have ample time to react and to prepare. It proposes a purely defensive and garrison posture for Australia, but this is concealed behind the muddled thinking of the strategy of denial in the sea-air gap. If implemented, this concept would guarantee that any determined adversary would conquer Australia. Equally as important, any opportunity to influence regional events through our foreign policy affairs is denied us. At the end of the day, a nation can have a credible foreign policy only if it is seen to have the means of enforcing it.

The Dibb report must be seen for what it is-a political response to the question of Australia's defence; a response tailored to a price, not a need. There have already been very significant changes to Australia's defence under Labor. Labor parties the world over have a touching faith in the belief that if a nation is seen to be no threat militarily to another, its security is guaranteed. Hence the excessive emphasis on defensive capabilities combined with the diminution or elimination of any offensive capability. Regrettably, life is not like that. It is always the weak and the helpless who get mugged first.

This line of thought has already been put into operation by the present Government. Australia no longer has the ability to project military power in its region that it had when this Government came into office. Two significant capabilities have been lost. The first is the destruction of the Fleet Air Arm. Despite the retirement of HMAS Melbourne, the Fleet Air Arm with all its aircraft and equipment was intact. All of those hard-won skills from that most difficult and most demanding of all military procedures, the operation of aircraft at sea, were still there. The Fleet Air Arm could easily have been kept in a shore-based role, pending the acquisition of suitable sea-going platforms and modern aircraft at a later date. An investment which would cost billions of dollars to replace and a set of human skills and experience of incalculable value were discarded. No Australian surface ship can be protected now beyond the cover of our land-based aircraft.

The second significant action of this Government was to disband the amphibious squadron. It is certain in the years ahead that we will have to support a friendly government in New Guinea or in one of the South Pacific states by going to its aid. That will involve troops and in nearly all cases they will have to be lodged and supported by sea. By getting rid of the amphibious squadron we now have no amphibious capability. The Government is being dishonest when it says that those ships can be reactivated in 21 days. The ships can not be made serviceable in that time, nor do the trained crews exist. The only unit in the Army-Brigade at Enoggera-which trained in amphibious operations now has no way of maintaining its limited skills let alone developing doctrine.

Effectively we have been reduced to a fortress situation. All that now remains to be done is for the Government to get rid of the F111s. This is its next priority. The long overdue avionics update will not take place nor will air refuelling be provided for the F111s. In the lesser emergencies where peace and stability in the region need to be maintained, we must have the ability to rapidly and safely insert troops by air and sea and protect and support them when they are in place.

Let me now turn to a more detailed critique of the Dibb report. The first false assumption is the 10 years no threat thesis-the theory of the foreseeable threat. There are many dangerous consequences flowing from this. Dibb's stance is unequivocal. The report states:

It would take at least 10 years and massive external support for the development of a regional capacity to threaten us with substantial assault.

That is not true. History rejects the theory that nations can perceive military threats any substantial distance ahead. Mr Dibb should read some history. From the time that 1 and 8 Squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force were bombed at Khota Baru on the night 7-8 December 1941 at the outbreak of the war with Japan, it was only a little over 6 weeks to 23 January 1942 when the Japanese captured Rabaul. Hitler came to power in 1933, six years before the outbreak of World War II at a time when Germany was economically and militarily bankrupt. The magnitude of the German threat was not clear until 1936. The escalation of the Vietnam war and the development, with Russian arms, of Northern Vietnam as the world's third strongest army was not foreseen.

While it was reasonably stable 10 years ago, Australia's region is no longer so. Australia's old ally New Zealand, an ally with whom we had two defence pacts-the Anzac agreement and the Anzus pact-has gone down the anti-nuclear unilateralist, pacifist path. New Zealand is now ineffective militarily and diplomatically in the South Pacific. In New Caledonia the French are persisting obdurately with the same insensitivity that they showed in Algeria to legitimate independence movements. In Vanuatu, the government has all ready accredited a Cuban legation and will probably sign some agreement with the Soviets in the near future. In Kiribati, the Soviets had a one-year fishing agreement which expired last month. This agreement did not give them port facilities and it remains to be seen what the current negotiations entail and whether the Kiribati Government renews the agreement.

In New Guinea the Government has difficulties arising from a sorely stretched public service trying to administer an emerging nation. There are significant internal problems in New Guinea and to these must be added the border difficulties with Indonesia. Indonesia has had 20 years of stable government under President Suharto. The President is 65 years of age. There will most probably be a change in the presidency in the next five years. No one know what the views of the new President will be. There is unlikely to be smooth transfer of power.

In the Philippines the continued growth in activity of the Communist New People's Army is of great concern. Mrs Aquino's rule is by no means assured in the years ahead. In Malaysia the growth of fundamental islamism is worrying. If it should develop and spread to Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation of earth, there would have been some regional difficulties.

Superimposed on all of this is the active and expanding Soviet military and diplomatic activity in the region. The Soviet Pacific navy is the largest of the four Soviet navies. It is twice the size, with respect to the number of ships, of the United States Navy. All this is public knowledge as is the expansion and development of Cam Ranh Bay. Yet for some inexplicable reason, Mr Dibb tells us that the Soviets and their activities in the Pacific are of no significance to us. This is not a stable part of the world. It will remain unstable through the next decade or two. A situation could arise overnight that directly involves Australia's interests.

There is another point that follows from this no threat for 10 years proclamation. It is very hard in a democracy to get the community to spend money on defence in peace time. When the community is told that it can be certain of 10 years of peace it becomes that much harder. It also carries the dangerous assumption that if at the end of 10 years the danger signals are flying, the government of the day will have both the will and the time to mobilise the nation's defences. If a Government does not have the integrity to take the decision to protect the safety of its people in peacetime, it is most unlikely that it will respond correctly and courageously in the face of a real threat. There will always be those in any government who will opt for inaction, rationalising it away on the grounds that to build up the nation's defences would only provoke the aggressor. They will always opt for appeasement in the belief that those who feed the crocodile will be eaten last.

Another important failing of the no threat for 10 years relates to force capabilities. It takes more than 10 years to select, order and acquire major modern weapon systems. To those years have to be added the years of training to use it effectively and developing doctrine for it. Where does this come from. The source is the strategic basis paper which is a top secret document, except when the National Times publishes it. This document provides the grounds on which the Department of Defence bases its actions. The first point to be made is that this is a political document. It is written so as not to conflict with the known prejudices of the government of the day. Secondly, it is mainly the product of civilian analysts in the Department of Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and similar bodies-people incapable of making an accurate military appreciation of the situation. The third problem with the strategic basis paper is that the Department of Defence uses it to look for threats and then tailors our force structure to counter those threats. In peace-in the absence of any proven threat-planning is therefore paralysed. The Australian Defence Force cannot be structured to cope with threat based scenarios.

The second major failing of the Dibb report is the acceptance of the Fortress Australia theory. There are two salient principles involved in this-its inherent isolationism and the myth of the sea-air gap. The defence of Australia does not start on the beaches of Bathurst Island or even 1,000 miles out. It is intimately related to the peace and security of all those nations around us.

An effective foreign policy which recognises and works to support this goal is the first essential. We must have a policy which supports an interlocking system of alliances with the nations in our region. A prerequisite for this is the ability to get along amicably with the nations in our region, something that this Government has great difficulty in doing.

Our security requires the ability and the will to deploy the Australian Defence Force, either jointly or as single services as the case demands, in support of regional nations, if they request our help. Their peace and security is the best and cheapest guarantee of our peace and security. This involves a series of alliances. These alliances fall into two groups-one with the United States, the other with nations in the region.

Dibb's assessment of ANZUS is the most mercenary one I have ever read. The report in two different places says:

The presence of the joint facilities, together with the access that we provide to visits by United States warships and the staging through Australia of B-52 bombers, are a sufficient tangible contribution to the Alliance.

This theme is repeated:

United States warships visit this country although they have no home-porting here, and unarmed B52 bombers stage through Australia. The access we provide this way, together with the presence of the joint facilities and political support is a sufficient tangible contribution to the Alliance, from the perspective of both parties.

This is an extraordinary narrow view of our obligations under ANZUS. It is the most important of our defence treaties. It needs strengthening by active and enthusiastic Australian support. It is in our interests far more than America's that we honour the spirit of the treaty rather that seek to make the least contribution that we can legally get away with. Dibb overlooks one of the fundamental points of ANZUS. The treaty says that the Americans will provide military support to us in appropriate circumstances. Precisely the same obligation is binding on us to support the Americans militarily in a reciprocal way. Dibb tells us to give no thought to how we should operate with our ally. Quite clearly Australia does have an obligation to maintain and strengthen the deterrent capabilities of the Western democracies. That does involve having some capability to co-operate militarily with the nations in the Western Alliance.

Closer to home, Australia must develop alliances with our regional neighbours. We should seek an alliance with Indonesia and with the Association of South East Asian Nations group. Whether this requires one or more treaties is a matter to be determined. Clearly some extended period would be involved in these negotiations. It may take a decade or more for this to come about but that is irrelevant. The important thing is to start now working for that goal.

To follow the Dibb strategy of damning regional alliances with faint praise is to make Australia's defence very much more expensive and very much more problematical. Curiously, on page three of the report Dibb toys with this concept but does not consider it seriously and fails to develop it. The 1,000 mile sea-air gap outside Fortress Australia has many dangers. First of all we are very bluntly telling our neighbours that their freedom and survival is of no consequence to us. By putting them outside our defensive perimeter, we view them as potential enemies. We also yield control of the approaches to Australia and therefore the initiative. The ability of an aggressor to make lodgments in force on Australian soil is thereby enhanced.

Given our geography and population, Australia's first objective must be to avoid large land battles. That means defence in depth and the development of mutual supporting pacts with the nations in the region. It is in no sense a return to the old concept of forward defence, the last vestiges of which disappeared in 1973. Unlike the policy of forward defence where Australia relied on British forces based, or really superimposed in the region, what is proposed is a mutually supporting system drawn from the nations in the region.

The heart of the Dibb policy, however, is the strategy of denial-a multi-layered strategy of defence reaching out for 1,000 miles with the assumption that if we control this sea and air gap nothing can get across. This is both a foolish and an unworkable doctrine. In this scheme both the Air Force and the Navy will have as their primary role a maritime strike capability. The assumption is that any aggressor will be coming by sea and will be able to be destroyed. All military forces have to have a point of origin, a base or bases from which they are supported. If the threat from hostile forces is going to be removed it is nearly always necessary to eliminate these well springs of support. It is always desirable to remove them.

They are always on land. Yet any land strike capability is discounted by Dibb. The F111s are not to have their avionics update nor to be given in-flight refuelling. They need both. The alternative proposed, the F18s do not have comparable capabilities and never will have them. They do not have a terrain following radar which allows the F111 to get in at night in the worst of weather just above the trees. Such a capability makes the F111 a powerful deterrent. It is very hard to prevent its getting to its target.

If Dibb is proposing a strategy of denial, there is an obligation on him to provide the essentials to try to make it work. There is a need to have accurate knowledge of what is moving around in the sea-air gap. This can be done only by conventional radars and in our case that is most economically and effectively done by airborne early warning aircraft. These are not to be bought, despite the fact that all three services want them.

The second reason why denial will not work is that the 1,000 mile sea-air gap does not consist of blue seas and blue skies as Dibb implies. There are thousands of islands in it-many of which provide excellent bases. The Indonesian islands have the fifth-largest population in the world. This is a very important point. The fact that such an important point is overlooked by Dibb and Beazley raises some very disturbing questions. No aggressor will operate from bases on the other side of the world. He will operate from bases in the so-called sea-air gaps with or without the approval of the legal owners.

In the event of an invasion of Australia, the report's prescription is that we should seek to destroy the enemy ships on the high seas. It is worth observing that, before the outbreak of hostilities, anyone could legally approach to within 12 miles of the Australian coast. However, if it were clear that no bases from which any aggressor was operating were immune from destruction, a valuable counter argument exists. The report ridicules this concept-a deterrent capability. It says:

The problem with deterrence as a force planning concept is that there are historical examples where apparently inferior forces have attacked-that is were undeterred-and have won.

All that that statement shows is that the author does not understand that a deterrent has to be credible. Another great failing of this purely defensive approach is that the initiative rests with the attacker. Australia's small forces could be easily exhausted by repeated feints over the huge areas involved in our northern approaches.

A large group of failings relate to technical matters. The first such example relates to air cover for the fleet. Consider this statement which justifies the lack of air cover for the fleet:

We should avoid policies that require naval surface vessels to be placed at risk of air attack or access to our defending fighters.

Apparently we only fight wars on our own terms. The report also claims:

The F-111 can perform the role of long range air interceptor.

This is not true. Lacking any air to air fire control radar the FIII cannot be used as an interceptor with any expectation of success. Of more importance, the enthusiastic support for Jindalee, the over the horizon radar, as a sole source of radar surveillance for the north shows enormous ignorance of the capabilities and limitations inherent in any OTHR system. Jindalee, when developed, will be a great asset for Australia, but even if it fulfils its promise it can never be a system that stands alone. Its role is to supplement conventional radars.

Over the horizon radars work by reflecting a high frequency signal off the ionosphere on to the ground. The return signal is reflected back along the same path. Ordinary radars use a much shorter wave length signal and operate in a straight line. Because of the limitations imposed by the curvature of the earth, the range of conventional radars is from around 30 miles at sea level to about 200 at altitude. OTHRs have ranges of the order of a thousand miles.

There are some considerable technical problems with this system. Being a high frequency signal, the signal is subject to sun spot activity. Further, the signals wax and wane through a 24-hour cycle the way normal HF radio signals do. There can be times when it does not work. Skip distance is important and targets close in are poorly delineated. Finally, the signal can be jammed electronically rather easily.

Jindalee will not give the detailed information that conventional radars do-height and speed, let alone the target recognition available in some modern radars. A target moving at a constant radius to the set and thereby exhibiting no doppler shift will be invisible. Nevertheless it covers a huge area and alerts the operator that something is there. Given the enormous physical size of the areas that surround Australia, such a sieve, however crude, is more than welcome and not to be lightly put aside. The first and only station sited near Alice Springs has just been declared operational after years in an experimental role. Years of further development still lie ahead. The question of further Jindalee stations is really a matter of priority. The announcement by the Minister for Defence that it is proposed to implement the section of the report that recommends the purchase of a further two or three Jindalees is quite wrong. Having got one OTHR on-line and being developed, the correct priority is to move to the acquisition of airborne early warning aircraft. The money involved in this new Jindalee program, according to the Minister, is approximately $500m.

What is being attempted here is the use of Jindalee to detect a target. The information so received then being used to direct the fighters, the F18s into the general area and for them to establish whether the target is harmful or not. That is a very wasteful way to go and it is unworkable as well. To send a short-range fighter out to investigate every contact in a country the size of Australia needs more fighters than we will ever be able to afford. Further more, by probing electronically with their onboard radars for the intruders, our fighters declare there presence and position. For that $500m we could well have had a fleet of four or five airborne early warning aircraft, which we are going to have to buy in any case. The Army, the Navy and above all the Air Force want them now. Yet Dibb says:

Defer acquisition of airborne early warning and control systems.

The worrying thing is that, even if a decision were made today to go ahead, it would be eight or 10 years before we had an operational system.

The Army is the victim of some great technical and tactical misperceptions. Dibb simply cannot comprehend that soldiers will ever be required to fight-except against small groups of insurgents never more than in company strength. I find it impossible to believe that any country would suffer the enormous international criticism of invading Australia to put only a company ashore. If that situation arises they will come in very much larger numbers. Only an army can take and hold ground. Holding essential ground is what wars are all about.

The report cannot see the need for an adequate army. There is no need for armoured personnel carriers, no need for artillery and definitely no need for tanks, according to the report. Dibb is living before the Boer War, before machine guns, tanks and modern artillery. Have all the infantry lessons of this century, bought at such an incredible price, from the Somme onwards been lost? Soldiers must be protected.

Dibb rightly addresses the need for more battlefield helicopters, but he confuses tactical mobility with battlefield mobility. They are not one and the same but two totally different requirements. Soldiers cannot fight from helicopters. They fight on the ground. They have to have armoured personnel carriers to move on to and around the battlefield. Dibb says we have too many of the old M113s and they will be adequate if upgraded. The report says:

While the M113 may not be ideal for operations in our north, it is clearly suited for training and operations in the shorter term, with perhaps some modification.

The M113 is a first generation armoured personnel carrier. Its design is 30 years old. It is a highly dangerous vehicle on the battlefield. Money spent on modifications will never overcome its design failings. Such expenditure is money wasted. Tragically, many lives will be lost pointlessly if this advice is followed. The life of every Australian is important and with our low population we cannot exchange lives to win territory.

Soldiers must be protected in modern APCs on the battlefield. They must have adequate artillery support and they must have the protection and mobile firepower that comes from armour. From their introduction in the First World War, through North Africa and New Guinea to Vietnam, it has been our doctrine to use tanks, and for good reason. Dibb sees a very limited requirement for artillery and none at all for tanks. If we have to employ ground forces we have to get there quickly and with adequate protection and firepower so that the matter is resolved quickly and with minimal loss of life.

One serious myopic failing in the report is the lack of consideration of helicopters in relation to land warfare except for transport purposes. The use of helicopters as fire support and anti-armour platforms is something we must be looking at in relation to our own needs. On the subject of helicopters, censure must be made of the report's recommendation that the new battlefield helicopters be given to the Army. This was done to buy off the Army because of the low priority assigned to them in the report.

Army does need to have full control of those assets and be able to use them how and when it pleases; but that can be done without assigning them the ownership. To set up a system where Australia has to spend possible hundreds of millions of dollars duplicating facilities is wrong. Army would have to train its own pilots and maintenance personnel for a very advanced and complex helicopter; it would have to set up a very sophisticated and expensive engineering and maintenance base. All that needs to be done is give 9 Squadron, or whatever squadron it is, the responsibility of providing the airlift to the ODF as their sole task. Make the squadron live at Lavarack not Garbutt, so that it becomes completely integrated. For a small country such as Australia no other course is practicable. It is more than strange that the Army is quite happy to ride into battle in helicopters of the United States Army or Marine Corps yet baulks at its own comrades in arms.

One of the problems the Army identifies is that it has a low priority with the Royal Australian Air Force. This is a consequence of underfunding of the Defence vote rather than neglect by the Air Force. One of the compromises proposed to avoid the financial consequences outlined above is for Air Force to train the pilots and do the maintenance. This simply will not work. The public debate on this matter by Army has reflected no credit on it.

Time does not permit me to extend my criticisms much further. I want to flag some other points of importance. I totally disagree that the safe passage of shipping to an from Australia is of no concern to our national interest; nor do I agree that there is little chance of shipping being harassed. To do so would show a profound ignorance of the blockades that have been implemented since the Second World War, to say nothing of the 68 ships that have been attacked between January and August this year in the Persian Gulf.

The report's treatment of submarines, the need for them and particularly anti-submarine warfare is naive. It says:

In view of the very limited regional submarine capability, there is not need to enhance our already considerable ASW forces beyond the need to introduce surface towed arrays and to complete the program of helicopters for the guided missile frigates.

China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, India and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics all operate submarines in our sea lines of communications and presumably if the need arose could do so in Australian waters. While we once had a reasonably adequate ASW capability this has declined, particularly since there are no platforms to take the Sea Kings with their active sonar to sea other than on non-combatant ships like the Stalwart.

An important point relates to the war between the Services and the civilian Department of Defence. On page 2 of the report the statement is made:

Defence planning is not made easier by the adversarial attitudes that exist within the Defence community.

There is another reference later on. Regrettably, there are no recommendations offered for a fix to this tragic state of affairs, which is the most lasting and crippling of legacies from the Tange plan. Nothing more strikingly illustrates the outlook of the author than the section on war reserves and stocks.

Senator Harradine —I raise a point of order, Mr President. It relates to standing order 125, anticipating debate. My point of order is no reflection on Senator MacGibbon, whose contribution is one in which I am very interested. I point out that the matter to which his contribution refers is the Dibb report, Australia's Defence Capabilities-Review. It is item No. 55 on the Notice Paper. I, as does Senator MacGibbon, would like to see that matter come forward before the end of this session in view of the fact that the Government is preparing a White Paper. I trust that the Government will have that debate before the end of this session. I draw your attention, Mr President, to standing order No. 125 in the sense that this may be anticipating such a debate.

The PRESIDENT —Order! There is no point of order. The matter to which Senator Harradine refers is a motion for the Senate to take note of the paper. That is really a wide-ranging debate not affected by the matter Senator MacGibbon is now raising.

Senator MacGIBBON —Limited though our present forces are, our biggest shortcoming is sustainability. We simply do not have the reserves of ammunition and missiles in the country to sustain heavy offensive operations for more than a few days; nor do we have the trained manpower to provide any surge capacity. The report sees no need for stock holdings because of the strategy of denial. A quite extraordinary statement says:

Remoteness and dispersion in the operating environment would be very demanding on fuel, lubricants and spare parts. Yet the general avoidance of military confrontation by the aggressor would probably limit the requirements for ammunition, particularly of the more advanced missiles.

A few sentences later the theme is further developed.

We must be selective in our approach to providing complete weapon outfits for ships and aircraft.

How many lives were lost in the Falklands because civilians in Whitehall thought this way? How many ships of the Royal Navy, though designed for air defence weapons systems, went to that war without them fitted? The ships damaged or sunk by air attack were Antelope, Antrim, Ardent, Argonaut, Brilliant, Broadsword, Coventry, Fearless, Glamorgan, Glasgow, Plymouth, and Sheffield. Over 80 lives were lost and four ships sunk.

The reality is that when trouble starts, a nation has to use what it has at the outset. There are no years of preparation in this era. At the end of the day the most important element in the defence of Australia is not the strategy or the equipment but the welfare of those men and women who wear the uniforms of the Services. At a time when we have record and potentially devastating resignations of senior non-commissioned officers and middle ranking officers because of the erosion of their conditions of service, there is nothing constructive in the report. It was clearly within Dibb's terms of reference. He made recommendations on conditions of service with respect to the reserves.

Having dealt critically with some of the failings of the report, it is only fair to refer to some of the suggestions which are of value. The support for the development of a series of airfields from Learmonth to Cape York and a patrol boat base to the northern coast of Western Australia, as planned by the previous Government, make good sense. The recommendation to rescind the tax on reservists, since adopted by the Government, was a most necessary move. It is to be hoped that the call out provisions are also modified. The proposals to develop permanent joint force headquarters, as recommended by the parliamentary Committee, are worth exploring. The whole subject of command and control of the Australian defence forces needs much more analysis and change but the report does not examine this.

In conclusion, I want to offer some suggestions as to what should be done. I do not think any meaningful discussion on defence can take place if the argument concerns equipment. What we need to do is get the direction right and then the rest will follow. The first thing Australian governments of all persuasions need to do is recognise the fact that their overriding responsibility is the protection of their population. They must also develop the political will in the community to protect those interests.

Money spent on defence is money wasted unless the nation has the will to use those forces on the occasions when the nation's essential interests are challenged. When that political will is apparent the defence forces have credibility in the eyes of other nations. Australia must be able to operate independently, as far as this is possible in an age of high technology. That means that we have to spend more money and attain a higher level of readiness. We must not have an insular vision. We must have workable alliances with the United States and with the countries in our region. We must have the capability of helping those nations, if the need arises, with our own forces. That means we have to have the means to project force in the region, on land, air or sea as the need arises. The ability to project power has a double value because, in the worst case, if our alliances should fail we still possess a deterrent capability. We must have the ability to make a graded or flexible response to situations that affect us.

If the Dibb report were implemented, the only response, limited though it might be, to an external threat would lie with the Air Force. That is not enough. Air power is relatively inflexible and transient. An air strike against a threat might be quite inappropriate. There could be many occasions when the graduated presence of ships or the stationing of troops was a more appropriate response. While we need to spend more on defence we also must get better value for the money we are spending at present. The present administration by the Department of Defence is expensive. There is an army of civilians paralysing the decision making process and consuming a large part of the budget.

The civilian department, with the exception of DSTO, should be dramatically reduced in numbers and removed from many activities that it has created for itself. The selection of equipment and the running of the Services is a matter for the professionals, with relevant technical advice coming from DSTO.

In conclusion, I would like to quote from a paper by someone who does have the intellectual and professional abilities to comment on Australian's defence, Professor Robert O'Neill. In a paper he presented in 1980, Bob O'Neill had this to say:

The major issue now is not so much one of finance or organisation but of strategic judgment in recognising a growing need to contribute to the security of Australia's regional environment. The security of the home base is still a sine qua non of a sound posture but Australia would be ill-advised to pursue that strategic policy alone, with dedicated perfectionism. To do so would be to misunderstand how the balance of international power normally works. Diplomacy and strategy must go hand in hand: to refuse greater defence co-operation to our allies and regional partners in the 1980s might not only lead them to regard Australia as irrelevant but also require Australia to maintain ultimately much greater forces for its own protection in a hostile environment.

(Extension of time granted) There is nothing I wish to add to that, except to say that there is a need for a similar review to be carried out on our foreign affairs policies.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 11.02 p.m.