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DEFENCE PROGRAMME-MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs (Senator Messner), by leave, made a statement relating to Australia's defence programme and moved-That the Senate take note of the Statement.

Senator Evans moved an amendment, viz: At end of motion, add ''but the Senate-

(a) condemns the Government for its persistent failure to implement its own announced defence programmes and for its failure to define clearly defence policies, force structure and equipment programmes to meet Australian defence requirements;

(b) directs the Government to immediately prepare and present a definitive statement on defence policy, Australia's strategic position and forward planning for the structure and equipment of the Australian Defence Force; and

(c) notes that the most recent definitive policy statement on defence of November 1976 is no longer relevant to the Government's actual defence programmes nor the current strategic situation.

Debate ensued.

On the motion of Senator Sibraa the debate was adjourned.

Ordered-That the resumption of the debate be an Order of the Day for the next day of sitting.

And General Business taking precedence of Government Business after 4.30 p.m.-