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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) The Federal Opposition wants

the Prime Minister to outline

Australia's exit strategy from

Afghanistan before agreeing to

send any more troops to the conflict. Senator David

Johnston is the Federal

Opposition's Defence spokesman

and he joins us now from Perth.

Good morning, thanks for

getting up so early over there

on the other side of

Australia. Morning, Joe. You have called for a clear

strategy for success. Do you

want a withdrawal date? Well,

no, we don't want a withdrawal

date. What we want is a plan.

Now, we've seen the President

put 17,000 troops into

Afghanistan in the last two

months. That was not a surge.

We don't know whether we are

going to take over from the

Dutch when they leave Oruszgan Province, we don't know whether

we're going to be more broadly

deployed in the southern south

eastern region of Afghanistan.

I expect that the Prime

Minister as a% initiative should ask the President: what

is the plan here in

Afghanistan? Where do we go

forward? And let's get

something on the table. So

what specifically do you

want? Well, I want to know what

the role into future in 2010 is

going to be for the Australian

forces deployed there. We're

going to be in charge, so I

believe, of Oruszgan Province,

which is 23,000 square kilometres with 600,000 people

in it. Now, the Dutch are

leaving. 1750 troops in a

brigade. They're departing in

2010. So where are we? We seem

to be in a state of drift with

no clear logistical or

strategic outlook. Australia

shouldn't send any more troops

if we don't get a clear

strategy from Barack Obama? I

think that is a very important

determinant of how many troops

we put in the field. Bear in

mind we are relying on the

Americans for aeromedical

evacuation, for fire support,

for a whole host of important

things that our force of 10 90

does not have of its own. So

these are all very, very

important considerations, and

the first thing I'd want to see

is.. What is the American plan

into the short, medium and long

term, as a way of going

forward. Then I would want to

talk to the chief of the

Defence Force and the chief of

army to see what they perceive

of that plan. That clear plan

isn't forthcoming, Australia

shouldn't send more troops? No,

no, no, I think that there is

going to be a plan, and we want

to hear what it is, and the

Americans and NATO have a role

for us but the fact is at the

moment it is unclear. Now, we

have an immediate task. That is

a very localised task in the

province. We can do things in

enhancing that task. But as far

as the popularity of this

what Australians are concerned campaign goes and as far as

about, I believe they want to a

medium and long-term outlook. And at this stage we haven't

got one. I think people are

saying: what about Pakistan?

What about our civilian

contribution? Terms of upping

the ante in terms of

establishing police and

government institutions? There

is no clear outlook here. Now,

I think we're at the watershed.

I think the Prime Minister

needs to put our feelings on

the table. And I think the

President hopefully will

respond to say "Here's what we

want to do." Richard Holbrooke

is out there I think with a

plan. I'm hoping it will come

forward in this week. You say

politics over Afghanistan. you won't make partisan

Isn't that exactly what we're

doing now? I don't believe so.

I think these are the obvious

questions that people want to

ask. It's all very well to say "We're in Afghanistan for a

good cause" and I believe we

are, but let's confront what

the responsibilities of that

are. That is, to have a plan,

to go forward in a logical way

with a view to success. What is

success going to look like? I

think success will be Afghanistan carrying most of

the burden itself into the

medium and long term that will

be success for us. Senator

David Johnston in Perth, thanks

very much for talking to us