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Clarke and Dawe talk defence. -

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John Clarke and Bryan Dawe talk defence.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Here is John Clarke and Bryan Dawe on a parliamentary week dominated by
Afghanistan.

BRYAN DAWE: Stephen Smith, thanks for your time.

JOHN CLARKE: Good evening, Bryan. It's very good to be with you.

BRYAN DAWE: Can I ask about this big debate about our role in the war in Afghanistan?

JOHN CLARKE: Yes, this is very important, yes.

BRYAN DAWE: Is the debate a good thing?

JOHN CLARKE: Well I think it's very difficult, Bryan, to argue that a debate is not a good thing.

BRYAN DAWE: So why didn't we have one before we went there?

JOHN CLARKE: Well there's not always time for a debate, Bryan. I mean, in the deployment of troops,
for example, you often need to act very swiftly. There are issues of security, and so, very often
you're ...

BRYAN DAWE: Making decisions on the run.

JOHN CLARKE: No, no, no, no, Bryan, you're not doing that, you're making very sensible decisions,
but you are having to make them very quickly.

BRYAN DAWE: Can you give me an example?

JOHN CLARKE: Well if the building catches fire here, Bryan, we're not gonna have a debate about
whether to call the Fire Brigade.

BRYAN DAWE: No, we can have the debate later. I understand that ...

JOHN CLARKE: Yeah, that would the ideal time to have the debate. A good deal later.

BRYAN DAWE: Yeah, but we're not going to pull out of Afghanistan, that's the point. The Government
and the Opposition agree.

JOHN CLARKE: Well, Bryan, let me stress that in Afghanistan our position is that we require certain
conditions to be fulfilled there before our role will be completed.

BRYAN DAWE: What does that mean?

JOHN CLARKE: Well it means that we're not going in there on some sort of time-based conflict.

BRYAN DAWE: Like the Hundred Year War or ... ?

JOHN CLARKE: Yeah, like the Hundred Years War or some other reasonably swift kind of in-and-out
date-based strategy. We're not doing that. We require certain things to be the case before we'll
pull out of there.

BRYAN DAWE: Well how long do you think this is gonna go on?

JOHN CLARKE: The war or the debate?

BRYAN DAWE: The war.

JOHN CLARKE: Oh, well, the war could go on for some time, Bryan. I've heard a decade, perhaps two
decades.

BRYAN DAWE: And what about our role increasing in the future? I mean, if you look at the British
Government, it's reviewing its Defence budget, isn't it?

JOHN CLARKE: They are. Yes, they're reviewing that just this week, Bryan. This has just come
through, there's a review of their Defence capability going on right now.

BRYAN DAWE: This is a Sopwith Camel.

JOHN CLARKE: Yeah, on the back. Turn it over. On the back, Bryan, is listed - a detailed list of
the pullouts. They're decommissioning the harriers, for example.

BRYAN DAWE: Yeah. They're doing this with the Navy by the looks of it too ... ?

JOHN CLARKE: They're doing it with the Navy as well, yeah.

BRYAN DAWE: They're scrapping the Ark Royal.

JOHN CLARKE: Well they're replacing the Ark Royal.

BRYAN DAWE: Replacing it with what?

JOHN CLARKE: Ah, David Cameron.

BRYAN DAWE: They're replacing the Ark Royal with David Cameron?

JOHN CLARKE: David Cameron, David Cameron. Here it is! Here it is, Bryan: they're decommissioning
the Ark Royal four years early and are building another aircraft carrier.

BRYAN DAWE: What for?

JOHN CLARKE: Well to carry aircraft.

BRYAN DAWE: But they haven't got any aircraft, have they?

JOHN CLARKE: They don't need the aircraft yet.

BRYAN DAWE: Why not?

JOHN CLARKE: Well 'cause they haven't yet built the aircraft carrier they're gonna carry them on.

BRYAN DAWE: Well what's the point in building an aircraft carrier if you haven't got any aircraft?

JOHN CLARKE: Well you've gotta have an aircraft carrier, Bryan, or you can't carry aircraft at all.

BRYAN DAWE: What aircraft?

JOHN CLARKE: The aircraft you haven't got.

BRYAN DAWE: But you haven't got 'em yet!

JOHN CLARKE: No, but you're gonna have them - at some future point those aircraft will turn up.

BRYAN DAWE: Why?

JOHN CLARKE: Bryan, you're building an aircraft carrier! The sole purpose of building an aircraft
carrier is to carry aircraft.

BRYAN DAWE: Thanks for your time.

JOHN CLARKE: No, that's my pleasure. But can I have that back, incidentally? That's an official
document. It looks good, though, doesn't it?

BRYAN DAWE: Sopwith Camel.

JOHN CLARKE: Sopwith Camel. I wonder how many of those they've got. We might buy them if we finish
with them.

BRYAN DAWE: Better than the Seasprite.

JOHN CLARKE: Well looks like they fly.

BRYAN DAWE: Mmm.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Before we go, I'd like to apologise to our Queensland audience who last night had
their viewing abruptly terminated before the end of the program, courtesy of another one of those
mysterious technical glitches occasionally afflicting the ABC at the moment. We sympathise with
your frustration.