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Thursday, 26 November 1959


Mr TOWNLEY (Denison) (Minister for Defence) . - by leave - Cabinet has completed its consideration of the new threeyear defence programme. The decisions taken are related to the requirements of the strategic situation. This takes into account trends in the international situation, the assessment of possible threats to our security based on the best available intelligence, and the plans developed in conjunction with our Commonwealth partners and our allies in Anzus and Seato to meet various contingencies that could arise.

We have seen no reason to vary the broad strategic principles on which our defence policy has been based since the previous review of 1957. Events since then, including the top-level East-West talks that have been held this year, which now seem likely to culminate in a summit conference, have served to confirm our previous views. These principles are briefly as follows: -

Global, or full-scale, war remains not impossible, but unlikely, as a deliberate act of policy. However, limited wars could break out in various unstable areas.

The primary aim of our defence effort should therefore be the continual improvement of our ability to re-act promptly and effectively with our allies to meet limited war situations. The forces maintained for this purpose also enable us to fulfil a worthwhile role in the cold war, e.g., the stationing of forces in the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in Malaya. At this point 1 might mention that the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya, during his recent visit to Australia, welcomed the presence of our troops in his country. He said they gave a feeling of security to the Malayan people and helped them to plan for peace and prosperity.

Finally, Australia is a small nation, with limited resources. The most effective way of ensuring our safety is through association with allies in the collective defence arrangements which have been developed in our area of strategic interest. We therefore continue to attach the highest importance in our defence policy and planning to participation in British Commonwealth defence co-operation, Seato and Anzus. It goes without saying that membership of these arrangements, which give us the benefit of defence in depth from possible aggression, carries complementary responsibilities. We must maintain an effective capability to honour our treaty obligations in the future as we have in the past. We all hope that the United Nations will become more and more significant in the prevention of war and the settlement of international disputes.

At the outset I give a brief review of the defence programme. The objectives of defence policy are achieved through the defence programme, which makes provision for the organization and equipment of the forces to enable them to fulfil their approved roles. In determining the scope of the programme, and the financial resources that can be allocated to defence, Cabinet must have regard to the requirements of other sectors of the economy, to ensure that economic stability and national development are not prejudiced by a disproportionate expenditure on defence.

The present financial year is the final year of the three-year programme which was announced in 1957. As it is essential that the services should be able to plan ahead in the organization of their forces, the ordering of equipment and the commencement of other essential capital projects, the decisions taken in the present review cover a new three-year period.

The strategic role of the Navy is to ensure the defence of sea communications, and to co-operate with allies and sister services in general operations of war. Our naval policy places special emphasis on anti-submarine capabilities. The naval programme has been reviewed against these requirements, and the need to plan ahead for the replacement of units as they become obsolescent, having regard, at the same time, to new developments and trends in naval warfare. This is a special problem in the case of the Navy, because of the length of time and high cost for construction of major new units.

Our examination of the measures required to be initiated now for the provision of the most effective naval force possible, within available resources, has raised for consideration the future of the Fleet Air Arm. This comprises the aircraft carrier " Melbourne " with its front line establishment of five squadrons of Sea Venom fighters and Gannet anti-submarine aircraft. These aircraft will be worn out by mid-1963. The higher-performance, more sophisticated aircraft which would replace them could not operate from " Melbourne ", but would require a more modern and faster carrier. A replacement carrier of a modern type, that would be suitable to our requirements and within our Budget, is not available from any likely sources. The construction of a new carrier for the Royal Australian Navy could not be seriously considered; the cost would be completely prohibitive, and the time required for new construction would not meet our needs. In any case, the position is that naval aviation is now a complex and costly enterprise, both in respect of carrier and aircraft. It is therefore extremely doubtful if it is possible for a small navy such as the Royal Australian Navy to keep pace with modern developments in this field, without unduly prejudicing other essential defence activities, not only from the joint service aspect, but within the Navy itself.

After close examination from all points of view, and the fullest consideration of the views of its service advisers, Cabinet has reached the decision that the Fleet Air Arm will not be re-equipped when the present aircraft reach the end of their service life in 1963. Until then, however, and this point is emphasized, the carrier "Melbourne " and its aircraft have a useful operational role, and will continue in full service with the Royal Australian Navy.

In addition to the Fleet Air Arm, the operational fleet comprises -

Three Daring class ships, the last of which joined the fleet this year. These vessels, which were built in Australian shipyards, are considerably larger than the destroyer and are very efficient units.

Two Battle class destroyers.

Three fast anti-submarine frigates.

Training and survey ships and miscellaneous small craft.

Work is proceeding satisfactorily on the construction in Australian shipyards of four new type anti-submarine frigates, and two of these will come into service during the new programme period. This provides a modern and effective fleet, at ready availability. It is well suited to carry out the Navy's tasks, and maintain the fine tradition of the Royal Australian Navy. Two ships, of the destroyer-frigate type, will continue to serve in the Malayan area as part of the Commonwealth strategic reserve.

In addition to the ships in commission there is a reserve fleet of destroyers, frigates and other vessels. Those which can be brought into operational service in the event of war are maintained at varying degrees of readiness. Those whose useful service life has ended will be disposed of.

Cabinet has also considered possible new naval projects which might be commenced in this programme. Prominent among these is the proposal for the introduction of a submarine force in the Royal Australian Navy. Information placed before Cabinet indicated that the trend in major navies is towards an increased proportion of their fleets being underwater, whether for interdiction or anti-submarine tasks. Oddly enough, the submarine has apparently become a most effective anti-submarine weapon. Obviously the introduction of a major new arm of the service requires the fullest consideration, and considerably more information than is now available, before a decision can be reached, including the possibility of construction in Australia. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) has been directed to make further investigations, with a view to the submission of a detailed report covering type, costs and other relevant data.

At the same time, further inquiries will be made into other possible new requirements, which could include such projects as the surface-to-air guided weapon destroyer, the provision of guided weapons for existing escort vessels, modern minesweepers, &c. It can be seen that the final form of the naval programme cannot be determined at this stage. All the items mentioned are modern, but they are complex and extremely expensive. It follows, therefore, that before any decisions are reached the most searching examination must be made of every relevant aspect. These inquiries will be completed as soon as possible.

I come now to the Army. In the Government's previous defence review in 1957, the major emphasis was placed on the need for mobile and readily available forces, adequately provided with modern equipment. The Navy and the Air Force have always been able to re-act quickly in the event of emergency, but the Army, which has a more difficult problem of organization, has needed considerable time to complete its preparations. This time will not be available in present-day conditions. In the case of the Army, therefore, priority was given to building up the regular brigade group, in addition to the battalion in the strategic reserve in Malaya. It obviously takes time to raise and train a force of this type, but the objective has been substantially achieved. The strength of the brigade group has been raised from 2,300 in February, 1957, to its target strength of 4,100. It has been intensively trained, and has conducted brigade formation exercises on an extensive scale.

The experience of the past two and onehalf years has confirmed the soundness of the Government's policy, and has pointed to the strong desirability of proceeding further with the re-organization of the Army. The aim is two-fold; first, to im prove the capability of the regular forces to respond swiftly and effectively to the demands which might be placed upon them, and secondly, with the regular forces more readily available, the next logical step is to make the reserve forces more readily available. This matter has been under close examination by the Army authorities and the Government for some time, but it became apparent that further progress in the desired direction was frustrated by the heavy maintenance, training and administrative burdens imposed on the Army by its present tasks and form of organization. One of the major problems for the Army has been the increasing proportion of the vote required for maintenance, that is, for pay and allowances, clothing, food, accommodation, and training of the forces. Maintenance expenditure now absorbs 80 per cent, of the total Army vote. This has meant a corresponding reduction in the amount of the vote available for capital equipment, at a time when equipment has become more costly than ever before.

The inescapable conclusion has emerged that there must be a major re-organization of the Army to enable it to concentrate on the provision and equipment of the type of forces required by the strategic situation, and therefore some present Army commitments must be reduced. This is the unanimous view of the Chiefs of Staff, and it accords with defence thinking throughout the world to-day.

These considerations required a searching re-appraisal of the future of the residual national service training scheme, which, it will be recalled, was cut back in 1957 to a selective call-up of 12,000 trainees annually. The scheme was introduced at a time when global war appeared far more likely than it does to-day, and it has provided for the Army a pool of some 200,000 men, with basic national service training and with some years of more advanced training in the Citizen Military Forces. At the present time, however, national service greatly handicaps the development of a more effective Army because of the excessive demands it makes on both man-power and money, without adequate compensatory military advantages. Almost 3,000 Regular Army personnel are involved in the administration and training of national servicemen, and the scheme requires the maintenance of command and administrative organizations which are materially larger than would otherwise be necessary. The total cost of national service training is over £9,000,000 a year, which represents a subtraction of one-seventh of the present Army vote from higher priority military tasks, particularly the provision of modern equipment.

A further complication is that national servicemen complete their periods of training in Citizen Military Forces units. There is. therefore, in the Citizen Military Forces a mixture of troops, some of whom are volunteers for overseas service and others of whom are not liable for overseas service. Thus, if an emergency developed and it became necessary to mobilize, extensive rearrangement and cross-posting would be necessary within the Citizen Military Forces, and this at the very time when any delay might be dangerous.

The Government has accordingly decided, after a most careful review, that national service training should be suspended. There will be no further intake for full-time training, and the January, 1960, call-up will not proceed. However, part-time training of national service personnel now serving in Citizen Military Forces units will continue until 30th June, 1960 - the end of the present financial year. In reaching this decision, the Government has not been unmindful that national service training has had other than purely military advantages for the young men of this country, but it has also taken into account that only about one-fifth of those reaching the age of eighteen each year are trained under the present scheme. Of course, national service training can be viewed, not in isolation, but only as one of many elements in the overall defence plan.

I turn now to our proposals for the future organization of the Army, which are linked with, and in part depend on, the decision to discontinue national service training. In regard to the Regular Army, the Government has decided that -

The strength of the Brigade Group will be increased from its present level of just over 4,000 men to a new figure of 5,500.

A third battalion will be added to the existing two battalions, increasing the tactical flexibility of the brigade in operations.

All three battalions will be raised to full tropical establishment.

A logistic support element of 3,000 men required to support the brigade will be raised, instead of being organized as at present largely on a shadow basis in head-quarters and depots.

The three-battalion Brigade Group will be additional to the battalion group which we maintain in Malaya. This re-organization, together with the related equipment proposals referred to later, will be completed within the new programme period. Australia will then have in the Brigade Group a unit which, while relatively small, will be the most effective Army formation ever established in this country in peace-time - a thoroughly trained, readily available, wellequipped force.

I have already said that the present strategic situation requires the ready availability of both the initial and the follow-up forces. It is in the provision of follow-up forces which can become operational in a short period that the Citizen Military Forces have a most important part to play, and the Government has given close attention to building the C.M.F. into a strong and efficient force. The present strength of the C.M.F. is a little over 50,000, of whom some 30,000 are national servicemen completing their training, and some 20,000 are volunteers. The weaknesses of C.M.F. organized in this way have already been mentioned - namely, that, in the event of this Government or future governments requiring to use these units, re-arrangement and cross-posting of volunteer and national service elements would have to be undertaken.

The Government has decided that, with the suspension of national service training, the planned strength of the re-organized C.M.F. will initially be 30,000, all volunteers in the Australian Army tradition. This means an increase of 10,000 over the present volunteer strength of the C.M.F. The

C.M.F. will have an order-of-battle of six infantry brigade groups, with appropriate combat and logistic support forces, replacing the present framework of three C.M.F. divisions. The forces will be so organized, in keeping with current strategic priorities, that some C.M.F. brigade groups will be available in a very much shorter time than has previously been possible for C.M.F. forces. Others will provide the basis for any expansion of the Army which may be desirable or necessary, according to circumstances.

The Government has considered how the efficiency of the C.M.F. may be increased and how service may be made more attractive. It has been decided that C.M.F. training will be integrated with that of the regular units. C.M.F. periods of camp training will be carried out as far as possible with elements of the regular Brigade Group, and large-scale combined exercises will be held periodically. Integration will be aimed at to the maximum extent practicable in all such combined training, including the functions of command. The Government is deeply conscious of the fact that many of our most distinguished war-time leaders came from the C.M.F., and should come from them in the future. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) is now examining the practical arrangements for this proposal, the full details of which will take time lo finalize as it will mean re-arrangement of both A.R.A. and C.M.F. training programmes.

Two further measures will be taken to strengthen Army organization. A scheme is being worked out by the Army to provide a reserve of ex-regulars on a basis similar to that existing in the Navy and the Air Force. This will provide a gradually increasing pool of fully trained man-power available to supplement the regular forces in any emergency.

Training in the Australian Cadet Corps provides a foundation of military knowledge and discipline for a fair percentage of the youth of Australia and develops in the cadet desirable citizenship qualities. There is constant pressure from the schools to expand these units. It has been decided to increase the strength of the corps by 5,000 to a new total of 38,000, and the necessary provision for this will be made in the new programme.

The concept of more readily available Army forces requires the provision of an adequate scale of modern equipment, and an amount of almost £30,000,000 is provided for this purpose in the new programme. More than half of this - some £15,000,000- will come from local Australian production. Priority is given to equipment for the Brigade Group, which will complete its re-equipment with the Australianmade FN rifle by July, 1960, and with the 105-mm. howitzer about the same time. Considerable quantities of a wide range of modern weapons, ammunition, armoured vehicles, radio, radar and stores of all types, also, will be acquired during the programme period. These will include among new items a sustained-fire machine gun, and the 105-mm. pack howitzer, which breaks down into components for easy transport. Having in mind the type of terrain in which the Army may have to operate, the mobility of the Brigade Group is to be greatly improved by the provision of a substantially increased scale of light aircraft support - fixed and rotary wing - and amphibious and water craft, from the larger ocean-going landing ships medium type to smaller types of amphibians for maintenance and port operations.

Provision is also being made for the procurement of considerable quantities of modern types of equipment for the C.M.F., which will, for example, be substantially equipped with the FN rifle by the end of the programme period. Where wide issues of certain types of specialized new equipment cannot be made throughout the Army, a number of such weapons will be held at centres where both regular and C.M.F. units can train with them. This has proved to be a successful arrangement with the Centurion tanks located at Puckapunyal, which are used by A.R.A. and C.M.F. armoured units. This practice will be followed wherever practicable. Constant attention will be given to the possibility of improving the standard of equipment by the introduction of new weapons, including, for example, Army types of guided weapons, as they are developed and proven suitable to Australian requirements.

As I have already said, some 3,000 A.R.A. personnel are engaged in the administration and training of national servicemen. With the cessation of national service training, and the re-organization of the Army, there will be reductions in headquarters, administrative, maintenance and training units. As many as possible of the personnel affected by these changes will be absorbed in other postings. Undoubtedly there will be a proportion who, because of age and qualifications, cannot be suitably placed, and their accelerated movement out of the Army will be necessary. The precise number involved will not be known until re-organization has progressed further. At the same time, there will be a movement in, and training of, young men to build up the combat units. The general effect will be to improve the ratio of combat to support troops. The Minister for the Army has in hand the detailed working out of these arrangements, and further information will be made public as progress is achieved.

The strength of the A.R.A. as a result of the decisions now taken will be 21,000, with an order of battle comprising the infantry brigade group and its logistic support force, the battalion group serving in Malaya, a battalion of the Pacific Islands Regiment, and appropriate head-quarters and administrative staffs, maintenance and training units. The C.M.F. will have a strength of 30,000, organized into six infantry brigade groups with appropriate combat and logistic support elements.

A further proposal designed to increase the efficiency of the Army in modern conditions is currently under consideration. This relates to a re-organization of the operational units in the order of battle, both A.R.A. and C.M.F., on lines similar to the United States Army, which is based on the pentomic division, comprising five strong battle groups, instead of the divisionbrigadebattalion structure. Advantages of this new form of organization are stated to be greater flexibility, and therefore greater suitability to mobile war conditions; and the saving of man-power without loss of combat efficiency. The capacity to cooperate with other British Commonwealth forces would be retained. Re-organization of the Australian Army along these lines would be accomplished within the strength figures that I have already given.

The Government is convinced that the decisions on the Army which I have announced accord with the present strategic requirement, and will produce regular and C.M.F. forces well organized, trained and equipped, which will be able to play a prompt and effective part with our allies in any hostilities in which we may become involved.

The main operational elements of the Royal Australian Air Force are three bomber squadrons equipped with Australianbuilt Canberras; three fighter squadrons equipped with the Australian Avon Sabre; two maritime reconnaissance squadrons, two transport squadrons, and two control and reporting radar units, with a third to be installed this financial year. A force of one bomber and two fighter squadrons is stationed at Butterworth, as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in Malaya. The twelve C.130 transport aircraft approved in the last programme have all been delivered and are in service, and have contributed most significantly to the mobility of the Australian forces.

The selection of a suitable replacement for the Avon Sabre fighter is an important requirement in Air Force programme planning. In the last programme the Government deferred a decision on this matter, as a suitable type was not available. Since then the Government has approved the re-arming of the Sabre with the Sidewinder air-to-air missile, and this has greatly increased its capability in the day fighter role. The Sabre also continues to be a most effective aircraft in the ground attack role.

Nevertheless, the re-equipment of the front-line fighter squadrons with a suitable replacement of the Sabre remains an important objective. The R.A.A.F. and the Government have kept themselves fully informed on various new types of fighter aircraft in service or under development overseas, but the position has not yet been reached at which we feel we can make a final selection with confidence. The type selected must have a day and night allweather capability with supersonic speed, and in addition must meet our distinctive Australian requirements, arising primarily from our geographic position and the great distances in our area of interest. The problem of selection of a suitable replacement is therefore not simple, and the Government is not prepared to gamble on such a costly project. However, types of aircraft which might meet our needs are expected to become available in the programme period. Provision has been made, therefore, for a commencement in the latter part of the period of the acquisition of new fighter aircraft. The type to be selected will be determined by Cabinet at the time, on the basis of a full submission by our technical military advisers.

The question as to whether any new type of fighter is to be purchased abroad or manufactured in Australia will depend upon many considerations which are not yet clear, though we recognize the importance of maintaining an aircraft construction industry. No decision is being made until we have finally determined what type of aircraft we will adopt.

The maritime element of the R.A.A.F. at present consists of one squadron of P.2V.5 Neptune aircraft, and one of Lincolns. The Neptunes have proved to be an outstanding maritime aircraft and are particularly suited to a country like Australia, with its long coastline. The present Neptune squadron, based at Richmond, New South Wales, has a regular exchange of training exercises with Neptunes of the United States Navy. The Lincolns have now become obsolete, and it has been decided to re-equip the Lincoln squadron with 12 P.2V.7 Neptunes - an improved version of the P.2V.5. The P.2V.7's, fitted with the most modern anti-submarine equipment, together with the present P.2V.5's, which have recently been modified to the higher standards, will provide the R.A.A.F. with a modern and effective anti-submarine force. The new air craft will be located in Townsville, the north Queensland base.

Since our earlier decision in principle to introduce the first R.A.A.F. surfacetoair guided weapons unit, investigations have been proceeding of selection of the most suitable type, and a strong technical mission visited the United States and the United Kingdom earlier this year. The Government has decided to purchase the British Bloodhound Mark I. surface-to-air guided weapons system, including missiles, launchers, associated equipment and spares. The Bloodhound is a semi-active homing system which has been accepted by the Royal Air Force. Although complex, it is capable of air transport in R.A.A.F. Hercules aircraft. Aus tralia has been associated with the development of this weapon at Woomera. Most satisfactory arrangements have been made with the United Kingdom authorities for the participation of R.A.A.F. personnel in practice firings of this weapon, both in the United Kingdom and at Woomera.

The purchase of eight helicopters, to meet an Air Force requirement for search and rescue, and Army requirements for light liaison duties and casualty evacuation, has been approved. Provision is also made for commencement in the programme period of construction of an additional air base in the Darwin area.

I now come to the Citizen Air Force, at present comprising five squadrons. The technical complexity of modern aircraft requires full-time and specialized training of pilots. The accepted view to-day is that it is not possible for pilots to become combat-worthy in modern types of aircraft by intermittent, part-time training. The Government has reluctantly accepted the logic of this view, so far as flying duties are concerned. But the personnel of the C.A.F. are extremely capable and experienced in many other tasks in the R.A.A.F. It has been decided, therefore, that the five Citizen Air Force squadrons will be converted to a non-flying basis, and that their personnel will in future be trained in those R.A.A.F. functions which they could usefully perform in time of emergency.

The Permanent Air Force element of these squadrons, some 400 men, comprising the greater part of their strength, will be used to form a fourth permanent fighter squadron. This will be equipped initially with Vampires, later re-arming with Sabres. The formation of this extra squadron in Australia will enable rotational replacement of personnel in the two fighter squadrons stationed in Malaya.

An active defence research and development programme will be continued. The major part of this effort will be on guided missiles in conjunction with the United Kingdom. We are carrying out an intensive series of trials of a variety of weapons, including the Black Knight ballistic missile, several of which have been fired with great success, and the longer-range Blue Streak for which major facilities are being prepared in the Woomera area and up as far as Talgarno on the north-west coast. Several important devices to meet the particular needs of the Australian Services are also under development.

In respect of defence production, the F.N. rifle programme for Australia and New Zealand is to schedule. A substantial order for the Australian-developed Malkara anti-tank weapon has been placed by the United Kingdom for the British Army. Numbers of the highly successful Jindivik target aircraft, also developed in Australia, have been sold overseas, with the prospect of further orders. St. Mary's factory is in production, and provides, as intended, a war-time capacity such as we have never had. Government factories have been modernized and equipped to meet the services' requirements, and this work is continuing as new weapons are developed.

A series of advisory committees, comprising leading Australian industrialists, meet regularly to advise the Ministers for Defence and Supply on industrial mobilization matters, and to ensure that the Government is kept apprised of those aspects of industrial expansion which may well vitally serve defence needs in the event of war. In this respect, I would like to make special mention of the valuable work being done by the chairman of the Joint War Production Committee, Mr. Ian McLennan, and many other Australian leaders of industry, who, in an honorary capacity, give us the benefit of their wide experience.

As for the financial aspects of the programme, I have already indicated that the Navy programme has not been finally determined, pending further investigation into and consideration of possible new projects. A precise figure of the cost of the new defence programme which I have outlined cannot therefore be given at this stage. Honorable members will remember that the estimates recently passed by this Parliament provided £192,800,000 for the current financial year. That figure may be exceeded in subsequent years of the new programme period, but this will depend on decisions yet to be taken. The final figure, of course, will be indicated in the budget preceding each programme year.

I come now to defence administration. It will be recalled that the Prime Minister announced last year some important changes in defence organization. Briefly, the Minister and Department of Defence, who have always had the functions of policy formulation and co-ordination, were given a clearly defined authority over the defence group of departments - Navy, Army, Air and Supply - to see that defence policies are effectively carried out. In addition, greater economy and efficiency in the services were to be achieved, through integration of activities and the development of common services, to the greatest practicable extent.


Mr Cope - This sounds like the Morshead report.


Mr TOWNLEY - This came from the Morshead report. This arrangement is working extremely well in practice, and a smoother and more efficient administration has resulted. For example, inspection services have been closely co-ordinated, resulting in substantial economies in man-power, and similar action will shortly be taken in respect of design functions. Investigations are well under way into the practicability of integration of a wide range of other service activities. Furthermore, a major study on the possible application of electronic data processing to service stores, personnel, finance and other functions, is now nearing completion. This is all forward thinking, based on the belief that in the future all arms of the services will, and indeed must, progressively become more closely knit.

In conclusion, let me say that the decisions I have announced have been reached by Cabinet after a most comprehensive and searching examination of all the issues involved. Cabinet takes into account all the wide range of complex considerations in the formulation of defence policy - military and strategic, external affairs, financial and economic. Naturally much of the information is highly confidential. We have the benefit of advice from our own advisers in these various fields - all highly expert. Scientific and technological developments in weapons and methods of warfare are increasingly important in these days. These must also be closely scrutinized, in conjunction with our scientific advisers. In addition, due to the exceptionally close relations developed with our

Commonwealth partners and our allies in Seato and Anzus, we enjoy the great advantage of completely frank exchanges of views with them on mutual problems and plans. This takes place regularly at all levels - military, official and ministerial. During the last few months, for example, we have had the opportunity of talks, during their visits to Australia, with General Festing, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Air Marshal Pike, the Chief of the Air Staff, designate, of the Royal Air Force, Admiral Felt, the United States CommanderinChief, Pacific, and Mr. McElroy, the United States Secretary of Defence.

A study of the new proposals shows that the Government has placed emphasis on two major points: First, to have our forces, regular and citizen, more readily available than they have been in the past; and secondly, to provide them with modern equipment, in greater quantity and more varied type. This review has involved some important changes, but they are all in conformity with the policy that has been followed during the past two and a half years. In fact, the further changes now announced are a logical development of that policy, which we are convinced is the right one for Australia in present strategic circumstances.

Defence programming and planning cannot be static. Changes are inevitable as a result of changing world conditions, and the almost bewildering rapidity with which new weapons and techniques are now developed. The Government will keep the defence programme under constant review. Progress in the achievement of present objectives will be closely watched. Flexibility will be maintained, and any adjustments necessary will be made, if these are required in the national interest.

I lay on the table the following paper: -

Defence Review - Ministerial Statement, and move -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.







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