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Another chaotic Rudd decision for defence

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Media Release

Senator the Hon David Johnston Shadow Minister for Defence

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Another chaotic Rudd decision for defence

The Prime Minister’s half-baked plan to move the entire naval fleet from Garden Island to Brisbane shows that once again Labor is making up policy on the run.

Shadow Defence Minister David Johnston said Labor’s announcement today completely reverses a position taken in the 2013 Defence White Paper, released by the Government just three months ago.

“The White Paper made it very clear that a decision had been made not to proceed with the Force Posture Review’s recommendation about the relocation because it was impractical and prohibitively expensive,” Senator Johnston said.

“Kevin Rudd is obviously just making up Defence policy as he goes along with an unfunded, off into the never-never announcement that contradicts Labor’s recently published Defence White Paper.”

“And what does his Defence Minister say about this backflip? We don’t know because he is missing in action campaigning for his Labor successor in Western Australia.”

“His Finance Minister, however, described today’s announcement as a ‘considered, thorough, proper process’ but if that’s the case, where does that leave the 2013 Defence White Paper’s position on this? Another white elephant for Defence?”

“It is another policy made on the run that is more about winning marginal seats in Queensland rather than a considered, strategic plan in Australia’s national security interest.”

“Labor have a record of treating the Defence portfolio as their own political plaything and have ripped $30 billion out of the Defence budget since 2009,” Senator Johnston said.

“Under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s leadership we have seen the amount spent on Defence fall to 1.5 per cent in 2012-13, the lowest share of GDP spent on Defence not seen since 1938.”

“Labor have treated the Defence budget as a convenient ATM in an attempt to fix their poor economic management and have proven they can’t be trusted when it comes to matters of national security.”

Media Contact: Rebecca Horton, 0427 449 120