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Reith's Defence acquisition plans now a mystery to all.



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Stephen Martin - Reith's Defence Acquisition Plans Now A Mystery To All http://www.alp.org.au/media/0401/smmsdap040401.html Friday, 06 April 2001

Reith's Defence Acquisition Plans Now A Mystery To All Stephen Martin - Shadow Minister for Defence

Media Statement - 4 April 2001

Peter Reith's political gaffe yesterday in Question Time and subsequent statement this morning has thrown into doubt hundreds of current and future defence acquisition projects.

"Yesterday in his attempt to dig himself out of his own political embarrassment on the issue of submarines, Mr Reith implied the Government would only be pursuing defence acquisitions spelled out in the White Paper," Dr Martin said.

"The problem is that there are literally hundreds of major defence acquisition projects that are not specifically catalogued in the Government's White Paper that Minister Reith has now compromised as a result of his panic last night.

"A spokesman for the Minister has been reported as going even further by saying that all the current projects listed on the Defence Acquisition Organisation's website were 'archival' and null and void.

"The Defence 2000 White Paper provides the overriding defence strategy and broad guidelines for defence acquisitions, but the Government has, until last night, also provided a catalogue of specific future defence acquisition projects referred to as the 'Pink Book'.

"Because of Mr Reith's political incompetence, the Defence Organisation and Defence industry have now been left without this specific guidance or certainty.

"If Mr Reith stands by his previous statements that the Government has made decisions on all the acquisition projects for the next ten years, he must release the updated catalogue of current and future defence acquisition projects without delay.

"Until he does so, he will simply prolong the inertia in Defence acquisitions that the Government has caused for the last two years, Dr Martin said.

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Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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