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Gorton defence statement

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Senator The Hon. V. C. GAIR

Leader Democratic Labor Party Phones: Canberra, 705 Ext. 523

Brisbane, 310101 Ext. 436

; 'T'he concept of Fortress Australia held by the Gorton Government and to which the A.L.P. is still wedded has been diluted but no more.

At least even dilation is something.

it is grossly cynical of the Gorton Government to pretend that Fortress Australia was never its policy, • only that of the A.L.P.

"Among the political parties the D.L.P., has been the only one which demanded the abandonment of the Fortress Australia policy, and in so far as it has been qualified the D.L.P. must receive the credit.

:'There is nothing announced tonight which could not ha v e been announced at least a year ago.

'As a matter of fact, the personnel strength to be retained in Malaya-Singapore is the present strength of the forces now -stationed there.

"The real implications of the statement can only be assessed as part of a national defence program, including Indian Ocean defence, and despite the lapse of time that has not been forthcoming.

"In view of the extraordinarily long period of gestation of his statement it is a case of the mountain that brought forth th mouse.

"it is against such a background that the statement is being studied by my Party."

„A, Bi

25th February, 1969 •