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Mr. Fairhall's retirement



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PRESS RELEASE

THE SENATE

Senator The Hon. V. C. GAIR

Leader Democratic Labor Patty Pt ones: Canberra, 1 05 Ext. 523 Brisbane, 310101 EKt, 436

MR FAI,.RHALL I S RETIREMENT

The decision of the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) to retire from politics will come as no suprise. While health has been advanced as the reason, it is obvious that this is only a gesture of loyalty by the Minister to his Party on the eve of a General Election.

The real reason obviously is that Mr Fairhall, a man of great political integrity and balance, cannot stand by and see Australia's defences denuded or accept the change of policy announced by Mr Freeth in relation to the Soviet Union, which will have the effect of converting the Indian

Ocean into a Russian lake and South East Asia into a sphere of Russian influence. This announcement, following the reduction in the defence vote in the Budget, has clearly forced Mr Fairhall to make a stand,

He sees Australian defence and foreign policy lying virtually in ruins and is not prepared to sit among them.

The dramatic development of the last few hours places an increased responsibility on the D.L.P. which, alone of all parties, has an acceptable and positive defence policy to meet the needs of the nation.

CANBERRA.

19th August, 1969.