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Defence and foreign affairs developments

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Senator The Hon. V. C. GAIR

Leader Democratic Labor Party Phones: Canberra, 705 Ext. 523 Brisbane, 310101 Ext. 43G


Recent statements on Defence and Foreign Affairs by both the Prime (Ministe r

and the Minister for Defence (i^ir. Fai.rhall) point to the need for a more

realistic approach to this question.

Mr. Fairha? 1' s description and warning of the growing influence of Russia

in the Indian Ocean area is something the D.L.P. warned about in its Federal

Conference in August, 1968.

While it is. pleasing to see ivlr. Fairhail' s belated recognition of this

problem, it is dis^.ppointing to note his failure to propose suitable and

strategic measures to meet this growing Russial influence.

What is required is a co-ordinated plan of response founded on four basic

guide lines :

Retention and possible expansion of National Service Training so

that our Army matches our requirements;

Development of adequate Naval power;

Encouragement of domestic manufacture of aircraft so that we are not

dependent on overseas supplies of parts and components;

De velopment of an Australian Nuclear capacity so that we can produce

our own nuclear deterrent should future events demand it.

When the Government accepts and recognises this four point framework

for its current de'cnce programme, it will be moving in the right direction..


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iowever, what is first required is the completion of the long overdue

Strategic Defence Review. The existing piecemeal and "play it by ear"

approach is disastrous/

We saw the disastrous and humiliating consequences of this approach at

the recent Five Power Conference in Canberra, when Mr. Gorton successfully

torpedoed the Conference by his statement on Malaysia and his studied

exhibition of disinterest. The result was twofold : failure to reach any

worthwhile agreement on future plans, and the possible exclusion of

Australia from the Strategic Conference proposed by Malaysia.

Added to these unfortunate events has been the apparent return by Mr.

Gorton to his "Fortress Australia" approach.

Talk of enemy forces landing on mangrove swamps in Australia is

undoubtedly associated with such an attitude.

One wonders whether Mr. Gorton ever really rejected this approach

or whether he only put on a public display of delude us.

10th July , 1969

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for its c.!rrent de"cnce programme, it will be moving in th. r:, ^,: • .: i•