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Regional defence review: further evidence of government adhocery



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M edia R elease J i m Carlton SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE REGIONAL DEFENCE REVIEW; FURTHER EVIDENCE OF GOVERNMENT ADHOCERY

The Hawke Government's belated instruction to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to review Australia's security policy on South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific highlights the Government's failure to establish a continuing, integrated strategic planning process for

national security.

Given the complete lack of interest in the surrounding regions by the former Foreign Minister, Mr Hayden, Defence attempted to fill the vacuum with the 1987 Defence White Paper. - ­

When the shortcomings of the White Paper as regards regional policy became clear following the Fijian coup and other South Pacific developments Defence Minister Beazley again tried to fill the gap with a series of ad hoc pronouncements.

' None of these was integrated with foreign policy or force structure planning for the Australian Defence Force.

Now, stunned by press accusations that Defence has been running regional foreign policy the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has got itself into the act with this new review.

What is lacking is a coherent framework of national security decision-making on a continuous basis, integrating foreign policy, defence, trade and economic considerations, and requiring a commitment on the part of the key Ministers to the formulation and implementation of an agreed strategy.

This latest review might produce some good analysis, but how will the Government handle the region in the meantime?

Also, how will it proceed when the Review's conclusions have become stale?

Regional policy has been a significant area of failure for the Hawke Government and there is no reason to believe that it has learnt any lessons from this failure.

1 August 1989 9/89

Contact: Simon Brooks (062) 77 4152 COMMONWEALTH [

PARLIAMENTARY LIDRARL i MICAH