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Coalition defence export guidelines will improve on Labor's failed policy-Durack



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T H E S E N A T E

SENATOR PETER DURACK, QC Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Defence

Co a l it io n d e f e n c e e x p o r t g u id e l in e s w ill im pr o v e o n La b o r 's f a il e d po l ic y - D u r a c k .

Labor's inaction on defence export guidelines is undermining support for a strong Australian defence industry.

The Coalition has already called for action in developing stronger guidelines which address the need to stop arms transfers to countries which violate human rights or undermine their regional security.

In August this year I said that a Coalition Government will take specific steps to improve defence export guidelines.

First, we will require Defence to report annually to Parliament with data on defence exports.

This will create a greater level of transparency in Australian exports, and addresses a major issue in the United Nations report on arms transfers.

Second, we will improve Department of Foreign Affairs access to defence export applications. Unlike the current system, this will add further safeguards to ensure that equipment is not exported to unacceptable destinations.

Third, we will clarify the guidelines, so that industry has a clearer understanding of the conditions they must fulfil in order to export defence equipment.

Labor has not satisfactorily addressed these issues.

Senator Ray announced revised guidelines in May this year as part of the Force Structure Review.

But almost six months later these new guidelines have not yet been published.

The Government must look again at defence export guidelines.

Two goals have to be satisfied. First we must ensure that there are adequate controls over exports. Second, and equally important, defence industry must be allowed to operate within secure and understandable guidelines.

(ends) 15 October 1991 (48) More Information: Peter Jennings (06) 277 3725

Telephone: 09/221 1277 06/277 3725. Facsimile: 09/221 3350 06/277 3169