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NT Labor ignorant and ill-informed on defence



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M E D I A R E L E A S E3 ALEXANDER DOWNER MEMBER FOR MAYO SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

NT LABOR IGNORANT AND ILL-INFORMED ON DEFENCE

"A Coalition Government will strengthen the Defence Force presence in the North", the Shadow Minister for Defence Alexander Downer said today.

Mr Downer was commenting on a statement by the Northern Territory Labor Spokesman on Industry, Mr Ken Parish, who said that the Coalition 'did not support [the] relocation of [a] battalion to Darwin'.

"Mr Parish's statement is ignorant and ill-informed."

"It is ignorant because Mr Parish does not know the difference between a battalion and a brigade.

"The current plans are to relocate a brigade group to the North by the end of the decade, not just a battalion as Mr Parish claims.

"The statement is ill-informed because it claims that the Coalition opposes this move.

"This is not so, the Coalition is committed to developing a strong Defence presence in the North.

"The relocation of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment has always had our support.

"However, we will not unquestioningly rubber-stamp all of Labor's defence proposals. Each aspect of the Defence build-up needs separate study. This is currently being done by the Parliamentary Public Works Committee.

"The point is not simply to mass troops and equipment in the North, but to make sure that the Defence presence is sensibly structured and relevant to our security needs.

"The Coalition's Defence Policy statement, which will be released shortly, will detail a number of initiatives to add to Northern Defence.

"These initiatives will improve and build on current relocation proposals, and also be of substantial economic benefit to the Northern Territory."

(ends) 14 August 1992 (29) More Information: Peter Jennings (06) 277 4145

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Parliament House, Canberra, A C T 2600 Telephone (06) 111 4145 Facsimile (06) 277 2143 After Hours Telephone: (08) 339 5152 or (06) 286 1504

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