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Ray and Bilney should have more important things to do



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ALEXANDER DOWNER MEMBER FOR MAYO SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

RAY AND SIDNEY SHOULD HAVE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO D O .

"It is a worrying thought that Ministers Ray and Bilney have nothing better to do with their time than issue two-page press releases attacking me", said Shadow Minister for Defence Alexander Downer.

"A personal attack of this sort after I have been Shadow Minister for only a week shows that Ray and Bilney are clearly worried about the forthcoming Opposition statement on defence policy.

"They should be worried too. Defence policy has stalled under Labor, and has been drifting ever since the May 1991 Force

Structure Review turned out to be nothing more than a cost

cutting exercise.

"Labor has weakened our combat forces by cutting Regular Army infantry battalions from four to six. Labor has constantly eroded Defence proficiency by cutting exercise and training opportunities.

"Defence industry policy has simply ground to a halt, with the only development in the last year been the issuing of a new set of export guidelines even more unworkable than the guidelines they replace.

"Commercialisation continues to go nowhere, with the general industry view being that a golden opportunity is being lost to free up resources in defence which could be better spent on combat forces.

"Given all these failures it is remarkable that Ray and Bilney have nothing better to do than grade my press releases.

"The attention is gratifying. But it would be better for the country and the Defence Force, if Ray and Bilney stopped the vaudeville act and worked instead on trying to improve their failed defence policy.

(ends) May 11 1992 (5)

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600 Telephone (06) 277 4145. Facsimile (06) 277 2143. After Hours Telephone: (08) 339 5152 or (06) 286 1504