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Labor's antique defence policy in need of review



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MEDIA RELEASE 0». A U ST R A L IA ,.

THE SENATE

Joint Media Release

Senator Jocelyn Newman, Shadow Minister for D efence Science and Personnel Bill Taylor, MP, Acting Shadow Minister for D efence.

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Labor's antique defence policy in need of review

Gordon Bilney's glib attack on the Opposition's Defence Review does not hide the fact that Labor's antique defence policy is overdue for major updating.

Unlike the Government which cannot be bothered to revise its 1987 Defence White paper, the Coalition is committed to producing a comprehensive, detailed and thoroughly researched Defence Policy statement.

Almost nothing of Labor's White Paper remains valid in policy terms. The strategic section reads like ancient history, funding promises have not been realised, promised equipment has never been bought, forces which were supposed to be beefed up have been disbanded.

This is the reality of the Government's Defence Policy in 1992. And Labor still refuses to review the White Paper.

By contrast the Coalition has set about a systematic and detailed review of every aspect of Defence policy.

The Defence Policy Review Team has considered a number of detailed position papers on defence issues.

It is absurd that Mr Bilney should criticise the Opposition for doing the sort of detailed defence research which the Government itself cannot be bothered to do. Labor's 1991 Force Structure Review was nothing more than an uncosted wish-list.

As it did with the Fightback document - which Labor also criticised for 'delays' - the Coalition will release the defence policy paper at a time of its own choosing.

Rather than issuing facile press releases, Mr Bilney would do better to concern himself with dragging Labor's defence policy into the 1990s.

(ends) 23 January 1992 More Information: Senator Newman's Office; Jeannie Cameron (06) 277 3660 Mr Taylor's Office (076) 32 4144; (076) 35 3118 (a.h.)

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