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Statement by the Minister for Defence



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796.

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

M I N I S T E R F O R D E F E N C E

P A R L I A M E N T H O U S E

C A N B E R R A A . C . T . 2600

9 September, 1975.

M E D I A . R E L E A S E

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR DEFENCE, MR, BILL MORRISON

There has been some press comment in the past two days over the use of RAAF aircraft to carry Services football teams. ' '

Although press reports quoted the Opposition's

Spokesman on Defence, the Hon. J. Killen, as seeking an explanation of this matter from me, he has not sought such

an explanation, either privately or in the House.

However, I am happy to provide the following

facts in response to his reported curiosity. · , ·

Members of the Joint Services Australian Rules

teams representing South Australia and Victoria were carried

to Sydney by RAAF Hercules on September 2nd.

The aircraft flew from Edinburgh, S .A . to

Laverton, Victoria, to Richmond, N.S.W·.

The teams returned by Hercules aircraft to

Laverton on September 5th and West Beach on September 6th. '

I was not aware of the details of the flights at

the time, and there is absolutely no reason why I should have

been.

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Sport is an integral part of service life, and all

three services promote sporting events between units for purposes of morale and physical fitness.

Where official inter-service or combined services sporting events are staged, the movement of teams by air is

individually considered on each occasion. Usually, it is possible to make space available on aircraft engaged in

routine tasks, such as training flights or the transport

of supplies.

Occasionally, space is not available. Where large

numbers are involved, and the sporting function is properly sponsored and in the interests of service fitness and morale,

the HQ, Operational Command, HAAF, may task'an aircraft specifically for the purpose. Such flights are flown from

total approved flying hours for the financial year and therefore do not add to overall defence costs.

Originally the teams were to be transported on two scheduled RAAF Hercules flights, but one of these was '

cancelled to meet a more urgent requirement for freight

to PNG, the other aircraft did not transit through Laverton because of service requirements. Subsequently, HQ, Operational Command, RAAF, authorised a specific '

Hercules flight on September 2nd to transport the South

Australian ana Victorian players to Sydney.‘ They · ' retqrned on routine flights which were meeting Army ·

requirements. .

' Had the Hercules not been made available, the

teams from South Australia and Victoria would not have been able

to compete in the interstate football carnival. ■ ■

■ I am not suggesting that the Honourable Member

for Moreton's sudden attack of curiosity is motivated by sour

grapes. I will only point out that the Queensland team at this carnvial was defeated not only by NSW but also by SA

and Victoria. .

2. .

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More seriously, I consider it most regrettable

that, the intellectual powers of the Honourable Member are being concentrated on such flummery as flying footballers,

instead of contributing to the national debate on defence.

I understand the Opposition Spokesman on Defence is having some difficulty in producing a defence policy which satisfies his Leader, so it may be that he is not empowered

to speak on any subject more serious. · ■ .

72 6328 Enquiries: Bill Pinwill