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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2907

Senator SIM (Western Australia) - I support the motion that has been moved by Senator Primmer. I join with him in offering the appreciation of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence to Colonel Warr our special adviser, and to the Senate secretariat, Mr Hocking and Mr Livermore who worked so well during the course of this important inquiry. I would also like to join Senator Primmer in expressing the appreciation of myself and, I am sure, of the other members of the Committee to the former Chairman, Senator Drury, under whose chairmanship the Committee, in discussing a sensitive political area, worked with the greatest of goodwill and co-operation and never once allowed political considerations to cloud its judgments. I would like also to pay tribute to Senator Primmer who took over at a late stage of the inquiry. Under his chairmanship the Committee continued to meet in the spirit of goodwill and co-operation that had characterised its considerations of this important subject.

I speak only in a very limited way to the report but I wish to mention two or three matters. I join with Senator Primmer in hoping that this report will receive close examination in the Senate, in the Parliament, in academic circles and in the armed forces because I believe it is deserving of that consideration. I am particularly concerned about our national attitude towards defence. I would draw the Senate's attention to the Committee's views regarding Australia's overall defence requirements. I particularly draw attention to the crucial issue of appreciating the long lead times required to develop the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and hence the need to maintain a viable force irrespective of short term strategic prospects. For example it is 5 to 10 years from the time the decision is made to order any large item of equipment before delivery. It takes 8 to 10 years to train a company commander and 7 years to train an infantry sergeant. These are just indications of the lead time that is required. The Committee is concerned about this aspect because threats have a habit of arising quickly and developing before the -

Senator Bishop - I would like, without trying to interfere with Senator Sim 's remarks -

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