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Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Page: 8081

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (12:44): My question relates to the very brief contribution I made in the second reading debate. I understand the basis for this piece of legislation, and I have said that I support it, but to what extent does the minister have a discretion or an ability to seek advice separately?

At the moment, the Chief of Defence may give the view of defence as a whole, but there may be some nuanced and subtle differences between the position of the Chief of Navy, the Chief of Air Force and the Chief of Army. That is where I am at. While I am on my feet, what progress is being made with respect to the whole issue of contestability that seems to underpin the basis of the First Principles Review and the importance of that, because I think that is very healthy in terms of the culture of defence. That is not being critical of the culture of the defence. I just think it is very healthy for an organisation like Defence to have that ethos of contestability running through it.