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Labor's better plan for Defence



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Media Release Hon Arch Bevis MP Shadow Minister for Defence 14 September 1998

LABOR’S BETTER PLAN FOR DEFENCE

Releasing Labor's plan for Defence at the National Press Club today, Shadow Minister for Defence Arch Bevis said there was a very clear choice on defence issues at this election.

"A choice between a Beazley Labor Government that offers leadership, direction and restoration of morale or a Coalition which has substituted a patchwork of change for policy leadership, driven by financial advisers with no understanding of strategic issues.

"A choice between Labor - which believes that Defence is not a business and a Coalition which believes it is just like any other business. The choice could not be starker, nor more important," Mr Bevis said.

"Labor’s plan redefines national security in a more comprehensive way that acknowledges the range of factors that combine to impact on our security. Factors such as illegal drug importation, money laundering, illegal migration and the susceptibility of critical civil infrastructure such as water, power and communications networks.

"In our first year we will commission a strategic review, setting out the security assessment of Australia's place in the world. This document will provide guidance for Government, Defence and industry, also contributing to regional transparency and confidence.

"Labor's plan will maintain the current real value of Defence spending, plus an extra $30m for Defence personnel and their families to improve their quality of life.

"Labor recognises the importance of industry to Australia's defence, particularly in promoting self­ reliance. Labor’s plan for defence industry offers a clear choice with the creation of a new Defence Industry Procurement Board helping to build a partnership between government and industry in

support of national security.

"Labor's plan improves Defence capability by restoring the Ready Reserve Scheme and protecting the civilian interests of part-time troops. We will reinvigorate the Australia - New Zealand alliance with a plan to establish a fully integrated ANZAC battalion.

"Labor is the party that promises a continuing tradition of leadership and direction for our Defence Forces. Unlike the Howard Government where the Defence Minister has decided to go back to the farm leaving behind Bronwyn Bishop and a mess.

"Most members of the ADF don't have that choice. They have to bear the pain the Howard Government has inflicted on them, " Mr Bevis said.

For more information contact: John Crawford 07 3356 1888 0419 685789 The policy is available on the ALP Homepage www.alp.org.au