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New Defence White Paper.

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Friday, 22 February 2008 010/2008


The Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today announced that he has delivered on a key election promise by commissioning a new Defence White Paper. He also announced the structure of the White Paper along with the appointment of the personnel who will be responsible for the development and delivery of this key strategic document.

During the announcement at the Australian Defence Force Academy this morning, Mr Fitzgibbon commented on the importance of the development of the White Paper for Australia’s future defence and security.

“The White Paper is a vital planning document that will form the foundation of our future Defence capabilities. We owe it to the Australian people to get this planning right. The White Paper will help the government make fully-informed and cost-effective decisions about the military capabilities we need to defend

Australia and to promote our interests,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.

“The White Paper process will result in comprehensive policy guidance across the entire Defence portfolio, delivering on the Labor Government’s election undertaking to re-examine Australia’s strategic environment. It will align defence strategic guidance, force structure and capability priorities, and resource strategies, by taking a comprehensive view of the Defence enterprise.”

Mr Fitzgibbon has also commissioned a series of accompanying reviews (Companion Reviews) to be conducted across a range of Defence areas to underpin the new White Paper. These critical studies will be a key input to developing Defence business and budget priorities out to 2030.

“Production of the White Paper will be led by Defence and I have accepted the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Force and Secretary of Defence, that Mr Michael Pezzullo, currently a Deputy Secretary within the Department, assume the role of principal author of the White Paper from 25 February 2008,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.

“I have also appointed a Ministerial Advisory Panel to provide me with external advice on key issues associated with the White Paper, and to work with Mr Pezzullo. The Panel, comprising three leading Australian strategists, Professor Ross Babbage, Major General Peter Abigail (Retd), and Dr Mark

Thomson, will bring valuable experience to the White Paper process.”

Mr Fitzgibbon foreshadowed that there will be opportunities for community participation in the White Paper process.

“The development of the White Paper will include a comprehensive community consultation process to encourage community interest in Defence issues, and incorporate those views into the policy making process,” he said.

“I will be announcing the membership of the community consultative panel and details of the community consultation process in the near future.”

This media release and biographies of Mr Pezzullo, Dr Babbage, Major General Abigail, and Dr Thomson are available at:

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664