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Cosgrove's promotion to CDF: a tough job ahead.

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Senator Vicki Bourne Australian Democrats Spokesperson on Defence and Foreign Affairs

28 May 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/270

Cosgrove's promotion to CDF: a tough job ahead The Australian Democrats have welcomed the announcement that Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove is to be appointed Chief of the Defence Force.

"Lieutenant-General Cosgrove was always the clear favourite for the job. As commander of the Australian operations in East Timor, he earned the respect and admiration of the Australian public. The Democrats wholeheartedly congratulate him on this appointment and wish him well," said Australian Democrats spokesperson for Defence, Senator Vicki Bourne.

"Peter Cosgrove will need to call on all his skills in his new role as CDF. He is inheriting a Defence Force that is facing some big challenges and will have some significant obstacles to overcome," said Senator Bourne.

"Leaving aside the enormous administrative challenges, a first priority must be to restore the public's confidence that the Defence Forces are able to operate without political interference from government after the revelations of the Children Overboard affair.

"Peter Cosgrove is a man of integrity and I believe he has the ability to restore public faith in the independence of the CDF," said Senator Bourne.

"The new top brass must also continue to address the outstanding issues of harassment and military discipline uncovered in the Burchett Inquiry and further exemplified by the HMAS Arunta incident earlier in the year.

"The Defence Forces are struggling to meet their recruitment quotas and addressing these sorts of military discipline problems will continue to be a key," Senator Bourne said.

"Most of all, the new CDF will need to be open to new ideas and new thinking. Australia's defence environment is rapidly changing and our military leaders cannot be wedded to ideas of the past.

"Peter Cosgrove is a man with the capability to meet these challenges and we wish him well," Senator Bourne concluded.

For further information: Senator Vicki Bourne 0418 861 098 Cameron Andrews 0414 366 383