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Tired Howard Government defence policy nothing new.



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THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BRAND

5 October 2004

TIRED HOWARD GOVERNMENT DEFENCE POLICY NOTHING NEW

Today's Defence policy launch shows that the Howard Government has completely run out of ideas in Defence.

The Howard Government's Defence policy is based on out-dated strategic thinking that still hasn't been revised in the three years since the horrific terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

Although the Government's policy document is 47 pages long, it doesn't contain a single new initiative for Defence.

The Howard Government's plans contain no new capabilities for Defence, despite the increased threat of terrorism against Australia and in our region.

This means that the Howard Government is failing to better protect Australia's national security.

All the Government has done is to cynically re-announce a series of measures that it had already announced over the last 12 months.

This is typical of the Howard Government's record of playing politics with Defence, where it re-announces existing programs again and again to try and win votes.

Defence and the Australian community are tired of this.

In contrast to the Howard Government's tired old policies, Labor has a positive plan for Defence that will better protect Australia's national security.

A Labor Government will commission a new Defence White Paper to account for the massive change in Australia's strategic environment since September 2001.

This will ensure that the ADF has the equipment that it really needs to combat the threat of terrorism in our region.

A Labor Government will also increase the size of the Army by creating an extra light infantry battalion.

This will enable the Army to overcome personnel shortages which mean that it still can't meet the requirements of the 2000 White Paper to deploy troops on simultaneous operations.

A Labor Government will also provide new entitlements for our hard-working Defence personnel, by enhancing conditions of service for non-custodial parents in the ADF and for personnel based in remote areas.

Through these and other measures, a Labor Government will ensure that Defence has the personnel, equipment and skills that it needs to secure Australia's national interests.

For further details contact: Michael Boyle 0408 666 178 Mathew Stephenson 0408 577 617