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Tuesday, 8 December 1992
Page: 4326


Senator NEWMAN —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  That the Senate—

  (a)notes:

    (i)the embarrassing admission by the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel (Mr Bilney) on 7 December 1992 that the Government has failed dismally to attract young Australians to the Ready Reserve Scheme, and

    (ii)that this shortfall has occurred despite widespread youth unemployment and a $1 million advertising campaign;

  (b)recalls that it was only 6 weeks ago that the Minister for Defence (Senator Ray) was lauding the Ready Reserve as an `outstanding success';

  (c)notes that, as long ago as October 1991, Senator Newman said that the Ready Reserve proposal gave all the signs of a `gung-ho' proposal developed without attention to critically important detail and that its proposed implementation meant that Australia's vital defence needs had been jettisoned;

  (d)recalls that Senator Ray, when questioned at an Estimates Committee hearing in 1991, acknowledged that if the Ready Reserve failed at a later stage the Government would reverse its decision;

  (e)notes that:

    (i)the Coalition's defence policy says that the case against the Ready Reserve Scheme is overwhelming and the whole effect of the scheme has been to weaken combat capability at a great financial cost, and

    (ii)the Coalition will therefore cancel the Ready Reserve program and return to the Regular/General Reserve integrated structure for 6 Brigade in Brisbane; and

  (f)condemns the Government for:

    (i)misleading the public on the progress of the Ready Reserve Scheme, and

    (ii)failing to heed the scepticism of the vast majority of Army personnel, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and the Coalition on the viability of the Ready Reserve