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Tuesday, 27 March 1973
Page: 684

Dr FORBES (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Did the Minister for Defence say in a speech to the National Press Club on 15th March that decisions about the future structure of our armed forces and the kind of equipment which they need must be made in the light of our new national goals? Can he inform the House what new national goals he has in mind?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - At the National Press Club luncheon I referred to a number of matters, particularly, of course, in relation to defence. I think the honourable member is referring to the size and structure of the army, I have indicated to the House that an investigation is currently being made within the Department of the Army into the size and structure of the armed forces. The inquiry is in no way related to any figure that th: honourable member for Barker may have mentioned in a recent statement. From memory he indicated that the size of the army Should be about 40,000. I think it is quite Clear, and ( think the 2 Ministers who preceded me as Minister for Defence would be able to advise him, that at no time did the Department of the Army indicate what the size of the armed forces should be. It is quite Clear that it would not be competent for this Government to indicate what the size of the army should be until the results of the inquiry, which is currently being conducted at my direction, are available to the Government.

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