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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 3983

Mr BENNETT (SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Has the Minister for Defence received any approaches or had any reports from any source advocating the provision of a free defence force for Australia by selling Australia's natural resources to overseas interests and so attracting various foreign armed forces to Australia to defend those foreign owned resources? Will the Minister assure the House that he will do what he can to protect Australia from such a potentially dangerous and treasonable policy?

Mr BARNARD - I think the honourable member was referring to a statement made by Sir Charles Court in Western Australia. I read the statement with a great deal of interest. I must say that I was surprised that a man of his position and with his authority would suggest that Western Australia would be better served if it were able to raise its own defence force. He made some comparison, of course, with the forces in Singapore and Malaysia and suggested that it would be possible for Western Australia to have forces at very little cost. He suggested that there had been no cost involved to the countries in South East Asia to which he referred. I do not believe that anyone with a proper sense of responsibility to the defence of this country would take Sir Charles Court's suggestion very seriously. I am sure that in that respect the people of Western Australia would be most concerned that he had made such a statement.

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