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777 days of government inaction.

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ROGER PRICE MP Federal Member for Chifley


It is now 777 days since the tabling of the report ‘From Phantom to Force’ by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence & Trade. Whilst it is a far-reaching report, it contained but twelve (12) recommendations. The Government has yet to respond to the report.

“The Government’s lack of response highlights its failure to provide our Defence Force with the resources & capabilities required to safeguard Australia’s security in light of recent threats”, said Federal Member for Chifley and Deputy Chair of the Defence sub-Committee Roger Price MP.

Recommendation 1 of the report was:

We recommend that the Government develop and maintain a national security policy. This policy should, amongst other things, guide the Defence Forces on their role in an integrated national concept for promoting and achieving international prosperity, peace and security.

We further recommend that the Government explore the feasibility of creating a National Security Council to oversee the development and maintenance of a national security policy.

The failure of the Government to respond to this recommendation, let alone implement it, highlights its lack of will in addressing key issues in our national security and in preparing Australia to meet potential threats.

“There is no guarantee that a National Security Council would have prevented the Bali tragedy, but the absence of a National Security Council certainly did NOT prevent the Bali tragedy.

The Coalition has had three (3) Ministers for Defence since the report was tabled and seems to treat the position as a pre-retirement post for Cabinet Ministers.

The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade report ‘From Phantom to Force: Towards a more efficient and effective army’ was tabled on 4 September 2000. The recommendations made in the report were designed to remodel the Army to carry out the tasks subsequently identified in the Government’s own Defence White Paper.


“At a time when Australia is involved in the War on Terrorism, it seems extraordinary that there has been no Government response to this critically important report”, Mr Price concluded.

Ends 21 October 2002

Contact: Roger Price MP on 6277 4872 or 0419 554 460.