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Government must come clean on Defence budget.



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Media Release

BOB McMULLAN MP SHADOW TREASURER SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR FRASER

7 April 2003

GOVERNMENT MUST COME CLEAN ON DEFENCE BUDGET

The Treasurer, Peter Costello, should produce a separate detailed statement in the Budget explaining the additional costs of Australia’s contribution to the war in Iraq, both in 2002-03 and in 2003-04.

Unless he does this, Australians will be entitled to assume he is using the fog of war to cover his lack of a domestic agenda.

The government should answer these questions:

• What will be the extra cost of the war in 2002-03?

• Will there be any extra cost of the war in 2003-04, and if so, doesn’t this mean the government believes the war will go beyond 1 July, 12 weeks away?

• If the war is not expected to last this long, why will there be significant extra costs in 2003-04?

• If the cost of the military deployment to the Gulf will fall in 2003-04, why can’t the Treasurer who has collected more taxes than any other Treasurer in Australian history afford a tax cut for Australian families by 30 June next year?

Estimates of the extra cost of the war on the Budget should be identified separately in the Budget papers to allow the government’s fiscal management and domestic agenda to be adequately assessed.

Further information: Robert Garran (02) 6277 4803, 0419 692 504

TELEPHONE: (02) 6277 4803 ã FACSIMILE: (02) 6277 8496