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New Defence Secretary.

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Senator Chris Evans Labor Senator for Western Australia Shadow Minister for Defence

24 September 2002


Labor congratulates Mr Ric Smith on his appointment as the Secretary of the Department of Defence. Mr Smith has a fine record in Foreign Affairs and takes on a big job at a difficult time.

Labor offers best wishes to Dr Allan Hawke who has been a dedicated public servant with a long record of achievement at senior levels in the Public Service.

This is a surprising decision given the current state of Defence’s incomplete reform agenda.

What will happen to the Balanced Scorecard championed by Dr Hawke?

Both the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary involved in the ‘children overboard’ episode have now been replaced by the Government.

The instability caused by the politicisation of Defence and the rotation of four Ministers of Defence in six years can only be exacerbated by further changes in the Department leadership.

The Howard Government’s record in Defence is a tale of contradictory reform agendas that have been abandoned or bungled.

At a time of unparalleled operational activity Defence continues to lack the critical political and organisational support to allow them to do their job as effectively as possible.

For comment: Chris Evans 0419 983 593 Tim Friedrich 0408 577 617