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Kim Beazley and his "National Security Committee" claims.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon. Peter Reith, MP Minister for Defence


15 Oct 2001 MIN 427/01




Kim Beazley claims that he is better equipped to lead the country at a time of national emergency because he was a member of Labor’s "National Security Committee of Cabinet" for 11 years.

What Kim Beazley doesn’t say is that Labor’s Security Committee was very different to the National Security Committee which operates under the Coalition.

Labor’s Security Committee of Cabinet did not generally deal with defence or foreign policy issues - it dealt with classified intelligence and security matters.

What’s more Labor’s Security Committee (and its Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security) decided only 228 matters over nearly eleven years - about 20 decisions per year!

As a result of policy promises taken to the 1996 election the Coalition implemented a broader role for the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC).

NCS now considers all matters relating to defence, foreign affairs, intelligence and justice. At the height of the East Timor crisis for example the NSC met on a daily basis. The NSC devoted a number of full day meetings to the development of the Defence White Paper.

Also by contrast the NSC, and its Secretaries Committee on National Security, decided 418 matters from May 1996 until October 2001.

During the biggest Defence crisis in Labor’s 13 years in office - the Gulf War - Kim Beazley was not actually a key decision-maker. His biographer, Peter Fitzsimmons, says,

"With the war underway, Beazley’s involvement remained well behind that of Hawke, Ray and the Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans."(p.329)

In fact Senator Robert Ray told Peter FitzSimmons that Kim Beazley would have been a bad

Defence Minister in a time of national emergency because of his lack of judgement:

"I’d have to say it was better that I was in the Ministry at the time of the Gulf War than him, because everyone in Caucus thought he was ‘gung-ho’. (p.329)

Kim Beazley’s record speaks for itself.


For further information contact: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

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