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"Funding Australia's Defence" a cold war time warp.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Dee Margetts

Senator for Western Australia, The Greens (WA)

Perth: Tel. 08 9470 2688  Fax. 08 9470 4098

Parliament House: Tel. 02 6277 3599  Fax. 02 6277 3588

 

“Funding Australia’s Defence”

A Cold War Time Warp

 

8 May 1998

 

“The release today of the parliamentary report “Funding Australia’s Defence” proves that both the Government and the Labor Opposition are stuck in a Cold War time warp,” said Greens (WA) Senator Dee Margetts.

 

Senator Margetts, a long term member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, said:

 

“This defence report not only fails in its lack of understanding of broader concepts of defence and security, but it also fails in its own terms.”

 

“The committee has taken the “How much do you want?” approach to Defence. The inevitable response, reflected in the Majority Report, is “How much can you give us?”

 

“Given the enormous weight of evidence that Defence is not handling its current levels of funding responsibly, it is hard to understand why both major parties favour throwing more money at large procurement projects without proper accountability.”

 

“In response, I have prepared a Minority Report for the large section of the community whose views were ignored or devalued by other members of the Committee”, Senator Margetts stated.

 

Senator Margetts’ report calls for the Department of Defence to be subject to the same kind of accountability and scrutiny as other spending programs.

 

“It is not a problem of exposing military “secrets” -private industry has much easier access to Defence planning and spending than members of the Defence Committees of the Parliament!”

 

“If Defence overspends through incompetence or inefficiency, they should, like any other public program, find the difference from within their budgets, rather than being guaranteed additional appropriations. Any savings should equally be made available to general revenue."

 

“Australia, in 1998, cannot afford to support a crude ‘bang for your buck’ measure of defence ‘efficiency’, without any real context of Australia’s current or future security needs, Senator Margetts concluded.

 

For further comment: Dee Margetts: 08 9470 2688 or 08 9362 1586