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Transcript of weekly message: 6 July 2007: Defence.

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Prime Minister of Australia | John Howard

Speech Transcript

06 July 2007 Weekly Message - Defence


Good morning,

Keeping the nation safe and secure is the prime responsibility of any government.

Australia faces a challenging strategic environment, particularly since the 11th of September 2001. The global threat of terrorism, the emergence of instability and potential state failure in our region all affect our defence and national security.

Our defence personnel are busy, with 4000 Australians currently involved in operations in 10 countries. The tasks include counter-terrorism, humanitarian relief and stabilisation operations as well as more conventional military activities.

These demands, and the possibility of further strategic surprises, mean the Australian Defence Force has to be flexible and ready to quickly adapt to new challenges.

Thanks to our sound economic management and the strong strategic relationships we have built with our partners, we can confront the broad range of tasks with confidence in the Government's national security policies. We have boosted defence spending by 48 per cent in real terms.

Australia is rebuilding and rebalancing her Defence Force to meet contemporary threats.

We will have a 21st Century military tailored for a 21st Century security environment; larger, better-protected, more mobile and harder-hitting army; a navy capable of establishing sea control in key areas and operating confidently within our region; and an air combat capability second-to-none in our region.

We will continue to build the size and scope of our Defence Forces. Personnel recruitment drives and new retention measures are being accelerated and acquisitions will continue apace to ensure our military is equipped for the demands of contemporary security challenges.