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Kim Beazley flip flops on Coast Guard and Defence White Paper.

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


07 Oct 2001 MIN 415/01





Kim Beazley has today admitted that his Coast Guard policy will mean a substantive unraveling of the vital Defence White Paper and its ten-year program of spending commitments.

Mr Beazley has nominated $1 billion dollars of other spending which will be scrapped to fund his initiatives.

He needs to tell the Australian people what parts of Defence he will be stripping.

Is he planning to axe future capability purchases such as the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft?

Mr Beazley made these comments when questioned on Channel Seven this morning about his extraordinary claim that his US Style Coast Guard would cost just $15 million dollars of an overall security package of just $100 million dollars.

Mr Beazley said:

"It was a $100 million package of new money but it actually sat on top of what was a package of about a billion dollars. Why? Because we are redirecting funds out of Coastwatch to the Coast Guard. Redirecting funds from within the Defence portfolio from other functions to the SAS and to the protection of installations."

And later in the same interview:

"You can do an awful lot by redirecting money and doing things properly, you don’t actually have to go and spend a motza."

Kim Beazley costed a Coast Guard in 1984 at about $2 billion dollars in today’s dollars.

Today he has effectively admitted that his $15 million of new money is a con.

He has admitted he will pay for his US style Coast Guard, and any other initiatives, by gutting Defence.

Mr Beazley must now spell out which areas of Defence he plans to cut or abolish to provide the $1 billion dollars he has nominated.

This represents another major flipflop from the man who has claimed for months that he supports the Defence White Paper and its spending commitments.

Mr Beazley has also flip flopped on the effectiveness of a Coast Guard in combating people smuggling operations.

He claimed for many months that a Coast Guard would stop people smuggling.

Hi first flipped on this back in August when he said in relation to people smuggling:

"A Coast Guard is not a resolution to this problem."

(Kim Beazley, Media Conference, Parliament House August 30, 2001)

But today he has flopped again telling Glenn Milne on Channel Seven

"Those boats are going to keep turning up until we get a decent Coast Guard."!!

Mr Beazley’s Coast Guard plan relies primarily on stripping the Royal Australian Navy of 15 surface response vessels (Patrol Boats) and the 600 people who crew and maintain them and handing them to a new bureaucracy.

Kim Beazley released this Coast Guard plan in January 2000. He has had almost two years to substantiate his arguments but the policy he is now offering the Australian people amounts to 10 paragraphs of generalisations and unbelievable costings.







For further Information: Ross Hampton 0419 484095

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