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01-06-2011 10:50 AM



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01-06-2011 10:50 AM


Hon. J. Gillard MP and Hon. S. Smith MP address the press to announce new defence chiefs.


01-06-2011 11:31 AM

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2011-06-01 10:50:07

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SMITH, Stephen, MP



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1 JUNE 2011

Subjects: Australian Defence Force; Afghanistan

PM: Thank you very much.

I'm very pleased to be here today with the Minister for Defence and with his team, his ministerial
team, including Ministers Snowdon and Clare and Parliamentary Secretary David Feeney, for us to
announce the new command arrangements for the Australian Defence Force.

As is well known, the appointments of the Chief of Defence, Angus Houston, and Vice-Chief and the
three Service Chiefs all expire in the coming weeks. I wanted to ensure that we had a transition
process which was orderly and that the incoming holders of those officers would be in a position to
work alongside their counterparts before formerly taking on those roles.

So, in the interests of a smooth transition in leadership, we are announcing the new office holders

I'm very conscious that these changes in command come at a very testing time for the Australian
Defence Force, a time of sorrow and loss, and a testing time for our mission in Afghanistan.

I'm absolutely confident the new leadership team will meet these challenges with the same
professionalism and the same determination that has been demonstrated so strongly by their

The following appointments to take effect from 4 July will be recommended to the Governor-General
in Council.

First, Lieutenant General David Hurley to be appointed as the new Chief of the Defence Force.

Air Marshal Mark Binskin to be the new Vice Chief of the Defence Force.

Rear Admiral Ray Griggs to be the Chief of Navy.

Major General David Morrison to be the Chief of Army and Air Vice-Marshal Geoff Brown to be the
Chief of the Air Force.

General Hurley is currently the Vice Chief of the Defence Force. He is going to bring a wealth of
experience to his new position as Chief. He has held several senior command positions within the
ADF, including as Land Commander Australia, Chief of the Capability and Development Group and Chief
of Operations.

Air Marshal Mark Binskin is currently the Chief of the Air Force. He has extensive operational
command experience, having served as the Chief of Staff at headquarters, Australian theatre, in
2003, and then as director of Combined Air and Space Operations Center, the centre that was
responsible for the conduct of coalition air operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, and the Australian
Institute of Company Directors.

Rear Admiral Ray Griggs is currently the Deputy Chief of Joint Operations. He has broad seagoing
and operational experience. He commanded the Anzac Class frigate Arunta on operations in the Middle
East and the Australian Amphibious Task Group. He also has extensive capability management and
development experience, and held a senior position in the Defence Strategic Reform Program.

Major General David Morrison is currently serving as Army's forces commander. He has wide-ranging
command experience, having served as the head of military strategic commitments and Deputy Chief of
the Army. In that position, he led the review into Army's command and control structure, which
resulted in reform initiatives to ensure Army is able to sustain its current and future operational

Air Vice-Marshal Geoff Brown is currently the Deputy Chief of Air Force. He's got extensive flying
experience on almost everything: helicopters and F-111s amongst them.

Air Vice-Marshal Brown has commanded at all levels of the Air Force, including as the commander of
the Air Combat Group. During Australia's 2003 contribution to the war in Iraq, he commanded the
F/A-18 and C-130 operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I want to offer my warmest congratulations to General Hurley and to his team. I am looking forward
to working very closely with them on the challenging agenda that lies in front of us, an agenda
that includes war fighting operations and peace operations, an ambitious capability development
program, Defence's Strategic Reform Program, and the vital and ongoing task of nurturing what is
the most important asset of the ADF - and that's its people.

Finally, I'd like to say a few things about the outgoing team, first and foremost about Angus
Houston. We are going to have a number of occasions to mark Angus's remarkable service to the
Australian nation. I've been joking that we will refer to it as the Festival of Angus. The Festival
of Angus will be starting very, very soon.

Angus Houston, I think, is well known to the Australian nation. He's well known because of his
remarkable record of service to it.

He was appointed Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2005. He is the second-longest serving Chief
of the Defence Force, and I believe he could have claimed that record by serving a mere further 13
days. And he is only the third RAAF officer to reach the four-star rank of Air Chief Marshal.

In his six-year tenure as CDF, he has led our people during a period of sustained operational
tempo, the most intense since the Vietnam War.

He was there when we recommenced our operations in Afghanistan in September 2005, and when we
expanded our early operations to include the training work we are now doing with the Afghan» 4th
Brigade. He was there to oversee the deployments in Iraq and to East Timor and the Solomons. He's
been there to support our border security operations. He was there to do the security necessary for
the Commonwealth Games, to oversee the consular evacuations from Lebanon. He's been there to lead
his people as they've helped Australians through natural disasters: Cyclone Larry, the Victorian
bushfires and, most recently, our summer of devastation, particularly in Queensland.

He became known to the Australian people when I think his name became synonymous with honesty in
the service of our nation. He is now even better known to Australians as a man of courage and
compassion, and I really want to congratulate him for his service to the nation and I'm looking
forward to the Festival of Angus.

I do want to thank both him and his wife, Liz. Every success as they move on to the next stages of
their life, and I've enjoyed spending some personal time with them, as well as the professional
time that we've spent together.

I would also like to thank Vice Admiral Russ Crane and Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie for their
service to the nation.

Vice Admiral Crane will retire as Chief of Navy on 7 June after 40 amazing years of service to the

Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie will retire as the Chief of the Army in July after 43 years in the
Australian Army. He too has had a truly remarkable career.

They have held those jobs and performed their service to the nation with commitment and with an
absolute devotion to duty. We honour them for that and we wish them well in the next stage of their

I'll turn now to some comments from the Minister for Defence.

MINISTER SMITH: Well, thank you, Prime Minister.

Firstly, I'm very pleased to join the Prime Minister today to present the new Defence leadership
team, the next generation of Defence leadership over the forthcoming three years.

They are big jobs. They carry with them heavy burdens and heavy responsibilities as we, together,
work to protect and defend and enhance Australia's national security interests.

But can I firstly, as the Prime Minister has done, pay respect and regard to the work which the
Chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston has done over the last six years.

He has faithfully and effectively served five ministers for Defence. He was respected and held in
high regard by the Australian community before he became Chief of the Defence Force and that regard
and respect has only enhanced, and Angus will be a big loss.

And as the Prime Minister has said, at the appropriate time and the appropriate occasions, full
respect and honour will be paid to not just his six years as Chief of the Defence Force, but for
his very lengthy career in the Air Force itself.

Can I also acknowledge and pay tribute to the contribution of Lieutenant-General Ken Gillespie, a
43-year career in the Army and the Defence Force, and at his most senior positions at a time of
very difficult and high tempo for the Australian Army and for the Defence Force, and he has been of
great assistance to me and the ministerial team since we came to office, or came to our respective

He has a most distinguished career, and his contribution also will be acknowledged for the credit
that it brings to him and the credit that it has bought to the Australian Army and the Defence

Can I also acknowledge the contribution of Russ Crane as Chief of Navy. Russ Crane has had over the
last three years a very difficult job and a series of important challenges which he has to his
great credit fronted up to and addressed. Whether that has been difficulties in our amphibious
fleet, or cultural difficulties, he has not shirked the problems, and he deserves great credit for

Russ has asked me if he can retire on 7 June, slightly earlier, but that is his Navy service
birthday - 40 years of contribution - and so from that earlier date, the new Chief of Navy will act
in Russ's position.

Can I congratulate Lieutenant-General, soon to be General David Hurley on his appointment, and
congratulate the team members. We met last night. I had a cup of coffee. They had a beer. But the
Prime Minister and I and the portfolio ministers are very, very pleased with the new team.

We will hit the ground running. Lieutenant-General Hurley will accompany me to Singapore on the
weekend for the Shangri-La Dialogue, an important meeting of Defence ministers and Defence chiefs
of staff throughout our region, and later next week in Brussels we will have another NATO/ ISAF
Defence Ministers' Meeting. General Hurley will accompany me on that.

General Hurley is a most appropriate appointment as Chief of the Defence Force, and he has a long
and distinguished career. Most importantly he is very thoughtful about the challenges for the

In my view, the work that I have done with him, he is a man of decency and integrity, and I'm
looking very much forward to working very closely with General Hurley over the forthcoming period.

Can I also congratulate his team. I have worked with them over the last six months and have a great
deal of confidence in them to address the significant challenges that we have.

These appointments and announcements, given the events of this week, are made in difficult times.
They are made in difficult times which underlines the seriousness and the responsibility of these

The men who have been appointed today have the responsibility of putting our men and women into the
field in danger in the course and in the pursuit of our national interest. They have the job of
ensuring their training and their equipment, and at a time of significant operational tempo, our
mission in Afghanistan, our stabilisation and peacekeeping roles in East Timor and in the Solomon
Islands, this is a significant contribution that we make for a country of 23 million people - but
the responsibility and the burden is great.

There are some significant challenges ahead for us. I've referred to Afghanistan which speaks for
itself, given the events of this week, but we continue to have significant challenges so far as
accountability is concerned, both personal, and institutional accountability in Defence. We have
significant capability and acquisition challenges, and we have significant Budget challenges
through the 2009 White Paper, through our Strategic Reform Program, and our Force 2030.

One of the significant attributes that Lieutenant-General Hurley will bring is his previous
experience as chief of the Capability Development Group, and if you speak to people in the system
universally regard that as the best head of the Capability Development Group that we've had. That
will be of considerable assistance as we face these challenges.

There are also new and emerging challenges and I cite but one example, and this will challenge
Defence and challenge our nation as it does others, but new and emerging national security issues
like cyber and cyber security will challenge us.

So we see what we regard as traditional challenges, military enforcement, combat, accountability,
and Budget and capability challenges, but there are also new and emerging ones, and cyber is
perhaps the best example.

The Prime Minister and I have every confidence that our new team is up to that challenge.

I'd like to ask General Hurley to make some remarks and then the Prime Minister and I and General
Hurley are happy to respond to your JOURNALISTs.

GENERAL HURLEY: Prime Minister and Minister, thank you very much for those kind words.

This announcement today in the shadow of the news of the death of three of our officers and
soldiers in Afghanistan will serve as a powerful and constant reminder to this new leadership team
of the enormous responsibilities that are being transferred to us.

We acknowledge our responsibilities to the Government, the Parliament and the people of Australia,
but we are keenly aware that this can only be achieved through the commitment of the service men
and women and their families that we will have the honour to lead. Our job is to lead these
wonderful Australians, and to ensure that their service is valued and respected.

In that vein, on behalf of Mark, Ray, David and Geoff, I thank our wives and our families for their
support over many years, and for their forbearance for the next three years. I also thank the Prime
Minister and Minister for their confidence in us and for the great honour that they have given us,
appointing us the leaders of the ADF.

We also look forward to working alongside the secretary, Dr Ian Watt, and continuing the strong,
integrated approach to Defence leadership.

Today also marks the beginning of the final period of service for the CDF, as you have heard, Air
Chief Marshall Angus Houston; for Ken Gillespie, the Chief of the Army; and for Russ Crane, the
Chief of the Navy. They have not only been great leaders of the ADF in their respective services,
but great mates through good and bad times. I thank them and their families for their hard work,
their commitment, and their selfless service to Australia. They'll be a hard act for us to follow.

Thank you.

PM: So we're very happy to take JOURNALISTs on the announcement today and on Defence matters. For
other issues of the day we'll take them a bit later, provided we don't freeze to death in the

Anybody got a JOURNALIST?

Yes, Dennis.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, yourself and the Minister have mentioned new challenges. Is there any
consideration, now that you have a new team, new challenges, to reviewing the 2009 White Paper?

PM: Well, I'll get to the Minister to answer that.

MINISTER SMITH: Well, as you know the White Paper was released in April 2009. The White Paper
itself has an effective inbuilt review mechanism, it's called the Defence planning guidelines.
There was no need to publish or to consider Defence planning guidelines in 2010 less than a year
after the publication of the White Paper.

We are currently, as one of our projects, working very carefully through what we describe as our
2011 Defence planning guidelines, and any adjustments that we need to make as a result of changed
strategic circumstances will be announced in due course as a result of the standard Defence
planning guidelines consideration.

I wouldn't expect that to occur before the end of this year.

JOURNALIST: One of your existing challenges has been to handle the fall out of the Skype affair. Do
you have any detail about when you think that inquiry into the affair will be finalised, and hence
when will we get some clarification on the future of the head of ADFA?

MINISTER SMITH: Well, a number of responses.

Firstly, Mr Kirkham's inquiry is ongoing with this caveat - getting towards the end of his inquiry,
Mr Kirkham wanted to interview the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Hurley, who
is responsible in a command sense for Commandant Kafer. As a consequence of that and so as to avoid
any possible perception of conflict of interest, Lieutenant-General Hurley, as Vice Chief of the
Defence Force, transferred responsibility for the inquiry to the Chief of the Air Force, Air
Marshall Binskin, and the detail of that is being processed.

We are awaiting Mr Kirkham QC's report on all of the aspects of the so-called Skype affair. In the
meantime, as you would be aware, two cadets have been charged with offences, and those matters are
before the courts.

In the meantime Commandant Kafer is doing other duties, reporting to the Chief of the Australian
Defence Academy, and he will continue in that role until Mr Kirkham's inquiry has been received and
decisions made as a consequence of that.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) not ask when,what his timetable might be?

MINISTER SMITH: Well, I'm not proposing to seek to impose a timetable on Mr Kirkham. He is a
well-regarded QC. He is diligently doing his work and I'm leaving him to it.

JOURNALIST: A question for Lieutenant-General Hurley. What's your reading of the situation in
Afghanistan, as far as the timetable for Australia's withdrawal from that?

GENERAL HURLEY: Thank you. I think you'd be well aware of the Government's position, public
position on the transition time frame in Afghanistan and the Prime Minister's own words about our
continuing commitment to Afghanistan post 2014. We're in sync with what NATO ISAF are planning to
do and all our campaign planning is done along those lines.

JOURNALIST: Are you confident we're making progress there?

GENERAL HURLEY: I certainly am and I think you've heard the CDF comment on that publicly recently.

JOURNALIST: Do you think General, your Minister has in recent months had some very public
criticisms of the quality of advice and sometimes decision making in the senior levels, if not the
top brass and leadership team of Defence. What assurances can you give him that anything will
change or improve and has he asked you for such assurances on appointment?

GENERAL HURLEY: Well I think robust interaction between the Department and the Minister is
something you would expect from us. We're asked to give frank and fearless advice. We do. I don't
think that at times it should be taken as dissent or some sort of war between the Minister and the
generals. We're doing our job and we will continue to do so.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, there's a report today that a Pakistani journalist who's been found
dead after publishing a report that there were links between the Pakistani military and al-Qaeda.
He had allegedly told friends and colleagues that he'd been threatened by the Pakistani
Inter-Services Intelligence. Can I ask what your response to that is and whether you have
confidence that those links between the Pakistani military and al-Qaeda are being broken?

PM: Well, I'm not going to comment in detail on an individual case where it's impossible for me to
independently know all of the facts, but just dealing with it from the point of view of first
principles, of course we support press freedom around the world as an inherent check and balance in
democracies and anything that stops press freedom, particularly the intimidation of acts of
violence against journalists is obviously abhorrent.

Second, as you would have heard me say in the past, we are engaged with Pakistan on
counterterrorism matters. We believe the best path forward is to continue that engagement and we
will be continuing that engagement. We are involved in training and other work to assist Pakistan
and we believe that that is important to continue.

You are right as you have in the past Karen to point to the importance of what's happening in
Pakistan and the importance of what's happening there to our mission in Afghanistan. We're very,
very conscious of that and we are on a strategy to stay engaged on counterterrorism questions.

JOURNALIST: Your response to reports that the Taliban are claiming that the ANA soldier who shot
our soldier yesterday or day before yesterday was an insurgent and a sleeper within the ANA ranks?

PM: Well, I'll get the Minister to comment too, but the Taliban are very canny purveyors of
propaganda. We've seen that before and we'll see it again. So, you would expect them to be trying
to make the most they can out of this incident in their cause and in the cause of the insurgency
that they represent.

For the actual details of the incident we are going to investigate them fully. That's already
underway and when we can give people full details then we will, but I'm not surprised that the
Taliban is engaged in its cheap and very destructive propaganda.

MINISTER SMITH: Thank you Prime Minister. I think it falls into the category of 'they would say
that, wouldn't they.'

I've made and been at pains to make two points in recent week and months. Firstly, that we know
we've made progress in terms of gaining ground in Oruzgan province but we've always known that as
the northern summer fighting season commenced that the Taliban would seek to recover ground and
that we had to steel ourselves for fatalities and casualties and terribly that has occurred.

Secondly, because we have made progress and taken ground and held that ground, we've also known
that the Taliban, strategically, would look to high-profile instances to try and influence the
views of the domestic constituencies of the international security systems force, nations including
our own. So we've seen a number of high-profile propaganda efforts and attacks: attacks on the
defence ministry in Kabul; assassination of a number of police commissioners to seek to undermine
the political resolve so far as the Afghanistan effort is concerned.

So far as the terrible incident yesterday is concerned or the day before is concerned, I've made
some remarks earlier today. We now have a slight variation to the facts which I've already put on
the public record. I won't detail those unless people need or want to, but what we don't have at
this stage an advance of an exhaustive investigation is what motivation there was so far as the
individual «Afghan» National Army soldier was concerned. He'd been undergoing training for three or
four months. He'd been with the 4th Brigade in Oruzgan for a month.

We don't know what the motivation was, but as I've said yesterday and today this is a jolt and a
shock to our system but in the aftermath of that our resolve remains firm and the professionalism
of our people on the ground in Oruzgan will naturally take over.

This incident also needs to be put within its proper perspective, which is we're currently
training, as we speak, 3,500 thousand «Afghan» National Army member of the 4th Brigade and the entire
«Afghan» National Security Force compliment in Afghanistan itself is close to 300,000.

This is a terrible incident. For us it has been the first one. There have been a handful, but if
and when they occur in the future you would expect the Taliban and the insurgency to make the most
of them in a propaganda sense irrespective of the actual facts.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) given there have been a handful of these cases, how concerned are you about
the potential for the Taliban to infiltrate Australian and other coalition forces? Is enough being
done on the background checks?

And secondly, President Karzai has again expressed concern over the civilian deaths. How worried
are you about that and are enough safeguards in place?


In relation to the recruitment process, the screening processes, the NTMA, which is the body that
organises recruiting process in Afghanistan does, as we've mentioned before, biometric recording,
recruiting and a screening process. We receive them through that process into the brigade in
Afghanistan. We have processes in place to protect our people. Obviously as one of the
repercussions of yesterday's event is they're being thoroughly reviewed now and I daresay enhanced
after discussions between the Chief of Defence Force and the Chief of Joint Operations this
morning. We won't go into the details of that for obvious reasons.

These sorts of events, you know, send messages right up through the chain of command for people to
be looking at each of those steps again to ensure our people can be safe as they can be, but we
won't be able to prevent all this in the future. I mean, 400,000 people, the Taliban are an active
enemy and we've got to deal with this warts and all.

In relation to civil casualties we've said in the past as well that we're with one with the «Afghan»
Government, that these are real tragedies and we try everything we can to avoid them, a lot of
procedures, filters in place, steps in place that people must go through to avoid these, and we
share with the «Afghan» people in just mourning the loss of those lives. It's certainly not our
intention. We're there to help them.

PM: We'll go here and then here and then come across. Yes?

JOURNALIST: I'm just wondering about in Mashal itself, in this base where this took place, has
there been any approach from the «Afghan» soldiers, the officers there, anything to indicate what
their demeanour is in the aftermath of this tragic event? What they've been saying to their
Australian colleagues?

GENERAL HURLEY: Look, certainly to our knowledge and what we've had reported the people there, the
«Afghan» National Army leadership in Oruzgan province has been just as jolted as we have by this
event. They have vigorously commented about the lack of support that this might say to us that
they're going to give us. They've really recommitted themselves to us and they've put their troops
out in the field straight away to try and hunt down this person. We haven't been controlling that
operation. They've taken it on themselves. I think they realise how important it is to the
relationship that they catch this person and bring him to justice.

JOURNALIST: An update on the search for the rouge «Afghan» soldier?

MINISTER SMITH: As General Hurley has just said there's an operation underway by the «Afghan»
National Army in Oruzgan to seek to capture him. In addition to the local remarks or comments that
General Hurley has relayed to you, you'd of course be aware of the comments of Brigadier General
Kahn, the commander of the 4th Brigade in Oruzgan province absolutely condemning that which
occurred and obviously in general partnership terms we're giving the «Afghan» National Army every
assistance as they seek to capture the «Afghan» National Army officer who committed this atrocity.

JOURNALIST: Are you satisfied in Afghanistan with our force mix there, with our numbers of troops
and the equipment they have? There were rumblings a few months back about extra artillery. Someone
suggested tanks. There was talk of extra helicopters. Are you happy with what they have and how
many there are in the mix, in the mix of the forces?

GENERAL HURLEY: For the task we have at hand at the present time, which is the training of the ANA
4th Brigade, we are quite appropriately postured and supported in relation to that both from our
own Australian resources and from the US and other NATO and ISAF enabling capabilities that are

JOURNALIST: Minister, Mr Smith, the Air Warfare Destroyer contracts are showing some early signs of
blowing out or having some problems, delays and so forth. Have you sought assurances from your new
team that that will monitored closely and can you give Australians an assurance that this won't go
the way of some other Defence contracts in the past and won't become an ongoing sort of series of
delays and blowouts?

MINISTER SMITH: The Minister for Defence Materiel and I, the Secretary of the Department, the Chief
of Navy and the CEO of the Defence Materiel Organisation have been working very assiduously at this
issue since February-March of this year.

You may recall that in March of this year I went to the United Kingdom on other matters. I took the
opportunity there of visiting BAE in the United Kingdom to impress upon them the importance of the
project to Australia, both the Air Warfare Destroyer project but also the landing helicopter docks
project in respect of which they are working on both, and I did that because it was clear at that
time that the work that BAE was doing on both jobs was causing stress in their Melbourne shipyards.

Last week I made an announcement, which was essentially agreed between all the parties, to
reallocate a range of blocks away from the Melbourne workshops to either Newcastle, to Adelaide and
five blocks to Navantia in Spain.

On our estimation that has reduced the prospective delay from two years to 12 months. No-one is
under any illusions, no-one in the air warfare destroyer alliance, none of the private companies
concerned, no-one is under any illusions as to the seriousness and importance which the Government
places on this project, and the action that I took last week reflected a number of months of work
and the new Chief of Navy, the new Chief of the Defence Force, the Secretary and I, and Minister
Clare, will be absolutely assiduous in bringing this project to a successful conclusion.

PM: I'll just go to Andrew and then to David.

JOURNALIST: Minister and perhaps Lieutenant General Hurley, just on the biometric testing which is
obviously looking to identify people, of the people who have been recruited into the ANA, have any
of those people who were rejected, were they rejected because of the biometric testing that
identified them as possible insurgents, given that you do the same sort of testing for the
detainees who are brought in to Tarin Kowt?

MINISTER SMITH: Well, I'll give you an answer then I'll ask General Hurley to add.

The point we've been making about the biometric testing is that we have biometric testing and
therefore an identification of the ANA soldier who committed this atrocity. What that discounts is
that this was, if you like, a last-minute infiltrator or imposter. We're not in a position to take
it any further than that in terms of the motivation of the individual concerned, but I'll ask
General Hurley to add on the detail.

GENERAL HURLEY: Just in relation to the biometric testing, obviously it gives us a means to track
people who are in the ANA and when they move around the countryside. If we have had detainees who
have been released in previous activities for a lack of evidence and so forth, they're
biometrically checked. We keep matching databases, so it's one way for us to keep track of movement
of people in and out of the ANA.

JOURNALIST: Have there been any exclusions?

GENERAL HURLEY: I'm not aware of any. I don't have that level of data.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask a question of the outgoing CDF? I'm not sure if we'll get another chance
before you finish up. Just if you could reflect on-

PM: I'm sure you'll get an invitation to the Festival of Angus.

JOURNALIST: Just asking if you could reflect on the highs and lows of the last six years and
whether you've got any advice for your successor?

AIR CHIEF MARSHAL HOUSTON: That's a very big question, David, but let me say that I think we've got
a great team to carry the leadership of the ADF forward. I have immense confidence in this team.

In terms of the highs, well, it's all about the people of the ADF. We have a wonderful Defence
Force. Okay, we're not perfect, but the vast majority of people out there act with great generosity
of spirit in everything that they do, and you've heard the Prime Minister mention the operations.
58 operations, 69,000 people deployed, and every time I've gone out there and visited them, our
people have uplifted me. They really have. And I think they perform superbly. It's been a story of
success, what we've done on operations.

The low points: when we've lost people, and clearly what's happened the last couple of days and,
indeed, last week, and all the other occasions, when we've brought brave, courageous people home
after they've been killed on operations, most normally in Afghanistan, that's the low point.

Thank you.

JOURNALIST: Just regarding the ANA soldier, what will happen if he's captured? Will he be handed
over to the Australians? If not, do you have faith in the «Afghan» legal system or the «court» «martial»
system in Afghanistan?

MINISTER SMITH: It's always wise in these things to take it step by step. If he is captured he'll
be dealt with in accordance with «Afghan law.

PM: We'll just let Brendan have one, just because I'm soft of heart.

JOURNALIST: Angus, when you took over the job six years ago you set a number of priorities, but
this followed the Senate inquiry into issues of bastardisation and military justice. You basically
set as a goal sorting out a lot of these problems.

Now, how do you feel that that process has gone and how do you feel about the standard of the
quality of people in the Defence Force at the moment and the impression that's been created
recently that there's a high level of wrong attitudes towards women, and basically serious sexual
problems through the service?

PM: That's taking a fair bit of liberty with the last question. That was about 10 in 1.

AIR CHIEF MARSHAL HOUSTON: Well, all I will say is that the outgoing leadership team has worked
incredibly hard on culture. Russ Crane, with his new generation Navy, has done a remarkable job of
changing the Navy from what it was to where it needs to go in the future. The emphasis has been on
leadership and culture, signature behaviours.

And Ok, we've had a situation with Success, HMAS Success, that we all deeply regret, but I do not
think that that is the norm for the Navy.

I visited many ships over my time as CDF and I've been deeply impressed by the dedication, the
professionalism, and the commitment of those people and, indeed, most recently I have spoken to
Navy people about some of these issues and a lot of junior Navy people would condemn what happened
on Success just as I and the Chief of Navy have.

Now, more broadly, I think the Defence Force has turned around. There will always be incidents.
We're talking about a force of 58,000 permanent people. About half that force are under the age of
25. There will be occasions when people misbehave and I think you've just got to accept that
reality but, let me say again, we send these young people out on those operations. They put their
lives on the line and they do it wonderfully well, they really do, and I know many of you have been
out there on our operations and seen our people perform. I think that that's what you should focus
on not the isolated incidents that we have from time to time.

Thank you.

PM: Thank you very much.