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Daily Defence Briefing: Robert Hill And Peter Cosgrove

This is the daily Defence briefing on Australian military operations in Iraq and the Middle East.

The briefing was given by the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill, and the Chief of Defence, General Peter Cosgrove.

It came on the 14th day of the war against Iraq.

  • Listen to the briefing (50m)

Statement from the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill.


The Government has assessed the size and nature of the Australian Defence Force contribution to the coalition to disarm Iraq given the success of maritime operations to date.

Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today that the Government had decided to vary the Royal Australian Navy’s contribution in the coalition given the significant achievements of the maritime campaign in securing the sea approaches to Iraq, including the oil platforms in the Persian Gulf, the strategically vital Al Faw peninsula and the key port at Umm Qasr.

The Government accepted the advice of the Chief of the Defence Force on the matter.

HMAS Sydney will be deployed to the Middle East in the near future to take over from the frigates HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin, which will head home at the end of this month after a six-month tour of duty. Sydney will join HMAS Kanimbla in the Persian Gulf where both vessels will contribute to maritime security in one of the world’s most vital waterways Senator Hill said that while the focus of the maritime campaign had shifted to carrier air operations, there was still a requirement for frigates to conduct some escort and patrol duties.

“However, the changed maritime tasking and the contribution of other coalition forces means that it will no longer be appropriate for two of our frigates to remain in the Gulf,” Senator Hill said.

“The National Security Committee of Cabinet determined today that Australia would continue to contribute one frigate and one amphibious ship to the coalition to disarm Iraq.

“During their deployment, HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin have undertaken crucial tasks in support of the multinational interception force enforcing United Nations sanctions in Iraq and in securing the Al Faw peninsula. This included provision of naval gunfire support to ground forces by the Royal Australian Navy for the first time since the Vietnam war.

“The ships will return to their home bases in May. The crews will get a well-deserved rest and reunion with their families before resuming routine duties. All Australians can be proud of their achievements, which have lived up to the highest traditions of the Navy and the ADF.

“HMAS Sydney will deploy at a date to be announced. HMAS Kanimbla will remain in the Gulf until further notice.”

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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