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Rudd Offers Condolences On Death Of Australian Soldier

Kevin Rudd has offered his condolences following the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan.

  • Listen to Rudd (5m)

Transcript of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s press conference.

PRIME MINISTER: I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan. This brave soldier, wearing the uniform of Australia died the field of duty wearing his nation’s uniform and wearing it with pride.

On behalf of the Government, I extend my condolences to his family and to his friends and to his loved ones. Our prayers and those of the entire nation are with his family and his friends and his loved ones on this most tragic of days. [Read more…]


Eighth Australian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

An Australian soldier has been killed in a rocket attack in Oruzgan Province in Afghanistan. He is the eighth Australian casualty in Afghanistan since 2001.

The announcement was made in Canberra by the Chief of the Defence Foce, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.

  • Listen to ACM Houston’s press conference (14m)

Text of media release from the Defence Department.

An Australian soldier in Afghanistan has been killed in a rocket attack whilst conducting operations in Oruzgan Province.

Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Angus Houston, said the soldier was killed early yesterday evening, Australian time. [Read more…]


East Timor Troop Numbers To Be Cut

Australia is to reduce the number of troops in East Timor to 650 by early 2009. The announcement was made today by the Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon. [Read more…]


Chief Of Defence Peter Leahy Comments On Defence Equipment

The Chief of the Defence Force, Peter Leahy, has commented on claims about the quality of Defence equipment.

  • Listen to Leahy (21m)

War On Terror Is Battle Of Ideas: Cheney

The ‘war on terror’ is more than a contest of arms, and more than a test of will, according to the United States Vice-President, Richard Cheney.

Vice-President Richard CheneyAddressing the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue in Sydney, Cheney said the war on terror “is a battle of ideas”. He said: “We now know to a certainty that when people across the Middle East are denied all freedom, and left to the mercy of fanatical tyrants and false prophets, that is a direct strategic concern of free nations everywhere. By taking the side of moderates, reformers, and advocates for democracy; by providing an alternative to hateful ideologies; we improve the chances for a lasting peace, and we advance our own security interests.” [Read more…]


Australia To Accept New American Military Base At Geraldton

The Federal Government has agreed to host a ground station for a US strategic and military satellite communications system in Geraldton, Western Australia.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson. The government used today’s Question Time in the House of Representatives attack the ALP over its attitude to the US alliance, particularly that of Peter Garrett. Nelson quoted from lyrics from Midnight Oil songs and other writings by Garrett.

This is the text of a media release from the Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson.

AUSTRALIA-US JOINT COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY TO BE HOSTED AT GERALDTON

The Government has agreed to host a ground station for a US strategic and military satellite communications system at the Australian Defence Satellite Communication Station (ADSCS) located at Geraldton in Western Australia. The new ground station will be sited within the grounds of ADSCS but will be unrelated to the existing activities of ADSCS which will remain under separate Australian control.

The ground station will form part of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). MUOS, in simple terms, will be a satellite-based mobile phone network. MUOS will support US and Australian users, including deployed forces. The ground station at Geraldton will comprise three small buildings housing the electronic infrastructure, power and spares, three 18 metre satellite dishes and two smaller antenna covering an area of approximately 12,000 square metres or less than the size of two and a half rugby fields. Once complete, it will be unmanned requiring only call-out contractor maintenance support.

It will be a joint Australia – US ground station, it will not be a US military base. The facility will be hosted as all other Australian-US joint facilities – on the basis of our full knowledge and concurrence.

Final details are expected to be agreed soon between the US and Australian Defence Departments.

Other joint facilities already hosted by Australia are the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap and the Joint Geological and Geophysical Research Station and in addition, the US has access to the Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt.

BACKGROUND:

JOINT DEFENCE FACILITY PINE GAP

The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is a satellite ground station whose function is to collect intelligence data which supports the national security of both Australia and the United States. Intelligence collected at Pine Gap contributes importantly to the verification of arms control and disarmament agreements.

NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS STATION HAROLD E HOLT

Harold E Holt is a radio relay station, passing messages between Australia and US command centres and their respective ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. It became a joint facility in 1974 and since May 1999 it has operated as an Australian facility to which the US has full access.

JOINT GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH STATION

The Joint Geological and Geophysical Research Station is a seismic monitoring station originally established to monitor nuclear explosions during the Cold War. It still does monitor such explosions as part of the International Monitoring System (IMS) of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It also monitors earthquakes. It is jointly operated by Geoscience Australia and the US Air Force.


Defence Update: ‘The Hardened And Networked Army’

The Howard government has released a Defence update, ‘The Hardened and Networked Army’.

The document says: “The Government is committed to ensuring that the Army is of sufficient size and has the right equipment to meet the challenges of increasingly demanding strategic conditions. The Hardened and Networked Army will increase the size and firepower of the land force, improve the protection provided to our troops, and allow them to communicate better on the future battlefield.”


Cosgrove Comments On Sea King Crash

The Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Cosgrove, has held a press conference on the Sea King crash.

A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sea King helicopter carrying 11 personnel crashed on April 2 as it was making its landing approach on the island of Nias, in Indonesia.

Six members of the RAN and three members of the Royal Australian Air Force died in the crash. [Read more…]


Latham And Beazley Launch ALP’s Defence Policy

The Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, and the Shadow Minister for Defence, Kim Beazley, today released the ALP’s Defence policy for the federal election. [Read more…]


Securing The North-West Shelf: Beazley Questions Coalition Policy

The Coalition government today released its policy for defending Australia’s north-west shelf.

The policy document is shown below.

The ALP’s Shadow Minister for Defence, Kim Beazley, challenged the policy at a press conference. [Read more…]