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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 02:36 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 02:36 | SYDNEY

The PM sure does say 'sea-lines of communication' a lot

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10 September 2008 15:26

In fact, it gets eight mentions in this press conference, held today, where the Prime Minister expands on his speech. He seems to know what the phrase means, too, saying that Australia must ensure that it can 'defend our sea-lines of communication to make sure that our exports get to the rest of the world.' But is that a realistic ambition? Can Australia really expect to be able to defend the maritime arteries that carry our trade to the world? Surely you need something of the size and capability of the US Navy to achieve that.

This press conference reinforces the point I made in my previous post: Rudd is holding the Government line on defence spending. He even avoided a direct question on an expansion of the navy by talking instead about naval personnel. But although Rudd's not committing himself, the weight of emphasis on maritime security in the speech and press conference might be a hint that the White Paper will include some extra naval purchases. A fourth Air Warfare Destroyer, perhaps?

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