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Super Hornet: Rein in the brass

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COMMENTS

27 February 2008 10:37

Opposition Defence spokesman Nick Minchin's criticism of Defence Minister Fitzgibbon on Lateline last night was off base. The fact that Fitzgibbon said he hopes the air power review comes down in favour of Super Hornet is not a policy reversal. Fitzgibbon was simply making the point that cancelling the Super Hornet contract would be expensive, so it would be better to proceed. But he also said emphatically that he would cancel the contract if the review found that Super Hornet was not the right aircraft. So Fitzgibbon has not changed his position and is not interfering with the review.

Far more deserving of opprobrium have been the military brass. We reported last week that RAAF Air Marshal Shepherd pretty emphatically endorsed Super Hornet during his trip to Singapore. Chief of Defence Force Angus Houston did the same before a Senate Estimates Committee. They can both be fairly criticised for pre-empting the air power review, and Fitzgibbon should be asked why he hasn't brought them into line.

UPDATE: Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing out that I had incorrectly referred to Geoff Shepherd as a 'Chief Marshall', misspelling 'Marshal' into the bargain.

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