Journalist’s defence policy

Senator Hill holds a doorstop interview at DSTO Fisherman Bend about a new fatigue testing system for RAAF aircraft but all the journalist wants to do is ask questions that clarify the Journalists opinion. It would appear that he believes that the current Australian Government are warmongers and should not buy equipment such as cruise missiles that might frighten Indonesia. slam.jpg The Newly Introduced SLAM ER missile System. One of the options Australia is considering (Quotes in italics are mine) Journalist: Minister, why does Australia need a cruise missile capability? Senator Hill: ?Crew safety (stupid) Why do you need the latest digital micro recorder? Why do we need destroyers or artillery or tanks – because we need a defence force and we have to equip them with up-to-date weaponry- Jesus what’s your point Journalist: What signal does this send out to our neighbours such as Indonesia who may have legitimate concerns that we will not have, or will have this capability? Senator Hill: Well the Indons have known that cruise missiles have been in our procurement progamme for years. A very clear message we hope! Journalist: It’s not a sign of greater belligerence on Australia’s part? Senator Hill: Not at all. Potential enemies need to know that we have a competent and well equipped defence force and we will use it if we are threatened . If, in your minimal understanding of defence matters, that constitutes belligerence, then make up your own answer. You will anyway. Journalist: What’s the likelihood this will actually trigger some sort of arms race through the Asia Pacific region? Senator Hill: None and we don’t care if it does! Journalist: What do you say to people who suggest that Indonesia is the only possible target for these sorts of weapons? Senator Hill: Indonesia is a friend and neighbour of Australia. And it’s a good idea to remind them every now and then that they should hold ABRI (Indon’s answer to our ADF) on a short leash. I would also say that Indonesia is not the only possible target – with the war against terrorism in full swing we are presented with a world wide target-rich battlefield. Hey, anyone can be our target – just blow up some of our women and kids and then stand around in one spot and crow. You too can become a target The journalist has chosen to ignore the fact that we had a squadron of F18s in the Middle East working with air forces that were equipped with cruise missiles. Even a grade 8 teenage boy would know that the ability to fire your GPS guided missile 400 km away from any threat makes crew moral and accuracy a non-issue. Still, what would I know – I’m not a journalist. There are images of all the contenders here at Defence Correction Reader kinch has correctly pointed out that ABRI should be TNI – see comments.


  • well put! it would really be something to hear a politician actually talk back like this to an excuse for a journalist just once in a lifetime.

    you probably know a lot more bahasa indonesia than i do, but one thing i am fairly certain of is that the current acronym for the armed forces is TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia) – and became so after the polisi were hived off a few years ago. presumably ABRI stood for something more encompassing.

    perhaps it’s hair-splitting: for the average indonesian, i am not sure which would be worse, meeting a platoon of KOPASSUS thugs or police mobile brigade (BRIMOB) in a dark alley.

    anyway, they love an acronym or three, those indonesians…

  • Outstanding post.

    What wouldn’t I give to see a few politicians answer journalists with these sorts of responses.

  • kinch.
    You’re dead right.

    My Bahasa is 1966 based from RAAF Lang School Point Cook when I was trying to get to the Borneo war. I eventually spent 18 months there and when I write without edits I refer to mid 60s Bahasa as in Djakarta or ABRI. Using ABRI just dates my language.

    No , it’s not hair splitting – I should be accurate as I was young once and a qualified linguist.

  • ahhh those were the days… i can say that with some authority since i hadn’t yet been born in 1966. you must have hit the tail end of konfrontasi given that sukarno well and truly shot his bolt that year and if i recall correctly from some not very deep reading, ABRI put some generals on a plane to malaysia some time in 1967 over sukarno’s head and made like buddies.

    when in jakarta, i get quite a kick out of seeing the monumental sculptures thrown up by sukarno – there’s one popularly known as ‘the pizza man’. the ‘free papua’ statue i find a bit less funny.

    as an aside, i’ve read that an effect of the breakup of ABRI into TNI/Polisi and more strict division of functions has been that all the lower (including officer) rank graft opportunities are now much more concentrated in the police… apparently it costs ca. US$20,000 (astronomical sum in indonesia) to buy a place in the police officer training academy. army officers don’t get much chance to put finger in the pie below general officer level. hence friction between TNI and police and the odd occasional gun battle between them in more outlying parts.