Question and response provided to Greg Sheridan
27 March 2013
I was just wondering whether you can give me any guidance on the timing of the White Paper. Specifically I have heard that the White Paper is already written. Of course it could be amended. I don’t regard this as scandalous or wicked. I’m just really inquiring as to fact whether it’s the case that it’s already written.
In May last year the Prime Minister and the Minister announced that the Government would deliver a new Defence White Paper in the first half of 2013.
Work on the White Paper is progressing well within the Department of Defence and other relevant Government departments and agencies.
In early February, the Minister received from the Secretary of the Department of Defence what he regards as the first working draft of the White Paper.
There will obviously be further changes made to that by Defence and other relevant Government departments and agencies before the Government considers the draft White Paper.
The Government has not considered the draft White Paper.
In December 2012, text from a working document was leaked.
That leaked working document has no authority or standing. It did not come to the Minister. The Secretary of the Department of Defence had not even read it. And it had not been progressed through any of the usual interdepartmental processes.
The only document that matters and the one that needs to be judged on its merits is the 2013 Defence White Paper released and endorsed by the Government.
That release will be in the second quarter of this year, expected in May or June.