4 December 2003

Australia in US missile defence program

Australia has agreed to participate in the United States missile defence program, Defence Minister Robert Hill said today.

Senator Hill said the US had invited Australia to join the program, along with unspecified other nations.

He said the government was looking at a long timeframe, but did not envisage a ground-based missile defence system on Australian territory.

But it would involve assisting with research and could involve incorporating a missile defence system into three planned air warfare destroyers for the Australian navy.

'We have given that careful consideration and we think that we can play a part, obviously a small part in terms of the massive overall program,' he told reporters.

'We think that with the proliferation of long-range missiles and trends towards proliferation of mass destruction warheads, it is a sensible decision for Australia to take.

Idiocy, pure idiocy to join a system that does not work to combat a problem that is being exacerbated by the Bush administration's passion for unilateralism.

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