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Questions on Afghanistan

Senator LUDLAM-I want to pick up there. Can we take it categorically then that defence has not been asked by the government to prepare any sort of evaluation of whether Australia could make a larger troop commitment to Afghanistan?

Air Chief Marshal Houston-No, we have not been asked.

Senator LUDLAM-Is it still the expectation that Dutch forces will be withdrawing from Afghanistan in the near future?

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Australian Military in Afghanistan

SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
DEFENCE PORTFOLIO

Senator LUDLAM-I would like to move to Afghanistan. According to the portfolio statements, the cost of the deployments to Afghanistan is around $53.1 million. Is that correct?

Air Chief Marshal Houston-I will get the Chief Finance Officer to handle all money questions.

Mr Prior-Senator, your question was?

Senator LUDLAM-The overall appropriation for Afghanistan and what that covers.

Mr Prior-What it covers or the quantum?

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So that was estimates

So that was estimates.

One of the few advantages of being new to this job is appreciating it's strangeness with fresh eyes. Three times a year, while the Senate is in recess, an intriguing and largely overlooked ritual takes place in the airy committee rooms of Parliament House in Canberra. Senior public servants, heads of departments and a highly qualified army of advisers and minders converge for five days of cross-examination in front of the Senate's eight standing committees.

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