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General Alert

Tony Abbott looking . . . stupid (image by ozpolotic.com)

Tony Abbott looking . . . stupid (image by ozpolotic.com)

Despite diplomatic convention dictating otherwise, in a press conference in Seoul, Tony Abbott continued his bad habit of publicly criticising the previous government for several issues, including their decision to cancel a gun order from South Korea. He has apparently promised, in his obscene haste to sign a free trade agreement, that we will buy armaments from them in the future.

Now I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to spend our money on education, health, action on climate change, the NBN, the NDIS, job creation – those sorts of things – than on buying weapons to help Korea’s economy.

Total world military expenditure in 2012 was over $1.75 trillion. This is equivalent to 2.5 per cent of global GDP. The US spent about $700 billion alone.

China announced a defence budget for 2014 of $132 billion, a generous increase of 12.2% on the year before. That was the official figure, though the real one may be 40% higher still. Japan, Vietnam and South Korea are raising their military expenditure in response to the Chinese military build-up.

Russia’s defence spending will increase by 18% in 2014, and another 33% over the next two years. This is projected to be about 3.4 percent of Russia’s GDP but over 20 percent of government spending.

Defence experts estimate the current Australian defence spending at about $26.5bn this year – or 1.6 per cent of GDP. The Coalition wants to double this to $50 billion a year within a decade and have commissioned, you guessed it, yet another defence white paper.

Minister for Defence, Senator Johnston, originally wanted academic and noted commentator Alan Dupont to write the report, and Mr Dupont had begun work in the Defence Department and had assembled a team to work on the document. ‘Tony Abbott’s office’ (have you noticed how often that phrase comes up) overruled him deciding that the white paper would be written within the Defence Department, as was the case with the Howard government’s 2001 defence white paper. What Defence Department in the history of the world has ever said we need less money?

While we are being told that Labor ambushed the Coalition with unaffordable spending commitments on education and the NDIS in the years beyond the forward estimates we hear this:

“THE Abbott Government is set to give the green light to the nation’s biggest ever military purchase allowing Defence to order up to 86 American made stealth fighter jets for the RAAF.

The planes will cost about $90 million each when they roll off the assembly line between 2018 and 2020 and the overall project will cost some $14 billion during the 30-year life of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.”

and this:

“THE Abbott government will spend $4 billion buying eight highly-sophisticated P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes for the Royal Australian Air Force. The US-built aircraft will be delivered in 2017 to replace the Cold War-era P3 Orion aircraft. The Poseidon will come equipped with torpedoes and harpoon missiles to destroy submarines and warships.”

and this:

“Australia announced plans Thursday for a fleet of giant high-tech unmanned drones to help patrol the nation’s borders, monitoring energy infrastructure and attempts to enter the country illegally.  A report in February said seven of the US-made drones would be purchased for Aus$3 billion ($2.7 billion), but Abbott said the details of how many and when had yet to be finalized.”

It seems we have money to buy planes and drones from the US and who knows what from South Korea, but we have no money for locally made submarines.

“Senator Johnston told the Australian Strategic Policy Institute conference this morning that he was “still working (on) the problem” of what sort of submarines should be built in SA. He also confirmed that building 12 submarines was no longer a Government policy…and that the specific number was now an “aspiration”.

Senator Johnston also echoed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s stance that building boats was about Defence capability not job creation.”

This seems to be at odds with their previous stance recognising the need for ship building in South Australia.  Perhaps the election result changed their minds.

“The Abbott government is also aware that it needs to make decisions quickly to address the looming so-called “valley of death” in the shipbuilding industry. This refers to the gap in shipbuilding work that will come about when the Air Warfare Destroyer project is complete.”

I am just wondering what we intend to do with all these weapons of war since the only people we are at war with is unarmed asylum seekers. I mean, seriously, does anyone truly believe that China is going to invade us using military force when we are giving them the country without firing a shot? And just what would Tony do if his unmanned drones detected an invasion fleet?

I have respect for our military and the job they do but when we are all being told we must help with the heavy lifting (instead of rising on the promised tide) how about we spend some of those billions on productive things rather than new toys for generals and admirals.

 

37 comments

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  1. Graeme Rust

    create jobs?? no fear, some of those people voted against him, so to punish them he wont create any jobs, that will teach them. he’s building up some weapons for when the minions attack him, and then he will take over the world. simple.

  2. John.R

    Stop worrying about this and all their silly spending promises to machoistic meatheads.The financial system will collapse before they get to the till and they will be flat out paying their own pensions let alone supporting any war veterans on a disability pension who are usually the last to be looked after after the pollies have looked after themselves

  3. mikisdad

    A pity there is apparently no motivation to spend on PEACE initiatives.

  4. bighead1883

    He must want to become Obama`s “Deputy Dawg” like Howard was to Dubya.
    Hmm another war must be coming up hey and some Country needs Democracy bombed into them Wall Street style.

  5. John.R

    P.S. What are you doing putting poor old sergeant Shultz in a story about a Nazi.? ?

  6. Stephen Tardrew

    Defense contractors love these guys as the weapon systems we buy will soon be redundant. It’s not like the old days when weapons systems could last a decade or more. This is a highway to planned obsolescence just the way the military industrial complex likes it. Arms reduction is possible if we all agree to unwind the military industrial complex and work towards sustainable treaties with controls upon arms production. The US is the number one culprit.

    The very nature of the military paradigm needs to be questions at a professional level to develop strategies to reduce tension and enhance the rights of sovereign nations. Firstly stop interfering and making things a damn site worse.

  7. Kaye Lee

    I know nothing

  8. Wayne

    I’m going to send Tony a deputy sheriffs play outfit;cause he now thinks he’s a global deputy sheriff to the USA.Maybe he’ll run down the main street of Canberra singing out Mr Dillon ! Mr Dillon!

  9. mars08

    I have always thought that’ it’s a good thing that the Abbott govt DIDN’T have access to more military hardware. My reasoning being that I felt sure the chest-thumping neanderthal (with more firepower) was bound to get us into a war.

    So now we are getting more firepower. yay….

  10. mikisdad

    Wayne, yes and perhaps someone will shoot the bastard. Oh no, forgot – it’s only the good that die young.

  11. Kaye Lee

    It’s ok mars08. Why would anyone fight with us when we are letting them in to make a fortune to send back home. If they can make us give them billions more for their toys well all the better for them. We have opened the safe for all and sundry to plunder.

  12. kathysutherland2013

    My theory is that Tony’s fantasy is to be a war-time Prime Minister.

  13. john921fraser

    <

    Abbott the morons alter ego here in Queensland, colloquially known as the simpleton newman, has his government moving all their IT to Microsoft Cloud computing.

    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/microsoft-to-lead-qld-gov-out-dark-ages/2226453/

    When you think the LNP cannot regress further they surprise even the most trenchant critics.

    WTF ! why bother having a government …. lets just let the Corporations fight it out and the one holding the most information is the winner.

  14. jasonblog

    I’ve put a lot of thought into this and in my learned and humble opinion Australians are mostly fwits.

    That feels so much better for having got that off my chest!

    What Abbott is doing regards military worship and spending on arms was to be expected. Don’t bother with anticipating to read any sort of garish headlines of outrage in the mainstream media. The spin will come into play. Fear and loathing will be invoked to ‘rationally’ explain the need for all the new weaponry. It will blow the budget to smithereens but don’t be surprised if there are tax breaks for the wealthiest yet to come.

    Abbott’s office consists of Credlin and her husband Loughnane the former big-wig of the IPA.

    The curious thing about Kaye Lee’s piece is to read yet another minister has been over-ruled so that actions are decided in the Credlin / Loughnane sphere of influence. I have a couple of hunches at present.

    Firstly, the unelected Credlin & Loughnane combo has quickly worn thin. There will be a backlash against the centralisation of decision making. Internal revolt within the Libs must be building. Somebody like Johnstone isn’t going to stand by and watch his reputation and integrity get trampled on. The history books will record him as being Minister for Defence. He, like others in the Libs, probably understand that they are in fact answerable to electorates & voters. They’ll be the ones who wear the fall out and not Credlin / Loughnane.

    Secondly, I have a feeling the things that got Abbott into the prime-ministership will turn out to be his Achilles heel. Andrew Bolt, and by extension the Murdoch media, and the IPA are quickly becoming difficult to shrug off. The public to its credit (the fwits comment was in jest and due to a bit of frustration!) is not convinced on the merit of changing the Racial Discrimination Act and the latest piece of absurdity from the IPA regarding abolishing the minimum wage so as to liberate people to the dignity of impoverishment has been roundly mocked and ridiculed and treated with contempt. (Marilyn Lake had an excellent piece in today’s Age ‘Attacks on basic wage erode humanity’ – if you haven’t already read it check it out).

    The response to bring down Abbott probably won’t come from the ALP. I have a feeling at the moment they are wedged between a rock and a hard place and are trying to find their way out. But that means there is an opportunity for individual citizens to become engaged with what concerns them and do something about it.

    Just as a final remark in my War & Piece length comment, while I mostly enjoy the AIMN I wonder if some focus could be spent on the ALP. If they are the alternative government then I am not filled with a lot optimism with them either. (Declaration I am a former Liberal voter and since last year a very happy Greens member – I deplore hard-core Neoliberal ideology and believe Australian democracy should be informed by evidence based policies).

  15. Fed up

    Abbott appears to love playing war games. It is a little frightening when one thinks about it. This PM would quickly takes us into a war, if one arose.

    One wonders why, when there is no history of soldiering in his family. In fact the opposite appears to be true.

    Why did they say, his father visited this country for the duration of the war. Could be wrong.

  16. Fed up

    Jason, Labor is no longer in government.

  17. CMMC

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitus_(sociology)

    “Habitus”, thats the sociological construct Abbott and Credlin are concerned with. Max Weber and Merleau-Ponty described medieval belief-systems, despite being without any factual basis, as actual problematics affecting everyday society.

  18. Anomander

    Each day, inch-by-inch we get closer to Fascism. Authoritarianism, Increased spending on the military, silencing of dissent, draconian laws against public gatherings, stratification of classes, aggressive nationalism, overt racism, chauvinism.

  19. mars08

    Kaye Lee:

    …Why would anyone fight with us when we are letting them in to make a fortune to send back home…

    Not much reason to make me feel safer. Kaye, there are plenty of poor countries full of brown people we can demonise and attack. Or maybe not attack, as much as “impose regime change”. Of course, our major trading partners would be exempt!

  20. geoffreyengland

    “And just what would Tony do if his unmanned drones detected an invasion fleet?……”

    Most likely crawl under his “humble” single bed at the barracks and quietly shit himself like the coward he truly is.

  21. bjkelly1958

    The Poseidon will come equipped with torpedoes and harpoon missiles to destroy submarines and warships.”… and boats full of asylum seekers?
    Yes, we really must get out of the habit of saying “Tony Abbott’s office” when we mean Peta Credlin.
    The whole military expenditure schmear is straight out of the Republican/Tea party song book. They’ve convinced Americans that they have to be the World’s police and defend democracy and fight, well anything they don’t like. We don’t buy it from you Abbott/Credlin when you won’t fund public hospitals, the NDIS, Gonski reforms or old age pensioners.

  22. mars08

    …does anyone truly believe that China is going to invade us using military force when we are giving them the country without firing a shot? And just what would Tony do if his unmanned drones detected an invasion fleet?

    hmmm… What’s amazing is that almost everyone assumes that Australia would be the nonbelligerent party in any regional clash.

  23. Sir ScotchMistery

    I’m putting a lot of effort into establishing a look of surprise on my face, but unfortunately, it isn’t happening.

    Can someone please advise something that Sir Tony or Dame Kwistoffer have done which is a suprise.

    With thanks

    Sir Scotch

  24. mars08

    Sir ScotchMistery:

    Can someone please advise something that Sir Tony or Dame Kwistoffer have done which is a suprise.

    Well… there are rumours that Christopher Maurice Pyne sometimes pisses standing up…

  25. mikisdad

    mars08 – Is it true that Bronwyn has been giving him lessons?

  26. Terry2

    I just saw something very odd on the ABC News coverage of Tony Abbott’s arrival in Shanghai. He got off the aircraft and was greeted by the various waiting dignitaries and then he got into the back seat of his waiting limousine with………..Peta Credlin. Not Mrs Abbott or the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop or our Ambassador to China but Peta Credlin.
    Is it just me ?

  27. Kaye Lee

    She sat next to him at the table when negotiating (in front of cameras anyway) with the Japanese leaders. I asked at the time, shouldn’t we have trade and legal and diplomatic experts sitting at the table in front of her? It is getting more brazen all the time. Even the stupid mountain climbing thing at Davros, there she is sitting with Tony and the head of the WEF.

  28. Fed up

    I was amazed the other day, when the defence minister, have not caught his name, was releasing information about submarines. He began by saying, that he was told he had to stick to the script, as it was a complicated matter and they did not want to get things mucked up. Well words to that effect. He did stick to the script. The minister then proceeded to read from a long, and at times, boring document.

  29. Paul Raymond Scahill

    Nothing Abbott does surprises me anymore. One can go to any Kindergarten (whatever) and young people there who do not stop to think before they act are all training to be prospective P.Ms. There is nothing else to say. Tony is an absolute MORON.

  30. jasonblog

    @Fed up

    And it will be a very long time before they are in government.

    And if by chance government does land in the ALP lap in the next few years WTF have they to offer?

    Sterile fawning from AIMN readers. More of the same really. That’s how we got into this mess. My point is, I’d be curious to know what the bloggers at AIMN believe the ALP is doing right and what they are doing wrong.

    If the AIMN is just an Abbott hate-fest then fair enough. It’s good to vent. But ideas that are future projected and solution oriented may have a role to play as well.

  31. Kaye Lee

    Jason,

    I think many here share your concern about viable alternatives. You have read enough stories here to know that. I have also read very good suggestions from many people – it isn’t all about moaning. It’s largely about information sharing. The fact that most of the information is about the current government is because they are the current decision makers. Policy wise – I prefer full Gonski and NDIS funding, a real NBN, and the beginnings of action on climate change. I am concerned about the attack on unions and the ABC, repeal of environmental laws, and the secrecy about government decisions. That puts Labor in front of the Coalition. It does not put them above criticism.

  32. Fed up

    Jason, if what we think of the previous government is all that interests you, all you need do,, is go to the archives. It reveals all.

    You will also find what we thought of how the Opposition of the time would turn out like Sadly we where wrong., All our fears have proved to be wrong. Yes, the reality is worse, than what we perceived at the time.

    Now, I would love to heart why this government is so successful. Maybe you can let us in on one good thing they have achieved.

  33. Stephen Tardrew

    Jason I and others have been clearly and explicitly critical of Labor. If you go back and read some past articles you will realize we are not hamstrung by party politics. That is your projection and not the facts. Some may be hard headed labor supporters, some not, that is their prerogative. This, after all, is an open forum.

    We need to give our rational thoughts and opinions and I am sure if you posted about the limitations of Labor many here would, to some extent, agree. Just continue presenting ideas in a process of mutual respect and many here will listen.

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