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Make love, not war

With Joe Hockey eager to let us know how much we are all spending on those bludging single mothers, I thought it would be worth letting Joe’s cleaner know how much he is spending on defence.

After the 2014 budget, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute released a paper showing that

“ASPI Defence Budget Brief 2014-15: The Cost of Defence is eighty million, two hundred & eighty-one thousand, three hundred & ninety-one dollars & seventy-eight cents per day.”

That’s about $1250 per man, woman and child every year – $3750 for Hockey’s single mum with two kids.

In real terms, the year-on-year increase given to defence in Hockey’s first budget amounted to a 6% boost. The increase would have been larger still but for extra funding provided for 2013-14 by the Gillard ($359 million) and Abbott ($500 million) governments.

The paper points out that this large boost to defence in what was otherwise an austerity budget came at a price.

“the government clearly demonstrated a strong commitment to defence in the 2014 budget; every extra dollar allocated to Defence meant deeper cuts to social programs and higher increases to taxes than would have otherwise been the case to achieve its fiscal goals.”

They even suggest that they will have difficulty spending the money that is being lavished upon them with Abbott’s goal to increase annual defence spending to 2% of GDP in 2023-24.

“investment in new equipment will grow from $3.6 billion this year to $6.1 billion. Experience shows that such rapid growth will be very difficult to achieve.

On the basis of projected economic growth, 2% of GDP will amount to around $52 billion in 2023-24, equivalent to almost $42 billion in today’s terms. There’ll be around $112 billion available over the next decade for capital equipment. In comparison, we’ve spent just $66 billion over the decade just past (both figures expressed in today’s dollars taking account of inflation).

…most of the public discussion has been focused on the poor state of the books left by their predecessors. It’s entirely likely, indeed probable, that they haven’t fully worked through the consequences of spending 2% of GDP in 2023.

The risk in all of this is that proposals of diminishing worth – for both extra personnel and new equipment – will arise. In a funding regime driven by GDP share rather than by balancing costs and benefits, there’s no lower limit on the marginal worth of proposals. Such is the nature of a policy based on input costs rather than capability outcomes.”

After such largesse last year, and the government looking for savings this year to fund their spending spree on Tony’s tradies and nannies, as well as the release of a Defence White paper later this year, one might have assumed that defence might be an area that would be on hold…but no.

This year the government have gone with the glossy brochure approach to the budget and Kevin Andrew’s pamphlet provides the following figures from budget 2015-16:

“The Government will provide Defence with $31.9 billion in 2015–16 and $132.6 billion over the Forward Estimates.

This is an increase of $9.9 billion over the Forward Estimates when compared to the 2014–15 Budget and represents record expenditure on Defence.

The 2015–16 Budget delivers on the Government’s promise to grow, rather than cut, the Defence budget. The Government remains firm on its commitment to increase Defence spending to two per cent of GDP within a decade.

Key measures in the 2015–16 Budget include:

Operations – the Government has agreed to additional funding of $752.7 million in the 2015–16 Budget and $802.4 million over the Forward Estimates. This takes total operations funding to $910.7 million in 2015–16 and $1,071.8 million over the Forward Estimates.

In 2013–14, the Government approved over $17 billion in capability projects, including additional 58 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

Since the last Budget, the Government has approved a further $5 billion in new capital investment, including:

  • two additional Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft to bolster the Royal Australian Air Force’s existing fleet of six strategic lift aircraft
  • the new Helicopter Aircrew Training System – a fully integrated modern training environment preparing aircrew for the new generation of advanced combat helicopters
  • new and improved personal protective equipment including new-generation body armour
  • state-of-the-art Special Forces vehicles being assembled in Australia
  • the final elements required to complete the transformation of Army’s artillery capability to a state-of-the-art digital system
  • deployable air traffic control systems to better support humanitarian and disaster relief operations
  • transportable satellite terminals that allow our deployed forces to use the Wideband Global Satellite system to communicate back to Australia
  • first pass for the future Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability that will replace the workhorse Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) reconnaissance vehicle.

Earlier this year, the Government announced the acquisition strategy for the Future Submarine Program. This Program is the largest Defence procurement program in Australia’s history and represents an investment in the order of $50 billion in Australia’s security. The Government expects that significant work will be undertaken in Australia during the build phase of the future submarine including combat system integration, design assurance and land based testing.

Sir John Monash Centre – the Government has previously announced that it would provide initial funding of $2.8 million in the Budget to commence the establishment of an Australian interpretive centre at Villers-Bretonneux, near the site of the Australian National Memorial on the Somme. The Government will commit a further $18 million in 2015–16 and $89 million in the Forward Estimates to complete the project. The interpretive centre will provide a focal point for Australian visitors and tell the proud story of the soldiers who served on the Western Front battlefields during World War I.”

When you consider these billions do not include all the money spent on border protection, national security, intelligence organisations, the AFP, metadata retention, the domestic ‘war on terror’, ANZAC Day celebrations etc, the figures are staggering.

Maybe Joe Hockey’s cleaner could strike a blow for we mothers and tell Joe it is better, and far cheaper, to make love, not war.

 

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41 comments

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  1. pamelac65

    Thanks Kaye- any chance you can dig the same on Asylum Seeker interdiction, detention on and off shore and associated costs of this war on refugees.

  2. Terry2

    After the discussion on Insiders about PPL changes and Double Dipping mothers, I noted that Laura Tingle said she wasn’t able to find anything in the budget papers on this matter of national importance.

    I’ve looked too and can find nothing other than newspaper rhetoric about saving $1 billion over four years : with your superior researching skill, Kaye, can you find where they have laid this out in the budget papers.

  3. diannaart

    Has WW3 been declared? Else how can any government of any political bent justify spending more on military than on the people of Australia and its future.

    Sure we need a defence, however, at the expense of future investment into a healthy independent nation? Doesn’t make sense, Joe.

  4. Matters Not

    Let’s not be too critical. After all, Defence provides a great training ground for ‘our’ future Governors and Knights of the realm.

    Besides, there’s all those photo opportunities.

    Where would the Village Idiot be if it wasn’t for all those wars with a healthy dash of terrorism thrown in?

  5. DanDark

    Thanks for this article Kaye
    Once again we have to ask the question where are these rabid pack of morons priorities?
    And as you have clearly pointed out again they are not on the people of the country unless you are a rich white male
    or the ADF…….

  6. Kaye Lee

    Terry,

    Not sure that this helps.

    They are claiming cumulative savings of $10.426 billion over this and the following four years from “Provisions made for the Paid Parental Leave Scheme, Levy and Company Tax cut”

    See Table 3 on this page

    http://www.budget.gov.au/2015-16/content/bp1/html/bp1_bs3-02.htm

    or

    Major decreases in payments in 2015‑16 as a result of parameter and other variations since the 2014‑15 MYEFO include:
    •not proceeding with the Paid Parental Leave Scheme, resulting in decreased cash payments of $10.1 billion over the five years to 2018‑19, provisioned for in the Contingency Reserve;

    on this page

    http://www.budget.gov.au/2015-16/content/bp1/html/bp1_bs3-03.htm

    or perhaps this

    The Government will achieve savings of $967.7 million over four years by removing the ability for individuals to double dip when applying for the existing Parental Leave Pay (PLP) scheme, from 1 July 2016.

    Currently individuals are able to access Government assistance in the form of PLP, in addition to any employer‑provided parental leave entitlements.

    The Government will remove the ability for individuals to double dip, by taking payments from both their employer and the Government.

    http://www.budget.gov.au/2015-16/content/bp2/html/bp2_expense-20.htm

    In the glossy brochure on “Fairness” PPL appears under the heading “Welfare integrity measures”

    http://www.budget.gov.au/2015-16/content/glossy/tax/html/tax-12.htm

    And to think, it was a workplace entitlement until so recently.

  7. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I wonder how many countries would seek to invade us if we were to stop spending on defence altogether?

  8. Kaye Lee

    Rosemary,

    Why would anyone invade us when they can buy us instead? If China wanted to invade we couldn’t stop them anyway. We should be using our defence forces for what we are good at which is humanitarian aid, disaster relief, rebuilding, medical emergencies, search and rescue, peacekeeping.

  9. Kaye Lee

    pamelac65,

    I am not ignoring your request but it is much harder as it is spread around several portfolios.

    From defence,

    “The Government has agreed to extend Operation Resolute, the military contribution to whole-of-Government maritime security activities to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests and deter people smuggling. This includes the ADF’s important contribution to the Government’s successful Operation Sovereign Borders.
    The Government has agreed to additional funding of $48.1 million in the 2015–16 Budget and $53.8 million over the Forward Estimates. This takes the total funding to $48.7 million in 2015–16 and $54.4 million over the Forward Estimates.”

    That is the small fry. I will update as I find stuff from Dept of Immigration and Border Protection (and others).

    Edit: just found this which answers your question well

    http://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/2015-2016-budget

    This is also very good

    http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2015-16-Budget.pdf

  10. Kaye Lee

    $110 million to build a WWI “interpretive centre” in France.

    A $50 billion investment in submarines with no mention of us building them and serious doubt about the Japanese sharing their secret technology, like special steel and noise reduction.

    “Mr Yamauchi said Japan may provide just some of its knowledge to Australia.

    “This is not just about building a hull, it’s the most advanced submarine in the world and unless Australia studies it intensely and Japan helps, it will take decades,” he said.

    “Australia could have many technical and implementation problems.”

    Mr Yamauchi and Mr Ogawa both told the ABC that an Australian budget of $20 billion would mean that all the construction would have to happen in Japan.

    And they said any attempts to do any of the work in Adelaide would double the price.

    Mr Ogawa said if construction happened in Japan it would be bad for Australian jobs, but good for the Japanese economy.

    “If the issue of military secrets can be resolved then Japanese business will be happy it will bring jobs and growth,” he said.

    Retired submarine commander Mr Yamauchi said he believed buying the Japanese subs was not in Australia’s best interests, adding that Australia should keep developing its own industry.

    To run and service a fleet of 10 Soryu submarines will require at least 1,000 staff, who need to be trained for 10 to 15 years

    Some of the training is expected to take place in Japan.

    The deal has the potential to bind the Japanese and Australian defence forces together for decades.

    Mr Yamauchi said it would mean Japan would have 20 Soryu subs, and Australia 10.

    “They’ll have a very big military power in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. Having common weapons systems will mean security ties will become stronger. China will be upset most by this.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/japanese-concerns-over-submarine-deal/5743022

    Add to that the American bomber and surveillance aircraft “misspeak”, the marine presence in Darwin, and Bishop’s castigation of the Chinese Ambassador over some obscure islands somewhere that have nothing to do with us, and I would suggest we are prodding the tiger that we are riding for no good reason.

  11. Kyran

    Darn it, Ms Lee. Why keep introducing facts, when ideology is the focus? Logistically, a population of 24 million, regardless of equipment, will not and can not defend the land mass we inhabit. The military in Australia is top heavy in terms of all of the wonderful commanders it employs to advise the government. Reminds me of those old movies, “Wag the dog” and “Thirteen Days”. Our ‘defence’ is all about going into other countries and blowing the crap out of them, most usually at America’s request. There couldn’t possibly be any benefit in developing a military that could go to our neighbours with all of these resources and assist them in their times of need, which are increasing. The ‘stuff’ we insist on buying (however ineffective) is ‘offensive’, not ‘defensive’. As you quite rightly point out, anyone wanting this country merely has to buy it, and China is nowhere near the biggest buyer. As to the morals of prioritising ‘defence’ over what the country needs, apparently there are some voters out there who buy this rubbish. I can’t help but think of Churchill’s comment, when asked to reduce domestic budgets at the height of WW2. “So, what are we fighting for”. Thank you for the reminder, war, what is it good for, absolutely nothing. Take care

  12. Matters Not

    Logistically, a population of 24 million, regardless of equipment, will not and can not defend the land mass we inhabit.

    That’s the truth of it.

    If China decided to seriously move against us, the best investment would be in a very, very big white flag, held as high as possible.

    Alternatively, we could provide them with a 1800 number announcing a recorded ‘We Surrender’ message. Or something similar.

    On the other hand, instead of huffing and puffing with a dozen proposed submarines (hilarious), 6 dozen aircraft (that may or may not be capable of ever taking to the air), and the like, we could downplay ‘hard’ diplomacy’ and try for a softer approach.

    Instead of slashing the foreign aid budget and turbo charging the ‘aggression’ capabilities (otherwise laughingly known as the Defence budget), we could do a complete ‘back flip’.

    I think it’s called ‘growing up’ and recognising the limits of our powers, particularly when it comes to military matters.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Not just the limits of our powers, but what we are trying to achieve. If we want “bang for our buck” then I would suggest foreign aid gives a far greater return than a war. Lifting people out of poverty, educating them, empowering women, eradicating disease – all these would be more productive than buying jets whose only function is to bomb things or submarines whose only function is to….actually I have never quite worked that out.

    The “First Principles Review of Defence” released in April was chaired by the former managing director of Rio Tinto. I don’t know David Peever but I would question his relevant experience in making defence decisions.

  14. Matters Not

    submarines whose only function is to

    Beats me as well. They’re not even good for photo opportunities.

    Besides, those which function as intended spend too much time below the surface anyway.

  15. Terry2

    Kaye

    Thank you for that information ( why couldn’t I find that).

    In the government’s budget papers they say, on the subject of Paid Parental Leave and Double Dipping :

    ‘The Government will ensure that all primary carers would have access to parental leave payments that are at least equal to the maximum PLP benefit (currently 18 weeks at the national minimum wage).’

    So what it appears they are doing is clamping down on the Public Service who, as a matter of right, have the entitlement to benefits both from the PLP scheme and from their employer ( the state) and that’s where the savings are coming from.

    Can you imagine them taking punitive action against an employer who tops up an employees entitlements once that employee has secured the legislated PLP entitlement : I doubt it very much for a regime who pride themselves on small government.

  16. Kaye Lee

    I find it interesting that they are claiming savings of over $10 billion for something they told us would be funded by a levy on business. Why had they set aside money in the contingency reserve if it was “fully funded”? Was that another porky?

  17. Owen

    Defence….. ..really? …….Are we being invaded?…… I think it should be renamed the Department of offence!

  18. JeffJL

    To all those folk who think China would be able to invade Australia.

    They do not have the ability to “bring back into the fold” their renegade province (Taiwan) which is only a couple of hundred km from their coast. How do you expect them to invade a country several thousand km away? It is the Muserians we are trying to defend against.

    To make something clear. I don’t think that a target of 2% GDP Defence spending is wise. As Kay points out Defence will have trouble spending the increases they have already given it. An efficiency dividend (say get the Helicopter Landing ships we are getting from Spain and finishing off here back on track) would produce a better result than throwing money at Defence.

  19. Matters Not

    They do not have the ability to “bring back into the fold” their renegade province

    Really? In ‘raw’ power terms they could do it within a week, I suspect.

    But the ‘implications’ (broadly defined), would in all probability, be not worth the ‘cost’, also broadly defined.

    JeffJL, I suspect that your ‘analysis’ might need a little work.

  20. Don Winther

    Can we please stop using the word Billion and use Millions. $1 billion = $1,000 Million. $31.9 Billion doesn’t sound like much but $31,900 Million is a massive amount of our money and brings it all into perspective.

  21. Kyran

    So, once we have this wonderful military machine, we need not be afraid of invaders, terrorists, etc?
    I went off to have a look at the Marshall Plan, after the second world war.
    Even googled ‘Iraq rebuilding’. Tens of billions (my apologies, Mr Winther) paid by governments to private contractors to rebuild the country they just finished bombing (estimates go from $60-130 billion). My bent at that time was fiscal, with due regard to the article. Then I had a look at civilian casualties. Notwithstanding that aggressors don’t count civilian casualties, deaths since 2003 apparently exceed 1 mill. That was just Iraq.
    I am posting this to correct my last entry. War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing (other than private contractors). Us aussies have refined this notion. Our contractors manage our war on people smugglers the same way. Demean, abuse and defile the victims and aggrandise the bully’s. But don’t keep count of your mistakes. Vale Reza Berati (regrettably, one of many).
    Take care

  22. Kaye Lee

    Kyran,

    Reza was indeed one of many who have made it to “safety” only to die whilst under our protection/persecution. The number of suicides in detention centres is truly alarming. We remove all hope from desperate traumatised people who have survived a perilous journey to seek our help and pretend we care about deaths at sea.

    Today I watched the Senate committee hearing into Nauru. What we are subjecting these people to is inhumane, as we ALL know. The asylum seekers who arrived by boat who are currently in our care are being used as cannon fodder to deter any others who are fleeing war and persecution. In fact, they have been set adrift on land, with our gutless leader saying today, not our problem…it is up to the governments of PNG and Nauru. This is in contradiction with international law which very clearly states that those people we incarcerate are indeed our responsibility.

  23. Terry2

    I was recently criticised for labelling our detention facilities on Manus and Nauru as gulags : on reflection , I was wrong to do so.

    Those imprisoned in soviet gulags had a clear distinction in that they had been accused, tried and found guilty of offences which may or may not have been trumped up ; those imprisoned on Manus and Nauru have not even received the fundamental right of habeas corpus.

    Ultimately the claims of false imprisonment will be sheeted home to this regime.

  24. corvus boreus

    Jammy March,
    You espouse the ‘fun’ of war with all the enthusiasm of an armchair sadist and sociopath (hardened by hours spent on “Call of Duty”) with neither theoretical nor practical knowledge of the true horror and suffering it brings, both to participants and, especially, civilian bystanders.
    Pathetic.

  25. Michael Taylor

    People forget how much fun fighting in wars can be

    What a pathetic, ridiculous comment.

    I’ve known many men and women who have fought in wars. Not one of then said it was fun.

    Try growing up with a man who spent 20 months in New Guinea fighting the Japanese and see the emotional scars.

    You are an idiot.

  26. JeffJL

    matters not.

    I think you will find that an amphibious invasion is a lot harder than you think. Look at the size of the D Day landings and also how many problems the Americans had in the pacific. China does not have the amphibious capability.

  27. Harquebus

    How many wars exactly have you been in Jammy?

  28. Kaye Lee

    I have a feeling that Jammy March has a rather inadequate life so he spends his time popping around the internet trying to stir people up – a true web wawwior.

  29. Kyran

    Ms Lee, whilst the premise of the article is clear in defining an ideological desire to spend 2% of GDP on defence, without any credible plan or strategy for a clear objective, military or otherwise, there are the associated costs that expand the 2% exponentially. Your second last paragraph mentions several of these ancillary costs, many of which are equally ideological and ineffective. The third tier cost of reparation should also be factored in. And, as you point out in your post of 19/5, 5.35 pm, there is a fourth tier, currently playing out in the senate inquiry. I can’t help but note the RC into child abuse in Ballarat at present is investigating the extraordinary numbers of victims who have self harmed or suicided over a period of decades due to inaction and denial by the perpetrators of the abuse. I would suggest whilst the RC is unrelated to the military, the evidence it produces in terms of the damage done to individuals and the cost (emotional as well as financial) is directly related, even if only as a template, to the military model and inherent costs.
    Your post of 17/5, 10.48, is equally worthy of exploration as, on my recollection, most studies pertaining to health, education, crime, etc, over the past several decades have clearly demonstrated $1 spent in targeted early intervention has generally saved $10 spent on addressing the issue after it’s occurred.
    I think joe and his mates are taking us all to the cleaners! Take care

  30. Kaye Lee

    Jammy,

    If your pleasure in life comes from deliberately baiting people and purposely trying to derail discussions then you only reinforce my original assessment. As you have contributed nothing of value to any discussion so far I will henceforth treat you with the ignore which you deserve. (unless you annoy me or our readers too much – I would hate to have to send you to timeout).

  31. diannaart

    @Matters Not

    I agree.

    Unfortunately, he lacks the intelligence, wit, humour and talent to ever be a successful Pissmaestro. Just winds up wetting himself.

  32. Kyran

    As a matter of comparison, the UN Millennium Development Goals target of 0.7% of GNI (not GDP) for countries to aspire to in their foreign aid budgets isn’t travelling too well. Rudd aspired to get to 0.5%, which also didn’t fare too well. Ironically, England has recently legislated to incorporate the request into future budgets, under a conservative government. Also ironic, the UAE is leading the ‘list’ of the six OECD countries that have actually achieved the target. As best as I can find out, we are currently travelling at less than 0.3% of GNI.
    If the ADF can’t spend the money they have been allocated as quickly as required, perhaps our FA Minister can make a suggestion. That was irony, as I would only expect sweet FA. Take care

  33. Kaye Lee

    This government is so confusing. As adviser to the Minister for FA, Bjorn Lomberg should be advocating an increase in FA as his previous work talked about the “bang for your buck” in eradicating disease and lifting people out of poverty. He also quantified the return on reef protection as the best spend at $24 for every dollar invested (unlike the East-West link which was, I believe, 45c for every dollar). Since he can quantify and dismiss the cost of action on climate change as too expensive, I would like a similar analysis done on defence spending – what is the return for dollar invested since that is the approach the government seems to adopt (when it suits them).

  34. Andreas Bimba

    The Tony Abbott government is similar in many ways to Ronald Reagan’s government in the US with defence being a high priority as well as tax reductions or avoidance for the affluent, more cutbacks and misery for the less affluent and deregulation of the corrupt finance sectors and big business.

    Under Ronald Reagan, US defence spending reached a height of 6.8% of GDP but this fell to 3.5% in 2001 and is now 3.8% of GDP under Obama.

    In Australia defence spending dropped to a low of 1.6% of GDP under Wayne Swann and is now 1.8% under Abbott and he has committed to increasing that to 2.0% of GDP by 2023-24.

    So in comparison to Reagan, Abbott is not a very big defence spender but this increase needs to be looked at as part of a whole package that is at the same time savagely cutting all forms of social expenditure and the foreign aid budget and the government is claiming a terrible budget emergency.

    Anyone who knows about what the Australian Modern Monetary Theory economists are saying will know that Australia could have full employment, free education and a fair social welfare system within a few years if the government chose to correctly stimulate the economy, avoid the huge and wasteful subsidies to the finance and banking sectors and end the current tax rorts for the affluent and large corporations that the previous and current neo-liberal Conservative and ALP governments have put in place.

    Even if defence spending was kept at the current 1.8% of GDP, a stronger MMT compliant economy could probably deliver a similar number of defence dollars than the stupid neo-liberals are likely to deliver at 2.0% of GDP.

    Another factor the stupid neo-liberals fail to mention is the damaging effect the destruction of Australia’s manufacturing sector has on defence capability. Australia no longer manufactures tyres and will soon no longer manufacture cars. The whole elaborate manufacturing supply chain that took tens of billions of dollars to develop will be crippled and possibly lost forever. Our steel industry is on the edge of bankruptcy. Most of Australia’s oil refineries have closed down recently.

    The Australian manufacturing industry once provided a large proportion of all the Australian defence force requirements and met most needs during the Vietnam and Korean wars and the level of support during the second world war was enormous, technically advanced and critically important.

    Currently Singapore has a larger defence equipment manufacturing industry than Australia. Israel with only a third the population of Australia has a defence equipment manufacturing industry that is over ten times larger.

    So much of the neo-liberals defence budget for equipment is imported that this expenditure will act to lower the Australian dollar and increase the cost of imports and thereby lower the relative living standards of Australians as well as increase our political and military subservience. In a world that is likely to become more protectionist, substantial exports will be increasingly harder to attain and greater self sufficiency will become essential, including in the defence area.

    The current Abbott governments approach to the proposed purchase of submarines to replace the current Collins Class has been a comedy of errors with potentially disastrous consequences both financially and in terms of capability and local manufacturing. Australian industry has the capability to successfully be the lead contractor (with a European manufacturer as a design and build partner) for this program, not just as a sub-contractor that has to fight for each crumb while the bulk of the potential valuable design work and profits stay overseas.

    The relatively recent program to manufacture the Collins Class in Australia was a major success despite the many design faults that had to be counter-measured and were not in any way the fault of Australian manufacturers. The ALP has also rejected the option for an Australian lead contractor role, can we suspect some hidden party donations here?

    The crazy Abbotts government’s apparent preference for the Japanese Soryu class submarine is absurd as this would deliver the lowest Australian content of all options by far, and the highest support costs.

    Australia’s neo-liberal Conservative and ALP governments fail at all levels, including national defence.

  35. diannaart

    @Andreas Bimba

    Excellent, thoughtful commentary Andreas – a shame neither the Libs nor Labor are interesting in serving the interests of the people of Australia – which begs the question, apart from big business, whose interest is our government serving? By extending our military technology all we are achieving is creating a greater target for warfare, I wonder if USA sees Australia more as a part of their defence strategy rather than a neighbour or even an ally.

  36. Andreas Bimba

    @Diannaart Thanks, I should have also mentioned the importance of foreign aid, peace keeping operations, disaster assistance, search & rescue and non violent methods of conflict resolution in the area of peace, stability and defence.

    I don’t expect everyone to agree on the need for military forces or the production of weapons given their ultimate awful purpose and when so many worthy causes struggle for funds. Until we can improve human beings however I don’t think we can abandon national military capabilities as this point in time.

  37. diannaart

    Agree Andreas

    We will always require military skills for the reasons you gave – however where is the evidence/justification for ‘x’ number of subs or fighter jets and where is the requirement that such technology be this type of submarine or that type of jet and, most, importantly not built, or even mostly assembled in Australia.

    Where is the proof of participation of job creation by our leaders?

  38. Andreas Bimba

    I suppose quantities and types of hardware and capabilities is very difficult to rationalise and is based on studies that are really guesswork. But history often shows that in an emergency the better prepared side has a sizable advantage and one unit of preparation is worth many times the effort made during the emergency.

    I suppose the DOD and specialist think tanks have many studies and reports that are relevant and publically available but only the specialist media covers these topics well. The Australian DOD does in general put a lot of effort into investigating options but is ultimately under political direction. As for estimates of jobs, these studies should be done by government or demanded by parliament when not provided.

  39. Harquebus

    I agree with Jammy about having nuclear subs. We should have done that in first place.

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