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You are currently viewing Albanese discards pragmatic diplomacy in favour of a massive military build up

Albanese discards pragmatic diplomacy in favour of a massive military build up

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The Albanese government’s National Defence Strategy, announced this week, has failed to offer a new direction and continues to suggest that war with China is a real possibility, while conceding that Australia itself faces no threat. The sub-text is that Australia is spending to guarantee US global primacy.

The plan announced by Defence Minister Richard Marles includes massive new spending, over and above the eye watering price tag for the AUKUS nuclear submarines.

“Without any public consultation or parliamentary debate the government has decided to spend an extra $50 billion on long-range missiles and lethal autonomous systems. This expenditure is excessive and unwarranted”, said former diplomat Dr Alison Broinowski AM from Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR).

“The government and many in the defence establishment continue to infer that we should all be fearful of China, despite there being no evidence that China has any desire or intention to attack Australia.”

Mr Marles and others use vague terms like ‘rising tensions’, ‘challenging strategic circumstances’ and ‘a less certain world’ but these comments simply instil fear and do nothing to properly inform the Australian public about what sort of defence force we actually need.

This week Mr Marles said the government’s aim was “to resist coercion and maintain our way of life”. What evidence is there to show that any other country threatens our current way of life?

“If the government is really talking about a possible war over Taiwan, rather than any direct threat to Australia, they should be honest and make that clear. Does Australia really want to choose to be involved in another overseas war involving super powers?”

The government has made some good headway in repairing trade relations with China in the past two years but on defence there is a glaring contradiction. We can’t be a good friend and trading partner while also talking up the possibility of actual armed conflict.

The Australian military has a history of very expensive projects that often end up doubling or tripling in price and taking years or even decades longer than planned. How many more billions in taxpayer funds will be wasted as a result of AUKUS and this week’s announcements?

“When the Morrison era ended we expected far more transparency and accountability in government but so far the results have been beyond disappointing. It is noteworthy that many Labor party members share our disappointment.

“The voting public and the Parliament have a right to be fully informed on defence matters before huge policy and funding decisions are made. At present the views of Australian voters are being ignored by this government.”

— AWPR Media Release 23 April 2024

 

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