Let’s do more with the money we spend on defence

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has warned that Australia and its allies will “lose the next decade” unless it stands up to China in the South China Sea, and revealed he is extremely confident the first Australian nuclear submarine will arrive before 2038.

Yep, even Blind Freddie can see it coming from a mile away, Minister!

“I think we’ve lost a considerable period of time where China gave assurances about their activity in the South China Sea,” Dutton said.

“And the United States and others acquiesced and allowed the militarisation now to the point where China has 20 points of presence in the South China Sea, which does not help stability in the region.

“If we continue on that trajectory, then I think we’ll lose the next decade. And my sense is that we’re better off being honest about that.”

Asked whether the submarines would arrive before 2038, Mr Dutton said: “I have no doubt we’ll have a nuclear-propelled submarine before that date.”

Not good enough, Peter!

We need a complete overhaul of Defence.

Aussie taxpayers spent $4.5 billion on Tiger Attack and Reconnaissance Helicopters that were scrapped ten years early due to critical performance shortfalls.

We spent more than $1 billion on Seasprite Navy Helicopters that never reached commissioning due to critical design issues.

We spent $3.7 billion on MRH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters that were retired early due to critical operational shortfalls, availability and cost issues.

And of course, there was Turnbull’s Barracuda Submarine contract that was terminated after spending $2 billion on the contract.

It gets even worse when compared to other nations that face similar threats to ours.

As reported by the Herald, Australia spends $44.6 billion on our defence (or $1469 per person). In return we have 58,600 active duty personal, 29,560 reservists, 44 fifth generation fighters, 24 fourth generation fighters, 8 frigates, 3 destroyers and 6 submarines.

Just to our North, Singapore spends $15 billion on its defence ($2526 per person). In return it has 45,000 active duty personal, 240,000 reservists, 100 fourth generation fighters, 6 frigates, 8 littoral combat ships and 5 submarines.

While Israel spends $28.4 billion on defence ($3415 per person) and in return it has 133,000 active-duty personnel, 380,000 reservists, 300 fourth generation fighters, 30 fifth generation fighters, 7 corvettes, 8 missile boats and five submarines.

As per usual, Australia is getting swindled thanks to its own incompetence, and we can only thank government.

In fact, it is so bad, even Labor gets it.

Although Each-Way Albo would likely prioritise climate action over our defence, his defence spokesman Brendan O’Connor seems to understand.

O’Connor said he was not confident about Mr Dutton’s optimistic forecast for the delivery of the first nuclear submarine.

“I think the last nine years has shown that whatever the government says in relation to defence, it’s either been more expensive or protracted in terms of delivery,” he said.

“And so I think the minister is kidding himself if he expects people to believe that this government, given its track record of the last nine years, will deliver the first AUKUS nuclear-propelled submarine before 2040, when many experts are suggesting that is not likely.”

Mr O’Connor, who visited China as a minister in the former Labor government, said the Chinese government had become “more assertive and more aggressive” since Labor was last in government.

“We have agreed with the government that it’s not been so much a change of the [Australian] government as a change of attitudes of China that’s led to some of those problems,” he said.

“We’re open to obviously wanting to resolve these issues if we can. But we will not step back from advancing our views or advancing our principles or advancing our interests in order to seek a better relationship.”

Good on you, mate!

It’s a shame you’d be sitting beside Penny Wong and Kristina Kenneally on a potential Labor frontbench! Maybe that’s why Australians will think twice before accepting your defence recommendations…