Peace groups attack defence white paper

Peace groups have condemned the Federal Government’s Defence White Paper (DWP), as a continuation of excessive military spending and continuation of outmoded thinking on defence and security.

“Billions will be spent on ships, submarines and planes as the current excessive military budget of over $26 billion a year or $67.5 million per day is increased to two per cent of GDP,” Denis Doherty from the Australian Anti-Bases Coalition said.

The Defence White Paper commits to the purchase of 12 Boeing Super Hornet Growler fighters at a cost of $1.5 billion to cover the period until delivery of the F-35s, probably in 2020. It reaffirms that Australia will buy 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of about $16 billion

“We also note that the Defence White Paper allows the Government to increase spending any time it wants to,” he added.

The Defence White Paper states “Initiatives and projects outlined in the White Paper will remain subject to change as strategic circumstances evolve, new challenges and opportunities emerge and priorities are updated .” The Defence White Paper says that a “credible ADF underpins Australia’s influence and reach.

” The Defence White Paper says that the “Government remains committed to delivering the core capabilities identified in the 2009 Defence White Paper. That will see the ADF as one of the most capable defence forces in our region”. “We are appalled that the Government still bases Australia’s influence and security on piling up more and more sophisticated and hugely expensive weapons systems,” Denis Doherty said.

“Military power is no longer regarded by most nations as the only or best basis for security. We cannot afford a continued paradigm which defines regional engagement and defence of national security as interoperability with the United States in potential high intensity conflicts.

“Seeking peace with justice and cutting military spending is a more effective and constructive way of making Australia more secure than investment in militarism and military alliances. The Defence White Paper is less critical towards China than earlier Government statements.

“The Government has to realise,” Denis Doherty said, “that the Defence White Paper cannot ensure security or build better relations with China or the region while Australian governments continue to acquiesce to Pentagon requests and allow the US military to set up shop on the Australian mainland.

“The Defence White Paper’s focus on the Indo-Pacific region reflects the United States commitment a strategic rebalance to our region. The new US strategic approach, which Australia is supporting, places China at the centre of US “security” concerns and prioritises expansion of US war making capacities in Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans. “We regret that we are still waiting for a genuinely independent, effective and affordable defence and security strategy for Australia from our governments,” Denis Doherty concluded.

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