Budget + Policy

In the recent federal election campaign, both major political parties pledged to keep Defence spending at or above two per cent of GDP, but with the ALP now in power, how will the change affect the recent budget and projections for future defence spending?

The federal budget will increase funding for cyber capabilities at a cost to Defence capability acquisitions. The central question now is where the axe will fall.

The 2022-23 defence budget is a conflicted program. In keys ways it acknowledges and responds to a changing world, but in others it is still a relic of an earlier time.

Taiwan’s defence budget and military strategy have come under intense scrutiny in a series of high level meetings convened on the island in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a virtual meeting on 6 January, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signed a Reciprocal Access Agreement between the two countries to enable ADF and Japan Self Defense Force co-operative activities.

Australia and Japan are about to sign a reciprocal access agreement to make it easier for their respectively militaries to visit each other’s countries for exercises and other activities, according to reports in Japan.

The unprecedented clampdown on Defence’s engagement with media imposed by Defence Minister Peter Dutton has reinforced the importance of Senate Estimates in prising information from sometimes-reluctant Ministers, senior ADF officers, and bureaucrats.

Blunt threats made in Chinese mainstream media, and more recent remarks by an Australian senator warrant yet another examination of Australia’s strategic circumstances and the likelihood of an attack on mainland Australia.

Government has managed to make good on its two per cent of GDP pledge with this year, locking in a 2.1 per cent spending level for Defence from this week’s Budget.

The headline figure for this year is $44.62 billion in funding for Defence and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) this year, a 15 per cent jump from last year’s $38.7 billion.

Defence industry has been included as one of six key areas of focus in the government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, but there are questions over whether the roadmap will deliver wider benefits to Australia.

Nova Group has launched its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which aims to support the development of respectful relationships and meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved Peter Dutton from Home Affairs to Defence and former Defence Minister Linda Reynolds into government services and the NDIS.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price announced more than $7 million in support to seven Australian businesses through the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants (SICP).

The deterioration of Australian relations with China over the past year are well-documented, and in some quarters this rapid decline is seen as an accelerant towards an open conflict with China. But war is not inevitable.

Many ADM readers will note that I have a special place in my heart for Senate Estimates and their not so well-known cousins; Questions on Notice (QoN) and their subsequent answers.