Labor and foreign policy (Defence white paper)

Shane Hopkinson s.hopkinson at
Wed Jul 16 17:26:46 MDT 2003


Just a piece from Green Left that outlines the Defence White
Paper - the plans are extraordinary given that the paper states
Australia has 'no know enemies' and the only power who could 
launch an invasion is the USA.


Howard gov't beefs up war machine
On December 6 [2001] the Australian government released its long-awaited defence white paper, "Defence 2000 - Our Future Defence Force", to almost unanimous acclaim from ruling class commentators and the big business media's op-ed analysts. 
"Our armed forces are not simply a service provided by government", states the white paper 's writers, "The ADF [Australian Defence Force] reflects the kind of country we are, the role we seek to play in the world, and the way we see ourselves." 
That is a very correct statement: the white paper plainly reflects Australia's role as a regional imperialist power that is in close political and military partnership with the world's largest economic and military power, the United States of America. 
Keeping the Asia-Pacific region secure for Australian and US big business is the core goal outlined in the white paper. Despite the obligatory declaration that the Australian military's prime objective is to "defend Australia from direct military attack", the white paper sets out a hugely expensive program of weapons acquisitions, force restructuring and an increase in personnel numbers that is clearly aimed at enabling the Australian military to intervene more decisively in its near region on its own and in the wider South-East Asian area in tandem with US forces. 
Under the terms of the white paper, the federal government will boost defence spending over the next decade, beginning with a $500 million boost next financial year and an extra $1 billion in the following year. After that, military spending will increase every year by an average 3% in real terms until 2010, when it will be almost $17 billion annually in today's dollars (i.e. not including the impact of inflation - it is likely to be well above $20 billion a year if an average 2% inflation rate prevails over the decade), compared to the present level of $12.2 billion a year. 
Between the financial years 2000-01 and 2009-2010, approximately $162 billion in today's dollars will have been spent on the Australian military! 
There were no doubts among the ruling class's pundits

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