Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:40 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:40 | SYDNEY

Australia election: ALP defence plans


Sam Roggeveen


14 November 2007 07:02

Opposition leader Kevin Rudd’s defence policy announcement in Townsville on Monday was largely a pitch to Australian Defence Force families. But Rudd did say he would commission a new Defence White Paper and that he was committed to maintaining 3 percent growth in the defence budget to 2016. Both have been announced before.

The Sydney Morning Herald's account of the announcement suggested Labor will have a more regional defence focus ‘rather than fighting wars further afield’. That may well be the direction of Labor Party thinking more broadly, but it’s not what Rudd said in Townsville. He was really very non-committal about the whole issue, arguing only that if you are going to deploy far from Australia's shores, you need the right force structure to do it:

We have already indicated in a speech I gave to ASPI earlier this year that we want in the future the ADF to be capable of operations beyond our own immediate region in partnership with our allies as appropriate. And secondly of course that we need a capacity to deal with difficulties in our own immediate region and of course finally the direct defence of Australia. These things need to be stated in absolute clarity so that the future evolution of the forestructure – Navy, Air Force and Army - can be tailored accordingly.

 Let’s see if we get some more detail about Labor’s plans on Friday at the defence policy debate.