Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt has today said the government’s commitment to spend over $270 billion on defence would not make Australia safer and was a reprehensible use of public money while people are still living in tents in Eden-Monaro and suffering poverty in Australia.
“Spending billions more on weapons won’t make Australia safer and may in fact increase tensions in the region. This move will just add to increasing militarisation in our neighbourhood,” said Mr Bandt.
“Scott Morrison’s move ignores the biggest threat to security in the region, which is the climate crisis, and is a misuse of public money while millions are jobless and bushfire survivors are still living in tents.
“If there’s enough money to unnecessarily arm Australia to the teeth, then there’s enough money for job-creating projects that tackle the climate crisis, help the millions who are jobless and lift Australians out of poverty.
“Australia cannot outgun China. As a small to medium-sized power, our security lies in joining with other like-minded countries to strengthen multilateral institutions and ensure a rules-based international order.
“The 2016 Defence White Paper suggested there was only a remote possibility of a military attack on Australia. The only thing that has changed since then is that Donald Trump is up for re-election, he is lashing out erratically and now Scott Morrison is now tying Australia up in US domestic politics.
“Australia has become too dependent on China economically and too dependent on the US politically. Instead of just implementing the Pentagon’s procurement plan, Australia needs an independent foreign policy.
“For this military spend, we could open up free university and TAFE to everyone who wanted it, and offer every parent free childcare. The $270 billion would fund bringing dental care into Medicare six times over, and build the 500,000 public homes needed to end homelessness twenty times over.”
Australian Greens Defence Spokesperson Jordon Steele-John said that where possible, conflict should be avoided, not won.
“The Government’s actions are undermining peace. There are far better ways to avoid conflict than wielding a bigger stick, and peace and stability should be the ultimate goal” Senator Steele-John said.
“Stability in the Pacific means, good diplomacy and importantly, avoiding conflicts over resources as a result of the climate crisis and a global pandemic.
“Security analysts have warned that without action on the climate crisis, Australia will be in ‘disaster alley’ as nations fight over basic resources such as food, fibre and fuel. If Scott Morrison was serious about national security, we’d be taking action to ensure everyone had access to basic resources, not buying bigger guns and missiles.”