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The Coalition's policy for stronger defence



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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION SENATOR THE HON. DAVID JOHNSTON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE MR. STUART ROBERT MHR, SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND PERSONNEL

THE COALITION’S POLICY FOR STRONGER DEFENCE

The Coalition will strengthen Australia’s defence capabilities.

We will stop the under-investment in Defence - under a Coalition government, there will be no further cuts to Defence spending.

Australians can be confident that we will invest in the future security of our country and our allies can be confident that Australia will continue to be a trustworthy and reliable partner.

The Coalition will never gamble with the security of future Australians by further reducing Defence spending.

Within a decade, Defence spending under a Coalition government will be two per cent of GDP. Currently, the share of GDP spent on Defence - at 1.59 per cent - has fallen to its lowest level since 1938.

To guide decision making, a Coalition government will publish a new Defence White Paper with costed, affordable ways to meet Australia’s defence and national security objectives.

We will take a long-term approach to Defence planning and end Labor’s policy “thought bubbles”.

The Coalition will:

 Make the decisions necessary to ensure Australia has no submarine capability gap within 18 months of the election;

 Ensure that work on the replacement of the current submarine fleet will centre around the South Australian shipyards;

 Proceed with the acquisition of Joint Strike Fighters - subject to advice from the Chief of the Defence Force and Service Chiefs;

 Consider closely the need for unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles;

 Maintain a strong alliance with the United States of America and deepen this long-standing alliance relationship;

 Undertake a first-principles review of the departmental structure and its major processes;

 Reform the Defence Materiel Organisation and strengthen its relationship with Australian businesses;

 Deliver fair indexation to military superannuants;

 Implement our Free Defence Family Health Care Programme for all ADF dependents; and

 Rebuild the ADF Gap-Year programme, growing to an average of 1,000 places per annum.

The Coalition will also return to proven policies on our borders - policies that will work. We will stop the boats and strengthen our national security.

For too long, we’ve had mostly talk from Labor. The Rudd-Gillard Labor Government has cut almost $30 billion out of Defence through broken promises, deferments, delays and cancellations.

We can’t expect our Defence force to continually do more with less.

The choice at this election is clear: the Coalition’s commitment to rebuilding a Defence force that is properly resourced, equipped and managed, or three more years of talk, decline and under-investment under Labor.

The Coalition’s Policy for Stronger Defence is part of Our Real Solutions Plan to build a stronger Australia and a better future - for all Australians.

2 September 2013