Defence, National and Regional Security


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Key Points:

Australia needs a strong and capable defence force, free from political or cultural interference.

We will build strong regional strategic alliances.

We will ensure that our military veterans and their families are given the assistance and support they
deserve, including with their transition back into civilian life.

Defence of Australia’s citizens

The primary aim of government is the safety and security of its citizens, of which a strong and capable Australian Defence Force is imperative. This requires a well-resourced defence force funded at 2% of GDP, with Australia’s national security as the primary focus of all spending decisions. We will pursue efficiencies to eliminate additional costs that were borne for short-term political expediency.

Similarly, the ADF must be allowed to do its job free from the constraints of political correctness and excessive social and cultural sensitivities. Conservative Australians will guard against uniformed ADF personnel participating in political or social activism or decisions that compromise the effectiveness of front-line combat capability.

We will cease defence funding of gender re-assignment treatment or surgery and cosmetic surgery or fertility treatment unrelated to training or service injury.

Strong regional alliances

Australia needs to play a role in our region and we will forge strategic defence alliances with our regional partners and traditional allies.

We will strengthen our existing ties with New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States but will also look to develop closer ties with India, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and others.

Long term planning and sustainability

Procurements by the ADF are to comply with a long-term view to value adding and encouraging strategic partnerships. The structure of the ADF should reflect this goal; existing structures and capabilities should be considered when negotiating new procurements. Conservative Australians supports the procurement of nuclear powered (not armed) submarines with allowances for long term sustainability and maintenance of the technology. Conservative Australians supports a continuous build of submarines with a view to introducing, at the earliest opportunity, the potential for nuclear powered submarines.

Aim towards greater self-reliance

Conservative Australians supports a move towards increasing the ADF’s ability to protect Australian interests without a majority reliance on the United States. The United States is moving away from a traditional ‘provider’ of security to the ‘enhancer’ of security and the Australian defence policy should evolve also. A completely self-reliant Australian Defence Force is unattainable and not desired, but an improvement on our US-centric policy would open up other partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.

Full spectrum defence force capabilities

Australia’s position in the Asia-Pacific region is no longer as ‘cutting edge’ as in previous decades. Other nations like New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and India are viable defence partners and can complement Australia’s role in the region as a viable democratic force. Conservative Australians supports developing a ‘full spectrum’ approach to defence in Australia. The established Navy, Army and Air Force units should be complemented by improvements in Australia’s cyber and space warfare defence capabilities. Conservative Australians also supports continuing maritime focus to prioritise the security of trade routes and protection from naval incursions.

Efficiency and waste reduction

The ADF is currently undergoing a restructure to maximise efficiency and clarity in command. Conservative Australians supports reductions in waste and duplication in administrative offices, and increased accountability for quality of work and outcomes. Like any organisation – government or private – middle management becomes bloated and needs to be reassessed on a regular basis. If middle management ranks within defence are not the very best and brightest, we have, then they need to be managed out of the defence force.

Support and assistance for veterans and their families

Conservative Australians understand our combat veterans have been prepared to sacrifice their lives for our country, and this should be recognised in service and post-service support and assistance, including medical care, rehabilitation and transition to civilian life.

Families of those wounded or lost in action must similarly be given the appropriate care and support to cope with the physical, financial and emotional challenges they face.

Conservative Australians support fair indexation of veteran pensions and adequate funding for assistance programs to ease veterans back into society after they return home. Conservative Australians upholds the integrity of the family unit and the important role the family has in relation to rehabilitation and care for veterans; in all possible areas assisting family and community care for veterans instead of government-led care.

Conservative Australians support mandatory counselling for those that have been in an environment where the risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is significantly enhanced.

Culture and Leadership

Conservative Australians understands that due to the ADF’s unique and important role the ADF needs the toughest, smartest, nation loving men and women it can find in the appropriate roles. The ADF doesn’t need to be (nor should it be) representative of the broader community.

Teamwork is at the very core of our Defence Forces, without which the ADF is greatly weakened. The social engineering agendas of politicians should have no place in our Defence Force. The political push to have a greater percentage of women in all defence domains, including combat roles undermines cohesion and effectiveness within the ADF. The primary role of the ADF is to defend our nation, and it does so with limited resources. There are many roles in which women can positively contribute to the ADF, but there is no social or organisational good achieved by government intervening to drive women into combat roles on a quota or % basis.

The purpose and mission of the ADF should drive the recruiting profile, not gender goal directives from government.

Risk and competition also play an important role in the ADF. Fierce competition between troops and departments sharpens their skills and commitment to the task. Likewise, risk and danger are part of appropriate training in the defence force and there needs to be greater scope for defence force leaders to push the boundaries that would not be acceptable outside the defence environment. We need highly trained soldiers that have proven they can operate in high-risk environments.

Conservative Australians believe the priority should be “what works best for the organisation that is given the responsibility to protect our nation”.

Security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a direct threat to free society and must be resisted. While the relative size of the Australian Defence Force limits our capacity to make deployments on the scale our major allies have made in the Middle East, it is important that Australia makes commitments in these areas to the extent that our capacity allows.