The Australian 2016 defence white paper is going to see Australia raise their defence spending to $195 billion. According to the defence department the plans have been cost assured and externally validated. The plans are also affordable and achievable (borrow money from the IMF then take away from the citizens their family tax benefits, disability benefits, pensioner benefits to pay it back. I.e.; austerity). ‘The Australian people can have confidence that this government will ensure that we can defend our nation and protect our interests today and into the future’. I wonder if they truly mean our interests or big corporations’ interests in resource rich countries.
It seems that they lack confidence in their own defence after scrapping the 22 Tiger attack helicopters purchased for approximately $2 billion in 2008. The Tiger helicopter is still not combat ready. Many problems with the helicopter emerged such as the air-conditioning and power capacitors breaking down and filling the cabin with toxic smoke. There were also delays with the helicopters software and parts must be shipped to Europe for repair which is expensive and time consuming. Another incident saw the window jam shut and the crew were forced to blow the canopy off to ventilate the cockpit. The helicopter was designed in the 1980’s for the European battlefield so not too good for Australia in the 21st century. Pilots eventually refused to fly the aircraft after many accidents occurred. A defence analyst, Andrew Davies, said “we’ve spent billions of dollars, lost many years of capability because the helicopters weren’t as mature as we thought”.
The defence white paper, on New Zealand (p.121), notes that ‘we are close partners and ANZUS allies’. According to the US Department of State, ‘Although the agreement [anzus treaty] has not been formally abrogated, the United States and new Zealand no longer maintain the security relationship between their countries’. This came about in 1984 when New Zealand was disputing US nuclear ships visits to their ports. The government is also to strengthen ‘Defences intelligence’ (p.20). One would hope intelligence gets strengthened.
All this seems in line with Australia’s wasting of tax payers money after the many, many problems with the F35-A fighter jets that the US are pushing for them to purchase. Now there is news of US armed and backed rebels in Syria fighting against US armed and backed rebels in Syria. After all profits for the US military industrial complex before intelligent thought seem to be the norm for the US and the allies.