Australia should not be spending $270 billion more on arms.
With the world awash with weapons that could wipe out the planet many times over, it is absurd to say that buying long-range missiles makes Australia safer from the implied threat of China.
China not only outspends Australia militarily ($178 billion/year compared to Australia’s $38.7 billion), it has 290 nuclear warheads and 40 to 50 of them are on long-range strategic missiles.
200 new US-made anti-ship missiles and hypersonic weapons systems that travel thousands of miles will be useless to Australia given that the world’s future security threats are bound to be global warming-related. No amount of ‘military capability’ will prevent that.
If tensions between US and China are “fractious at best”, as the Prime Minister says, let’s use diplomacy, let’s stop helping the US to spy on the region from US bases here, let’s stop sniping unnecessarily at China.
If the Prime Minister wants to ‘vigorously defend democracy’, we suggest he starts at home with:
- giving a voice to Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and the Parliament
- giving Parliament the vote on whether or not to go to war against another country
- taking action on climate change, in line with the wishes of over 2/3rds of the population
- capping donations to political parties and spending on elections
- no more secret trials for whistleblowers or raids on journalists’ homes
- no detaining children under terrorism laws
- a more level playing field for new political entrants
- a more open and accountable government
A glimpse of the flourishing trade in arms that divides the world
- Australia is already the fourth largest arms importer in the world and the second-biggest customer of US arms exports
- Spending on defence has steadily increased in Australia since the 2013-14 budget when it was 1.59% of GDP and is now 2% of GDP for 2020-21 and this increase in spending is supported by the Coalition and Labor.
- Germany, China South Korea and Israel have massively increased arms exports over the last 5 years
- The top 100 arms manufacturers in the world sold $400 billion worth of arms in 2017.
- The US, Russia, France, Germany and China export 75% of the world’s arms. More than half of US arms exports go to the Middle East.
- Pakistan is the main recipient of Chinese arms.
- In 2014-18 Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest arms importer, supplied mostly by the US and the UK. The UAE is the 8th largest importer of arms.