Formal Comment by the Australia Defence Association: 2004

Problems in Australia's intelligence and security agencies

A number of fundamental structural, philosophical and professional issues underly the longstanding and recurrent problems plaguing parts of the Australian Intelligence Community.

Inadequate defence investment

The real situation of defence spending over the last three decades and the probable effect of further changes to the federal-state compact.

2004 federal election

The recent federal election was not only another wasted opportunity to discuss defence issues effectively. It was also another tragic reminder of a deeply institutionalised and worsening national problem underlying our perennial under-investment in national defence capabilities.

Negotiating with terrorists

We always need to avoid the peril of negotiating in terror rather than in a disciplined manner.

Credibily overboard again

Rank disorganisation continues in the Department of Defence.

The letter from the 43

As the relevant and independent, non-partisan, national public interest watchdog on defence and wider national security issues the Australia Defence Association has long held governments of all political persuasions to account. The Association’s parliamentary submissions, our publications and our public statements have been quite critical of the current government in this regard – as we were of previous administrations. The ADA is, however, troubled by the open letter by 34 ex-diplomats, 3 ex-Defence mandarins and 6 retired ADF senior officers published on Sunday 08 August 2004.

2004/05 Defence budget

As expected, the 2004-05 federal budget was mainly targeted at buying swinging votes in marginal electorates. This was to be expected in an election year where a close race is likely and where, despite occasional rhetoric to the contrary, both parties are naturally reluctant to draw attention to their long and indifferent records of insufficient and inconsistent investment in meeting their national security responsibilities.

Too much politicking again

There is not enough regard for the national interest and too much political posturing on defence issues.

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