Formal comment by the Australia Defence Association: 2013
Asylum-seeking in its current manifestation is primarily a strategic policy issue with domestic ramifications, not vice versa. Not appreciating this strategic context continues to cause most of the misunderstandings so undermining informed and effective public debate. Even more importantly, it continues to hamper the implementation of effective solutions for combatting people-smuggling, the processing of asylum-seekers and the protection of genuine refugees. We have also long lamented that both sides of politics tend to put perceived short-term electoral advantage ahead of their responsibility to protect the long-term national interest regarding Australia's strategic security and national sovereignty.
While the Department of Defence has put considerable effort into the new Defence White Paper, its essentially partisan motivation in an election year has detracted from these efforts. The large reductions in defence investment over the last three years, and the absence of an investment plan in the paper, also detract from the credibility of the document. Ministerial waffling about such issues also emphasises the considerable and unjustified risks being taken with Australia's future strategic security.