Defence investment has already been cut too much

The Grattan Institute needs to do its homework. Suggesting defence investment could somehow be slashed by 12 per cent is economically invalid and strategically irresponsible. Not least because our defence capabilities are the only major area of government to already have been slashed.


Letter to The Australian Financial Review
Thursday, 16 January 2014
(not published)

Cassie McGannon (“the $40bn question: where will the money come from", January 16) exemplifies the flawed assumptions and conclusions that bedevil supposed analysis of Australia’s structural budget deficit by Left and Right-wing pseudo-“thinktanks”.

Defence investment has already been cut by more than her suggested 12 per cent over recent years.

Even more importantly, defence is the only major area of national expenditure to already be substantially slashed.

Moreover, unlike social security, health and education, defence is the only major government responsibility where total national funding is purely federal so the effect of Commonwealth cuts is absolute.

Cutting defence by even a further few per cent is not possible without inflicting serious damage now and much greater economic costs and strategic risk for future Australians in repairing the damage over the long term.

Defence capabilities are essential national infrastructure underlying Australia’s future prosperity and strategic freedom of action in all aspects.

Not somehow a magic pudding for plunder when ideological biases and political expediency make cutting discretionary spending on middle-class and corporate welfare too hard to even contemplate, let alone pursue.


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