Defence Minister David Johnston has revealed that he is set to break another Abbott Government promise by not providing full costings in next year’s Defence White Paper.
In the Coalition’s pre-election defence policy, it said:
“The Coalition will publish an objective replacement Defence White Paper with costed, affordable ways to meet Australia’s defence and national security objectives.”
And in May the Defence Minister told the Shangri-La Dialogue 2014 in Singapore:
“The white paper will provide a fully costed, affordable plan for the development of the Australian Defence Force into the future.” (Address to the third plenary session, Shangri-La Dialogue 2014, Singapore But News Corp Australia today report that the White Paper may not include costings for Australia’s Future Submarines.)
“If the Minister does not deliver a fully costed, fully funded Defence White Paper next year, it will be yet another Liberal lie and another Abbott Government broken promise,” said Acting Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence Gai Brodtmann.
“This broken promise comes on top of the Abbott Government breaking its commitment to build twelve new submarines in Australia.”
The reports today also said that the Minister will include plans to preserve shipbuilding in the 2015 White Paper, after thousands of jobs have already gone.
Rather than acting quickly after coming into Government, the Coalition has sat on its hands for almost twelve months and the Minister has shown that he is prepared to let the industry wither away and die.
“Senator Johnston has been Defence Minister now for almost a year,” Ms Brodtmann said.
“In that time he has done nothing but break promises and take decisions that hurt the naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.
“Instead of blaming others, it’s time he kept his promises and took action to ensure the sustainability of this strategically vital industry.”