Alan Buchbach for Dickson
As a former soldier, from a long line of citizen-soldiers, Alan understands the necessity of a strong defence force.
Within the South Pacific region the two nations likeliest to invade us are Indonesia and China, both for living space and our mineral resources.
Indonesia spends ~$AUD 12 billion / year on their defence force and has a military of ~400,000 active soldiers. Compared to Australia’s 85,000, which includes some 30,000 reserves. Global Fire Power rates Indonesia as 15th in the World for Military power and Australia as 17th. China is placed 3rd with a standing army of ~2,700,000 soldiers and annual budgeting of ~$AUD 305 billion. Janes shows similar data.
Military conflict is a winner-takes-all contest. We're coming last.
It is good that the LNP has woken up to the fact that Australia is woefully undefended at present (though the ALP hasn't) but they still won't commit the level of resources necessary to defend against potential invasion. To do this Australia needs complete naval and aerial dominance in our region. As we certainly cannot rely upon the USA to defend us from China, given the reluctance of their current administration to commit to defending allies in the Pacific.
However, we are in similar circumstance to that which Israel finds itself in – outnumbered by phenomenal odds and potentially cut off from aid. China recently purchased an island in the Torres Strait and fortified it; now China operates conventional military and armed ‘gray’ vessels from it. We must observe the example of Israel and commit substantial resources to bolstering our Naval and Air defence capabilities. Neither the government nor loyal opposition are willing to spend what we need in order to protect our shores.
This increased defence budget needs to be in the order of 6-8% of GDP, not barely above 2%. This isn't just buying rifles and ammunition, we need to rebuild the completely dismantled supply chain which feeds a healthy defence industry. This means steel and metalworks, semi-conductors, computer processors, manufacturing and especially for an island-nation like ours: Shipyards/drydocks to expand and repair our merchant marine fleet as well as military vessels.
Australia once used a ten-year defence outlook, which predicts the possibility of a major conflict within a ten year window. In 2018 Australia abandoned that outlook as defence and intelligence officers predicted major conflict by 2028. The solution to this has been to begin production of nuclear submarines, the first of which is expected to be delivered in 2036. If you see the problem with this, Vote 1 Alan Buchbach.
Alan is committed to seeking out the acquisition of Los Angeles class submarines from the USA today. The USA is retiring their Los Angeles submarines and replacing them with the Virginia class. At present the US is intending to scrap their retired subs, but we could purchase them out of the savings we can easily make with an education funding restructure (see the education policy page for more detail).
Developing our own maritime industry and building our own submarines is a necessity. In the meantime, however, we will also need to train personnel in both the operation and maintenance of nuclear submarines. Obtaining not competence, but excellence is a project that will take years. We can make a start on this with the Los Angeles, rather than waiting fourteen years before we begin, as the government plans to do.
Additionally, India is threatened by China and has been fighting border skirmishes against the Chinese Army-of-occupation-in-Tibet for years. We should and must form stronger ties with India, as their defence interests coincide with our own.