Defence plan is about stopping South Australian backlash

27 February 2016 1:51 pm

A great deal has been written about Australia’s latest defence blueprint.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s defence white paper is not cheap. It will double the budget for Australia's defence over the next decade, rising from $32 billion next financial year to nearly $59 billion by 2025-26. It will see $448 billion will poured into the coffers of army, navy and air force over the 10 years and tip an additional $30 billion over previous plans. Big ticket items will include 12 submarines to replace an ageing Collins-class fleet in what is being called the "largest defence procurement program in Australia's history", nine anti-submarine frigates and 12 new patrol vessels.

The media, no doubt briefed by the government and incapable of talking to anyone else, keeps harping on how the $450 billion being spent over the next decade is in response to the rise of China.

But the Liberal government’s real agenda is not about China, it’s to stop a backlash in South Australia. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs will flow to South Australia through defence projects detailed in the White Paper.

The Turnbull government has been facing electoral oblivion in South Australia and that could tip it out of office, after just one term. The number of submarines has been a hot issue after the Abbott Government backed away from its promise of building 12 in Adelaide. But it has come back around to the number with talk of a rout in South Australia at the next Federal election after the Abbott government let the car industry shut down and independent Senator Nick Xenophon treatening to field lower house candidates in key Liberal-held seats in Adelaide.

Of course, the Labor Party is saying nothing because they have seats in South Australia too.

The bottom line: the Turnbull government is spending billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to save its skin. China is irrelevant.