Page 3524 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 23 November 2021
exporter, the Greens’ view is that the money can be used to more effectively solve our dire housing shortage in this country, improve our education systems, enable more people to get to university or bolster our health systems.
We are talking $300 billion over 10 years. Imagine the alternative uses we could put that money to. Just allow yourself that moment of imagination, that moment of careful thought. Rather than simply rolling out a line about how we have got to spend more money to make Australia safe, just imagine for a moment what we could do for Australians with that money. When we are talking about jobs in Canberra and more effectively protecting the wellbeing of ADF personnel, this money that is currently being spent, this push towards two per cent of GDP, is contributing exactly zero to either of those causes.
Our policy also proposes to disentangle us from simply following the United States and to restore the sovereignty of parliament as the body to decide whether Australians should go to war overseas. That is not a democratic decision at the moment; it is a decision purely of the executive, and we see very little—and we certainly heard nothing from Mr Hanson—about whether Australia should even be participating in those wars. That is a fundamental question.
There is this sort of circular argument here. We should go on these military missions; therefore we need more money; therefore we should go on these missions because we have got the capability. It is a circular argument that puts more Australians in harm’s way. If we are having a conversation about how we look after our military forces, let us at least have a moment to pause and think about whether we should be putting Australians in those places in the very first place. We do not need to be spending more money and simply making ourselves another arm of the United States military.
The aim of our policy is to ensure that Australia has, quoting from the policy document, “a light, readily deployable and highly mobile force that is commensurate with our size and location”. That is an eminently sensible goal, which goes some way to explaining why Mr Hanson has decided he would rather argue against what he guesses the policy could be than what it actually is.
We heard today a lot of speculating and a lot of extrapolating about what Mr Hanson thinks our policy is. He never quoted from the document; he just went for the vibe of the thing, in his mind. He talked about how we need to make sure we have got Bushmasters to protect Australian troops that go overseas. That is a really important discussion to have, and one that I think is interesting. Our policy does not say that they will not be available but it does question how much we should spend on defence, and that invites a prioritisation discussion. If Mr Hanson thinks that Bushmasters are one of the most important things, let us have that conversation. But let us not just have lazy analyses that say we need to spend this much per cent of GDP.
Maybe Mr Hanson thinks we need to spend three, four or five per cent of GDP on defence. What will we not fund then? Where will that money come from? Will it come from the health budget? Will it come from the education budget? Will it come from addressing issues of Indigenous over-representation? They are the questions you