Page 3526 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

coming in here and making the point. That stands in stark contrast to the contributions from Ms Davidson and Ms Cheyne, which did not even mention the policy.

This is a substantive debate. As Mr Rattenbury said, this motion today is a substantive debate about the Greens’ plan to cut military spending. I have read the policy. That is what it says. It is going to cut military spending by, it is estimated, about $300 billion. That is a substantial debate. Well done to Mr Rattenbury for getting that and for not hiding from the debate, as the other members did. They did not even mention the Greens’ policy and the amount that it is going to cut. How shameful.

What they have done is moved an amendment that is distracting. In the army, if you found yourself in a position where you were in a bit of trouble, you would do a thing called ‘throw smoke’. You would pop a smoke grenade and throw it to try to obscure and distract from what is going on. This amendment, which is going to be supported by those opposite, is exactly that: it is throwing smoke. At least Mr Rattenbury had the guts to stand up and defend the policy, while Ms Davidson and Ms Cheyne are doing everything they can to distract from what is happening, and they are using a really important veterans’ issue as a political shield.

It is pretty shameful that instead of debating the issue, as Mr Rattenbury did, they decided, “No, no. Let’s not talk about the cuts, let’s not talk about the substantive issue; let’s have a motion over here that completely distracts and tries to obscure. We’ll hide behind veterans’ issues.” They are using veterans’ issues as a political shield. There really is no depth that those on the other side of the chamber will not sink to, to avoid scrutiny on the policy. When you go through the amendment and look at what the amendment does and what it removes, you see that they have deleted, “Australia faces an uncertain security environment.” They do not believe that we face an uncertain security environment, apparently.

The motion notes that the Greens have pledged to cut defence spending by $300 billion over a decade, which would halve the defence budget. They got rid of that, even though it is true, and it is the substance of the debate. They deleted the part that says that cuts of this magnitude would place ADF personnel at significantly increased risk in future conflicts—they would, and I went through that—and that the cuts would have a devastating effect on the ACT economy and cause the loss of thousands of jobs. I have the defence industry strategy, here, Ms Cheyne. I have read it in detail.

In fact, the policy comes from a National Press Club announcement I made in 2016. The Labor Party copied and pasted it and rolled it out. Just like the veterans affairs minister, which was first announced by the Canberra Liberals in 2009, and the Labor Party and the Greens had to be dragged kicking and screaming for six years before they implemented it.

The motion reads:

(h) the Greens plan to form coalition government with the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and hold the balance of power in the Senate and will “be pushing for it [ADF cuts] as much as possible”;

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video