Defence force must be ready as serious threats gather
By Ross Eastgate
BUCKLE up for a long, hard, nasty, bitter campaign for the federal election due, on current trends, in May this year. Political battle has already been joined for the right to occupy the government benches and the stakes are high.
The situation has been complicated by the rise of multiple entities, some just single person, single issue names with little to contribute to the national good, but a frightening capacity to spoil the outcome for either of the main political parties.
While one side deals with defectors peeved their self-assumed brilliance has not been mutually recognised by the party they long identified with, the other has a demonstrated propensity to spring a last minute leadership change when there is a scent of victory or their leader is perceived as mortally damaged.
Forget the propagandists, the greatest threat facing Australia today are the developing tensions on multiple fronts between the so-called superpowers.
Australia’s geographic isolation should be a major asset in its strategic defence preparedness, but it is not remote from international affairs.
Australia’s multiple defence alliances inextricably link it to developing international tensions and we are involved, like it or not.
World War I was not directly caused by the assassination of a minor European royal in Sarajevo. It followed inevitably from the cascading, connected, multiple military alliances that event triggered.
Australia is signatory to many such alliances, but on the cusp of a crucial federal election, is the ADF prepared for whatever may eventuate?
More tellingly, despite the political rhetoric from either political side, is Australia ready?
Respected defence strategists like former general now Senator Jim Molan warn Australia’s fuel reserves fall well below actual as well as statuary requirements.
Yet this week reports suggested Australia would consider requests for additional LNG supplies from Europe should Russia cut off supplies in the event of war with the Ukraine.
The ADF is as well equipped, trained and led as it has been for many years, despite an inordinately top-heavy hierarchy.
It’s possibly war weary, yet it continues to be employed in tasks beyond its primary role, including assisting governments that have failed to deal adequately with Covid.
Political parties think ADF and veteran votes are too diluted to influence outcomes.
However they are probably better informed and better connected than they have ever been.
Whether they can present a united front and vote accordingly is yet to be tested.