Our spending on the military

Australian Defence
Facts and Figures

Australia is among the top military spenders per capita.

This is not something to boast about! There are alternatives – for example, well resourced public schools with better facilities and smaller classes to educate the citizens of the future; more beds in our public hospitals with more nurses with better working conditions, a sustainable environment, and much more.

All this would be possible if Labor and Liberal Governments would listen to the people and cut military spending.

General Facts
• We spend $32 billion a year on the military that is $87 million a day.
• That makes us the 14th biggest spender on the military in the world.
• We are 6th largest per capita spender on the military in the world.
• Australian military expenditure equals and sometimes surpasses what we spend federally on education.
• Australian military expenditure is 9 to 10 per cent of Federal Government outlays.
• Australian military expenditure is guaranteed to rise by 4 to 5 per cent each year for 20 years.

Specific Facts
• Australia has spent $10 billion on the war in Afghanistan – $1 billion a year plus an additional $1.6 billion for extra armour.
• Australia is buying 3 Aegis air warfare warships at over $2 billion each.
• Australia has recently acquired a fleet of 24 Super Hornet warplanes for $6.6 billion.
• Australia is purchasing 100 F35 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of over $16 billion. This aircraft involves controversial, highly complex technology and is still being developed. In late 2009, when the Government ordered its first instalment (14 jets totalling $3.2 billion), less than 3 per cent of flight testing had been undertaken.
• Australia cannot staff its existing 6 Collins Class submarines but the 2009 Defence White Paper pushed for 12 new submarines (estimated to cost $38 billion).
• Australia plans to be the first country in the South East Asian region to acquire cruise missiles (said to be more than $0.5 million each). Not only will this appear threatening to our neighbours but it will put us in breach of a nuclear non-proliferation measure to which we subscribe, the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime.

Australian Comparisons
Building the Educational Revolution; $16.1 billion ½ of 1 year’s military spending
The Government’s 2 year economic stimulus plan – $42 billion 1 year and 3 months military spending
Move Royal Adelaide Hospital to a new site – $1.7 billion 3 weeks military spending
Refurbish Royal Hobart Hospital – $1 billion 2 weeks military spending
Government funding of large, grid-connected solar projects (Solar Flagships Program) – $1.5 billion 3 weeks of military spending
Refurbish Royal North Shore Hospital (Sydney) – $1 billion 2 weeks military spending
Rebuild Wagga Wagga Base Hospital – $290 million 3 days military spending
$100 mill for Tamworth’s hospital Just over a day’s military spending Just over a day’s military spending
Acute care beds for Dubbo and Orange Base Hospital – $5 million 1 and half hours military spending
EcoTransit’s light rail plan for inner west Sydney – $414 million 4 days of military spending
Australian overseas aid — $4.3 billion 1½ months military spending
Queensland reconstruction after the cyclone and floods — $5 billion 2 months military spending


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One Response to Our spending on the military

  1. rob May 4, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    This is a great summary Chris. The big question in education circles is whether or not the Gillard Government will genuinely implement the Gonski Review which it established into school education funding. The AEU, the Business Council and the NSW Government have all said they support the recommendations but they are opposed by elite schools.

    The recommendations would introduce a standard by which all schools would be measured, and where they fall below would receive additional funds. No school would be defunded despite the obscene gap between the educational opportunities afforded the already-privileged and the average.

    The full cost involved is $5 billlion per annum, and legislation to commence the transition will be needed this year. If Labor does not implement, it may well face defeat having compounded educational inequality and also lost one of its key traditional constituencies.

    Given that nobody has been able to justify the level of military spending we currently make, even with the proposed budget trimming (which is good), other than vague generalities about the Indian and Pacific Oceans (i.e. India and China who I haven’t noticed having aggressive designs on Australia), it should be easy to find the $5 billion. Maybe one less useless submarine?