6 May 2013

Australia's Defence White Paper fitted for but not with money, says analyst

3:12 pm on 6 May 2013

An analyst says reduced funding in Australia's new Defence White Paper makes little sense given the more complicated strategic environment it identifies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Released last week, the paper captures Australian defence spending at 1.56% of GDP, the lowest level since before the second world war.

The director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings says the funding dip won't detract from the country's ability to respond to threats in the Pacific.

"But he describes the white paper as one that's fitted for but not with money."

We're in a - I think - almost a sort of schizophrenic state at the moment. If you read it, you would have cause to think that there are some dangers and risks that we have to take account of in the region which could well require the Australian Defence Force to deploy, perhaps in scenarios similar to those that took us into East Timor and Solomon Islands in earlier years. So the strategic environment is becoming more difficult, more complicated. But on the other hand, we also have a significant hollowing out of the Defence budget.