Labor backs more money for weapons in $330 billion plan

In the run-up to the budget, Labor unveiled its new National Defence Strategy, announcing over $330 billion in spending on new weapons and military hardware over the next decade as it gears up for war on China.

China is now being named explicitly as the adversary the Australian ruling class is preparing for war against, with the government’s Defence Strategic Review declaring that Australia must resist China’s attempts to “change the current regional balance in its favour.”

An extra $50 billion will be spent on defence over the next decade, with $72.8 billion in planned spending being “re-prioritised” for undersea warfare and big investments in space and cyber security.

The eye-watering spending total includes $63 billion over the first decade of the toxic AUKUS nuclear submarine program. There are billions more for new warships, Ghost Shark undersea drones and attack drones, missiles, combat vehicles, tanks, and fighter jet upgrades.

Labor will raise Australia’s defence spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP within ten years, continuing the trend of countries expanding their military build-ups.

Labor’s main priority is to be prepared to militarily confront China within the next ten years, and that means spending billions on weapons of war—like nuclear powered submarines—that can project power far from Australia’s borders.

The Australian ruling class’ anxieties about securing international trade routes were on full display during Defence Minister Richard Marles’ Nation Press Club Address, as he said, “We are literally dependent on this sea line of communication … The rules of the road at sea [are] everything for us”.

But the response from defence commentators was to demand even more spending, saying many of the new weapons would not arrive quickly enough.

Former Defence Department official Marcus Hellyer told the Financial Review, “In the short term, we’re not seeing the kind of increases that are consistent with the government’s narrative that these are the worst strategic circumstances since World War II”.

They are demanding Australia prepares to fight a war with China immediately—with some US officials predicting war as early as 2027.

A war against China would be catastrophic for ordinary people in both Australia and China and would only serve only ruling class interests.

We must oppose the drive to war with China and demand our government spends money on social services, the cost of living and climate change, not weapons for war.

By Luke Ottavi


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