National and Regional Security
For all the hardships of our early years and the conflicts that marked our early history, Australians rose to the occasion and formed a nation. We established an open, democratic and inclusive society in which all people are equal before the law.
Australia did not become this way by accident. We owe much of the stability and security we experience today to the systems of governance and law we inherited from the British, and the Christian heritage that was our moral compass.
Strong public institutions, a free press and the absence of corruption have provided Australians with a much greater sense of confidence and security in their lives than most others in the world experience.
Long term planning and sustainability
Procurements by the ADF are to comply with a long-term view to value adding and encouraging strategic partnerships. The structure of the ADF should reflect this goal; existing structures and capabilities should be considered when negotiating new procurements. Family First supports the procurement of nuclear powered (not armed) submarines with allowances for long term sustainability and maintenance of the technology. Family First supports a continuous build of submarines with a view to introducing, at the earliest opportunity, the potential for nuclear powered submarines.
Aim towards greater self-reliance
Family First supports a move towards increasing the ADF’s ability to protect Australian interests without a majority reliance on the United States. The United States is moving away from a traditional ‘provider’ of security to the ‘enhancer’ of security and the Australian defence policy should evolve also. A completely self-reliant Australian Defence Force is unattainable and not desired, but an improvement on our US-centric policy would open up other partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.
Full spectrum defence force capabilities
Australia’s position in the Asia-Pacific region is no longer as ‘cutting-edge’ as in previous decades. Other nations like China, Japan, and India are viable defence partners and can complement Australia’s role in the region as a liberal democratic force. Family First supports developing a ‘full spectrum’ approach to defence in Australia. The established Navy, Army and Air Force units should be complemented by improvements in Australia’s cyber and space warfare defence capabilities. Family First also supports continuing maritime focus to prioritise the security of trade routes and protection from naval incursions.
Efficiency and waste reduction
The ADF is currently undergoing a restructure to maximise efficiency and clarity in command. Family First supports reductions in waste and duplication in administrative offices, and increased accountability for quality of work and outcomes. Like any organisation - government or private - middle management becomes bloated and needs to be reassessed on a regular basis. If middle management ranks within defence are not the very best and brightest we have, then they need to be managed out of the defence force.
Family First supports fair indexation of veteran pensions and adequate funding for assistance programs to ease veterans back into society after they return home. Family First upholds the integrity of the family unit and the important role the family has in relation to rehabilitation and care for veterans; in all possible areas assisting family and community care for veterans instead of government-led care.
Family First supports mandatory counselling for those that have been in an environment where the risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is significantly enhanced.
Culture and Leadership
Family First understands that due to the ADF’s unique and important role the ADF needs the toughest, smartest, nation loving men and women it can find in the appropriate roles. The ADF doesn’t need to be (nor should it be) representative of the broader community.
Teamwork is at the very core of our Defence Forces, without which the ADF is greatly weakened. The social engineering agendas of politicians should have no place in our Defence Force. The political push to have a greater percentage of women in all defence domains, including combat roles undermines cohesion and effectiveness within the ADF. The primary role of the ADF is to defend our nation, and it does so with limited resources. There are many roles in which women can positively contribute to the ADF, but there is no social or organisational good achieved by government intervening to drive women into combat roles. The purpose and mission of the ADF should drive the recruiting profile, not gender goal directives from government.
Risk and competition also plays an important role in the ADF. Fierce competition between troops and departments sharpens their skills and commitment to the task. Likewise, risk and danger are part of appropriate training in the defence force and there needs to be greater scope for defence force leaders to push the boundaries that would not be acceptable outside the defence environment. We need highly trained soldiers that have proven they can operate in high risk environments. Family First believes the priority should be “what works best for the organisation that is given the responsibility to protect our nation”.
Terrorism is a direct threat to free society and must be resisted. While the relative size of the Australian Defence Force limits our capacity to make deployments on the scale our major allies have made in the Middle East, it is important that Australia makes commitments in these areas to the extent that our capacity allows.
- Family First supports the deployment of Australian defence forces in the Middle East.
- Family First supports counter-terrorism measures within Australia designed to protect the Australian public against acts of terror at home or abroad;
- Family First supports the right of the executive to determine whether or not Australia will go to war. We do not support requiring Parliament to approve whether Australia goes to war or not. The confidentiality of matters relating to such decisions cannot be entrusted to a modern Parliament where partisan politics and self-promotion are too prevalent.
- Family First supports world-best support for returned service veterans. It is unconscionable not to provide for the future income and health support needs of those who Australia has asked to fight on behalf of the nation, and they have returned with physical or mental injuries – or both – that impair their ability to provide for their families.
- Family First believes that the foundation of any nation rests on its capacity to effectively self- govern. If civil order cannot be guaranteed there can be no progress in commerce, infrastructure, health or education. If corruption flourishes, there is no hope of significant economic development and citizens will continue to live in poverty.