Australia’s defense budget hits 20-year high

In its first budget proposal in almost a decade, Australia’s Labor government announced it would follow through on its previous government’s pledge to spend $270 billion (US$174 billion) on military upgrades by 2030.

Under the new budget, defense spending is expected to rise to $48.7 billion this year, eventually reaching more than 2% of GDP. This is a level he hasn’t seen since the late 1990s.

The $270 billion defense budget includes nuclear submarine procurement under the AUKUS Security Treaty, trilateral security pacts between Australia, the UK and the US, hypersonic missiles, advanced cyber and artificial intelligence capabilities, and ground defense. will be The Daily Telegraph reports on missile systems and drone warfare in the air and sea.

At the same time, this budget will allow for a significant increase in available flight hours for all RAAF and RAN military aircraft, including Australia’s primary F-35 strike fighter.

Over the next 12 months, its operations will nearly double to 12,500 flight hours, and more ANZAC-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers will set sail.

Additionally, Australia has emphasized increased aerial surveillance, and the P-8A Poseidon fleet will make greater efforts to carry out intelligence gathering missions in the region.

Treasury Secretary Jim Chalmers said the budget would allow Australia to regain its status as a “hard-working and reliable partner”.

Epoch Times photo
Treasury Secretary Jim Chalmers delivers a budget speech at the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia, October 25, 2022 (Martin Ollman/Getty Images)

“After nearly a decade of neglect and neglect, we are determined to restore our role as a hard-working and reliable partner and friend to our Pacific neighbors and strive for a stable, peaceful and more prosperous region. increase. said in his budget speech October 25th.

He added that the Australian Defense Force “is well-equipped to meet our security challenges over the next decade and beyond.”

Pacific Receives Increased Funding

The Budget also underscores the Commonwealth’s need to shape Australia’s strategic direction and deter actions that harm its national interests. This includes her more than $147 million to promote security and engagement in the region, including the establishment of the Australian Academy of Defense of the Pacific and the training of multinational forces and police.

It will also provide additional development assistance worth $1.4 billion to the Pacific, including $900 million, and establish a new South East Asia Office to coordinate government-wide efforts and deepen engagement in the region.

Responding to Beijing’s threat in the Pacific

The budget comes amid heightened international concerns over a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP), which is held every five years.

Xi Jinping
Chinese leader Xi Jinping (front) walks with members of the new Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China during a meeting with media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 23, 2022. (AFP via Wang Zhao/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the opening ceremony of the parliament that he would never abandon the use of force to achieve “unification” of Taiwan.

“We never promise to renounce the use of force. We reserve the option to take all necessary measures,” in Beijing.

It was at this time that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signed a joint security agreement. (pdf) In Perth on 22 October, they will discuss “contingencies” that threaten national security interests amid growing concerns over China-Taiwan tensions.

“The relationship between Australia and Japan is unique and benefits the entire region given our shared values ​​and interests,” Albanese said. statement.

Although China was not mentioned in the joint declaration, the move appeared to be a response to the Chinese Communist Party’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific and its provocations against Taiwan.

Epoch Times photo
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a meeting in Tokyo on September 27, 2022 (Japan Pool via Jiji Press/Jiji Press/via Getty Images) of AFP)

Japan has devoted considerable space to Taiwan in this year’s annual defense report, stating that Taiwan’s stability is “extremely important to Japan’s security,” and that, in cooperation with the international community, it will “monitor it carefully with a sense of urgency.” “I have to.”

In a report released on July 22, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said, “China has made it clear that it will not hesitate to unify Taiwan by force, further increasing tensions in the region.”

Nearly half of Australians support Taiwan’s defense

Meanwhile, a new poll shows that nearly one in two Australians support Australia sending troops to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion by Beijing, more than Japan or the United States. is also a much higher proportion of the population.

according to online voting A YouGov survey commissioned by the University of Sydney Center for American Studies found that, out of a sample of 1,068 Australians, almost half (46%) of the respondents said Australia was It states that it agrees or strongly agrees that military forces should be deployed. 18% strongly agree.

Susie Su, a senior Taiwanese journalist based in Sydney, believes the main reason is that Australia and Taiwan share the same values ​​of freedom, democracy and human rights.

“In fact, Taiwan and Australia do not have formal diplomatic relations, and the population of Taiwanese immigrants in Australia is far smaller than that of Chinese,” Su told The Epoch Times.

“The main thing that unites them is values. [other countries] more democratic and liberal. Such recognition is mutual. ”

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The Australian Navy submarine HMAS Rankin is seen at AUSINDEX 21, the biennial naval exercise between the Australian and Indian Navy, held in Darwin, Australia, on 5 September 2021. (POIS Yuri Ramsey/Australian Defense Force via Getty Images)

Su referred to the latest farce at the Communist Party Congress.

“What is the world’s impression of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China? The country’s former leader, Hu Jintao, was taken from the scene and his whereabouts are still unknown. Xi Jinping is now the emperor,” she said.

“This casts the shadow of the Nazi dictatorship on the world, and Australia is no exception.”

“Because of Australia’s AUKUS military alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with the United States, Japan and India, Australia already has a clear understanding of its role in security affairs in the Asia-Pacific region. You can see that the area.

Aldgra Fredly contributed to this report.

Epoch Times Sydney Staff