This is a Centre party movement policy discussion paper only. It is not official policy. It is designed to raise points of discussion leading to a policy that would be voted into existence by party members.

Australian military forces should be used for self-defence on the Australian mainland. They should not be used to support our United States defence partner in the pursuit of its military adventures or foreign policy, as in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Our defence alliance with the USA, the Anzus agreement, risks putting us in direct conflict with our major trading partner, the Peoples Republic of China.

There is no guarantee that the USA will come to Australia’s defence in the event of a direct attack.* It is hard to imagine who such an attacker might be. A potential attacker might be created in the minds of people to continue our reliance on Anzus and our purchase of US military hardware.

Australia does not have the manufacturing infrastructure, the expertise, the manpower or the unemployment problems of the USA that make its defence forces and arms industry a viable proposition. At the same time, the USA needs buyers for these arms.

Australia does build some military equipment, including submarines, frigates, offshore patrol vessels, armoured vehicles, small arms and some hi-tech tailplane parts for the USA’s F35 jet fighter. Apart from a range of aircraft, we seem to be capable of producing our own military needs.

The Anzus alliance, its assurances for Australia’s safety, its obligations and implications should be reviewed to ensure it works in our best interests.

We cannot stand defenceless in our part of the world. We should not interfere in the affairs of other nations either. Our security should be secured by establishing friendly and co-operative relations with other nations where possible.

The money spent on military equipment could be spent elsewhere, on health facilities or education for example.

Another issue worth considering is whether or not Australia should enlarge its civil defence and Army Reserve capacity. One way to do this would be to institute a period or periods of service for those physically capable, at various stages of their lives. Consideration could be given to recruiting those unable to find work after a certain period. The cost may be higher than providing a welfare payment and the benefits to the person and the nation may well be greater, including health, fitness, self-discipline, team work, social skills, learning skills and trades that would make them more likely to find civilian employment or a military career.

Some 22 small nations do not have standing military forces. Some of them are sheltered by stronger neighbours.

Constructive comments and additions are welcomed.

Full text, Anzus treaty http://australianpolitics.com/1951/09/01/anzus-treaty-text.html

*http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-08/does-anzus-commit-us-to-come-to-australias-aid-fact-check/5559288

A Google search result for: Military equipment manufactured in Australia https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Military+equipment+manufactured+in+Australia&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=aQyoWK2cCvHc8wfVw73oDA

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