2001 - Coalition
2001 Coalition Defence Statement – Recognition, Reward and Respect
Under the Coalition, the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal would remain as the independent pay-fixing body for the ADF. It also promised to index pensions twice annually and create an internal review process to consider improvements to Defence personnel superannuation. It guaranteed to amend leave payment conditions so that leave would accrue fortnightly rather than annually, and so that service members of 10 years or more could cash their leave payment in one sum. Reserves conditions would remain tax free.
Under a new scheme, single ADF members of five years or more would be granted rental assistance toward accommodation. Families were also promised greater housing location options. The completion of a $3 million project to install air-conditioning by the end of the 2001 financial year was also a key housing priority for the Coalition.
An expansion of the ADF Spouse Employment Program through $2.5 million funding over a five-year period was another priority. This would include a trial of spousal employment assistance through recruitment agencies, and assistance towards professional re-registration fees and course upgrades upon relocation. A Family Support Fund providing welfare to dependents was promised to help bolster the Spouse Employment Program.
The Coalition also allocated $13 million over five years to extend the Defence Child Care program. This would include the establishment of an 80-place child care centre in Canberra, a 60-place facility in Darwin, and a new facility in Sale. It also pledged to complete a joint research project with DETYA on the effects of mobility on children’s education by July 2002. Specialist career streams in the ADF, emergency childcare for ADF personnel, and an increase in the number of childcare centres from 16 to 21 were other key election promises to assist ADF families.
The Coalition also committed to develop a military specific personnel compensation scheme that would provide improved transparency and access for ADF members, and more flexible rehabilitation and compensation benefits. This would include a revised framework to assist commanders and managers in dealing with work-related injury and illness. A new Centre for Military and Veterans Health was also promised.
The Coalition stated it would implement measures to improve Defence personnel training. This would entail an e-learning strategy, enhanced collaboration with universities, and a review of the quality of Defence’s education system. A database that advised employers of Reservists military qualifications would also be developed.
To improve Defence Force recruitment the Coalition vowed it would extend the existing ‘Manpower recruitment trial’ for another year and introduce more flexible testing arrangements. The Coalition also promised to launch projects aimed at recruiting indigenous youth. To improve recruitment of Cadets, the Coalition pledged to create an ADF Cadets Council that would advise on strategic issues in youth development. Enhanced Cadet safety and improved firearms training were other key priorities.
2001 Coalition Defence Statement – Strengthening Australia's Defences
A Coalition government prioritised implementing a new Defence White Paper in its third term.
Defence funding was pitched to rise by an average of 3 per cent or $500,000 per year between 2001 and 2011, totalling $32.4 billion over the decade. Of these funds, 41.6 per cent would be spent on personnel, 27.5 per cent on capital investment, and 30.9 per cent on operating costs.
Funding was set to be complemented by a Defence Capability Plan spanning 2002–2015.
Key initiatives of the Capability Plan included:
- Land force upgrades of two squadrons of Air Reconnaissance Helicopters, a squadron of troop lift helicopters, upgrades to 350 M113 armoured personnel carriers, UAV acquisition, replacement of HMAS Tobruk, HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla, Caribou tactical transport aircraft, and refurbishment of the C-130H.
- Air Force upgrades of the F/A-18 Hornet, purchase of four Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, five new-generation air-to-air refuelling aircraft, 100 combat aircraft.
- Maritime Force upgrades of ANZAC-class frigates, purchase of three air-warfare capable ships, Collins-class submarine upgrades, 15 patrol boats to replace HMAS Westralia and HMAS Success, upgrades to Seahawk helicopter and 19 P-3 Orion patrol aircraft.
- Special Forces funding of $442 million by 2010-11 and Defence Intelligence funding of $565 million by 2010-11.
The Coalition also promised an annual assessment of Australia’s strategic environment. It pledged to double the counter-terrorism capability of the Special Forces, enhance patrol boat, maritime surveillance aircraft, and intelligence capabilities, and undertake measures to increase defences against chemical, biological and radiological attacks. To this end, the Coalition would form the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Defence Committee as a replacement to the Nuclear Biological Chemical Defence Steering Committee. The Committee would report to the Defence Secretary and CDF.
A revised remuneration system for ADF personnel was set to include: a new scheme to give single ADF members greater choice over accommodation, the extension of the Spouse Employment Assistance program, the expansion of the Defence Childcare Program, a new military specific compensation scheme, improvements to superannuation and flexibility in leave arrangements, and the allocation of $100 million per year for personnel initiatives over five years.
The Coalition pledged to enhance Australia’s international relationships. This would include reinforcing Australia’s relationship with the US and exploring avenues of shared strategic interests in the Asia–Pacific. Under the Coalition, Australia would also build a more realistic defence relationship with Indonesia and assist the Papua New Guinea government in managing reform of the PNG Defence Force.
A new strategic role for the Reserves and new categories of High Readiness Reserves were promised, in addition to the Army Reserve contributing a rifle company to a number of infantry battalions scheduled for overseas deployment. The Coalition also proposed a five-year plan for the Australian Services Cadet Scheme.
The Coalition also pledged to adopt a more strategic industry policy approach by changing the way Defence manages its demand, altering Defence’s competition policy arrangements, and adopting new accountability and transparency measures.
2001 Coalition Defence Statement – Supporting those who served
The Coalition stated it would provide better healthcare to Australian veterans, by extending the Gold Card (which provides health care for all conditions) to all veterans 70 years and older and have qualifying service, at a cost of $73.5 million over four years.
It pledged to introduce twice yearly indexation of the Income Support Supplement for war widows to match either the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater. This would come at a cost of $70.3 million over four years.
The Coalition also stated it would conduct a high profile and independent review into eligibility for veterans’ benefits. This would include considering anomalies within the eligibility for veterans’ entitlements and would be conducted in close consultation with the ex-service community.
2001 Coalition Foreign Affairs Statement – Standing Up for Australia
The Asia–Pacific region was of vital importance to Australia, and was therefore at the forefront of the Coalition’s policy. The Coalition recognised Japan as fundamental to Australia’s future, and pledged to take measures to strengthen the diplomatic and economic relationship, continue to pursue trade and investment facilitation, and encourage Japan to take a more active role in the region.
The Coalition stated it valued China’s role in the region, and committed to support China’s integration into the WTO, manage issues in the bilateral relationship in a constructive manner, and continue to raise human rights issues with the Chinese Government through regular dialogue.
North and South Korea were considered strategically important to Australia, and the Coalition stated it would continue efforts to strengthen economic relations with South Korea, attempt to engage constructively with North Korea, and assist in the diplomatic effort to stabilise the Korean Peninsula.
ASEAN nations were acknowledged as integral to Australia’s future. The Coalition committed to work with Indonesia to end people smuggling to Australia through cooperation on immigration, law enforcement, extradition and defence, and efforts to assist Indonesia in improving its economic outlook. The Coalition also committed to linking the ASEAN Free Trade Area with Australia’s bilateral arrangement with New Zealand, work towards the completion of a FTA with Singapore and begin negotiations for a FTA with Thailand.
The Coalition stated it would encourage New Zealand to play an active defence role in the region, support peace and stability to the island states in the Pacific (particularly the Solomon Islands) and play an active role in ensuring peace in Bougainville.
The US maintained its position as Australia’s most important strategic partner, with the Coalition stating it would support the US in the fight against international terrorism, conclude a FTA with the US, explore new ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship and encourage the US to remain engaged in the Asia–Pacific.
In Europe, the Coalition stated it would reaffirm the importance of Australia’s relationship with the EU, and work to ensure all European countries were aware of economic opportunities associated with Australia.
In regards to multilateral organisations, the Coalition committed to actively pursuing reform to the UN human rights treaty system, supporting Japan in gaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and would continue to work for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Additionally, the Coalition would work with other members of the ASEAN Regional Forum to create a regional body to strengthen strategic, economic and cultural ties. The Coalition would also work to establish trilateral meetings between Australia, Indonesia and East Timor, and a West Pacific Dialogue.
2001 Coalition National Security Statement – Immigration – Its Role in Our Future
This document contained no new policy statements.
2001 Coalition National Security Statement –Protecting our borders
The Coalition stated that the protection of Australia’s borders is the ADF’s most significant responsibility. In light of this, it pledged a contribution of more than $3 billion over the next 10 years to assist in the national border protection effort. This would include the replacement of RAN’s 15 Fremantle Patrol Boats with a new class, a major refurbishment or replacement of RAAF’s fleet of P-3C long range maritime surveillance aircraft, $275 million for the enhancement of Australia’s ‘over the horizon’ radar capability, $160 million for the development and future purchases of the Global Hawk surveillance aircraft and the purchase of four Airborne Early Warning Control Aircraft.
A re-elected Coalition would provide an additional $8.1 million to enhance Coastwatch’s communication capability, significantly increase its surveillance flights over Australia’s northern approaches by 1600 hours, and would further strengthen Australia’s radar network through an operational evaluation of new High Frequency Surface Wave Radar technology.
In order to enforce border laws through Customs, the Coalition stated it would provide $72.4 million over four years to double Custom’s National Marine Unit’s surveillance and response capability, as well as provide additional container X-ray machines for Fremantle and Brisbane ports, and additional pallet X-ray machines in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Updated: 25 Jul 2018