2007 - Labor
2007 Labor Defence Statement – Labor's Plan for Defence
Under a new term, Labor promised to commission a Defence White Paper to ensure Australia’s strategic priorities and continue to develop and maintain its force structure.
Labor pledged to upgrade Australia’s Defence Capability Plan and ensure a no air combat capability gap to enhance Australia’s security. It promised to advance Australia’s submarine capability by guaranteeing preliminary work on next generation submarines would commence before 2011 in South Australia, and by negotiating a new agreement with the US on submarine technology.
To maintain strong international relationships, Labor stated it would enhance cooperation and training between the US military and the ADF, and reinforce regional multilateral defence arrangements. Labor promised to remove Australian combat troops from Iraq if elected. Labor also promised an extensive audit of Australia’s Defence Budget, while committing to maintain defence spending, including a minimum annual 3 per cent real growth until 2016.
Labor vowed to improve employment conditions for ADF personnel. It promised to extend free health care to ADF personnel dependents and implement flexible policy to better support veterans, improving their income and health care support. It pledged to establish an independent tribunal to render decisions on awards and honours, and reform the military justice system.
Labor stated it would maintain a generous superannuation scheme and release the results of an independent Military Superannuation Review conducted by the Coalition to improve the ADF’s superannuation scheme. In addition, it promised to implement an ADF Mental Health Lifecycle package of research and innovation to fill gaps and integrate service planning across entry into the ADF, service, transition to discharge, and upon resettlement in to civilian life. To this end, Labor promised to conduct a transition case management pilot and family support trial in Townsville, Queensland. Labor also pledged to review military compensation arrangements and maintain a vibrant and well-equipped Cadet Program. It would also conduct an audit of Defence Legal which would include a revision of the Department’s handling of the remaining HMAS Melbourne/Voyager collision of 1964.
The expansion of ADF Civil-Military Cooperation was critical to Australia’s stability and peace-building operations, according to Labor.
2007 Labor Defence Statement – Labor’s Plans for Veterans’ Affairs
Veterans’ affairs were stated to be a Rudd Labor government priority. To restore the value of compensation and entitlements, Labor said it would remove the Simpler Super tax hike, increase access to Widow’s Benefit for post-retirement marriages, release and consult on the Military Superannuation Review report, introduce a new National Transport Concessions Scheme and implement a new Making Ends Meet plan to assist with rising costs of living.
A Rudd Labor government committed to ensure that compensation payments to veterans retained their value over time through a fairer system of indexation for all disability compensation payments. It affirmed its support for a five per cent increase to the whole General Rate table, increasing non-economic loss compensation payments.
Labor stated it would apply the same indexation arrangements to the Domestic Allowance component of War Widow’s Pension to support war widows with increased costs of living. Additionally, Labor said it would implement the recently announced $10 a fortnight increase in the Domestic Allowance component of the War Widow’s Pension.
A Rudd Labor Government pledged to amend the Superannuation Legislation Amendment Act 2007 to backdate the new post-retirement marriage arrangements to 1 July 2003, to ensure equity between the Commonwealth and the Defence superannuation schemes.
Labor committed to publicly release the Military Superannuation Review and conduct public consultations about its context and recommendations. It also stated it would invest $50 million to establish a National Transport Concessions Scheme to ensure that all ex-service members with Seniors Cards could access public transport concession rights across Australia. It would deliver on this scheme by no later than 1 January 2009.
Under Labor’s Making Ends Meet plan, it would provide increased and more regular financial support for older Australians, people with disabilities and carers to manage rising costs of living.
To support veterans mentally and physically, a Rudd Labor government would: address the cost of pharmaceuticals for war caused disabilities, increase funding for the Applied Suicide and Intervention Skills Training program, implement an ADF mental health ‘lifecycle’ package, conduct an independent study into suicide in the ex-service community, hold an annual Veterans’ Health Week, review the aged care needs and ‘special needs’ status of veterans and provide zero real interest loans to build or extend aged care facilities, among other policies.
In caring for the families of veterans, Labor committed to: extend the Income Support Supplement to widows under the qualifying age without dependents, conduct the Vietnam Veterans Family Study, extend bereavement payments for single Totally and Permanently Incapacitated and Extreme Disablement Adjustment veterans who die without sufficient assets to pay for a funeral and automatically grant the War Widow’s Pension to widows to Temporary Totally Incapacitated and Intermediate Rate pensioners.
To empower the ex-service community, it stated it would: increase financial assistance for ex-service organisations, establish a Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters and establish an Inquiry into former F-111 Deseal/Reseal Workers.
In order to meet key policy commitments to improve the operation of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a Rudd Labor government said it would: establish an interdepartmental working group to help deal with multiple agencies, establish a public register of ex-service officials and conduct regular surveys of them, establish a DVA hotline to assist ex-service officials and examine Military Compensation arrangements, among other policies.
To recognise courage and sacrifice, Labor committed to: form an independent Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal, seek UNESCO Protection for the Kokoda Track and implement Post Armistice Korean Service Review recommendations, among other policies.
2007 Labor National Platform Defence Statement – Strengthening Australia’s Place in the World
Labor pledged to strengthen Australia’s existing defence ties via the UN, key allies, and through establishing new relations in the Asia–Pacific region. It said it would ensure that ADF capability development was consistent with Australia’s strategic interests. In particular, Labor specified that it would strengthen Australia’s defence relationship, increase interoperability and further joint exercises with US military forces.
In relation to regional defence relationships, Labor pledged that the Five Power Defence Arrangements would be maintained. Assisting Papua New Guinea with its Defence force and promoting non-military solutions to its internal security concerns were also a part of Labor’s proposed Defence commitments. These commitments also extended to providing sustainable assistance to Pacific nations by helping to create law enforcement, Defence force and democratic institutions.
The creation of a Department of Homeland Security to establish a coordinated, whole-of-government response to terrorism was a key part of Labor's Defence platform. To that end, Labor pledged to ensure that the ADF, particularly Special Forces, would have the best counter-terrorism capability obtainable.
The ADF Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) was considered by Labor as vital to stability and peace building operations. Furthermore, Labor was committed to making sure that Australia’s Defence cooperation did not assist any violation of human rights, democratic freedoms or any form of suppression.
With regard to Pine Gap, Labor stated that it would demand that it be operated and managed with complete transparency on a joint basis with the US, in a way that would be in line with Australia’s national security, disarmament and non-proliferation objectives.
Labor stated it would support the development of capability for in-theatre defence of ADF personnel and key strategic interests from ballistic missile attack.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Platform Defence Statement (Personnel)- Strengthening Australia’s Place in the World
Labor pledged to have ADF pay and conditions fixed in a fair and transparent manner by an independent tribunal. Associations with sufficient membership would be allowed to present the views of its members before the independent tribunal.
A review of the distribution of ADF bases to minimise recurrent disruptive transfers and an assessment of overseas deployments to facility shorter rotations were parts of Labor’s proposals for Defence. Labor also stated that it would develop a better program of career planning and invest in programs that provide training for marketable skills for life after service.
For recruitment attractions, Labor said that it would review Defence pay and conditions to match the labour market. The development of new incentives to bolster retention rates and minimise wastage due to poor career direction, planning and improper medical discharge were also a part of Labor's proposed reforms.
In conjunction with state and territory governments and the education sector, Labor pledged to create a new defence training program to address Defence skill shortages.
Labor stated that it would maintain the occupational health and safety regime for all the ADF personnel, as well as the military rehabilitation and compensation scheme. ADF personnel would receive extensive psychological and medical screening checks and support when returning from service under Labor’s proposals. A review of the mental health screening and assessment processes to ensure early treatment and intervention was also promised.
In relation to military justice, Labor guaranteed impartial, rigorous and fair outcomes for all affected parties in any complaint lodge for redress. Labor was also committed to introducing a strict accountability system for all military justice investigations.
Labor declared that it would assess Defence recruitment to ensure that it reflected Australia’s ethnic diversity, including Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders.
The integration of full-time ADF and Reserve components into a total force structure was also part of Labor’s plans for Defence. A pledge to stop the Common Induction Training for the Army as well as assess it for the Navy and Air Force was also made.
Labor had also stated that it would ensure that Defence Administration complied with government guidelines.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Platform Defence Statement (Veterans’ Affairs) - Strengthening Australia’s Place in the World
In relation to the care of Australian veterans, Labor stated that its policy for veterans would reflect their varying needs in light of their stage in life and would deliver flexible programs to address current requirements. It would consider, in particular, the recommendations from the Clarke Review of Veterans’ Entitlements.
Labor committed to the care and welfare of veterans’ partners and families, as well as those of former peacekeepers. As a part of this policy, it pledged to provide sufficient programs to ease the effects of gambling, substance abuse and domestic violence experienced by veterans’ children and partners. A Labor government would also commence studies into the health and welfare of younger veterans’ children in order to understand the health effects flowing on from their parent’s service.
To further support veterans' families, Labor stated it would review the quality of the bursary programs for talented children accepted at the tertiary level.
Programs of income support for veterans, their partners and widows who could not provide for themselves due to service in the ADF would be continued by Labor.
In relation to disability compensation, Labor stated that it would apply income and assets tests to veterans fairly and would consult with the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (T&PI) community to restructure benefits for T&PIs.
To support ex-service organisations with arranging compensation claims for their members, Labor said that it would continue to support the BEST and TIP programs.
Labor stated that it would keep current programs for veterans’ health care and pledged free treatment for all service-related injuries and disease. Fast-tracking programs for health and mortality studies and research into past deployments were also a part of Labor's proposed commitments.
Labor stated it would have a bipartisan attitude toward commemoration, with a focus on education programs. It also pledged to introduce a new annual commemorative day in September, the ‘Battle for Australia Day’, to recognise the significance of the World War II campaigns in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific and Southeast Asia in the defence of Australia. Engaging with foreign governments to protect and preserve battlefields where Australian soldiers acted was also a feature of Labor's commitments.
Finally, Labor stated that it would maintain a dedicated administrative agency for veterans within Defence.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Platform Foreign Affairs Statement - Strengthening Australia’s Place in the World
Labor stated that it would prioritise making Australia a middle power diplomacy. Labor was committed to solidifying Australia’s relationship with the US and would ensure comprehensive engagement with the Asia–Pacific region.
If elected, Labor pledged to pursue a dialogue with Timor-Leste leaders and to provide long-term assistance to the nation. This would include an emphasis on assisting political reconciliation and economic development.
Labor stated it would engage with the governments of the Pacific Islands, providing support on a merit basis. It would give significant support to PNG and attempt to create a new relationship with Indonesia with a focus on developing the bilateral economic relationship. An effort to construct relationships with the Indian Ocean rim and the economies of southern Africa was also a part of Labor's foreign policy ambition.
Australia would maintain its engagement with the Arab/Israeli conflict under a Labor government. To this end, it said it would support a two-state solution to the Israel–Palestinian conflict.
In relation to terrorism, Labor believed that Australian’s national security policy needed to be reorganised and proposed to create an Office of National Security led by a National Security Advisor under the Prime Minister’s portfolio. Labor also committed to establishing a Comprehensive Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy in partnership with Southeast Asian governments.
Labor stated it would work multilaterally to help reform and improve the UN, with particular emphasis on the UN’s engagement with non-state actors and the UN’s human rights machinery. A core foreign policy objective of Labor was the promotion of universal human rights, and this included backing the imposition of targeted ‘smart’ sanctions against governments that breached them.
Labor pledged to implement an action plan to combat Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).
Australia would help lead disarmament and non-proliferation efforts under a Labor government. This would include the establishment of a new diplomatic caucus called the “Cairns Group” to address nuclear proliferation concerns.
Labor stated it would ratify the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.
Another of Labor's core foreign policy goals was environmental diplomacy, including the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and initiating a government-to-government level Australia-China Commission on Global Climate Change. Labor specified that it would create a Pacific Climate Change Strategy that would incorporate: a long-range climate change prediction project; assistance for migration, adaptation and emergency response efforts; assistance with intra-country evacuations; the creation of an international coalition to accept climate change refugees; and the establishment of a Pacific Climate Change Alliance to help address climate change concerns.
Labor pledged to establish a Regional Disaster Management Centre to help coordinate regional emergency services.
Labor considered the Millennium Development Goals as the framework for global overseas development assistance and would accept the international agreed aid volume target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for overseas development assistance in order to achieve the goals.
A review of AusAid’s performance would be undertaken by a Labor government, including considerations to separate it from DFAT. Labor also pledged to improve the capacity of DFAT, as well as other associated agencies, with a focus on maintaining ‘critical mass’ in linguistic and area specialisations.
To inform policymaking, Labor said it would consider creating a Global Development Institute to undertake development research.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Platform National Security Statement - Strengthening Australia’s Place in the World
As a part of Labor’s plan for domestic security, it pledged to create a Department of Homeland Security. The Department would have a role coordinating and controlling specific agencies involved in information and intelligence gathering, border protection, coastal waters, transport, critical infrastructure, and incident response and recovery. Labor’s proposed Department of Homeland Security would have responsibility for: border protection; counter-terrorism; crime; intelligence collection and dissemination; response and recover from incidents; and monitoring the passage of people and goods through Australia’s ports. The proposed department would encompass ASIS, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Federal Police and Protective Service, the Protective Security Coordination Centre, Austrac, Crimtrac and the Australian Crime Commission.
Labor stated that it intended to create an Australian Coastguard operating under the Department of Homeland Security. The Australian Coastguard’s responsibilities would be to respond to and detect incursions in Australian waters and enforce Commonwealth maritime laws. It would be responsible for intelligence operations, coast surveillance, coordinating maritime safety, and search and rescue operations. The Australian Coastguard would have a volunteer civil reserve component.
In regards to port and maritime security, Labor stated that it would ensure that vessels and sailors require security clearances to carry dangerous material on coastal itineraries. Labor also guaranteed that all ships entering Australian ports would have to provide adequate cargo and crew information 48 hours before arrival.
In relation to aviation security, Labor said that it would work to have all cargo on passenger flights in-line screened and prioritised upgrades to regional airport security. It also pledged to expand the use of CCTV and bolster perimeter security.
Labor stated that it would establish a national standard for security for all major urban transport systems and enhance the role of the Inspector of Transport Security.
Labor pledged that it would work to protect essential services by putting in place safeguards to limit threats and guarantee quick recovery from incidents. It would also resource Emergency Management Australia to ensure recovery and response from incidences.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Platform National Security Statement (Cyber) - Fostering Competitive and Innovative Australian Industries
Labor stated a commitment to improve Australia’s information and communication technology (ICT) products, service, infrastructure and manufacturing capacity with a national emphasis on ICT job, skills and education. It pledged to work to attract investment into the sector, while reducing foreign barriers to exports. Labor also stated that it would support ICT research, investment, development and traineeships and would work to create opportunities for the local ICT industry.
Labor vouched to improve access to broadband connectivity to all Australians and said it would take advantage of the digital environment to expand access to government services.
The use of encryption technologies to secure ICT services was supported by Labor, and it pledged to create a framework to address information security concerns such as cyber-terrorism, information warfare and computer crime. A strategy to protect Australia’s national information infrastructure would also be developed by Labor, including a method to see infrastructure recuperate promptly if compromised.
Labor stated that it would create a national framework for IT policy development to allow input from academia, industry and the community and foster the integration of new information and communications technologies into industry.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Platform National Security Statement (Immigration)– Respecting Human Rights and a Fair Go for All
Labor committed to a non-discriminatory immigration policy that would be implemented fairly, independently and without diplomatic or political interference. A review to ensure Australia’s immigration intake was consistent with a population policy for nation-building was also a part of Labor's proposed commitments.
Labor stated that it would work to ensure that the Refugee Convention and international protection system functioned effectively and that it would work to encourage more signatories.
In regards to refugee and asylum seeker policy, Labor stated that it would pursue regional multilateral solutions to prevent people smuggling, deter secondary movement and assist refugees with adequate settlement.
Labor stated that it would establish a new Refugee Determination Tribunal to rapidly process claims while providing guidelines based on merit in order to deny frivolous and vexatious visa applications.
The excision of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Ashmore Reef from Australia’s migration zone would be continued by Labor.
A review of Australia’s current asylum seekers’ appeal mechanism was proposed, with Labor committing to end the ‘Pacific Solution’. Furthermore, under a Labor government, asylum seekers who had been determined to be refugees under the Migration Act would be given permanent protection. Maintaining the Temporary Humanitarian Visa was also a part of Labor's policy.
Settlement and counselling organisations for new migrants and refugees with a focus on providing incentives for new migrants to settle in regional Australia were supported by Labor.
Labor stated that it supported a skilled migration program and would guarantee that sponsorship applications for highly specialised skilled works would be processed rapidly. The Regional Certifying Bodies would be replaced by a Registered Employment Authority under a Labor government.
Labor pledged to review the provisions of visas, such as training visas, to make certain that they were not an avenue for exploitation.
No PDF available.
2007 Labor National Security Statement – Labor’s Plan for Cyber-safety
Labor highlighted the importance of teaching Australian children about cyber-safety and emphasised that the message needed to be reinforced by parents and teachers.
It pledged to provide a mandatory ‘clean feed’ internet service for all homes, schools and public computers used by Australian children. It said it would ensure that the ACMA black list was more comprehensive to ensure adequate online protection for children and families.
Labor committed to improving cyber-safety education by providing parents, teachers and children with comprehensive online cyber-safety resources and assistance. This included the commitment to establish a specific online helpline to assist children with their cyber-safety concerns.
Labor said it would establish a Youth Advisory Group to report to the Consultative Working Group to ensure the government was kept updated with issues that affect children online.
Research into cyber-safety issue would be expanded and a Labor government said it would support research into cyber-safety issues to determine where to target future policy and funding.
Labor also pledged to establish a permanent Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Cyber-safety to investigate and report on cyber-safety in Australia and provide individuals concerned about the issue a platform to present their concerns before Parliament.
Updated: 25 Jul 2018