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2013 - Labor


2013 Labor National Platform Defence Statement – Australia’s place in a changing world

Labor’s Defence policy was founded on the principle of Australian self-reliance but acknowledged the importance of strong bilateral and multilateral defence relationships. Labor committed to strengthen existing defence ties through the UN, with key allies and by building new relationships in the Asia–Pacific.

It would ensure that ADF capability development is directly related to Australia’s strategic interests and that appropriate regular strategic reviews are undertaken with public reports published. Defence cooperation with partners would not contribute to any suppression or violation of human rights or democratic freedoms.

Labor would require that the Pine Gap Joint Facility continue to be managed and operated on a joint basis only with the Australian Government’s full knowledge of activities and would ensure that the operations of the Joint Facility were consistent with Australia’s national security, disarmament and non-proliferation objectives.

Participation in the Five Power Defence Arrangements would remain an important aspect of regional policy under Labor. It would also increase Australia’s efforts to support sustainable development of the Pacific nations through the creation of democratic institutions, effective law enforcement and modern Defence forces.

On Defence personnel and training, Labor would ensure that ADF pay and conditions continue to be fixed in a fair and transparent manner by an independent tribunal and would review pay and conditions to ensure that recruitment attractions match those available in the labour market. It would also: develop a better program of career planning, invest in better training programs and continue to develop incentives. Additionally, Labor would review the adequacy of mental health screening and assessment processes and ensure early intervention and treatment in each case.

Labor committed to improving the standard of the military justice system and a strict accountability system to improve the transparency and accountability of all military justice investigations.

On Defence industry and export, Labor stated it would: maximise the participation of Australian companies in Defence procurement contracts, ensure that future outsourcing only occurred in areas where long-term savings could be generated and review on an ongoing basis the future of all sites identified as being surplus to Defence needs before deciding whether to sell or transfer these properties to the community. Further, it would commit to the regular publication of a Defence Capability Plan and ensure government control over the manufacture and export of arms, munitions and military goods and services.

2013 Labor National Platform Defence Statement (Veterans’ Affairs) – Australia’s place in a changing world

Labor committed to reviewing policies to ensure that they are adapted for the needs of the veteran community, such as exploring equitable and affordable mechanisms for the improvement of some military pensions. It stated it would: work to address the health and welfare needs of younger veterans’ families, ensure there are adequate programs to assist these families and undertake health studies into the health and welfare of children of younger veterans to better establish whether there are any inter-generational health effects flowing on from their service.

Labor pledged to continue providing programs of income support for veterans, their partners and widows and reaffirmed its commitment to the support of veterans with disability compensation through a range of programs, including the Building Excellence in Support and Training program. It stated it would continue to provide support for war spouses and their children to enter academic or vocational training.

Labor committed to retaining the programs of health care for veterans and honour the historic commitment to free treatment for all service-related injuries and diseases. Moreover, the Gold, White and Orange cards would be retained with existing entitlements. Labor said it would expedite the current program of mortality and health studies and research into past deployments and would support measures designed to ensure that existing programs take account of the mental health needs of veterans.

For commemoration, Labor said it would work actively with foreign governments to protect and preserve the integrity of significant battlefields where Australian troops have served—including the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Kokoda Track. It would implement education and information campaigns to ensure all Australians develop a full appreciation of the sacrifice and service of veterans and current servicemen and women.

Labor committed to maintaining the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a properly funded agency for veterans within the Defence portfolio.


2013 Labor National Platform Foreign Affairs Statement – Australia’s place in a changing world

Labor stated its strong support for the US alliance and continued military engagement in the region as well as strong ties with Asian neighbours as tools for encouraging stability in the region. It said it would continue to promote joint defence exercises and improved interoperability with the US and further strengthen engagement with Japan.

It supported global efforts to tackle terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs, engagement with partners to prevent Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists, engagement with Indonesia and other regional countries on counter-terrorism and efforts towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

It committed to actively encourage the pursuit of further substantial reductions of nuclear arsenals and the development of processes for bringing all nuclear armed states into the disarmament process. Labor reiterated its commitment to strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency and compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Non-Proliferation Treaty and other nuclear treaties and agreements. It would continue its support for nuclear weapons free zones.

Labor sought to maintain and enhance the global rules-based order through support for democracy, human rights, development and international law. It supported global democratic rights and freedoms and committed to promoting media freedoms and the protection of journalists’ rights internationally.

Labor considered the promotion of universal human rights a core foreign policy objective. It said it would work to strengthen international mechanisms and processes for monitoring human rights violations and encourage the development of regional dialogue on human rights issues in the Asia–Pacific. Labor would actively encourage the repeal of anti-gay laws and support international civil society organisations promoting LGBTI human rights.

It said it would support international campaigns to end repression against women, appoint a Global Ambassador for People Trafficking Issues, actively campaign to focus global attention of governments that persist with forms of repression against the development of free trade unionism and lead international calls for a global treaty to ban the use of and trade in asbestos. Labor also committed to increase Overseas Development Assistance to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015.

On the issue of terrorism, Labor stated it would increase engagement in the region and cooperation with neighbours and ensure that the ADF and police and emergency services are equipped to meet new challenges. It affirmed support for counter-terrorism strategies that promote justice, the rule of law, genuine peace and inclusive development.

Labor pledged to lead the implementation of the National Disaster Resilience Strategy and said it would work with regional neighbours to encourage exchange of information, capabilities and expertise during emergency situations. It would work with states and territories to ensure that national, state and local disaster plans, strategies and program funding reflects the goals of preventing loss of life and damage to property caused by natural disasters.

Updated: 26 Jul 2018