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2013 - Coalition


2013 Coalition Defence Statement - The Coalition’s Policy for Fair Indexation of Military Superannuation

The Coalition’s Policy for Military Superannuation involved the fair indexation of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits (DFRB) and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) military superannuation pensions. At the time, the DFRB and DFRDB pensions were indexed according to the Consumer Price Index. The Coalition's policy stated that all DFRDB and DFRB superannuates aged 55 and over would have their pensions indexed in the same way as age and service pensions.



2013 Coalition Defence Statement – The Coalition's Policy for Stronger Defence

The Coalition’s policy for a stronger Defence planned for no cuts to Defence spending under a Coalition government, with Defence spending reaching two per cent of GDP in a decade.

The policy planned for Australian Collins-class submarines to have a regionally superior conventional submarine capability and would ensure that Australia wouldn't have a submarine capability gap within 18 months post-election. The replacement of the current submarine fleet would centre on South Australian shipyards.

The Coalition planned to acquire Joint Strike Fighters and explore the merit in acquiring new state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles: Triton or equivalent.

The Coalition policy would see an unequivocal commitment to a strong and enduring alliance with the US. This would involve a deepening of Australia’s longstanding alliance relationship by building on the recent announcement to rotate a marine brigade through Darwin.

The publication of a Defence White Paper was an intended part of the Coalition’s plans. They envisaged the appointment of a high-profile team to undertake a first-principles review of the Department of Defence’s structure and major processes. The focus of the review would be on minimising bureaucracy and maximising front-line resources. The Coalition intended to ensure the ADF used Australian-made equipment wherever possible.

The Coalition’s Defence policy supported Defence objectives laid out in the Howard government’s 2000 Defence White Paper: ensuring the defence of Australia and its direct approaches; fostering the security and stability in our immediate neighbourhood—in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and South Pacific states; supporting strategic stability in the wider Asia–Pacific region; and supporting global security.

The Coalition intended for an indexation of Military Superannuation Pensions. Military superannuation pensions would be indexed in the same way as aged and service pensions. All superannuants aged 55 and over would benefit.

The Coalition planned to provide free basic health care to all ADF family members. Additionally, each ADF dependant would be able to claim up to $400 per year for allied health services.

As a part of its Defence policy, the Coalition would invest $113 million into rebuilding the ADF Gap Year programme, progressively increasing numbers until an average of 1,000 places per annum were made available in the programme.



2013 Coalition Defence Statement – The Coalition's Policy for Veterans and their Families

The Coalition pledged to deliver new indexation arrangements for recipients of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits military superannuation pensions. It committed to providing $4 million for veterans’ advocacy funding over the forward estimates.

To provide better support to veterans, the Coalition would request the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to assess the viability of allowances to carers of veterans to be paid through DVA and if processes could be streamlined between Defence and DVA.

The previous Coalition government began a study in 2006 into the effects of the Vietnam War on the families of Vietnam veterans. An elected Coalition government pledged to ensure that the report was released and that it would consult about any recommendations.

The policy stated that the Coalition would seek to replicate the Australia Remembers: 1945–1995 commemorative programme for the delivery of the Centenary of Anzac commemorations as well as work with state and territory governments to progress important commemorative projects.

It also announced that within 100 days of taking office, the new Minister responsible would deliver a Ministerial Statement to Parliament on the preparation of key events for the Centenary of Anzac. The Coalition committed to increase funds available per federal electorate by $25,000 to ensure that communities across Australia would have up to $125,000 available to commemorate the occasion.

The Coalition said it would seek to amend the Australian War Memorial Act 1980 to prohibit the levying of entry or parking fees and undertake a review of the Act to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the Memorial and wider community.



2013 Coalition Foreign Affairs Statement – The Coalition's Policy for Foreign Affairs

The Coalition pledged a series of initiatives that would include committing $100 million over five years to implement the New Colombo Plan, remained committed to increasing Australia’s foreign aid programme towards 0.5 per cent of gross national income, and would adopt a ‘no surprises’ policy based on a commitment to undertake adequate consultation about policy matters that impact on regional partners. The policy would include a focus on strengthening relations with the US and the expansion of the Howard government initiatives.

The Coalition would give priority to expanding economic relations with Japan by finalising the Australia–Japan free trade agreement and build a stronger strategic partnership with Japan based on the Howard government’s Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue.

The Coalition planned to work across a broad spectrum of issues with Indonesia, including regional security, counter-terrorism, free trade and investment flows in East Asia, people smuggling, and action on climate change. This would include building upon the Howard government’s Lombok Treaty to broaden and deepen security ties and improve economic and educational links. The Coalition sought to repair the trade relationship following the live cattle export incident and enhance the Australia–Indonesia Leadership Dialogue.

The Coalition intended to establish an Australia–China Leadership Dialogue. They would restore annual ministerial-level visits to Taiwan. The Coalition also envisaged finalising negotiations on a free trade agreement with India.

It would support multilateral institutions, the G20, established regional Asia–Pacific bodies, the Commonwealth of Nations, various organisations of the UN, including World Trade Organization.

The Coalition’s policy planned to improve foreign aid, and included capacity-building in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific and exploration of the use of secondments between officials at local, state, and national levels. These efforts would involve looking at ways to use Australia’s domestic market to support private-sector development in the Pacific over the long-term as well as improvements to Australia’s existing guest work programme, particular for Pacific Islanders.

The Coalition aimed on promoting democracy in Fiji, through a review of the effectiveness of the Fiji sanctions regime and by seeking to open negotiations with the Fiji government to promote electoral reform.

The Coalition policy would see it engage with female leaders in Australia’s region. This would see the initiation of discussions with regional partners aimed at establishing a second tier dialogue for prominent women in politics from across the region to discuss common interests in security, aid, trade, energy, human rights, health disaster response and nuclear non-proliferation; and establish networks of mentors available to work with younger female leaders.



2013 Coalition National Security Statement – A Regional Deterrence Framework to Combat People Smuggling

The policy aimed to address the secondary movement of asylum seekers through the region as a transit point to illegally enter Australia, by establishing a comprehensive Regional Deterrence Framework.

The policy included a pledge of $67 million to support joint operations with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia to disrupt people smuggling and ramp up intelligence gathering capacity, including the international deployment of additional specialist personnel from the Australian Federal Police.

It would involve the implementation of a $20 million programme through the International Organisation for Migration to engage and enlist local villages within Indonesia to support efforts to deter and disrupt people smuggling activity.

The enactment of the policy would include the appointment of Operation Sovereign Borders Special Envoy to facilitate operational cooperation within the region in order to implement the Regional Deterrence Framework.

The policy would see an investment of $27 million to prevent drowning by increasing aerial surveillance and $71 million to boost the search and rescue response capability of the Indonesian authorities within their search and rescue zone. It would involve the establishment of transit ports to transfer asylum seekers to offshore processing facilities, preventing entry into Australia.

The policy would see the expansion of offshore processing capacity at Manus and Nauru, including an additional 2,000 places on Nauru. This would also involve ensuring that Suspected Irregular Entry Vessel passengers who were not assessed as refugees were returned quickly to their source countries or detained until they could be.

The Coalition committed to restore Australia’s regional cooperation focus on deterrence polices, both within the Bali Process and cooperative bi-lateral activity, in particular with Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

The Coalition would also invest $37 million over four years to enhance people tracking technologies in the region.



2013 Coalition National Security Statement – Operation Sovereign Borders

The Coalition proposed to establish Operation Sovereign Borders: a military-led response to combat people smuggling and protect Australia’s borders. The Coalition considered border protection as a national emergency and proposed to have a senior military commander of 3-star ranking lead Operation Sovereign Borders. The commander would report directly to the Minister for Immigration, who would have portfolio responsibility for the operation. The Coalition would establish a joint agency taskforce to run the operation, which would be led by the Australian Defence Force. The mission of Operation Sovereign Borders was to stop the entry of detected Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels into Australian territory.



2013 Coalition National Security Statement - The Coalition’s Policy for E-Government and the Digital Economy

In 2013, the Coalition committed to investing in information and communication technology (ICT) skills, fostering research and innovation and encouraging the public sector to use technology more effectively.

The Coalition stated it would get all of the government’s major services and interactions with individuals online by 2017. The Coalition stated that the internet would be the default method to interact with users (with information and digital services platform-agnostic), bar defined exceptions. This would involve letting people choose to have government material in either digital or hard-copy forms. Furthermore, the Coalition specified that it would work to make every government interaction that occurred more than 50,000 times a year to be provided online by 2017. The Coalition also stated that it would provide a unique digital ‘inbox’ for entities and individuals that would function as a secure and permanent point of contact with the government.

To support infrastructure for a digital, networked economy, the Coalition stated that it intended to evaluate government-funded programs to develop digital skills and focus expenditure on programs that produced clear social and economic dividends. To encourage the movement towards a networked and digital economy, the Coalition stated that it would also provide leadership and coordination support. Furthermore, the Coalition pledged that it would bolster the quality of data on the digital economy accessible to decision-makers.

Regarding Government 2.0 and ‘big data’, the Coalition stated that it would ask the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) to consult with the community and private sector to elucidate value-adding public data sets that were not on Furthermore, the Coalition pledged to seek proposals that used big data to generate service quality and efficiency dividends.

The Coalition stated that it would ask the AGIMO and the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) to undertake an audit across all government agencies on investments in ICT. The Coalition stated that it would make government agencies' ICT more transparent as well as remove fragmentation and duplication to reduce costs. This would require those considered ‘light users’ with insufficient IT scale to use shared or cloud solutions, while ‘heavy user’ agencies would retain autonomy and control over ICT operations, but would be required to increase their transparency and accountability.

The Coalition stated that it would also reboot whole-of-government ICT leadership. This would involve focusing the AGIMO’s role as the primary ICT policy advisor and Secretaries ICT Governance Board (SIGB) secretariat. To provide the government with private sector ICT expertise, the Coalition also stated that it would create an Australian Government ICT Advisory Board.



2013 Coalition National Security Statement – The Coalition's Policy to clear Labor's 30,000 Border Failure Backlog

A Coalition government proposed to restore Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs). This would ensure that no permanent visas would be issued to any of the almost 30,000 illegal boat arrivals still waiting in Australia for a decision on their claim, even if they were found to be genuine refugees. A Coalition government stated that no TPV would exceed three years in duration; and access to benefits for TPV holders, in particular income support, would be subject to satisfying mandatory mutual obligation requirements to undertake work in return for accessing these benefits.

The policy involved ending Labor’s ‘tick and flick’ approach to refugee assessments. It envisioned reserving the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Visa quota for genuine applicants who applied through the proper process. The policy would involve establishing a new ‘Fast Track Assessment and Removal’ process modelled on the Detain Fast Track system in the UK which allowed protection claim assessments and immigration status determinations to be resolved quickly.



2013 Coalition National Security Statement - The Coalition’s Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children

If re-elected, the Coalition planned to improve the coordination of online safety activities. This involved establishing a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, who would be the single point of contact regarding online safety issues for industry, children and those responsible for their care. The Children’s e-Safety Commissioner would assist in developing and implementing policies to increase children’s safety online. The Children’s e-Safety Commissioner would also coordinate $100,000 of funding to support Australian-based online safety research and information campaigns.

The Coalition pledged to establish a legislative-backed complaint system for the quick removal of harmful material from large social media sites.

A part of the Coalition's policy to improve online safety for children involved an examination of Commonwealth legislation to determine whether to create a new, simplified cyber-bullying offence.

The Coalition intended to increase support for parents regarding their child’s online safety. This would involve improving the safety options for smartphones and other similar devices, as well as internet access services. This included making software available to parents that could be installed on devices to protect children from inappropriate content. The Coalition also intended to create an advice platform for parents with guidelines on the appropriateness of specific media content for children.

The Coalition planned to have the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner create a voluntary certification process for school online safety programs. The National Safe Schools Framework would also include a stronger online safety component. This involved a contribution of $7.5 million over the forward estimates to online safety initiatives.



2013 Coalition National Security Statement – The Coalition’s Policy to Withdraw Taxpayer Funded Assistance to Illegal Boat Arrivals

In addition to the Coalition’s 2013 plan to 'Clear Labor’s 30,000 Border Failure Backlog', they proposed to withdraw taxpayer-funded immigration assistance under the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme for those who  arrived illegally by any method.


Updated: 26 Jul 2018