Anzac Day hijacked by Poilitical Correctness

A. EsseryAllan has hit the nail on the head with this article. It is our ever controlling leaders and bureaucrats that seek ways to cause complaint. Nearly all immigrants couldn't care less what Australians celebrate. Why do they hate Australians so?

According to a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, ANZAC Day commemorations are a risk to multiculturalism and a source of “unexpected negative complications.”  The report that says of the ANZAC commemorations, “Commemorating our military history in a multicultural society is something of a double-edged sword.  While the 100th anniversary commemorations are thought to provide some opportunity for creating a greater sense of unity, it is also recognized as a potential area of divisiveness.”

How very true, and the division it is creating is between an arrogant interfering bureaucracy and the Veterans who march in remembrance of all Australians who didn’t come home and for those Australians who would like to commemorate ANZAC Day on the former battlefields of WWI.

The Government squandered $370,000 so that Veteran’s Affairs Bureaucrats could finance a number of ‘Focus Groups’ to develop still more political correctness and tell us that ANZAC Day commemorations were “unpopular with younger people” and offend recent Islamic immigrants.   Someone forgot to tell the focus groups about the increasing numbers of young people that are attending dawn services and other ANZAC Day commemorations around Australia, at Gallipoli and other memorial sites on the battlefields of WWI and recent immigrants are offended by everything Australian.

The Government then spent another $105,000 to measure the impact of ANZAC Day on recently arrived Islamic migrants and to tone down the commemorations by not mentioning the current and recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as Muslims may be offended.  What consideration was give to the offence that will cause the survivors and/or families of those Australian servicemen killed or maimed in those conflicts?

Each year we have Allies and former enemies gathering side-by-side to commemorate those battles that stole so many young lives around the globe.  Polish, German, Turkish, Japanese, British, Vietnamese, South African, Canadian and others gather to show respect and remember those that didn’t make it back home.  There doesn’t seem to be any problem there, but it does appear that there are some immigrants who take offence at ANZAC Day as they do with Christmas and Easter and must therefore be placated to preserve the illusion that is the failed concept of multiculturalism.

From one Veteran’s group came the following comment, “We seem to be able to acknowledge war is not a nice thing and that people on both sides lose out – and we have never had to spend $300,000 combined, let alone in one year.”  It is in fact almost $500,000.

In past years battlefields tour companies have catered adequately for those Australian and New Zealanders who wished to attend the dawn service at Gallipoli and other WWI memorials throughout the various former battlefields.  Tour operators of long standing say that the Gallipoli site could easily manage up to 20,000 visitors, but experience also tells them that there is an average of only 8,000 ever attend because of the inconvenience in terms of travel and accommodation and also because many visitors are choosing to go to the other WWI sites where more comfortable transport and accommodation arrangements exist.

Tour operators had been offering places for the 2015 Centenary Dawn Service at Gallipoli for some time until the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, Warren Snowden, decided that the Australian government should lead the way and convince the New Zealand and Turkish governments that there needed to be strict government management (interference).

They have decided to overlook the tour operators and limit the number that can attend to 6,000 Australians and 2,000 New Zealanders and deciding just who will be allowed to attend by ballot.  Paul Murphy, chief executive of Military History Tours, who has been leading visits to Gallipoli since 1989, said he believed the beach could safely accommodate 20,000 visitors.

Too bad if you were planning on going to Gallipoli to remember and honour a family member who didn’t make it back, because if your name doesn’t come out in the ballot then you won’t be welcome.

However, there is one thing that you can be assured of and that is that there will be a small army of meddling bureaucratic ‘organisers’ and politicians spouting their insincere platitudes while smiling for the cameras.  They will be milking this little ‘jolly’ for everything it is worth at taxpayers expense and taking up places that should rightly go to ordinary Australians and New Zealanders.

Allan is retired from active RAAF duty. In civilian life he was a
pilot and flight instructor.  He was also the commander of an Royeal
Volunteer Coastal Patrol maritime rescue unit on the South Coast of NSW
and senior officer for the Far South Coast.  He fights for a fair go for
ex-servicemen and women and is a harsh critic of the government's
treatment of serving and ex-service personnel.


Former general turns firepower on Smith

This article gives greater meaning to Allan Essery's article about Agenda 21 and UN control of nations. The government smeared Major-General Molan for his views. The truth is poison to Labor's agenda of socialism. GC.Ed.

The ''cash-strapped'' Gillard government has put its own political risk ahead of Australia's national security, a highly respected former general says.

Major-General Jim Molan, the commander of the 300,000 strong coalition force in Iraq in 2004, says Labor's management of Defence since 2009 has been ''appalling'' and is having a ''terrifying'' effect on the Australian Defence Force.

General Molan, now a public speaker and defence commentator, is scathing in his criticism of Defence Minister Stephen Smith, who he says has gone beyond ineffectiveness to actively damaging his portfolio.

Read more:

A long wait for dignity

Inspector-General Geoff Earley identified serious shortcomings in
repatriation practices in the wake of Diggers being returned from
Afghanistan in upside-down caskets.

While defence chief General David Hurley publicly labelled The Daily Telegraph's
report of the casket scandal as "un-Australian", he privately ordered
the Inspector-General to launch an inquiry into the Australian Defence
Force Investigative Service – which was formed after Private Jake
Kovco's body was misplaced on its return to Australia in 2006.


Thanks For Your Service With The Greatest Of Disrespect

A. EsseryEx-service personnel will know the sad truth in what Allan Essery writes. Defence Minister Stephen Smith's statements about ADF members is shameful. With Labor's treatment and attitude toward the ADF it is a wonder anyone would want to sign up.

There are many
memories that an ex-serviceman or woman can recall about the time when as young
adults they placed their lives and wellbeing in the hands of the armed services
and a government that treated them so poorly.  Not that they thought of it
in those terms at the time.

The heady days of
signing up, meeting new lifelong friends.  The training to give them the
skills needed and the eventual attachment to the respective branches of their
chosen service that required their particular skills.  The sadness of
losing comrades in wars started by politicians remains, but it is the shoddy
treatment they received from those same politicians when their service was over
that will be forever etched in their minds.

What they didn’t
realise until much later in life was that the government that they had trusted
would treat them with such disdain and so easily dismiss the great debt that
was owed to those that had put their lives on the line for their country.

Send them to some
pointless war that Australia shouldn’t have been involved in, bring them home,
and grab a quick photo opportunity while handing out the medals and sprouting
false platitudes.  If they didn’t make it home another opportunity for a
photograph or a few minutes on television as they shed crocodile tears at the
funerals and made promises to widows and families that they never intended

Recently during a
parliamentary MPI debate Labor Senator Mark Bishop disrespectfully said, “…in the final analysis it is an irrational choice for a boy of 19, 20 or 21 to
join the armed forces, to go to war, to face death and to eliminate his life,
because that happens to many of them.  We say that that irrational choice
has to be provided for by the government, which asks soldiers to do that with
an implied promise…”

So the government
has to ‘provide’ for those silly little boys who wanted to run off and play
wars.  What an unwarranted slap in the face.  I don’t know any
ex-service volunteers who would believe that their choice to join the services
was illogical, but I do know many that were offended greatly by his remark
because right back to the time of WWI brave responsible young Australian men
and women considered it to be their duty.

That implied
promise so glibly spoken of was as false and despicable as you would ever want
to read.  They let ex-service personnel down badly and quibble about
paying them their meagre dues while the politicians themselves live with their
snouts buried deep into the trough and the taxpayer’s pockets and rorting the
system with reckless abandon.   Some politicians have even suggested
that our retired military personnel should be looked after solely by charities. 
Legacy has been carrying this government responsibility for far too long.

Ask one of the
widows of a slain serviceman how they are faring on the government handout of
$355 a week.  Ask the widow of an ex-service superannuant how she is
managing to live on 65% of $22,000 a year while the politicians’ widow receives
85% of $90,000.  Ask a military superannuant how life was made so much
easier by the recent pension rise of as much as 48 cents a week upon which they
had to pay tax.

A very well
respected General left the army recently after about 38 years of service. 
Major General John Cantwell’s assessment of the disrespect shown to the
military by the government in general and the Minister of Defence in particular
was scathing and damning.  He said of Stephen Smith, “After 38 years as a
soldier and as a commander, I’d learned to read people, quickly and
accurately.  Reflecting on Smith’s visit, the abiding impression I was
left with was that he merely tolerated people like me and the troops I
commanded. I cast around in my mind for the element that seemed to be
missing in his dealing with the men and women of the ADF who I led.  Then
I had it; respect.  Smith had no respect for those who chose to serve in
uniform for their country.  It was an uncomfortable insight.”

Allan is retired from active RAAF duty. In civilian life he was a pilot and flight instructor.  He was also the commander of an Royeal Volunteer Coastal Patrol maritime rescue unit on the South Coast of NSW and senior officer for the Far South Coast.  He fights for a fair go for ex-servicemen and women and is a harsh critic of the government's treatment of serving and ex-service personnel. 

Ex-Servicemen & Women Fight For A Fair Go

A. EsseryAllan Essery exposes our "Recalcitrant Labor Government" in their shoddy treatment regarding superannuation of ex-service personnel in comparison to that awarded to politicians.

This is part 1 of 3 and many will find the treatment of our ex-diggers a national shame. Watch out for parts 2 and 3.

Ex-servicemen and women on military superannuation pensions are in an acrimonious dispute with a recalcitrant Labor government that dishonestly claims that it can’t afford the equitable indexation of their contracted superannuation.
Ex-service superannuants are calling for their superannuation to be indexed at the same rate as the Aged welfare and other pensions because the present method of indexation leaves them out of pocket and does not keep pace with the cost of living.

After WWII the government of the day decided that Defence Forces personnel should be part of a superannuation scheme to prepare them for their retirement.  The scheme was called the Defence Forces Retirement Benefit (DFRB), which was later changed to the Defence Forces Retirement and Death Benefit (DFRDB) into which members of the Australian Defence Forces would make compulsory contributions of 5.5% of their pre tax wages.

In 1972 the Jess Report recommended that military superannuation pensions be adjusted annually so that relativity with average weekly earning is maintained.

The DFRDB pensions were linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which, at that time, was used as a marker for the cost of a basket of goods and would assist in protecting the purchasing power of pensions.

In 1997 the government abandoned the CPI as a method of indexing the Aged and welfare pensions because it no longer provided a means of keeping pace with the cost of living.  The Aged and other welfare pensions were then effectively indexed by the CPI, the new Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost index (PBLCI) or the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) whichever was the greatest.

At the same time, Federal Parliamentarians were overjoyed to have their overly generous superannuation pensions indexed to the parliamentary salaries at any particular time, but what of the military superannuant that were deliberately left behind to be indexed only by the abandoned CPI?
What reprehensible treatment for those people who signed an open cheque to the government and the people of Australia for an amount up to and including “my life.”

The government claims that it can’t afford the indexation at the same rate as Aged pensioners, but hypocritical, self-serving Federal politicians who have never written an open cheque for the people of Australia or anyone else, were recently quite happy to accept wage rises, some in excess of $100,000 a year.

Between 1989 and 2009 Politicians superannuation had a cumulative increase of 140%. Aged pensions over the same period increased by 130% while the military superannuation pensioners run a poor last with increases totalling a lowly 70%.

Despite a 2007 pre-election promise to correct this inequity, the Labor government refused to listen even though in 2001 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) had said, “…CPI is not a measure of the cost of living.”   And no fewer than five parliamentary inquiries and reviews since 2001 recommended replacing the CPI with a fairer and more equitable method of indexation for military superannuation pensions.

Instead, the Labor government set up a new inquiry under Actuary (?) Trevor Mathews, and in 2008 the Mathews report was put into government hands. The government now had the excuse for which it was so desperately seeking, to justify not correcting the terrible inequity. And, so began the obfuscation and misrepresentation, along with careless handling of the truth and employment of the dark arts of accounting manipulation by the government.

Julia Gillard, in a recent TV programme, when asked about military superannuation said that the first year cost would be $1.6 billion and unaffordable. A gross misrepresentation of the truth and demonstrates how willing Gillard is to again mislead the Australian public.

Earlier this year Wayne Swan generously approved an increase to military superannuants. This increase saw some military superannuants receiving as much as 45 cents a week, upon which they have to pay tax. What an offensive insult to those people.

Alan is an ex-RAAF officer retired from active duty. He
was a flight instructor and charter pilot. He also writes on matters political and
is a staunch battler for ex-service superannuants. He is also rumoured to be a
savvy fossicker for the yellow stuff.

Doing Karzai’s dirty work


The shrill cry of “Alu Akbar” (God is great) might well have been the last words our three soldiers heard before Afghan National Army Sergeant Hekmatullah opened fire slaughtering his mentors at a base in Oruzgan province recently.  That amounts to 45 foreign troops murdered this year in what is now called, “green-on-blue” attacks. A Taliban spokesman said they did not know the Afghan soldier.

Prime Minister Gillard said, “We cannot allow even the most grievous of losses to change our strategy. In my view, that wouldn't be appropriately honouring the men we have lost. In my view that would be letting our nation down. We went there for a purpose and we will see that purpose through.” Other defence “experts” contend that an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan would effectively give victory to the Taliban.

 There is no doubt that a decade against ragged insurgents has wrought major improvement to the Afghan society. Schools, hospitals, communications, and a free voting system are a few rights that Westerners take for granted. This is good given the untabulated invoice in bright red where billions of dollars have been poured into a habitat where few mortals would think habitable.

That concept of “victory” to the Taliban should we withdraw, however, is hypothetical, I suggest. I find little on which to agree with the Greens, but with this I am sympathetic. “We should honour the bravery and sacrifices of our soldiers by bringing them home as swiftly and safely as possible,” said Christine Milne.

Not one year ago a rogue Afghan soldier attacked 10 Australian soldiers killing four in northern Kandahar before being shot dead. President Hamid Karzai gave his customary nod of feigned condolence. That was repeated last week before he arrogantly launched into a tirade of accusations against Australian forces for not informing his officials before the operation of hunting down the murderous sergeant Hekmatullah. Minister Smith says this is rubbish.

That “green on blue” attacks are increasing; that nobody knows who the attackers will be are until shot in the back; that military deaths figures for this year in Afghanistan confirm that no Afghan soldiers have been killed; that deals between the Taliban and sectors of the Afghan army are commonplace, informing Karzai’s officials on operational matters would be tantamount to a death wish. More so considering the recent discovery that some Afghan soldiers capitulate under Taliban threats to kill their families.

According to Western practice, President Karzai is beholden to too many factions to be trusted. Dealing, double-dealing, crossing and double-crossing is Kasbah norm. Power and position are not synonymous with natural justice. WikiLeaks:President Karzai pardoned five border policemen who were caught with 124 kilograms of heroin in their border police vehicle. The policemen, who have come to be known as the Zahir Five, were tried, convicted and sentenced to terms of 16 to 18 years each at the Central Narcotics Tribunal. But President Karzai pardoned all five of them on the grounds that they were distantly related to two individuals who had been martyred during the civil war.

Ahmad Wali Karzai, the president’s brother, before his assassination, was being investigated by the US about $12 million American aid cash. Also included in that investigation was another brother Mahmood Karzai. The Karzai family and dodgy dealings appear to be mutual.

Paramount here is the morale of our forces in Afghanistan; it is at an all time low. Camaraderie and mateship, that great Aussie ethos born unto diggers in the trenches of Gallipoli and later on the Western front has been severely shaken. That faith where your life rests in the hands of your mate is no longer comfortable with the inclusion of insurgents in disguise.

Even if security does find a way to identify infiltrating insurgents they will never detect the insanity of a Sharia driven mind until it explodes. Future Australian led missions that include Afghan Army personnel will be at risk. The Canadians are now working in close pairs when working among Afghans; it’s called “guardian angel” system.

It is more than enough for our troops on deadly missions to detect any movement at any distance, potential roadside bombs, anti-personnel mines and invisible snipers without wondering if his “student” is “safe” or lingering to murder his mentor from behind. This distraction may well prove fatal. Stress of that nature is sure to increase psychological problems like Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Suicide bombers lured by promises of vestal virgins in exchange for Moslem martyrdom is a daily event somewhere in the world. There are approximately 36-armed conflicts globally, 27 of which involve Islam as either a supporter, an aggressor or the cause. And, Islam is “the religion of peace” its followers would have us believe.

It appears that our serving personnel, and families of the fallen are one in agreement that good is being done in Afghanistan and withdrawal now would be a waste. I can only hope that when the Coalition does cease operations, and the sand fleas, and the camels, and the poppy crops return, that those involved still feel that way. Will the Taliban be satisfied?

Thought for the week: War does not determine who is right—only who is left.  ~Bertrand Russell



Labor’s Military Madness

David-Russell David Russell looks at Labor's Defence Cuts: 

Ya gotta love Labor’s new guru, Bob Carr. He strides into the Foreign Ministry like a prodigal son returned to save the whole disgraced family. Good luck with that, Bob! Still, he’s an enthusiastic son of a gun and worthy of a good deal of respect. But ya still gotta wonder just where his head is at.

So, he goes to China and makes a few small fluffs. Nothing catastrophic but just enough to ring some warning bells for his hosts.

Then, with a first class seat awaiting him, he takes off for Japan. And this is where he then lambasts his Chinese hosts for not being transparent about their military escalation. Bob softens his blow by saying that their economic rise is a good thing and the world can sleep tight at night coz building your military might is just what a growth-oriented nation would do. Of course.

In fact, he said: “A country that is growing economically and re-emerging as a great power in the world will seek to modernise its military in an appropriate fashion and this is happening with China.”

But, hold on a minute what: what’s the score with good old Australia? Well, clearly we are not a great power but we do get to exercise a degree off influence well ahead of our economic size and power and we fight in most of the conflicts going around the globe at any one time. All in the name of keeping our alliances tight, naturally.

So, Bob, how come your party is currently winding-back our military to a level not seen since before the Second World War? Just as our global influence arguably reaches a new peak on the basis of our quality economy, your colleagues emasculate our military, in defiance of your own mantra about global power projection?

What are we to assume, Bob? That we are a nothing nation that should resile from our global position of influence? That our sound economy can only be propped-up by dismantling our military apparatus? That we are suffering a unique form of Labor cultural cringe that says we should face the world cap in hand with our eyes cast meekly downwards?

Can we have it both ways, Bob? Or are you just posturing in a meaningless and embarrassing manner in just the same way that your Prime Minister and your Ministerial colleagues are doing domestically?

Spare us, please, from an egotistical man with real talent but who believes his own abilities are so damned good that he does not need to even establish a sound global strategic and tactical framework in which to articulate Labor’s approach to our place in the world. Then again, Labor’s view of power projection is so crippled that it believes it is okay to cosset ‘rogue nations’ like Slipper and Thomson to shore up its own position. On that basis, wait for Labor to propose an alliance with North Korea and Libya. Maybe it’s time for Carr to get off the jets and sit in an office for a wee while to work out just what he might be able to achieve while in office. This task has proved beyond the ability of his Prime Minister so don’t hold your breath waiting for Carr to deliver the goods. Just another in a very long line of this administration’s failures.

David M. Russell is a professional communicator with a passion for good governance. His personal blog can be found at

Our men and women in uniform aren’t campaign props, Prime Minister

Terry-Barnes Australia's defence forces should not be used for political purposes, writes Terry Barnes.

As Julia Gillard’s East Timor solution unravels, it’s instructive to reflect on how the new Prime Minister sought to portray herself as she sought to flog her “Timor Solution”.
The day after her now highly controversial Lowy Institute speech, Ms Gillard took herself and her entourage (more of that in a moment) to Darwin, where she boarded patrol boat HMAS Broome (incidentally commanded by a very telegenic Lisa McCune-lookalike young female officer) to highlight the other side of the boat people equation – naval border patrol.  It was a beautiful day, cloudless sky, deep blue sea and the PM on the bridge, apparently in charge of the operation with the young lieutenant by her side.

It made for great television pictures and still photos (well, perhaps except for the one on the front page of the NT News showing the PM with right arm extended in what looked like a Nazi salute).  Julia’s looking after us, protecting Australia from the riff-raff, was the subliminal message – even as elsewhere yet another boat was intercepted.
All fair enough.  The Prime Minister visiting a Royal Australian Navy vessel and seeing our taxpayers’ dollars at work.  Can’t really complain I suppose, even if we grumble about the cost of getting her there and putting HMAS Broome to sea just for a media opportunity – even if the PM is trying to strike a pose as the ruler of the Queen’s Navee.
It’s only when we look at her entourage that it starts to stink.  Behind her aboard the HMAS Broome was the local Labor MP, Damien Hale – who incidentally sits on a wafer-thin margin.  Then again, it’s his electorate and the crew are technically his constituents. Fair enough.  But the other bloke that featured prominently, conveniently attired in a stand-out white shirt, was the Member for Lindsay, David Bradbury.
Lindsay? I hear you ask.  Yes, the seat of Lindsay.  In landlocked Western Sydney 1,500 miles away.  Which includes the State seat of Penrith where Labor was effectively wiped out a fortnight ago.  Where the handling of asylum-seekers is a hot-button issue.  Where the PM is desperate to show she is tougher than tough on boat people.  What else could Mr Bradbury be there for?  He has no ministerial responsibilities, he is not a member of the parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, nor does he have any direct connection with Northern Australia as far as I know, unless he’s holidayed there.  For him it was a freebie pleasure cruise to take in the sea air.
The only other reason Mr Bradbury was there was to dog whistle to his electorate, by way of the evening television news, that Labor is trying to show that it can be tougher on boat people than that nasty Mr Abbott.
In short this was not a legitimate Prime Ministerial visit; it was an electorally cunning stunt.  A stunt that made serving defence force personnel mere props on a political stage.
Politics is one thing, but the exploitation for base political purposes of the Broome’s crew, and the Navy more generally, is reprehensible.  Our defence forces – who serve in the name of Queen and country – should be above politics.  Our leaders should visit men and women in the field, but to encourage and support them on our behalf, not to exploit them.  While it could be said that any political leader’s visit to the forces – say in Afghanistan – inevitably is political, this particular event was to narrow-cast a particular ALP electoral message to a particular segment of the electorate.  To me, that’s wrong.
In the election campaign that’s about to begin, there will be lots and lots of picture opportunities and media events.  If people and organisations choose to be involved in them, so be it, that’s politics.  But our defence forces, who all the way to the Chief of the Defence Force serve under the orders of their superiors and have no right of opting out of such events, should be left alone to do their job.  A job, it should be said, that they do with great professionalism and at great risk.  They are to be respected, admired and supported, and they should never be exploited for base political purposes in stunts like the Prime Minister’s.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott should take a lead and promise that he won’t use the defence force in the same way in the election campaign or as Prime Minister.  It would only gather him more respect, and incidentally keep the tone of the asylum-seeker debate higher.
In the meantime, though, perhaps the ALP should write a cheque to cover the day’s operation of HMAS Broome, and the cost of bringing the PM and her political and media entourage along.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for this brazen and exploitative act of electioneering.

Terry Barnes is an editor of Menzies House.

Nukes for Defence

Ralph-Buttigieg Nuclear submarines may solve our ongoing submarine woes, writes Ralph Buttigieg.

The Rudd Labor government has a complete ban on nuclear energy for Australia. However concerns over global warming have increased support for the nuclear option. After all, nuclear energy is the only emission free method of producing base load power. Tony Abbott believes it’s an option we need to seriously consider. Peter Cosgrove has come out in support and so has Labor Party stalwart Bob Carr. Yet there is another reason to support nuclear power – defence.

Now I'm not considering nuclear weapons here. The only time that would be an option would be if there was a nuclear arms race in the region and we should all pray that never happens. My concern is nuclear propulsion for the navy, especially for our submarines.
Our six Collins class subs are classified as guided-missile submarines (SSG) while most other conventional submarines are hunter-killer (SSK). Most SSKs patrol close to their bases or at most 1000 nautical miles away. Our boats are required to operate at greater distances. To reach the Persian Gulf or the Sea of Japan the Collins boats need to travel over 4500 nautical miles.
Therefore they are considerably bigger then other conventional submarines and uniquely designed for our usage. That brings its own problems. It makes them more expensive and less reliable than a more common design would be. Importantly they never did meet their original design specifications. They were originally specified with a submerged transit speed of 16 knots over 10,000 nautical miles. That was reduced to 10 knots over 9000 nautical miles as the technology just wasn't available. The lower transit speed reduces the time they can spend on patrol by nearly half.
The government is now considering a replacement for the Collins subs. One option is an improved version of the current Collins boats but they would still have the speed limitations issues. That's why an increase to twelve subs has been proposed. Considering we have enough difficulty finding crews for six subs how we would crew twelve remains an unanswered question. Another option is to improve their performance by adopting new technology such as high temperature superconductor motors and Li-ion batteries. Again that raises concerns over their ultimate cost and reliability.
None of these problems would arise if we had nuclear subs based on proven designs. They would have all the range and speed we would require. A local nuclear power industry would make maintaining nuclear subs easier but it’s not really required. For one thing there is no direct link between civilian reactors and submarine reactors. Their design is very different with subs using highly enriched fuel. Also refuelling is not a requirement as modern submarines need to be only fuelled once for their 20 year plus service life. The maintenance and operation issues could be addressed by requesting US help until we train our own people. That's what the UK did that when they constructed their nuclear fleet. However the government ban on things nuclear means nuclear subs can not be considered.
Labor's ban on nuclear reactors not only reduces our options to reduce CO2 emissions but it also reduces our options to properly defend our nation.
Readers are referred to Vital Sign by Abraham Gubler in Defense Technology International April 2008 for more information regarding the current non nuclear options.

Ralph Buttigieg's professional career has included a couple of decades in government and management, proprietor of a Science Fiction & Fantasy bookshop, a stint in direct marketing and now finds himself in the finance industry. He joined the Liberal Party in 2008 and considers himself one of those right  wing bogans who voted in John Howard in 1996.

A long term solution for the Mitsubishi Lonsdale site

Andrew-Burgess Let’s use existing skills to support the defence industry, writes Andrew Burgess.

In 2010 and beyond, South Australia will face many tough questions regarding economic restructuring. As industries such as mining and defence continue to grow and become more economically feasible, other industries will face decline through the increasing pressures of globalisation and technological change.

In Australia there has been a seismic shift from manufacturing based industries to service based industries. Much the same can be said of many other developed countries in the world.

Economic restructuring brings forth a very important issue, namely what can be done with those skilled workers who suddenly find themselves out of a job. In South Australia the policy focus has been on helping these recently unemployed workers find any new job.

Re-employment into jobs where these workers’ skills are underutilised was a large mistake on the part of the policymakers. Many workers could only find part time or casual work for a fraction of the pay and subsequently this places great stress and economic pressure on individuals. Indeed it has been shown over the past 20 years that the demise of secure jobs in traditional sectors and the shift to part time and casual work has been a key reason for growing job insecurity in Australia as well as in the UK.

A more effective strategy for utilising the unemployed workers at the Mitsubishi Lonsdale plant would be a further training or up-skilling program designed to keep these skilled workers within the manufacturing trade. This is especially important given the skills shortage faced by the state at the present time.

Instead the Federal and State Governments responded with the Structural Adjustment Fund for South Australia (SAFSA): a $45 million capital subsidy offering grants to entice new business entrants to invest in South Australia or to encourage existing businesses to expand their businesses further.

The justification for this decision was that the new entrants would absorb the majority of the displaced workers from the Lonsdale site. The government has since been forced to admit that the majority of firms who received grants have not achieved their employment targets. Further, more than half of SAFSA funding was given to businesses in the North of Adelaide when the vast majority of the workers at the Londsdale plant live in the South of Adelaide.

It is clear that a policy intervention was needed in regards to up-skilling or further training of the skilled workers. However as the redundancies at Mitsubishi occurred during a time when the state of South Australia was experiencing a boom in the mining and defence industries, the rationale of the government seemed to suggest that displaced workers would be able to move seamlessly from one industry to another.

As South Australian Premier Mike Rann at the time commented:  “When we saw Lonsdale close, we were able to find jobs for nearly all of the people who wanted jobs because of other things that were happening . . . A lot of people who build the actual hulls and things associated with the defence industry will be coming out of car industry jobs”.

A more effective long term policy would be to re-skill workers at the plant so they can produce defence technology at that facility. Why let the facilities and skilled labour go to waste? The money from the Federal government would be much better utilised by expanding or retooling the plant to accommodate defence technology. This would give the workers greater job security and job satisfaction.

The Federal Government is too far removed from the states and too concerned with its own problems to understand the problems at the regional level. A forward thinking local government should have requested a policy intervention as it seems ludicrous to let these skilled workers compete in the already overcrowded services industry especially at a time of critical skills shortages.

Furthermore, this strategy has work overseas. Force Protection Ltd was established in 1997 and has its base in South Carolina on a 260 acre campus that formerly produced General Electric turbine engines. Force Protection Ltd has expanded so rapidly that it now has four more facilities spread over three states and employs over 1000 people.

Andrew has a degree in Marketing and Commercial Law from the University of South Australia and is currently undertaking a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business.