Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Coalition – show defence plan
Senator Johnson to date has had quite an unremarkable stint as opposition defence minister for many years and so it is refreshing that he should come out in the Australian several days ago with headlines Defending sea lanes ‘a priority’, and quote this was one reason the navy needed highly capable long-range submarines to complement its surface warships.
Yet he is the minister in charge of defence in a party that has for years refused to consider nuclear powered submarines which are the only highly capable long-range submarines suitable for the vast oceans and seas surrounding Australia. US research shows that nuclear submarines are 2.2-6 times more effective than diesel powered subs and this firepower comes at a third of the cost.
Already, the Coalition has totally rejected the call for the Garden Island naval base in Sydney Harbour to be removed to a more suitable position on the east coast of Australia for the heavy maintenance of our ships which will be primarily stationed at Broome, Darwin, Townsville and hopefully Weipa in a forward posture setting.
Then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd introduced this policy during the recent elections and it is remarkable how many experts and commentators came out passionately and vehemently derided the suggestion. They gave no reasons for their opposition other than the cost and it has no strategic, tactical, or operational relevance to this nations defence.
Well, citizens for defence do not claim to have the knowledge of these defence experts but surely they could explain to we laymen and women who want a robust defence force and posture for our protection why this is so.
Whatever the cost, and it is in no way clear taken over a fifty year period that the benefits will not far outweigh the costs on purely monetary terms, the costs in potential deaths and destruction to our largest city and the elite living on the most valuable real estate in Australia will be horrendous if any war broke out.
The position is indefensible with close in missile protection having to be put in densely populated suburbs of Sydney which will in turn become targets for incoming missiles until the destruction of the Garden Island military base is achieved. There is very real potential for hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders to be killed or injured together with billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed.
None of this need come about if the base is located somewhere between Gladstone and Cairns so that it is nearer the northern waters where many of our ships will be located. The base should be located in a semi rural setting where an iron dome of anti missile missiles can be positioned for its defence. In times of threats of attack the surrounding district and base could be evacuated of all non essential people. In addition, if the base could be positioned close to the Great Dividing Range or similar mountains, tunnels could be drilled into the mountain for storing fuel, ammunition, missiles and supplies as well as machine shops and engineering repair facilities.
Any government that ignores the need for active naval and air force bases at Broome, Darwin and Weipa or similar locations is inviting the enemy in. History has shown that if the circumstances arise in the future there are many adventurous Indo-Pacific nations willing to take advantage of our shameful complacency for the security of this nation.