Defence Pork Pies.

More Defence Pork Pies.

 

O’Grady says “check the statements made by Politicians and their mates”!

 

You may well recall an article I wrote recently and published in Independent Australia where Tony Abbott stood in front of a Helicopter Landing Dock at Williamstown in Victoria and said

“Because of delays and cuts in defence, because of the $21 billion that has been taken out of defence spending over the last few years under this government, dockyards like this are in a degree of difficulty at the moment”

 

A billion dollars is one thousand million dollars, half a billion is $500 million and a quarter of a billion is $250 million. So friends we are talking about a lot of money.

Standing beside Tony were his Defence Spokesmen David Johnson and Stuart Robert.

The statements were made on 27th March 2013.

You will also recall that I asked two simple questions of the organisations involved.

I asked the owners of the Shipyard (BAE systems) whether they were in difficulty and I emailed the Department of Defence MediaOps to get a breakdown of the amount of money claimed to be taken out of the Defence budget.

Both replies refuted Tony Abbott’s claims of difficulty and of $21 billion. The whole story is here.

 

Imagine my astonishment when on 3rd May 2013, shadow Defence spokesman David Johnson, said on the ABC’s breakfast program that $24 billion had been taken out of Defence since 2008. On the same program retired General Jim Molan repeated the figure.

 

That’s a whole $3000 million dollars added to the $21 billion claimed by Tony Abbott on the 27th March. 37 days it took to grow the (so called) cuts from $21 to $24.

 

I went back to my trusty computer, looked up the last email for Defence and added the following questions to it.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I refer to the answer given below to me regarding the Leader of the opposition’s statements that $21 Billion had been taken out of Defence (no time frame specified)

This morning on ABC News breakfast two guest’s of the program stated that the current government had taken $24 Billion out of Defence. They were Maj Gen Jim Molan (Retd) and the opposition Defence Spokesman David Johnston. Mr Molan did not specify a time frame for these alleged reductions but David Johnston said that it was since 2008.

I note an article in News Limited which also states a further figure of $25 Billion. (But not a direct Quote)

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/defence-in-crisis-says-opposition/story-e6frfku9-1226631862276

my further Questions are as follows.

1/ Do you stand by the previous answer below and
2/ If not can you give me a breakdown of Defence cuts which add up to either $21 billion, $24 billion or $25 Billion. Since 2008 when the present Government came to power.
3/ Can you please detail for each yearly budget, the change in the total Defence budget (either plus or minus) and also as a proportion of GDP.

I look forward to your response,

Regards
Vince O’Grady

On 4/04/2013 3:23 PM, MediaOps had written:

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Vincent,

Please find a response to your Defence media enquiry below. Please attribute this to a Defence spokesperson, not a named individual.

Question 1: Can you please confirm whether the figure of $21 Bn is correct

Question 2: Give me a breakdown of the Year on year reductions to Defence spending that amount to this $21 bn.

Response to questions 1 and 2:

Since 2009-10, savings measures of around 9 billion have been applied to Defence as follows:

– the 2011-12 Budget included savings measures of $2.766 billion over the period 2011-12 to 2020-21, as published in table 11, page 28 of Defence’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2011-12.

– the 2011-12 Additional Estimates included additional savings measures of $0.670 billion over the period 2011-12 to, 2021-22 as published in table 12, page 21 of the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2011-12.

– the 2012-13 Budget included savings of $5.454 billion to be returned to Government over the period 2012-13 to 2015-16, as published in tables 4 and 5, page 17 of Defence’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2012-13.

Defence’s statutory documents are publicly available at http://www.defence.gov.au/budget/.

In the 2011-12 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, Defence’s Budget across the Forward Estimates period was $103.4 billion. In the 2012-13 Budget, the Government has budgeted $103.3 billion for Defence across the four year Forward Estimates period.

This level of funding will maintain Australia’s status in the top 15 nations in terms of world Defence expenditure, along with Canada either 13th or 14th in that list. As a percentage of GDP, at 1.6 per cent, Australia is comparable to Canada, Italy and Germany.

On a per capita basis, Australia continues to be 2nd on the list of military expenditure within the G7 countries and China, with only the United States spending more per capita. In real dollar terms, we spend far greater than any of our regional neighbours.

As part of the 2012-13 Budget, there was also a significant reprioritisation to ensure that funding is directed to high priority areas. Some of the high priority areas targeted for additional funding includes $700 million for the Collins Class submarine sustainment and $270 million additional funding for Navy fleet sustainment.

The reprioritisation of Defence expenditure has been designed to have minimum impact on the delivery of core Defence capabilities and improve the support to critical areas.

Kindest regards,

Media Operations | Department of Defence
_________________________________________________

Russell Offices | Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: +61 2 6127 1999

Email: mediaops@defence.gov.au

 

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914. If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact the sender and delete the email.

 

 

I received the following reply on 16th May 2013. (after the Budget was brought down) Please notes the amounts to be reduced refer to the future and not the past.

 

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Vince,

Please find below your Defence media response.

Please attribute to a Defence spokesperson and not a named individual.

 

my further Questions are as follows.

1/ Do you stand by the previous answer below and

Response:

 

2/ If not can you gives me a breakdown of Defence cuts which add up to either $21 billion, $24 billion or $25 Billion. Since 2008 when the present Government came to power.

Response to 1 and 2: Yes – Defence stands by the previous response provided.

 

3/ Can you please detail for each yearly budget, the change in the total Defence budget (either plus or minus) and also as a proportion of GDP.

Response:

Please refer to the Minister’s Budget media release at http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2013/05/14/minister-for-defence-budget-2013-14-defence-budget-overview/

Details of Defence budget adjustments are available in the Portfolio Budget Statements published on the Defence Website: www.defence.gov.au/budget/index.htm 

In particular, your attention is drawn to chapters related to resourcing.

 

Kind regards,

 

Media Operations | Department of Defence
_________________________________________________
Russell Offices | Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: +61 2 6127 1999 |

Email: mediaops@defence.gov.au

 

 

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Department of Defence and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914. If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact the sender and delete the email.

 

This troubles me greatly.  Most troubling is that two individuals who hold, have held or want to hold senior public positions have quite clearly given out the most outrageous exaggerations of Defence spending possible. Clearly they haven’t asked the people in the Dept of Defence. They haven’t read the documents and the only inference I can draw from them is that they are saying these untruths for political reasons.

 

One wonders at the suitability of people like this for Government when they are either sloppy in their detail (all $24 Billion of it) or complicit in making Pork pies. The only trouble is that they are feeding the pork to sheep. 

If you enjoy Pork Pies I urge you to read some more Pork recipes here.

 

Seriously, it’s high time for a Political and Media practices Act (like the Trades Practices Act) where statements made about things which involve figures and what politicians say or allege, have a  pecuniary penalty imposed where they mislead the public. Perhaps even goal terms to really smarten up their act.

 

I decided to put this on the blog so that readers could have an insight into some of the rubbish that is being told by the Liberal party and their supporters in an effort to gain the Treasury benches.

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One thought on “Defence Pork Pies.

  1. Pingback: In Defence of the Defence Minister’s Hubris. | vinceogrady

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