Australian news, and some related international items

Minister off-target with claim Labor cut billions from defence, William Summers  March 14, 2022,

WHAT WAS CLAIMED Labor cut billions of dollars from the defence budget when it was last in government.
OUR VERDICT Misleading. Labor cut defence spending in two years while in office, but overall real-term spending went up while in government.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has questioned the opposition’s commitment to national security by claiming Labor cut “literally billions” from the Defence budget when the party was last in office.

The claim is misleading. Labor increased overall spending on Defence when in government between 2007 and 2013, both in nominal terms and real terms. However, Labor did cut $1.9 billion from the portfolio in 2012/13, its last full year in office.

Mr Dutton made the claim during an appearance on ABC’s Radio National on March 8 in response to comments made by Labor’s shadow defence minister Brendan O’Connor about the need to consider the future role of Australia’s military during natural disasters.

Mr Dutton said: “Defence has record funding. A bit ironic to hear that from Brendan (O’Connor) when (Labor) pulled literally billions out of defence when they were last in government.” (audio mark 6 min 45sec)

When contacted by AAP FactCheck about the basis of the claim, Mr Dutton’s office pointed to budget papers from Labor’s time in office without providing further information. By that measure, Mr Dutton’s claim does not stack up.

Historical Defence portfolio budget papers
 provide detailed figures on projected spending as well as actual spending that took place in the previous budget year.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – a think tank majority-funded by the Department of Defence and other federal government agencies – has collated these figures going back to 1997/98 (see here). Its figures include spending on the Australian Signals Directorate, which provides cyber intelligence and other capabilities and falls under the Defence portfolio.

The previous Labor government was elected on November 24, 2007, and lost office on September 7, 2013. Therefore, to judge Labor’s spending record, AAP FactCheck looked at spending from 2007/08 – the fiscal year Labor first came into office – to 2012/13, Labor’s final full year in office.

……………………… Misleading – The claim is accurate in parts but information has also been presented incorrectly, out of context or omitted.

March 21, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, water

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