The Hon. Julia Gillard, MP
Prime Minister of Australia
PO Box 6022, House of Representatives
Dear Prime Minister,
This financial year has seen Australia's annual defence budget grow to $32 billion. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2010), Australian defence spending has increased 50.2 % in the past decade. It is planned to grow by 4% to 5% annually for the next 20 years -- as former federal Labor MP John Langmore has said, "No other type of Australian public expenditure has ever been promised such largesse for such a long period".
With these billions of dollars, Australia is buying:
We believe that the size of Australia's defence spending and the sort of military force we are building are irresponsible and wrong-headed. Billions of dollars now devoted to building our military prowess could be used to improve health, education, public transport, housing and environmental repair.
Most of the threats to our national security are global challenges - climate change, water and food insecurity, population growth, overuse of non-renewable resources, humanitarian disasters - and require as never before international cooperation and a fairer distribution of resources. They can only be worsened by increasing military expenditure and building arsenals of lethal high-tech weaponry.