Senator Whish-Wilson said, "Reports today about the Defence White Paper suggest that the paper will indicate that the threat level to Australia remains unchanged, yet somehow the Government has decided to continue to ramp up their Defence spending.
"I was expecting to see evidence of the fingerprints of the new Prime Minister and Defence Minister but the reports indicate the government is continuing to pursue Abbott-era policy settings.
“This debate should be about choices. We are choosing to double the submarine fleet rather than fix the NBN. We are choosing to buy 72 tainted Joint Strike Fighters rather than set up Australia for our clean energy future.
“It is remarkable that instead of trying to seek regional stability through maintaining foreign aid funding we are instead seeking new ways to project force and embroil ourselves in other people’s wars.
“The Greens are also concerned about reports that Australia will begin acquiring armed drones to make it easier to engage in protracted Middle East and Central Asian regional wars. The moral and legal dimensions of Australia using these weapons, that have caused the deaths of so many civilians, is totally unexplored.
“Finally, the Senate Inquiry into Veterans’ Mental Health will provide its report on Monday. I cannot fathom how we are ramping up Defence spending so fast but cannot provide basic support services to people overwhelmed with the stresses of extended service in conflicts.
“There is a crisis in the veterans’ community and any additional expenditure on Defence should start here. Australian deployment to Afghanistan was longer than WW1 and WW2 combined. Half of all ADF personnel have been deployed more than once. The rates of rates of suicide and poor mental health from the pressures they face are unacceptable and must be urgently addressed,” he concluded.