Today the Government releases the Report on Community Consultations following the 2015 Defence White Paper Community Consultation Program. This includes a number of recommendations made by the Expert Panel.
The Report, Guarding against uncertainty: Australian attitudes to defence, sets out issues raised by the Australian community at meetings held around the country, and in written submissions responding to the Defence Issues Paper 2014.
The Government is committed to building a strong, capable and sustainable ADF that can protect Australia’s security and strategic interests. The Defence White Paper, to be published later this year, will set out the Government’s vision for Australia’s Defence strategy over the next two decades.
The Report reveals a clear need for enhanced efforts to raise public awareness of Defence roles and missions, how it performs these tasks and the underlying policy rationale.
The Expert Panel heard repeated concerns that much of the Australian community did not have a good understanding of their present-day Defence Force. Many people told the Panel that they did not feel they received enough information or explanation about the ADF and Defence policy.
The Government, as part of the Defence White Paper process, will work with Defence to address these concerns.
Other matters covered in the Report include: Australia’s security - key threats and opportunities, Defence policy settings, Australia’s alliance with the United States, international engagement, capability and the Defence organisation and Defence industry.
The Government’s compact with Defence is the proper alignment between our nation’s strategic aspirations, the tasks that we ask Defence to perform, and the resources required to fund these tasks. This compact had been broken and the Government is determined to restore it.
The 2015 Defence White Paper is central to this. It will provide Defence with an enduring planning basis, certainty and stability that aligns strategic objectives, tasks and funds.
The community consultation program, held between July and November 2014, and led by the external Defence White Paper Expert Panel, heard views directly from more than 500 Australians, and received some 260 written submissions from the public, industry and community organisations, as well as State, Territory and local governments from around the country.
I am grateful for the community’s regard for the ADF contribution to this important process.
I take this opportunity to thank the Chairman, Mr Peter Jennings PSM, and the other members of the Expert Panel for their work in drawing together the views of the community in this report.
Further information on the Defence White Paper, including the Expert Panel’s report Guarding against uncertainty: Australian attitudes to defence, can be found at www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper.
The Expert Panel members are Peter Jennings, PSM (Chair); Dr Andrew Davies; Dr Stephan Frühling; Rear Admiral James Goldrick, AO, CSC (Retd); Mike Kalms; and Professor Rory Medcalf.
Brad Rowswell (Minister Andrews’ Office) 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999