It has been a great honour to serve as Australia’s Minister for Defence.
The safety and security of the people of Australia is the first priority of government.
During the last nine months, there have been significant achievements in Defence. The fragile trust between Defence and Government was restored.
The Government’s flagship achievement in this time has been the commitment to implement a continuous build of surface warships in Australia. This enduring decision provides certainty for Navy, the Australian Defence Force and defence industry.
In addition to this, I have:
- Initiated a Competitive Evaluation Process for Australia’s Future Submarine Program, providing a clear acquisition strategy and pathway for Australian industry to maximise its involvement in the program, whilst not compromising capability, cost, program schedule or risk.
- Brought forward the build of the Future Frigate by three years and the Offshore Patrol Vessels by two years.
- Remediated the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program, investing an additional $1.2 billion and inserting key advisers to get the project back on track, delivering the second AWD earlier this year.
- Brought forward the Pacific Patrol Boat tender (for 21 boats) that will provide replacement patrol boats for Pacific nations and invest around $2 billion in Australian defence industry.
In this time also, the Government has increased the wage offer for ADF personnel to two per cent per annum in recognition of the unique and crucial work they perform.
The last defence budget restored funding to Defence and put it on a strong trajectory to get Defence spending back on track to 2 per cent of GDP within a decade.
The Defence White Paper is finalised and ready for release.
The First Principles Review of Defence will transform the way Defence does business. Implementation is well underway.
These are just some of the achievements during the last nine months. I am proud of what has been achieved.
I am disappointed that Mr Turnbull chose not to accept my offer to work with him.
Frankly, my remaining in this job was not about me, it was all about stability for our defence force and its leadership.
Mr Turnbull’s decision means that there have been more Defence Ministers than Prime Ministers in the last three years.
As you know, defence is meant to be a 'natural strength' for a coalition government. During this government, that has not always been the case. I am proud of what has been achieved.
I want to especially thank Prime Minister Abbott for the opportunity to serve in his Ministry both as Social Services Minister and Defence Minister. In Social Services, I was proud to initiate the Government’s welfare to work agenda that is currently underway.
It is clear to me and so many that knew him well that Tony is loyal - loyal to a fault.
The Liberal Party is a broad church; the custodian of two great traditions both liberal and conservative. For the sake of the Party, this must continue.
I thank my colleagues, I thank my staff and above all, I thank my family.
I have been a loyal servant of the Australian people and the Liberal Party for many years and that will continue.
As I have already been preselected as the Liberal Party candidate for Menzies ahead of the next federal election, I look forward to standing for election again at that time. I look forward to serving the people for Menzies with renewed vigour and enthusiasm into the future.
Brad Rowswell (Minister Andrews’ Office) 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999