Media Release

Hard to take PM seriously on National Security

Prime Minister Gillard’s announcement that she will make a national security speech this week is nothing more than an exercise in political distraction.

Shadow Minister for Defence Science, Technology and Personnel, Stuart Robert, said without providing any new funding, the speech would amount to little more than a series of self-evident motherhood statements.

‘The Prime Minister’s decision to make her first national security statement during an election year is being driven by political desperation rather than any strategic necessity,’ Mr Robert said.

‘Given the Asian Century White Paper was devoid of any strategic analysis and the 2009 Defence White Paper was nothing more than an unfunded wish list, this speech needs to pull out all the stops if the Prime Minister and Labor is going to re-gain any credibility when it comes to matters of national security and defence.’

But Mr Robert said early reports suggested the speech would be nothing more than a series of motherhood statements designed to give the illusion the Prime Minister had an interest in national security affairs.

‘We shouldn’t forget the reports made public during the 2010 election campaign, that as Deputy Prime Minister Ms Gillard was in the habit of sending a junior staffer to meetings of the National Security Committee of Cabinet,’ Mr Robert said.

‘This is the same Prime Minister who failed to appoint a National Security Adviser for six months and who has failed to deliver a single national security update during her entire term as Prime Minister.’

‘These are not the actions of somebody who takes Australia’s national security seriously.’

Mr Robert said if Prime Minister Gillard was serious about tackling cyber threats and ensuring the safety of Australia and its interests she would not have reduced Defence spending to its lowest level since 1938.

‘No amount of talking about defence and national security issues in an election year can make up for the lack of interest Julia Gillard has shown throughout her time as Prime Minister,’ Mr Robert said.

‘And no amount of speech making in an election year will make up for the over $25b that Prime Minister Gillard has ripped out of Defence.’