Labor’s announcement today of a ‘commitment’ to a Force Posture Review is simply a cover for their plan to cut Defence spending and walk back the Coalition’s $200 billion commitment to Defence capability over the next decade.

Their record with Defence when last in government speaks for itself – cutting spending and using it as an ATM for their other priorities; not commissioning a single naval vessel to be built in Australia; and 119 Defence projects delayed, 43 projects reduced, and 8 projects cancelled.

Labor cut the Defence budget by over 10 per cent in real terms in 2012-2013, causing Defence investment to fall to the lowest level since 1938 as a proportion of GDP. Over $18 billion was gutted from Defence funding, weakening our Defence Force, discouraging investment and damaging Australia’s defence industries.

Now Labor are looking to do it all again.

The Coalition Government has spent the last six years restoring Labor’s unprecedented cuts to Defence funding and failure to commit to a single Australian-built navy vessel.

Labor has already threatened a pause to the Attack class submarine program, placing at risk the defence of our nation and the creation of thousands of jobs.

Labor must come clean on what projects it wants to cancel and what bases it wants to close.

Labor must categorically rule out any cuts to Defence funding.

Labor must commit to the Coalition’s Integrated Investment Program and all the projects in it, which are essential to the future capability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Labor must commit to the Coalition’s defence industry policies, which are seeing Australian defence industry boom and thousands of new high-paying jobs being created.

Under the reforms introduced following the Coalition Government’s First Principles Review of Defence, there are already mechanisms in place to regularly review the ADF’s force disposition and capability requirements, and then make regular bi-annual recommendations to the Government to adjust our requirements.

The Coalition’s comprehensive 2015 Force Structure Review and 2016 Defence White Paper set out a fully-costed strategic force disposition. Now Labor want to throw that all out and start again.

When it comes to Defence, trust is important. Australia knows it cannot trust the Labor Party with Defence: their last Force Posture Review and Defence White Paper ended up not being worth the paper they were written on. And we all remember Kevin Rudd’s multi-million dollar captain’s call to move Fleet Base East from Sydney to Brisbane - completely un-costed and without any strategic justification.

The Coalition is delivering capability where and when it is needed. We are investing over $200 billion into Defence capability over the next decade and restoring Defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21. We are ensuring the Australian Defence Force has the capability it needs to keep our nation safe and secure, including new naval vessels, a strong, flexible and deployable Army, superior fifth generation aircraft, and cutting edge cyber technologies - all supported by Australia’s world-leading defence industry.

Only the Morrison Government has the right policy settings backed up with real investment and funding.

Only a re-elected Morrison Government can be trusted to continue to invest the resources necessary to keep Australia safe and continue to strengthen the Australian Defence Force.

You can’t trust Labor - Shorten, the ‘Bill’ Australia cannot afford.