As our politicians and public figures proclaimed “Lest we Forget” at Remembrance Day ceremonies around Australia, many Australians may have been quietly thinking that “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”.
Australian governments sent our youth into battle during World War I and World War II, ill prepared and ill equipped, Australia One leader Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Riccardo Bosi said today.
“Ordinary Australians are probably asking themselves what conclusions they should draw from apparent mismanagement of our defence forces,” he said.
“Before the Parliamentary Liberal Party finally found the courage to sack former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Government allowed him to commit Australia to the disastrous French-submarine purchase.”
Initially claimed it would cost the nation $50 billion, this soon rocketed to $90 billion.
“And now, it looks likely that the final bill will be close to $200 billion for boats that may well be superseded by under-sea drones by the time we take delivery of our first, in 21 years,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Bosi questioned also the purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that our Federal Government committed to in 2009.
“Public warnings 15 years ago revealed these Lockheed aircraft were not what Australia needed, yet we are committed to buying 72 of them,” he said.
“Not only is it reported that these aircraft lack the agility and ability to match those of Russia and China, ongoing upgrades and modifications needed to keep them in the air will cost billions of dollars more.
“A number of defence experts claim that to defend Australia, we need combat aircraft — about 200 of them.
“Independent military and policy think tank Air Power Australia warned in 2006 that the rise of China could create new risks for Australia.
“Yet both uniformed and plain-clothed bureaucrats in Canberra’s Russell Offices rejected this warning — one that a number of RAAF chiefs admit now was valid.”
“The impact of the submarine and F-35 disasters, both in defence and budgetary terms is incomprehensible.
“It beggars belief that mismanagement of this magnitude could occur once, let alone twice.
“What advice did they provide to the government of the day? Are they incompetent, lazy, corrupt, or just plain stupid?”
One commentator suggested recently to Defence Minister Linda Reynolds that she would need a new set of advisers at the top or possibly face the prospect of a Royal commission.
“There are extremely serious questions that must be answered by former and current defence ministers, former and current uniformed military officers, and civilian public servants,” Lieutenant Colonel Bosi said.