Why can the Abbott government afford 24 billion for F-35 fighter jets, but it can’t afford health services for indigenous Australians?
By E.F Nicholson
I will give the Abbott government this: they are unapologetic and without pretence in their disregard for anything that stands in the way of fulfilling their agenda. They are the party, without a doubt, that represents the business interests of few, whilst tapping into that long-running vein within Australian culture of being xenophobic and closed-minded. This being the case, Abbot government works perfectly with the ideology of Murdoch press, as each party helps the other’s singular goals and self-interested objectives. It’s clear from Abbott’s point of view he doesn’t really give a shit how he is perceived by the opposition or his critiques; as long the Murdoch presses back him he can implement the most grievous of polices and not even blink. His recent de-investing in solar and wind power to blatantly favour and keep a dependency on fossil fuels is one of a long list of examples of how looking after his benefactors will always come first.
In addition to being a champion of the 1 percent, he also has no qualms about continuing John Howard’s legacy of attacking and undermining Australia’s indigenous population. The latest attack is revealed in the May 2014 budget when we see a cut of $534 million from 250 programs, whilst to add insult to injury investing another 54 million in police services in the regions. Let’s make life really tough for them, but make sure we have the coppers all around when we do. With already inadequate funding, this budget cut takes it from bad to worse. The various issues already inflicting the indigenous population due to government ongoing neglect and racist polices will exacerbate these issues even further.
To get this budget cut in proportion we only need to look at the obscene spending in Defence, in particular the purchase of the F-35 from Lockheed Martin totalling 12 billion for the purchase and another 12 billion over the years for maintenance. It’s made even worse by the fact the F-35s themselves have been a colossal dud, as their production has been dragged out with ongoing problems, issues and faults, and it has been the biggest waste of money for the least effective aircraft as possible. Lockheed Martin had misled countries seeking to buy the jets over their cost, capability and readiness. A RAND Corporation assessment describes the F-35 as a fighter that “can’t turn, can’t run, can’t climb.”
With all that in mind, the Abbott government still made the order for another 58 on top of the 14 already ordered. Boys and their ineffective expensive toys, it would appear. The truth is now Australia has become the 6th largest importer in the world of military hardware. Australian purchases of major arms – such as warships, fighter planes, and tanks – increased by 83 percent from 2004-08 and 2009-13. You have to ask, why is that? Are we under threat? When the Australian population has been asked to tighten their belts with a massive reduction in welfare, tax credits and a massive increase in university fees, we then see ridiculous purchases, such at the F-35s. So we can afford 24 billion for some fault-ridden fighter jets we don’t even need, but we can’t fund basic services for our indigenous population?
It’s in comparisons such as these you see the absolute disregard for anyone other than those whose interests they serve. With the Murdoch press as its mouthpiece and crowd control I have no doubt they will continue to do as they please, as it’s easy to forget they have been voted into power. There is a reasonable portion of the electorate that like the LNP and what they stand for, so we do, in the end, only have ourselves to blame. That said, the vicious nature of the Abbott government policies should at least galvanise the opposition. It seems Australia, like most parts of the world, needs its own Podemos or opposition outside of the Labour party status quo, Coke or Diet Coke choice that Australia now currently has. The Abbot government needs challenging, as the stakes are high with climate change escalating, and with Australia being champion of the earth’s demise, the Australian population has a right to say, “No.” Yet it’s more than just a right; we have a necessity, a duty and responsibility to say, “No.” In simple terms, “No” to what is wrong and unjust and “Yes” to what is right and fair.
For a more in-depth analysis of the extent of this governments decimation of Australia’s indigenous people go to John Pilger‘s web site.