The Jacqui Lambie Network believes national defence and security is our highest priority. Every Government must, as its first responsibility, maintain the protection of its citizens. It is a responsibility that cuts across partisan lines.
The cost of protecting Australians and their interests is represented not only by the price tag of our annual military spend, but by the ongoing cost of looking after those who are deployed in service of the nation.
Decisions about whether we can afford to adequately care for our veterans should be made before, not after, we decide to send soldiers to war. If there is not enough in the budget to fund a decent veterans’ support program then we cannot afford to produce veterans.
Peace is bought by sacrifice. Its price should not be borne by veterans and their families alone.
Guarantee ADF members fair pay by indexing increases to whichever is higher between CPI and the rate of increase for politicians’ pay.
Remove the Government’s power to send Australians to war without Parliamentary approval. For more information on reforming the state’s war powers, click here.
Put Australian troops in Australian boots. The fact that we’re not willing to support Australian manufacturing by requiring our troops to wear Australian-made is a national disgrace. For more information on the JLN’s uniform procurement policy, click here.
It should be a matter of national pride for us that when we send Australian troops to war, we send them wearing boots made in the land they are sworn to defend.
Defence is the Commonwealth’s biggest procurer. The potential value to the economy is enormous.
And because so much of taxpayers money is being spent it makes a big difference how and where the Government decides to spend it.
Australian companies shouldn’t have to beg for contracts to produce uniforms and supplies for our Australian Defence Force.
The Government should not be asking Australian companies to engage in a costly tendering process that requires them to demonstrate the broader economic benefit of their bid.
It is self-evident that there will be flow-on benefits from Australian companies employing people to work on satisfy orders with Defence.
When we send our Defence budget offshore we also send away our skills and capacity.
Local knowledge gets lost when we stop doing what we need to be doing locally.
And when we source Defence uniforms locally we make it easier to keep our ADF members safe.
Keeping that capacity local makes it harder to protect against counterfeiting and theft.
It’s better for jobs too.
When the Abbott Government cancelled its order of combat uniforms with the Workwear Group in Footscray in 2015, it effectively gave the sack to 45 permanent workers.
When you weaken a manufacturer by cancelling an order, what you’re doing is you’re weakening that manufacturer’s capacity to be competitive on future orders.
Because what you’re doing by not investing in Australian manufacturers is ripping away the income they can use to invest back into technology and innovation.
Job losses in one part of the supply chain mean job losses throughout the supply chain.
The flow-on effects of failing to invest in Australian-made products are felt all throughout the economy.
The Jacqui Lambie Network supports putting Australian troops in Australian boots, because it is the right thing to do.
Australian Defence uniforms should be 100 per cent manufactured ethically in Australia.
We have workplace rights and conditions in this country that have been hard fought and won by workers for centuries.
We undermine those rights and conditions when we decide it’s cheaper and easier to pay another country with no equivalent standards or concerns for workers safety or rights.
We rip ourselves off when we pay others to do it worse, for less.
Australian troops should be wearing Australian uniforms. It is as simple as that.
The Government doesn’t currently require the approval of the Parliament to declare war.
The Government of the day can, without a vote or even a debate, turn soldiers into veterans with a stroke of the pen.
We’ve seen the mistakes that get made when those sorts of powers aren’t used responsibly.
That’s why the Jacqui Lambie Network believes it should be the responsibility of the Parliament to look after our troops.
Because any Government that sends them off can’t guarantee they’ll still in Government by the time they’ve come home.
We on all sides need to own the responsibility to properly care for our veterans.
The only way to do that is for us on all sides of the Parliament to own the decision to make a soldier into a veteran in the first place.
We shouldn’t be committed to a war on the basis of a handshake agreement between two leaders.
Committing Australia to a conflict is the most serious decision a Government can make and it’s important that decision is not owned by any one side of politics.
If Governments believe that consultation, compromise and debate are important tools to the democratic decision-making process, then they believe in the value of a Parliament.
And if the Government believes in the Parliament, then they should also believe that the Parliament has a role to play.
There will be times when urgent intervention is critical. The Government should therefore have the power to commit troops to conflict temporarily.
But if the engagement is more than 30 days, that should require parliamentary approval.
If parliament isn’t sitting, a special sitting of Parliament should be called.
That would make it harder for dumb decisions to be made, and harder for any Government to send soldiers overseas, only to ignore them when they’re returned.
If all parties in Parliament approved their deployment, all parties would be responsible for a veteran’s support when they get back home.