Prime Minister's Speech - Defence 2020 Strategy Featured Image

TRANSCRIPT

ADDRESS - LAUNCH OF THE 2020 DEFENCE STRATEGIC UPDATE

WEDNESDAY 1 JULY 2020

 

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much, Linda, and thank you all for joining us here today.

Can I particularly commence by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people, their elders past and present, and of course leaders emerging for the future.

And as is always my practice, and particularly on occasions such as today, can I acknowledge any veterans who are here in the room with us today and serving members of our defence forces, of which there are many, and to simply say on behalf of an incredibly grateful nation, once again thank you for your service.

Can I also, of course, acknowledge my many Ministerial and Parliamentary colleagues who are here with us today and I will speak of Linda in just a moment.

But to ministers Hawke and Price who are here with us, doing such a tremendous job in critical areas of our defence operations and in defence engagement, both in the building of that capability through Minister Price, and rolling out the enormous commitments and the industry capability that is essential to achieve what we're speaking of today.

But also to Minister Hawke who has been leading our approach in the Pacific Step Up, bringing together not just the defence components of that, but the international development components of that and bringing that into one strategic initiative that has seen our standing amongst our Pacific family rise to whole new levels that is so essential to what I am setting out today.

Senator Molan is here, of course, who has been a long-time friend and a consularery on many matters regarding defence, border protection and many other things, Jim, and it's good to see you here today and thank you for being here.

Can I also acknowledge the Chief of Defence Force General Campbell and Secretary Moriarty and all of the defence leadership that is here today. Your skill, your experience, your integrity is so written into these documents and gives Minister Reynolds and I and the entire Cabinet and the National Security Committee of Cabinet great confidence in the advice that we receive.

And that when we make decisions, we are making them on the best possible advice and experience. And the leadership that you're showing across the services, together with your service chiefs represented here today, is exemplary.

It really is a strong period for our defence forces under your leadership.

That, of course, leads me to Minister Reynolds.

Not only a serving reservist herself with deep engagement in matters of defence over her professional life, but she has brought a clarity to this portfolio. She has brought an accountable to this portfolio which is absolutely essential.

As Linda and I just this morning, or last night, again reflecting on the depth of what is in these documents. There is, of course, the many more apparent elements of the strategy that we're outlining today - the hardware, the equipment, all of these sorts of things, and, of course, that draws significant public attention.

But at the end of the day, that's not what makes it work. What makes it work are the people who drive it and the accountabilities that are placed upon the plans that we see here today. And that is what Linda, in particular, has driven so far in her time as Minister.

There is an accountability to these plans that she insists on, as I know the service chiefs and others are very well aware of, and the Secretary, and that gives me a lot of confidence because the investments we're making here today and for the longer term require the accountability of implementation.

It's significant and so I commend you, Linda, for the terrific job you have had in bringing this all together as part of my team and I also thank the many members of the National Security Committee of Cabinet as well who have been integrally involved in the development of this.

And it goes without saying that we all pass on our thanks to the Finance Minister and the Treasurer who have had a keen interest in what we have been working on for now for some time.

So it is an honour to be here today. It is a pivotal day for Australia and for our defence forces.

It is an honour to be here at ADFA to launch the Australian Government’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the 2024 Structure Plan, these two very important documents that will guide our nation through one of the most challenging times we have known since the 1930s and the early 1940s.

A plan for Australia's future in the most important area of a Federal Government's responsibility.

The cadets of the Australian Defence Force Academy who would normally sit in this lecture theatre today will be asked to confront many of the challenges that are set out here throughout the course of their careers.

But more than that, to live up to the ideals and traditions of the ADF serving and protecting Australia.

And at times, that work will be in accordance with plans already developed and it will be also at other times responding quickly to the unexpected.

Our times are a testament to that challenge.

This year, the ADF has provided crucial support to Australians during our Black Summer bushfires.

And now a response to a once-in-a-Century pandemic.

Senator Seselja, who is also here with us today, has been very familiar seeing that support here in his own home territory, here in the ACT and so often in his other responsibilities.

At the height of the operation Bushfire Assist, led by Major General Justin - Jake, as he's known - Elwood, 6,500 ADF personnel provided support to state and territory fire and emergency services across our nation.

It was a proud time for our defence forces and in particular the unprecedented compulsory callout of 3,000 ADF Reservists, who are proud at the best of times, but to be able to be serving as reservists in their own country at a time of great need, so many of them that I was able to meet around the country felt a great pride in being able to deliver that service.

And I thank their employers once again for supporting them in their efforts.

Then we went through, when we thought life was going to return to normal as the fires receded, of course it didn't.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit and once again the ADF has responded with Operation COVID-19 Assist.

At its peak, it has involved around 2,200 personnel across Australia.

In April, there was an outbreak of coronavirus in the north-west regional hospital in Burnie, an outbreak that included staff across the hospital.

The ADF responded with a 50-person deployment to assist the hospital.

For two weeks the ADF's medical professionals treated and supported more than 400 locals who entered the hospital's doors.

This support was not just practical, but it was a great confidence-booster at a time of great anxiety in north western Tasmania.

Premier Gutwein, to this day, continues to offer his thanks to the tremendous support provided by the ADF.

Meanwhile, in Shepparton, engineer and maintenance specialists from the Army Logistical Training Centre and the Joint Logistics Unit worked on lifting vital PPE capacity at the Med-Con plant and thanks to them, Med-Con surgical face mask production has an output capacity of 200 million masks per year.

From contract tracing to quarantine support and isolation checking, the ADF has demonstrated again its capability, professionalism and adaptability.

Lieutenant General John Frewen and the COVID-19 Task Force, I want to thank you very much for your calm and methodical way of getting the job done, yet again.

And the jobs continue with more than 200 personnel right now in Victoria and others standing by ready, if needed, to go and assist with the current outbreak.

And if we need reminding, 2020 has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the challenges and threats we face as a nation are constantly evolving.

The enduring responsibility of Government, though, is timeless - to protect Australia's national interest, our sovereignty, our values and the security of the Australian people.

This responsibility requires sustained commitment, focus, application.

It requires strong economic management to support the necessary investment and it demands tough and difficult choices.

As the Australian Strategic Policy Institute noted in the 2012-13 Defence Budget Brief, just prior to our Government's 2013 election, the Defence Budget had fallen to 1.56 per cent of GDP.

That was the lowest level since 1938.

Now, to illustrate the real-world implications of this, there were no major domestic naval shipbuilding projects commissioned in the six years that followed the end of the Howard Government in 2007 and the decisions they made to acquire the Hobart-class air warfare destroyers and the Canberra-class LHDs.

I want to assure the men and women of the ADF, who inherit a proud tradition and carry it, that our Government, my Government, will not repeat those mistakes of the past.

We will ensure, together, that you are always properly supported as you face the challenges of today tomorrow, and you carry out the decisions that we make, that you undertake on our behalf and on behalf of the Australian people.

Despite the many pressures on the Budget - and, of course, during this COVID-19 recession, they have only accelerated - I reaffirm today that our Government's commitment is to properly fund Defence with the certainty of a new 10-year funding model that goes beyond our achievement of reaching two-percent of our economy of GDP this year.

This simple truth is this: even as we stare down the COVID pandemic at home, we need to also prepare for a post-COVID world that is poorer, that is more dangerous, and that is more disorderly.

We have been a favoured isle, with many natural advantages for many decades, but we have not seen the conflation of global, economic and strategic uncertainty now being experienced here in Australia in our region since the existential threat we faced when the global and regional order collapsed in the 1930s and 1940s.

That is a sobering thought, and it's something I have reflected on quite a lot lately, as we've considered the dire economic circumstances we face.

That period of the 1930s has been something I have been revisiting on a very regular basis, and when you connect both the economic challenges and the global uncertainty, it can be very haunting.

But not overwhelming.

It requires a response.

Now, we must face that reality, understanding that we have moved into a new and less benign strategic area, one in which the institutions of patterns of cooperation that have benefited our prosperity and security for decades, are now under increasing - and I would suggest almost irreversible - strain.

The Indo-Pacific is the epicentre of rising strategic competition.

Our region will not only shape our future, increasingly though, it is the focus of the dominant global contest of our age.

This is the setting for it.

Tensions over territorial claims are rising across the Indo-Pacific region, as we have seen recently on the disputed border between India and China, and the South China Sea, and the East China Sea.

The risk of miscalculation and even conflict is heightening.

Regional military modernisation is occurring at an unprecedented rate.

Capabilities and reach are expanding.

Previous assumptions of enduring advantage and technological edge are no longer constants and cannot be relied upon.

Coercive activities are rife.

Disinformation and foreign interference have been enabled and accelerated by new and emerging technologies.

And, of course, terrorism hasn't gone away and the evil ideologies that underpin it and they remain a tenacious threat.

State sovereignty is under pressure, as are rules and norms and the stability that these provide.

Relations between China and the United States are fractious at best, as they compete for political, economic and technological supremacy.

But it's important to acknowledge that they are not the only actors of consequence.

The rest of the world, and Australia, are not just bystanders to this.

It's not just China and the United States that will determine whether our region stays on path for free and open trade, investment and cooperation that has underpinned stability and prosperity, the people-to-people relationships that bind our region together.

Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the countries of South-East Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Pacific all have agency, choices to make, parts to play and of course, so does Australia.

There is a new dynamic of strategic competition and the largely benign security environment, as I've noted, that Australia has enjoyed, basically from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the global financial crisis, that's gone.

Since the Government's 2016 Defence White Paper was released, we have witnessed an acceleration of the strategic trends that were already underway.

The pandemic has accelerated and accentuated many of those trends, and that is why today I'm launching the 2020 Defence Strategic Update.

It represents a significant pivot.

It outlines the shifts and challenges I've foreshadowed and mentioned.

It makes clear the strategic environment we face and this clarity will guide Australia's actions.

The update sees an evolution of strategic defence objectives in accord with our new strategic environment.

The objectives outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper saw an equal weighting across the three areas of Australia and its northern approach, South-East Asia and the Pacific and operations in support of the rules-based global order.

In this update, the Government has directed Defence to prioritise, to make choices, ADF's geographical focus on our immediate region, the area ranging from the north-east Indian Ocean through maritime and mainland South-East Asia to Papua New Guinea and the south-west Pacific.

The Government has set three new strategic objectives to guide all Defence planning, including force structure, force generation, international engagement and operations.

They are these:

  • Shape Australia’s strategic environment.
  • Deter actions against Australia’s interests.
  • And respond with credible military force, when required.

We must be alert to the full range of current and future threats, including ones in which Australia's sovereignty and security may be tested.

These new policies will require forestructure and capability adjustments.

These must be able to hold potential adversaries, forces, and infrastructure at risk from greater distance and therefore influence their calculus of costs involved in threatening Australia's interests.

This includes developing capabilities in areas such as longer-range strike weapons, cyber-capabilities, area denial systems, and at the same time our actions must be true to who we are as a nation, a people, what we value, for ourselves, our friends, for our neighbours.

Soon after becoming Prime Minister, I said that our decisions as a nation are a reflection of our character and our values, and so are these decisions today. What we believe in. And if need be, what we will defend.

As one of the world's oldest liberal democracies, we know who we are, we know what we believe, we know what we're about, we know what we stand for, and we know what we'll defend.

We're about having the freedom to live our lives as we choose in an open and democratic liberal society without coercion, without fear.

We're about the rule of law.

We're about being good neighbours, pulling our weight, lending a hand and not leaving the heavy lifting and hard tasks to others.

We don't seek to entangle or intimidate or silence our neighbours.

We respect their sovereignty.

We champion it.

And we expect others to respect ours.

Sovereignty means self-respect, freedom to be who we are, ourselves, independence, free-thinking.

We will never surrender this.

Never. Ever.

Everything my Government does is designed to build our national resilience and protect our sovereignty, our freedom, our values and our independence.

This is our great trust.

Australia's defence and capability planning has been updated accordingly and is detailed in the 2024 Structure Plan, which I am also launching today.

And the good news is that we're already pointed in the right direction.

This journey didn't start today. It's been happening for some time.

The Government made a commitment to deliver a more potent, capable and agile ADF in the 2016 White Paper, and we went further than that.

We've backed it up with the investments, something that is often peculiar for white papers.

We are undertaking the biggest regeneration of our Navy since the Second World War and have charted the transition to a fifth-generation Air Force.

This includes the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter, the most advanced Strike Fighter in the world.

The Joint Strike Fighter will strengthen our high-tech industrial defence capability as well.

Minister Price and I have been out there seeing it being built in south-western Sydney, parts of it.

Over 50 Australian companies are already sharing more than $1.7 billion in contracts as part of the global JSF program, truly exciting.

Greater mobility, protection and strike power also for our Army.

New infrastructure to enhance the delivery of our war-fighting capabilities, from logistics and intelligence to bases, which also brings benefits for many local and regional communities, including Indigenous communities.

And to implement the Defence Strategic Update, my Government is making a further commitment to better position defence to respond to rapid changes in the environment that I've noted.

We're again providing long-term funding certainty for Defence and defence industry.

That enables them to plan with confidence.

An updated 10-year funding model that will enable defence to deliver the strategy and the complex capabilities it requires to keep us safe.

This will see capability investment grow to $270 billion over the next decade.

Now, that's up from $195 billion we committed in the decade following the 2016 Defence White Paper.

So what will this deliver?

It will expand our plans to acquire sophisticated maritime long-range missiles, air-launched strike and anti-ship weapons, as well as additional land-based weapons.

That's right. That's what we're going to do.

We will also invest in more highly integrated and automated sensors and weapons, including potential development of hypersonic weapons systems, and this investment will see us build on Defence’s collaboration with Australian industry, which is already at a new level.

In 2016, the Government released the Defence Industry Policy Statement.

In 2018, we launched the Defence Industrial Capability Plan.

As I said, we're not starting here today. We've been long at this task.

This was followed by the release of the defence policy for industry participation last year.

These steps have all been about making sure we have a robust, resilient and innovative defence industrial base, a base that maximises Australian participation and supports highly skilled Australian jobs and local investment, whether it's the small arms and ammunition being designed and manufactured at Force Ordnance in South Australia, or new capabilities such as Boeing Australia's autonomous “Loyal Wingman”, designed and produced in Brisbane and Melbourne.

We're on track with the delivery of our Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles that we've just seen outside here today, an example of which we've got for you to see.

These new armoured vehicles will provide better protection, firepower and mobility to the men and women on the ground, and they will be built right here in Australia, and it's a similar story for our naval shipbuilding industry.

The Naval Shipbuilding Plan in 2017 set out a long-term vision for a strong, sustainable and innovative naval shipbuilding industry here in Australia.

Three years on, we are delivering on that vision.

Continuous naval shipbuilding in South Australia and Western Australia is now under way.

The Arafura class offshore patrol vessels are in production.

The Guardian class Pacific patrol boats are being delivered to our Pacific families, which I know Minister Hawke has been on a number of those deliveries and they couldn't be more pleased, really couldn't.

The Hunter class frigates and Attack class submarines are now both on contract and progressing well and we will cut steel on the first Hunter prototypes at our new Osborne Shipyard in Adelaide later this year.

These naval shipbuilding programs are on track and they are on budget.

The 2024 structure plan now includes plans for the acquisition or upgrade of up to 23 different classes of Navy and Army vessels, representing a total investment of almost $183 billion, up to that.

This program is delivering thousands of jobs, even more important as we come out of the COVID-19 recession, and this will grow over the coming years.

Minister Price has ensured we have been bringing forward elements of our defence procurement and investment as part of our activity to support the JobMaker program more broadly in response to the corona recession.

Laying the foundation, though, more broadly, in all of these areas of shipbuilding, for advanced shipbuilding for generations to come, so Australia can be in a strong position.

Now, these actions that we've taken since 2016, and those that I'm announcing today,  will deliver the cutting-edge capabilities necessary to achieve what we have set out as our objectives.

The first objective is to shape Australia's strategic environment.

Now, the Indo-Pacific is where we live and we want an open, sovereign Indo-Pacific, free from coercion and hegemony.

We want a region where all countries, large and small, can engage freely with each other and guided by international rules and norms.

These are not unreasonable objectives or ambitions or requests.

Where countries can pursue their own interests peacefully and without external interference, because this means Australia can pursue our interests too.

Indo-Pacific is where Australia has our greatest influence and can make the most meaningful impact and contribution and we intend to.

And it is also where our need is most pressing.

Before the pandemic, the ADF was participating in almost 50 bilateral, mini-lateral and multilateral exercises in our region each year with great success.

We have deepened defence and security cooperation with partners new and old, including the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

And we are working more closely than ever with our Pacific family.

As part of the Pacific Step Up, which I launched at Lavarack Barracks on, I remember, a very warm day, up there in November 2018 in Townsville, we're working in partnership with Pacific countries to grow economies, build resilience and enhance regional stability.

And the transformation of Blackrock in Fiji has been part of this.

And as I said when I visited there last year, it's so much more than the bricks and mortar. It symbolises an enduring commitment to a stable, secure and sovereign region.

It speaks of a deep relationship, a commitment we've made to all members of our Pacific family, our vuvale our whanau.

They've stepped up in return, particularly in the bushfires this year, when PNG and Fiji provided military assistance and so many of our Pacific neighbours donated so generously.

It was wonderful to see Linda's posts of them singing in mess halls around the country, and just their enthusiasm.

My good friend, James Marape, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, would be calling me saying they're on their way and he was keen to understand how they were going each and every day and I'd share the stories and when he smiles, that's a lot of brightness coming back at you. He was so excited.

That's how friends and family deal with each other and the same was true of Prime Minister Bainimarama as well, so proud that they could be there for us, as we have been there for them on so many occasions and always will.

So Australia's commitment to the region will only intensify.

Our sharpened focus will see Defence forming even deeper links and trust with regional Armed Forces and a further expansion in our defence diplomacy cooperation, capability and capacity-building.

Our new strategic settings will also make us a better and more efficient ally. It means a lot to us.

We've always pulled our weight. We want to continue to do so as challenges increase.

We remain prepared to make military contributions outside of our immediate region, where it is in our national interests to do so, underscored, including in support of US-led coalitions, and where it matches the capability we have to offer, a capability built - as Minister Reynolds often reminds me - a capability built to deal with our objectives and where that can be applied in other theatres for other purposes, then, of course, we show up.

But we cannot allow such consideration of contingencies to drive our forestructure to the detriment of ensuring we have credible capability to respond to any challenge in our immediate region.

Our first job is always our first job, and it is in our region we must be most capable and the military contributions we make to partnerships and to our ever-closer alliance with the United States, which is the foundation of our defence policy.

The security assurances and intelligence-sharing and technological industrial cooperation we enjoy with the United States are, and will remain, critical to our national security.

They are enduring.

But if we are to be a better and more effective ally, we must be prepared to invest in our own security.

Part of this means improving our awareness of what's happening in the region, and this will include expanding our world-leading Jindalee Over-the-horizon Radar Network to provide wide area surveillance for Australia's eastern approaches, complementing the existing surveillance of our north and west.

We will also increase our investment in intelligence under-sea surveillance and cyber capabilities to enhance our situational awareness.

Improving situational awareness provides the foundation for the second of our objectives which is deterring actions against Australia's interests.

Now, Australia has a highly effective, deployable and integrated military force of which we are so proud.

But maintaining what is a highly capable, but largely defensive force will not equip us to deter attacks against Australia, or our sovereign interests in the challenging strategic environment we face.

The ADF now needs stronger deterrence capabilities, capabilities that can hold potential adversaries, their forces, and critical infrastructure at risk from a distance, thereby deterring an attack on Australia and helping to prevent war.

Of course, we can't match all the capabilities in our region. That's not the point of what we're announcing today.

That is why we need to ensure our deterrence capabilities play to our strengths.

Australia will invest in longer-range strike weapons, cyber capabilities and area denial.

As mentioned, we are expanding our plans to acquire long range maritime and land strike capabilities and to invest in more highly integrated sensors and weapons.

We will increase the Australian Defence Force's ability to influence and deny operations directed against our interests.

The threshold of traditional armed conflict in what experts call the grey zone, which is becoming ever present and ever expanding.

This will involve boosting Defence's special operations, intelligence, and offensive cyber capabilities as well as its present operations, capacity-building efforts and engagement activities.

$15 billion investment in cyber and information warfare capabilities says a lot about where the world is at and where the threats are coming from, and it will range across all key touch points of capability - people, platforms, technology, research.

Our investments in these capabilities will enable Defence to more effectively counter cyber attacks on Australia, on Defence and our deployed forces.

And this will be part of my Government's broader investment in Australia's cyber defences, resources and capabilities.

It's no secret - nor have we sought to make it one - that the cyber threat landscape is evolving rapidly and soon we will announce, as a Government, our new Cyber Security Strategy, building on our 2016 strategy, and its $230 million investment in incorporating our $156 million cybersecurity commitment from last year.

It will include funding of $1.35 billion over the next decade to enhance the cybersecurity capabilities and assistance provided to Australians through the Australian Signals Directorate, represented here today and of course also the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

The focus will extend well beyond defence capabilities with, for example, over $31 million devoted to enhancing the ability of the ASD to disrupt cyber crime offshore, taking the fight to foreign criminals that seek to target Australians and providing assistance to federal, state and territory law enforcement agencies.

Over $12 million will go to new strategic mitigations and disruption options, enabling ASD and Australia's major telecommunications providers to prevent malicious cyber activity from reaching millions of Australians.

And I want to thank Australian industry, Australian businesses, for the response to my statement of several weeks ago, where we alerted them to the increasing nature of cyber activity in Australia and I'm advised by ASD the response from the business community has been extremely strong, as well as from state and territory and local governments.

We appreciate that. We'd encourage you to continue to engage. You are joined in this great effort with us.

Now, the third objective our Defence Strategy Update is ensuring Australia can respond to threats with credible military force when required.

The strategic environment and the heightened risk of miscalculation in the region makes this a necessity.

There's much more tension in the cord these days.

We need an ADF that is ready now, but is also future-ready, and this means streamlining our capability development acquisition processes as well as bolstering supply chain security, heightened by what we've seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because responding credibly to threats doesn't simply come down to the ADF.

It's about the system that surrounds it, supports it, the ecosystem that it is a part of, and this is the hard bit - it's about the support and structures that has to do with the job.

We learned that with the health system during the pandemic.

It's equally true for our defence capability.

It's about Australia having what we need when we need it and the ability to provide it.

And to achieve these aims, the Government will invest accordingly in resilience and the ADF's ability to respond to an array of challenges at the same time.

That includes investment in the logistics systems that will improve the ADF's ability to deploy globally and support our allies where it is in Australia's interests.

And over time, we will significantly expand the ADF's guided weapons and explosive ordinance stockholdings.

We will modernise and reform the ADF supply system, including expansion of its fuel holdings and deployable fuel and water systems.

We will prioritise our investment in critical military infrastructure, such as the $1.6 billion upgrade to RAAF Base Tindall, where I was recently, just before the pandemic really took hold.

Furthermore, the Government will significantly increase investment in defence space capabilities, a whole new theatre, including a network of satellites so we have an independent communications network and we're going to invest some $7 billion in those space capabilities over the coming decade, working closely with industry and other government agencies, including the Australian Space Agency, headquartered in Adelaide where I was there to open that agency not that long ago.

Working with key partners and allies, we will take advantage of Australia's unique geographical position to better contribute to collective space domain awareness and we will look to enhance the ADF's ability to counter emerging threats in the space domain and ensure our continued access to space-based intelligence and reconnaissance.

And we'll increase our investment in Australia’s technology and innovation programs, partnering with defence industry, research institutions and education providers while also rethinking how Defence can better support during natural disasters.

The defence of Australia is a big team effort and it goes well beyond those who wear uniforms.

It really reaches almost into every aspect of our community and Australian life.

And that's important because we all have a stake in it.

We all have a part to play always to hold dear what we value most.

Ladies and gentlemen, the strategic challenges of today and tomorrow call Australia, in many ways as we've been called before, at difficult times.

To play our part in a region where peace, stability, and prosperity cannot be taken for granted.

2020 has demonstrated once again the multiple challenges and radical uncertainty we face, eerily haunted by similar times many years ago in the 1930s.

Today, with the Indo-Pacific experiencing fundamental shifts and increased threats, our commitment will only deepen.

Our Defence Force will need to be prepared for any future, no matter how unlikely, and hopefully not needed in the worst of circumstances.

And I'm very confident, very confident, in both the leadership and the plans of our Defence Forces, their resources, the people, whether from those in command to those following commands, there is a great culture, a tremendous culture, that will build even stronger in the future under the leadership that I know is in place from Minister Reynolds and the Chief of Defence Force, General Campbell, and Secretary Moriarty.

It has the budget certainty, our defence effort, of the Government's 10-year funding model and our sustained record of taking defence and national security seriously.

I acknowledged Jim Molan before. It was Jim who convinced our Government before we came to government of the strategic need to make the big commitment to have the budget to do the things that Australia needed to defend itself.

We're putting into action all of this, with the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure plan.

We're Stepping Up, once again, for Australia to protect our sovereignty, to preserve peace, which we value, to help our region meet the challenges of the 21st century together.

Because that is how we will keep Australians safe.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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