It's fair to say Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party weren't elected on their national security credentials. But they do have an opportunity to patch up the natsec nightmare bequeathed upon them by the Morrison mafia.
Here's what they need to do.
First and foremost, Labor has to retake the moral high ground for the ADF, which has proved patently unable to deal with the war-crimes fiasco left unsupervised.
Without the moral high ground, the Defence Force ceases to function, internally and externally. Recent high-profile legal battles have shown the insurmountable difficulties in prosecuting alleged war crimes on a personal sanction basis. The army has thus far hidden itself under the national security blanket on the matter, using its privileges to protect itself from the political consequences of perhaps the worst military campaign Australian forces have prosecuted in our history. The passage of time and the he-said/he-said nature of these trials means individual justice will be nigh on impossible in almost all cases.
Canada, when faced with a scenario of a single suspected murder by Canadian troops, simply disbanded the unit in question. The SAS needs to be folded into 2 Commando, and the unit similarly disbanded. There is no other way to regain the moral high ground for the country. We must remember "the regiment" did it to us and themselves.
Secondly, Labor needs to muzzle the generals and take control of Defence to steer Australian acquisitions policy away from the approach of slotting into the American war machine and instead steer it towards prioritising the defence of Australia.
A self-sufficient defence policy means light Queen Elizabeth-class carriers over nutty nuclear submarines, a dedicated Australian Marine Corps to fight in the littoral areas to our north, and twice as many reservists as anticipated regulars under the old Dutton plan. It also means a sovereign base to make our own Javelin missiles, above all, and mandating at least 75 per cent Australian-made military wherewithal. Australia is currently one of the world's leading arms importers.
Thirdly, rather than rushing off to the Quad meeting in Tokyo to meet Biden, Albanese should have gone to Beijing and reset the relationship with China.
The nascent Chinese military base on the Solomons poses the most crucial initial test. Australia is in a poor position on the matter, so poor it may have to trade its position on Taiwan for a solution on the Solomons. Australia has no national security interests in fighting for Taiwan, and Ukraine has shown America will apparently risk conflict with another nuclear power for any country in the world if they but ask. A Chinese military base on the Solomons raises the prospects of a miscalculation or misunderstanding morphing into exponentially greater military conflict, and cannot be allowed to progress.
Finally, Labor needs to re-examine Australia's relationship with the US.
The policy of following America blindly into every conflict needs to end. The increasingly fraught conflict in Ukraine has taught us many lessons. The only player to benefit from the show so far has been the Biden administration, desperate to prop up its domestic national security credentials after the epic disaster that was the Afghanistan withdrawal. Australian military aid to Ukraine has been of token assistance in the big picture, but in return has the potential to put Australia on the Russian nuclear target list. The only players who should proffer lethal aid in wars fought against nuclear powers should advisably be other nuclear powers.
In short, Prime Minister Albanese has his hands full, to be sure. But look for more of the same nonetheless - apparently literally from day one, with the trip to Japan.
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