May 10, 2018

Half a billion extra on national security and the government won’t tell us why

The government is treating us with contempt by racking up hundreds of millions of dollars of extra national security spending without debate or transparency.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Less than a month after the Productivity Commission issued a warning about governments using national security to hide wasteful expenditure, the government has served up a contemptuous example of exactly that in the budget. In its recent Trade and Assistance Review, the PC warned:

There is little transparency of government spending in pursuit of national security objectives (such as airport security), nor the compliance costs that regulation imposes on Australian businesses and consumers. While security measures often necessitate secrecy, this should not preclude careful assessment of governments’ spending and regulatory measures aimed at averting terrorism or ameliorating its effects.

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15 thoughts on “Half a billion extra on national security and the government won’t tell us why

  1. Moving to Paraguay

    We can imagine the very cosy deals going on behind the scenes. Job for mates? Just say it’s national security, no one will question it. Let’s hope someone picks it up for Senate Estimates. Thank God for Crikey.

  2. MJM

    “Half a billion extra on national security and the government won’t tell us why”

    Because Dutton demands it?

    1. 124C4U

      Because the world generally and climate wise, is heading downhill rapidly
      Meaning that us peasants might start getting uppity,and all that “security” stuff will be neared to keep us under the thumb.

      1. 124C4U

        Whoops, should be “needed”.

  3. [email protected]

    It always amuses me how right wing reactionaries bleat about ‘freedom of expression’, ‘democracy’ and so on yet under this government we have seen far more attacks on such than any other.

    1. Richard

      Amused is not the word I would use.
      Bemused is more like it but then again, that is probably a response the bastards are looking for.

  4. George

    Using ‘security’ as a smokescreen has been a time honoured tradition of governments and public servants for decades. Only the naive would accept the line that ‘we can’t tell you what we’ll waste the money on because you haven’t got the required security clearance’. Some of the rorts in the government departments that are hidden by ‘security’ concerns, and of later years ‘commercial concerns’ defy belief. Until the Australian taxpayer demands accountability from governments of ALL persuasions they will get away with it.

  5. klewso

    This mob’ll be cutting Crikey’s funding next…..

  6. Maggie Galley

    Thanks for helping us to at least look at the cost of all this National Security stuff. National Security is the most used term for the government not to be held accountable! Stating the obvious!
    I am curious why Bernard you think that the Iranians should be paying for Operation Okra? Is this a typo?

  7. LW

    because they are crypto-fascist scum

  8. AR

    Without even a nod to Acton’s axiom, the real power of secrecy is woofle dust which is spread in order to deter & destroy dragons.
    If it is pointed out that there are no dragons this is deemed to be proof of efficacy.
    Closely followed by increased production thereof.

  9. Wallywonga

    ScoMo is like a Dad entertainer at a children’s birthday party. (Sorry I mean the cliche type). Corny magic tricks, hurtful jokes and faux generosity soaked in a level of bravado that only he ever seems to be able to attain.
    So the gold sprinkled veil overlaying the “pre-election” budget is now seen through, the tired old horses that the coalition keep flogging are all there – ABC, welfare, etc..
    but of course greater tax benefits to the wealthy, and a generous gift to the country (really Dutton) of an unexplained security spend.
    How much more of this do we have to put up with, before a majority of punters call time on this bunch of ideologically driven incompetents.

  10. Itsarort

    But is does afford nice pictures of PM’s standing next to hawkish, military commanders and pretty armoured vehicles. The sort of visuals that largely impress people who have no real idea about what the ADF is supposed to actually stand for.

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