Joint media release:

  • The Hon Andrew Hastie MP, Shadow Minister for Defence


Reports that the Albanese Government is deploying a tiny force element of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on the biggest US-led military exercise is troubling.

It comes just months after Labor knocked back our partner’s request for military assistance in the Red Sea. Now we have discovered that ADF participation in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) war games scaled back by 80 per cent from the last exercise in 2022.

The Albanese Government is presiding over a growing defence crisis.

Capability is shrinking, we are more than 5,000 people behind our recruiting targets and we are not retaining ADF personnel.

Now, we see a lack of ambition from the Albanese Government as we shrink on the regional stage as a military power.

This is an embarrassing showing on Labor’s behalf.

The alliance is stronger than any one of us, but Anthony Albanese’s choices are sending too many wrong signals to Australia’s most important allies.

What confidence does this give to our US and UK partners who are relying on Australia to be prepared for AUKUS if we can’t even manage to fully participate in RIMPAC?

What message does this send our adversaries who are watching us like hawks?

This government is making a habit of not turning up when it should, from the Red Sea to NATO, and making the calls that it shouldn’t, such as a Prime Ministerial welcome home call to Julian Assange.

In the most strategically challenging environment since World War II it’s crucial to prioritise working with likeminded democracies, yet many would see the approach from this government as more of a box ticking exercise rather than a strategic priority.

The Albanese Government is weak when it comes to defence, they are reducing our military presence in the region for unknown reasons, and our national security is weaker for it.