Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he will restore real growth in Defence spending.

In a speech at the RSL Annual Conference, Mr Abbott says he will make defence a priority.

Thomas Hartley reports.


Mr Abbott gave a wide-ranging address outlining the aspirations of a future Coalition government.

Priorities include the immediate purchase of more unmanned drones to patrol Australia’s northern borders, as well as lifting the military superannuation for veterans.

Within 18 months, the Coalition will decide on the next generation of submarines and the acquisition of a multi-billion dollar Joint Strike Fighter project.

As well, a new Defence white paper will be released, highlighting the expected performance of our armed forces.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “Australia needs armed forces capable of defending our citizens, our interests and our values wherever they might come under attack.”

Finance Minister Penny Wong was critical of the Opposition Leader’s projections, many of which had already been leaked.

Penny Wong, Finance Minister: “We’ve got one question for Tony Abbott – where’s the money coming from? Where’s the money coming from?”

Mr Abbott is aiming to restore the three per cent real growth in defence spending of the Howard years.

He did not give a time frame but says any savings the Coalition could find in the Defence bureaucracy would be reinvested.

Thomas Hartley, QUT News.