Let’s Get Ready to Rumble. Dastyari vs. White.

In the red corner (of course), former Senator Sam Dastyari writing in the Daily Telegraph that the Commonwealth Government’s recently announced $270 billion defence spend:

is a colossal amount of money being wasted on things we don’t need and will never use.

In the blue corner, ANU Professor of strategic studies Hugh White writes also, this time in the AFR, about this same $270 billion defence spend that it:

leaves the government’s new defence policy quite inadequate to the challenges ahead.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble ….

According to Wikipedia:

Sam Dastyari is an:

Australian former politician, who from 2013 to 2018 represented New South Wales in the Australian Senate as a member of the Australian Labor Party. Dastyari was previously General Secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party.  He was the first person of Iranian origin to sit in the Australian Parliament. As a Senator, Dastyari was the subject of a Chinese-related donations scandal, which eventually led to his resignation from the Senate on 25 January 2018.

Hugh White is a:

long-time defence and intelligence analyst, and author who has published works on military strategy and international relations. He was Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence in the Australian Department of Defence from 1995 until 2000 and was the inaugural Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

No doubt the truth is somewhere between these two.  Probably 98% closer to the White Side.

According to Dastyari:

If we are going to start funding everything with guns, let‘s at least give us a gun show we can all use by subsiding gym memberships.

Subsidised gym membership?  Must be missing access to that parliament house gym or perhaps there is something deeper with the shallow Dastyari given his current employer.

It’s also not that expensive. The Government could set it at $500 a year. Call it the “Australian Government Fitness Subsidy”. Over 10 years that’s $5000 a person. Half the costs of a weapons programme announced today. The cost will be even less if you apply it under a “use it or lose it” basis. That is, if you aren’t averaging a visit to the gym, health club, pool, pilates or spin class every week – you can’t claim the money.

Yes.  A well drilled troop of pilates aficionados, repleat in flouro lycra will defend Australia from foreign enemies.  You know it makes sense.

White on the other hand posits the more relevant question asking:

(the government’s most recent defence review) assumes America has the strength and resolve to confront China effectively in Asia. It assumes the countries of the region will unite to support America in doing so. And it assumes that as a result China will be convinced or compelled to back off and abandon its ambitions.

And for the budget hawks, White points also this out:

For a start, it assumes we do not need to spend any more on defence. The $270 billion the review claimed would be spent to bolster our defences is almost all money that has already been committed. So the government expects that the 2 per cent of GDP that seemed enough in the benign 1990s will still be sufficient in the hard and dangerous years ahead.

This is absurd. In the Forward Defence years of the 1950s and 1960s we spent 3.5 to 4 per cent of GDP on defence – at a time when our GDP was as big as China’s and India’s. We will need to spend at least that in the decades to come, when the government now says we face the biggest risks since the 1940s.

It’s time.  Not for Gough or Albo.  It’s time Australia took its defence seriously and invested in a nuclear program.  For energy and defence.

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25 Responses to Let’s Get Ready to Rumble. Dastyari vs. White.

  1. Entropy

    I think we could certainly get some meaningful defence capability from that $270b simply be junking the boondoggles such as the Pyyyyne class submarines.

  2. Boambee John

    In the red corner (of course), former Senator Sam Dastyari writing in the Daily Telegraph that the Commonwealth Government’s recently announced $270 billion defence spend:

    is a colossal amount of money being wasted on things we don’t need and will never use.

    Given that Dastardly has already shown his commitment to the putative foe, the CCP, it is hardly surprising that he does not see any need to defend Australia against his CCP soulmates, and would oppose any action that might improve our capability against them.

    And the proposed actions are hardly adequate anyway.

    Interesting that White seems to have moved his position. Not so long ago he seemed to be in the “China is not a problem” camp.

  3. Karabar

    So far as I am concerned Dastyari knows nothing about everything, and everything about nothing.
    The other guy White seems to have some common sense.

  4. Nato

    Our military fights for the expansion of the great American empire while the citizens are unarmed in the face of expansion by the great Chinese empire and our government will continue in their silly little bureaucratic gigs for some serious money either way.

  5. Entropy

    Personally nato the correct thing to do would be to align, no embed, intertwine, unify the ADF with the US military. Significant efficiency and capability improvement.

  6. Anonandon

    North Korea has demonstrated the value of a nuclear weapon and the accompanying means to deliver it to a target. Look what happened to Iraq and Libya.

  7. Shy Ted

    Sam is a traitor and should be in prison, not working for a lobbying firm which doesn’t seem to do much.

  8. H B Bear

    Dastyari wasn’t worth listening to even before he became a China shill. Archetype Liar machine man.

  9. Archivist

    It’s time Australia took its defence seriously

    …and stopped using ‘defense spending’ as a pork-barrelling exercise for Adelaide.

  10. Lee

    … is a colossal amount of money being wasted on things we don’t need and will never use …

    Dastyari and his fellow grovelers on the Chinese teat (some of them ex-Labor pollies) are the last people who should be criticising defence spending.

  11. Ian of Brisbane

    Sam’s comments are the best endorsement I have seen to date. We also need to cancel the Turnbull subs (won’t be hard as we will never see them any way) and get serious with out defence and stop pretending it is some form of LGBT issue.

  12. Ceres

    Pray like hell that “the land of the free and the home of the brave” will come to our aid.
    Dastyari is an all round disgrace a wacko jacko who should be ignored.

  13. gary

    Some people seem to have the attitude that the Chinese are too strong and we should give in to whatever they want. It almost seems that some people have already done deals with the Chinese for when they take over.

  14. Hay Stockard

    Subsidise gun owners. Always used to be a bulwark against tyrants, both foreign and domestic.
    And bring in the guillotene for people schilling for China.

  15. JohnJJJ

    I don’t know if this helps but Dastyar دلگیر in Persian means ‘disappointing’ . Poor bastard, no wonder he is here.

  16. Morsie

    Spending on defence is pointless.When the chicoms turn up a substantial part of the population ( not just ethnic Chinese ) will open the door.The rest will just watch on and then change the channel.

  17. Delta

    It’s time Australia took its defence seriously and invested in a nuclear program. For energy and defence.

    Ah yes, an Australian nuclear program. Sounds good – nuclear energy for power and ship propulsion (submarines and large capital ships) and nuclear weapons to complete the transition.

  18. Des Deskperson

    When I knew him, White was a Labor maaate, he was one of Beasley’s key advisers – worked in his Ministerial office – when Beasley was Minister for Defence. I have no reason to believe that he is not still close to the Labor Party. This plus the fact that he has never appeared particularly hawkish when it comes to relations with the PRC, makes me wonder what – apart from attacking the Coalition – his game is.

    The AFR article is paywalled, so I have no idea what White concludes. Is he actually arguing for more defence spending or is he arguing – as he seems to have been doing recently – for a more balanced and ‘nuanced’ relationship with China?

    The last time I saw White – about six year ago – he was about to board a Citylink flight from Sydney to Canberra. Also on the flight was Bonge. White went to a great deal of trouble to get a seat next to Bonge, and eventually the woman who was with Bonge – presumably Mrs Bonge – was persuaded to swap seats.

    Why White – a clever guy, whatever his politics – was so keen to sit next to a senile featherbrain like Bonge is a puzzle. I assume he found Bonge useful in some way. ,

  19. Wallace

    The thing is with China wanting to take over the rest of the world is that they can afford to lose two or three million frontmen with rifles while the rest of the world wonders what is going on.
    This present effort by them to upset the computer systems of their enemies, including Australia is working for them with excellent results.
    Maybe that is all they will need.

  20. Eyrie

    “Personally nato the correct thing to do would be to align, no embed, intertwine, unify the ADF with the US military. Significant efficiency and capability improvement.”

    The Australian Legion of the U.S. Marines.

  21. Adelagado

    According to Dastyari:

    If we are going to start funding everything with guns, let‘s at least give us a gun show we can all use by subsiding gym memberships.

    Subsidised gym membership? Must be missing access to that parliament house gym or perhaps there is something deeper with the shallow Dastyari given his current employer.

    Guns? Gyms? I think he is trying to be funny. Referring to this…

  22. Squirrel

    “Yes. A well drilled troop of pilates aficionados, repleat in flouro lycra will defend Australia from foreign enemies. You know it makes sense.”

    I’d always imagined that our fierce, world-class baristas would fend off the barbarian hordes – Sam probably agrees, so long as they have bulging guns…….

    For the benefit of non-paywallians, this sums up much of what White has to say in the AFR article –

    “In the Forward Defence years of the 1950s and 1960s we spent 3.5 to 4 per cent of GDP on defence – at a time when our GDP was as big as China’s and India’s. We will need to spend at least that in the decades to come, when the government now says we face the biggest risks since the 1940s.

    And that will only be enough if we spend it very shrewdly.”

    Basically it’s “we’ll all be rooned” – which has been the gist of what he’s had to say in most TV interviews I have seen in recent years.

  23. Perplexed of Brisbane

    It’s time. Not for Gough or Albo. It’s time Australia took its defence seriously and invested in a nuclear program. For energy and defence.

    Agree 100%. We can’t expect that the US will use nuclear weapons on our behalf unless they are also directly at risk.

  24. Baysidegal

    Dastiari is just another Chinese useful idiot. There are plenty of them in Australia, posing as Australians.

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