Australia becomes one of top 15 global military spenders

Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute of World military expenditure by region, 1988–2021.

Global military spending rose last year to more than US$2.8 trillion, an average of more than $8.1 billion every day, according to figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on April 25.

Australia’s military spending rose by 4% compared to 2020, SIPRI said. The federal government’s 2022–23 budget allocated $48.6 billion to defence. Australia is number 12 on the SIPRI chart, with the US ranked number 1 and China, number 2.

“This increase in military spending has happened during the growing national security threat — the escalating climate catastrophe,” said Denis Doherty, national convenor of the Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition.

“The world is going to hell while our politicians are drumming up more money for the arms industry,” Doherty said.

He believes Australia’s military budget is so high because “the military alliance with the US forces us to buy equipment rather than materiel needed to defend Australia”.

Defence minister Peter Dutton “is ratcheting up fear and loathing” of China to justify the government’s exorbitant military budget, Doherty said. “Dutton’s dishonest scare campaign is demolished by SIPRI, which show the US share of global military spending is 38% while China’s is 14%.

“It is inexcusable for the federal government to prioritise spending on the military over care for the planet and the health, education, housing and other pressing needs,” concluded Doherty.

[Anti-war and peace activists are planning to picket a naval arms bazaarIndo Pacific Expo, being organised in Sydney, May 10–12, at Darling Harbour.]