‘Deeply concerning’: Labor’s defence issues a ‘problem of their own making’

Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham has criticised Defence Minister Richard Marles for saying his department still has a “way to go” before it achieves excellence as “deeply concerning” but says it’s a “problem of their own making”.

Tensions between Mr Marles and the Department of Defence were revealed yesterday during Question Time after the Opposition called for him to lift his game.

“This is deeply concerning, and it is a serious problem that the Albanese government needs to address rapidly – but it is also a problem of their own making,” Mr Birmingham told Sky News Australia.

“The Albanese government has put Defence into a quagmire of endless reviews, it has cut into the Defence budget, it has shown an inability to make critical investment decisions, and it has shown next to no confidence in defence personnel to deploy them and do the types of jobs they signed up for.

“Little wonder we’re in a situation where decisions are piling up on Richard Marles’ desk, not being actioned.

“It’s little wonder that defence chiefs are at wit’s end with the Minister who is not making decisions, not getting outcomes through the Cabinet and budget process, and is just leaving all the hard capability decisions to pile up with a budget going backwards and defence personnel numbers going backwards as well – they’re walking out the door on him.”