Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Thursday, 02 July 2020 11:28

Only one man called the increase in defence spending for what it was

Only one man called the increase in defence spending for what it was Image by Andrew West from Pixabay

It is curious in the extreme, that only one man, the hard-nosed Bernard Keane who writes for the news site Crikey, was able to tell the public the truth about the great defence announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday: it was all smoke and mirrors. Or if you prefer a more direct word: BS.

The rest of the media all took a knee for Morrison, making threatening noises about war, how Australia was standing up to China, how Canberra needs to stand on its own feet now that the perpetual ally (read the US) is occupied with matters closer to home and so on.

But why? Is Keane some remarkable figure, some iconoclast, some outlier, who is some kind of oracle, some prophet, some visionary? Or is he just a hard-nosed, cynical journalist who is doing his job?

I was curious to know what Keane had written to the extent that I dug up an old email address to subscribe to the newsletter and read what he had to say in full. And man, it is wonderfully illuminating and does not pull any punches.

Of course, Morrison has form in making an ordinary statement appear like a proclamation from Mount Sinai. The last time he thundered from the pulpit was when he told the nation about cyber attacks in the breathless tone of a man who had just run a marathon.

On that occasion too, the press pack leapt on his words and held out dire threats to China, all of them overblown, with not a single one bothering to tell the public the truth: these attacks have been going on for ages and will continue no matter what Australia does.

The sub-editor who edited Keane's article cut to the bone immediately, with a sub-headline stating: "The media is excited about Scott Morrison's planned increase in defence spending — except that it's nothing more than what we already committed to years ago." It was like puncturing a balloon.

If anything could take the wind out of the sails of a pompous announcement, that clear bit of text did. And Keane did not hold back either: he had two brilliant paragraphs to open his assault: "If you read the papers today, you’d be forgiven for thinking Scott Morrison was going to announce a massive increase in spending on exotic new weaponry (“cutting edge”, “hypersonic”, “strike capability”, etc, etc) to combat the seething menace of China.

“New missiles for defence in $270 billion arms build-up” claimed the AFR. “Scott Morrison shoulders arms to China in 10-year,$270 billion plan,” said The Australian. “Australia to spend $270 billion building larger military to prepare for ‘poorer, more dangerous’ world” the ABC told us. The usual suspects like Peter Jennings of ASPI were exhumed from their bunkers to endorse the spending."

Of course, one wouldn't be surprised if Keane is called unAustralian. Or unpatriotic. Or described as someone who is not a team player, the team being Team Australia.

Some of the slavering over this announcement made one wonder whether people were having an orgasm when they heard it. Nobody even poked fun at Morrison for evoking the 1930s and Adolf Hitler. People forgot all about Godwin's Law.

Keane, unlike many of the patriots, did not waste too many words on debunking the whole announcement, detailing his reasons for doing so in a few short paragraphs.

There is a lot of noise being made about curbing disinformation from Twitter accounts that are said to be manned by Chinese and Russians. I would suggest that we deal with the home-grown variety first – and Morrison's announcement fits squarely in that category.

Subscribe to Newsletter here


Recently iTWire remodelled and relaunched how we approach "Sponsored Content" and this is now referred to as "Promotional News and Content”.

This repositioning of our promotional stories has come about due to customer focus groups and their feedback from PR firms, bloggers and advertising firms.

Your Promotional story will be prominently displayed on the Home Page.

We will also provide you with a second post that will be displayed on every page on the right hand side for at least 6 weeks and also it will appear for 4 weeks in the newsletter every day that goes to 75,000 readers twice daily.



It's all about Webinars.

These days our customers Advertising & Marketing campaigns are mainly focussed on Webinars.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 2 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial.

For covid-19 assistance we have extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.


Sam Varghese

website statistics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.





Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News