Speeches | 14 March 2013

Parliamentary Submission: Defence Performance

In this submission to the Australian Parliament's review of the Defence Annual Report, Military Fellow James Brown argues for greater parliamentary oversight of defence by outlining just how little reporting defence makes to the parliament and public.

  • James Brown

In this submission to the Australian Parliament's review of the Defence Annual Report, Military Fellow James Brown argues for greater parliamentary oversight of defence by outlining just how little reporting defence makes to the parliament and public.

  • James Brown
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Key Findings

  • It is unclear whether parliament is able to effectively measure and judge the performance of the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO), or indeed whether the parliament can effectively determine the current state of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Considering that Defence policy is extraordinarily complex, vitally important, and that mistakes can have far-reaching consequences, parliamentary oversight is crucial.
  • The Defence Annual Report 2011–12 does not sufficiently allow parliament to assess the performance of the ADO, or the capabilities and readiness of the ADF. It is less transparent and detailed than similar defence reporting in the UK, US, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • In its annual reports the ADO assesses its 20 departmental and administered programs using a system of one, two, and three ticks. The three tick system is an exceptionally crude performance measurement methodology for a government department with 105 000 employees and an annual budget of $24.2bn.