Super Hornets are Go

Photograph of US Navy F-18E Super Hornet aircraft

Defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has announced that the controversial purchase of 24 Super Hornet aircraft will go ahead.

The review of the Howard government’s decision to buy the aircraft — at a total cost of $6 billion even though the RAAF hadn’t wanted them — reached some damaging conclusions, including:

  • There has been a lack of sound, long-term air combat capability planning decisions by the former Government over the course of the last decade.
  • The retirement of the F-111 was made in haste but is not irreversible. The cost of turning the F-111 back on would be enormous and crews and skills have already moved on.
  • The former Government’s decision to leave Australia’s air defences in the hands of the Joint Strike Fighter project was a flawed leap of faith in scheduling terms and combined with the quick decision to retire the F-111 early, allowed an air combat capability gap to emerge.
  • The subsequent timetable the former Government put on the acquisition of an interim fighter left Defence planners with no choice but to recommend the Super Hornet. No other suitable aircraft could be produced to meet the 2010 deadline the former Government had set. One year on, that is now even more so the case.

Cancelling the order would still incur a financial penalty and create “undesirable tensions”, and the final conclusions is that “the Super Hornet is an excellent aircraft… and is the only aircraft which can meet the small delivery window created by the former Government’s poor planning processes and politically-driven responses.”

As a shareholder in Australia Inc, I’d like to know why the former “board members” allowed this to happen. When company directors are negligent they become personally liable so why, given the report’s damning conclusions, does Brendan Nelson not become personally liable?

Continue reading “Super Hornets are Go”

What hope the Liberal candidate?

OK, the Liberals have a snowflake’s chance of winning our local seat of Marrickville in the forthcoming NSW state election, so they can let any muppet have a go. But if this is the best election flyer you can come up with, Ramzy Mansour, then who are you kidding?

Photo of Ramzy Mansour's election flyer


  • If you can’t even organise someone who can cut paper in a straight line, what makes you think you can run the state of New South Wales?
  • If you can’t raise the $3000 to professionally print the 45,000 leaflets necessary to hit your electorate, how little support do you actually have?
  • If you can’t do the basic financial management to understand that for large print runs, offset printing is a lot cheaper than photocopying, why on earth would I trust you with a billion-dollar state budget?

1 out of 10, can do much, much better.