Healthcare is a fundamental human right, and even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian healthcare infrastructure was stretched beyond capacity leading to a staff shortage, underpaid healthcare workers and a ramping crisis leading to sub-par treatment for unwell Australians.
This is only going to get worse with ever-growing demand and an aging population that will require a diverse array of healthcare needs.
Spending on the military rather than civilian areas of the economy results in a net loss of jobs. This is because military spending is less effective at creating jobs than virtually any other form of government activity. To contrast the $48 billion per year spent on defending against a non-existent threat to Australia, that money could be better used to fund:
New and upgraded hospitals:
The new Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH) cost taxpayers $2.5bn, is reportedly the third most expensive hospital in the world and is still insufficient to keep up with our needs. We could build over 15 new hospitals with one year's defence budget alone!
Upgraded ambulance fleet:
New, fully equipped ambulances cost an estimated $140k each, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the defence budget. Along with this, the funding could be better used to raise the wages of ambulance officers and paramedics while also investing in a larger workforce to reduce the strain on these frontline workers.
More nurses with better pay:
Nursing staff, alongside paramedics and other healthcare professionals are under unprecedented strain. They are working long hours, often pulling double shifts, resulting in extreme amounts of fatigue and burn out. This not only affects the healthcare workers, but puts patients in danger of fatigue-related incidents such as medication mismanagement and the inability to give adequate care to individual patient needs.
On top of the annual defence budget, the Australian government under the AUKUS alliance is planning to build eight nuclear powered submarines costing at least $170bn which is likely to blow out -- that $170 billion that would buy eight submarines could be better spent on creating about 250 hospitals!