As Graeme Dobell’s account of Defence Minister Stephen Smith’s speech suggests, there was scepticism in the audience about his claim that the defence budget over the past twelve years averaged out at a little over 1.7% of GDP.
The data is shown in the table, reproduced from Mark Thomson’s 2012–13 Cost of Defence report (page 26).
The average from 2001–02 to this year is, as advertised, 1.763%.
(Click table to enlarge.)
Andrew Davies is senior analyst for defence capability at ASPI and executive editor of The Strategist.