Is it true that the Australian people spend more on welfare than they do on defense?

This was claimed by Joe Hockey:

Each year, the Government spends more on welfare than we spend on the education of our children, the health of our people or the defence of our nation.


1 Answer 1


Yes, this is true.

The 2014 budget allocates $145.8 billion to social security and welfare and $24.2 billion to defense.

In the 2013 budget this was $138 billion versus 22$ billion.

Of course this is only the budget and not the real expenditures, but considering that there's one order of magnitude of difference between the two budget posts, even massive miscalculations won't make the defense spending go higher than the welfare spending.

  • 1
    This is sufficient to answer the question, but I wonder if some of the services offered by the states, rather than the Federal Government, might also count under "welfare": community housing, legal aid, homelessness services, etc.
    – Oddthinking
    May 14, 2014 at 8:47
  • 1
    All, take it to Skeptics Chat.
    – user5582
    May 14, 2014 at 18:39
  • "social security and welfare" != "only welfare".
    – vartec
    May 19, 2014 at 16:00
  • 8
    The sad part is trying to compare defence to social security and welfare. Here's another bad analogy: warlords spend more on defence than social security and welfare. The only difference in the claims is mine was satirical, Hockey was being serious. May 21, 2014 at 3:19

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