I think it was Rudds DWP in 2009 that labeled China as a threat.Just giving an apples for apples comparison.
Basically from the end of the Hawke years until the end of Howard's second term was a time of comparative peace and strategic stability. This was followed by the war on terror, still a period of comparative strategic stability.
Rudd was one of the first western leaders to be vocal about the challenges of a rising China. His own party backed out on his initiatives and we really aren't any better off today, lots of plans and rhetoric, but as yet not too much in the way of tangible results.
I hope the current reviews will give some clarity and direction.
As you said
" lots of plans and rhetoric, but as yet not too much in the way of tangible results."
One would think in thirteen years some dramatic increase in capability over and above replacing like for like.
Yes we have put down the accelerator in the last year, but really the out come has been pedestrian compared to the result and suggest need.
Add in a pandemic and major conflict in Europe coupled with the CCP's continued chest thumping and a military evolving to match its language and I wonder what we could have actually achieved in that past thirteen years of opportunity.
" We need some tangible results"