Category Archives: Defence/Security

MICHAEL McKINLEY. The “China threat” has moved beyond the frantic into the realm of the explicitly dangerous. 

One of the most disturbing features of Australian Foreign and Defence policies over the last two years has been the obvious encroachment into actual policy-making by not only the intelligence agencies – which is outrageous enough in itself – but … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 6 Comments

KELLIE MERRITT. Wannabe Spy.

Kellie Merritt first met Bernard Collaery in mid-2005. She had not long returned from England, with three young children, recently widowed from the war in Iraq. She was still in shock and anxious about returning to attend a coronial inquest … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

ERNST WILLHEIM. Secret trials in the ACT courts

Canberrans were shocked to read on the front page of the Canberra Times on Saturday 23 November about a mystery prisoner, referred to as ‘Alan Johns’, who was prosecuted and jailed for charges unknown to the public or the Alexander … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 7 Comments

PAUL MALONE. Rating a defecting spy!

There’s a basic system for intelligence agencies to assess the credibility of someone, such as Wang Liqiang, who purports to be a defecting spy – a simple matrix running on one axis from say 1 to 6 and on the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

EVAN JONES. Freedom of the press: to what end?

The Australian media have been running a campaign for freedom of the press, under the rubric yourrighttoknow.com.au. The campaign asks: ‘When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?’ A worthy cause. One needs to go further … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Media | 5 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Is India still committed to its no-first-use nuclear policy? (The Strategist 11-11-19)

On 16 August, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hinted that India might abandon its no-first-use policy: ‘Till today, our nuclear policy is “no first use”. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.’

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ANDREW FARRAN. It is secret government, not Chinese subversion, we have most to fear.

Paul Barratt has put the country on notice that, as currently practiced by government, Australia could find itself at war before it knew it – see  https://johnmenadue.com/paul-barratt-its-too-easy-to-take-us-to-war.  

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 8 Comments

PAUL BARRATT. It’s too easy to take us to war

Where we are today is that the practice of the last twenty years has purportedly taken the power to send Australia to war away from the Governor-General and placed it at the disposal of junior ministers in the Defence portfolio. … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 9 Comments

NICK DEANE. Taking the Fight to China?

The call for Australia to ‘take the fight to China in the South China Sea’ by a retired, senior bureaucrat is surprising. It fails to take account of China’s expressed defence strategy.

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. The risk of entrapment by self-fulfilling nuclear prophecy

As rising nuclear threats become harder to ignore, non-nuclear states have responded in one of two ways. The majority have sought to reduce the risks of deliberate or inadvertent nuclear war by doubling down on disarmament efforts, crystallised most eloquently … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

HANS J OHFF. Submarines and how not to defend Australia

The Government’s new submarine project continues to be subjected to serious criticism. I have written on the ill-conceived SEA 1000 project since before the decision was made to award the contract to the French company NAVAL Group Australia (formerly DCNS) … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER. Pine Gap history-dogged by censorship and dereliction of duty.

On 1st January this year, the National Archives of Australia published a set of highly redacted Commonwealth cabinet papers dealing with a decision by the National Security Committee of the Howard coalition cabinet in September 1997 to allow the establishment … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. The political limbo rock – how low can you go?

One of the best ways to determine how history will judge a politician is not to tot up what they achieved but to try to evaluate the depths they sometimes sank to as they pursued their careers.  

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 1 Comment

DOUGLAS NEWTON. Night Thoughts on the 100th Anniversary of the First Remembrance Day

A hundred years ago the victors marked the first anniversary of Armistice Day. Our own memorialisation of the war, then and now, has been mostly in the spirit of ‘Take a bow, Australia’. But we need to lift our eyes … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

JOHN CARLIN. Aliens Out There

We humans have never been so determined as now to make contact with life somewhere else in the Universe. Most people surveyed support such contact. It may not be such a good idea. 

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

ANDREW FARRAN. Hugh White’s Plan for defending Australia

Hugh White’s ‘How the Defend Australia’ is a masterly and lucid analysis of defence forward planning issues and force structure options that will be of enormous benefit to any thinking Australian with an interest in this area. As well as … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

MARGARET PERIL AND MARGARET BEAVIS Is your super funding nuclear weapons?

Many people have welcomed the widespread divestment from tobacco by superannuation funds, but would be shocked to know their retirement savings are invested in nuclear weapons companies. In Sydney and Melbourne this week, the “Quit Nukes” nuclear weapon free finance … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON.But what about war?

Military forces perform many functions, but their unique role is to fight wars. Though obvious, this is rarely addressed by commentators on defence policy or by governments. Professor Dibb’s presentation to Royal Australian Navy’s Sea Power Conference avoided direct references … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Japan’s least bad choice on North Korea (Japan Times 3-10-19)

If Japanese officials have conducted any clear-eyed, hard-headed analysis of the government’s policy options on North Korea’s nuclear challenge, they have managed to keep it well hidden.

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ANDREW FARRAN. Modernising the Rules-based International Order

Prime Minister Morrison’s verbal assault on what he described, in relation to multilateral institutions, “as negative globalism that coercively seeks to impose a mandate from an often ill-defined borderless global community…and worse still an unaccountable international bureaucracy” – is of … Continue reading

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ROGER BAYLISS. HMAS Watson redevelopment. Why in a National Park?

The Department of Defence is planning a $430 million plus upgrade of its naval training facility at South Head in Sydney. The project will be examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and requires endorsement by Parliament. There … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

NICOLA McGARRITY, JESSIE BLACKBOURN. Australia has enacted 82 anti-terror laws since 2001. But tough laws alone can’t eliminate terrorism (The Conversation 30-9-19)

This is part of a new series looking at the national security challenges facing Australia, how our leaders are responding to them through legislation and how this is impacting society. Read other stories in the series here.

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The shallowness of Australia’s strategic policy

Two largely neglected issues highlight the paucity of Australia’s strategic policy; energy and global warming

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KELLIE TRANTER Australia’s appetite for Hypersonics

While the media were understandably distracted by Secretary Esper’s comments on deploying intermediate range conventional weapons in the Pacific region in the lead up to the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (“AUSMIN”) in August, documents produced pursuant to Freedom of Information … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Expanding naval bases in central Sydney does not make sense.

The Navy is proposing a $500 million expansion of its training facility at HMAS Watson which is adjacent to the historic South Head National Park. There are good defence, urban, economic and social reasons why naval facilities at Garden Island … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia’s Domestic War Parties: The Colonisation of the Australian Strategic Mind

National Defence and Security questions in Australia are, like so many areas of government policy, difficult to follow, let alone master, and debate about them tends to attract only a small attentive public. The answers to them, in the form … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

GREG BARTON. Australia isn’t taking the national security threat from far-right extremism seriously enough (the Conversation, 3 October 2019)

Until the terror attack in Christchurch in March, the threat of far-right terrorism in Australia was one we knew was coming, but believed was well over the horizon. The sordid story of the Christchurch attacker – “ordinary Australian” turned hateful … Continue reading

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KISHORE MAHBUBANI. What China Threat? How the United States and China can avoid war (Harper Magazine 22-01-19) A Repost.

Quite remarkably ,of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council ,China is the only one among them that has not fired a single shot across its border in thirty years,since a brief naval battle between China and Vietnam … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The strategic significance of Abqaiq and Khurais

The debate over the military implications of relatively inexpensive drones and cruise missiles has been enlivened by the recent attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais. This spectacular demonstration of the effectiveness of drones and cruise … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. What is new about drones?

The attack on Saudi oil wells has given rise to a debate about the effectiveness of drones in warfare. Some have argued that this heralds a whole new world in warfare while others see it as just another example of … Continue reading

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