Category Archives: Defence/Security

JACK WATERFORD. Trust Labor on national security? Sure can’t. (Canberra Times, 9 June 2018)

The looming five by-elections are giving the government an opportunity to polish and rehearse one of the centrepieces of its re-election strategy for the next election – the argument that the alternative government – Labor – is fundamentally unsound on … Continue reading

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ABHISHEK MOHANTY. Renaming the US Pacific Command: Why Indo-Pacific?

In a pivotal move projecting a new set of national interests, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, barely a day before the Shangri La Dialogue began, announced that the US Pacific Command will now be called the US Indo-Pacific Command.  The name … Continue reading

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MIKE YEO. France is deploying forces to the Indo-Pacific for more than just a drill.

MELBOURNE, Australia ― France will be deploying a detachment of combat aircraft to the Indo-Pacific region for a major air exercise in Australia and for additional interactions with Asian air forces, as France seeks to increase its presence in the … Continue reading

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MIKE WALLER. Welcome to the Panopticon: time for an Australian bill of rights?

Panopticon: a circular prison with cells arranged around a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed (Jeremy Bentham).  Mr Turnbull has told Neil Mitchell security and police will be given extra power to conduct random checks … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia’s China policy: who rules, who governs and the SAS connection

Australia’s China policy in recent days has moved from being a subject of heated and understandable debate and controversy based on argument and evidence, to a target of bureaucratic and organisational guerrilla warfare.  From within the state and parliamentary system, … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. The quest for ‘security’. Is it rational? Has it made us safer? And at what cost? (reposted from 23/2/2018)

In November last year, I gave an address to the Royal Society of Tasmania – the oldest such society ‘dedicated to the advancement of knowledge’ outside of the United Kingdom – at an event hosted by the Governor of Tasmania, … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. The threat of terrorism in Australia is a scam that costs us dearly (SMH 25/7/2017)

This article by Ross Gittins was published on 25 July 2017 in the SMH.  Since then, the government has continued to ratchet up fear of terrorism.  This is a particular stock in trade  of conservatives – promoting fear- fear of … Continue reading

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ADAM NI. Despite strong words, the US has few options left to reverse China’s gains in the South China Sea.

At a top regional security forum on Saturday, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said China’s recent militarisation efforts in the disputed South China Sea were intended to intimidate and coerce regional countries.

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Are we preparing to fight the wrong war : an interesting but lower order question.

In weapons systems, as in many other areas of life, Artificial Intelligence is being heralded as “the future for all humankind”.  This description is part of the problem: it comprises a submission to a fatalistic view of the future in … Continue reading

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LUCY BERAUD-SUDREAU. Asia’s defence budgets dispel ‘arms race’ myth.

Asian defence spending has not grown faster than the region’s economies – and the share of defence budgets allocated to procurement and R&D has held steady over time.

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WAYNE SWAN. Foreign influence and foreign donations in Australia.

The debate over foreign influence in our domestic politics and policymaking is an important one for our country – too important for political point-scoring and manipulation by vested interests and political vendettas.  

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RICHARD TANTER. Pine Gap electricity supply and the Ausgrid controversy

The giant Pine Gap intelligence and military base outside Alice Springs consumes a great deal of electricity to operate its intelligence-gathering and analysis operations.   It now appears that the Turnbull government’s rejection of a $25 bn. bid for the NSW-government … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE   Our security agencies are not accountable.

The performance and integrity of our security services is a serious national problem. These are particular problems for agencies which operate in secret and with few public checks. We have seen that they are prepared to upstage ministers and undermine … Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way.

In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions Sue Wareham ,on behalf of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) calls for major changes at the AWM … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Dutton’s extended police powers won’t be confined to airports

Dutton’s proposal to allow police to stop people at random at airports has little if anything to do with community safety, and everything to do with his desire to extend police powers and to help the government in its bid … Continue reading

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TSEEN KHOO. What Anzac Day meant for Asian Australians.

This year, just before ANZAC Day, I read a poignant, insightful piece by Nadine Chemali about what new migrants to Australia really thought about Anzac Day.

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia, China and three fragments of militarisation in context.

The term ‘militarisation’ is the new portmanteau expression for describing China’s initiatives in the South China Sea; it is at once accusatory and exculpatory: China is the instigator, the Western powers and those Western-aligned (defensively-minded, and innocent) are exonerated from … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER. Tightly Bound: Australia’s Alliance-Dependent Militarisation.

Australia’s unique military and intelligence relationship with the United States, combined with the country being geographically a part of Asia but historically, culturally and intellectually identified with the Anglo-Saxon world, have significant implications for Canberra’s current military modernisation. Richard Tanter … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Rethinking Strategic Policy

Australia is faces an increasingly novel external environment. For strategic policymakers this means discarding as much old thinking as possible in order to understand the contours of that future. Crucially, the policymaker also must remain cognisant that the sine qua … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Trump is Master of the Art of Making America Grate.

Trump’s decision yesterday to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal is a global tragedy likely to unsettle an already volatile Middle East and a world in some disarray. Trump has pulled out of the deal not because it was flawed, but … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING AND JON STANFORD. Australia’s strategic risks and future defence policy; Part 2: Future defence strategy, capability and submarines

In this second article we discuss the need to develop a defence strategy that involves shifting from a force structure designed for coalition warfare to one optimised for the independent defence of Australia. We focus on the requirement for new … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING and JON STANFORD. Australia’s strategic risks and future defence policy (Part 1 of 2)

Part 1: Australia’s strategic environment and the US alliance Two years ago the government selected the French company Naval Group to design Australia’s future submarine (FSM). We were highly critical of the decision at the time for a number of … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’.

We should have paid more attention at the time. It was September 2013 and the Abbott government had just been sworn in. The new Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, gave an interview to a Fairfax journalist which was reported on … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. War talk, China phobia and Australia’s Hobbesian choices.

Australia’s choices and policy debate on China are in need of clarification and rethinking.  Currently, they are mired in an idealised past which has gone and cannot be recovered but the resulting nostalgia, now indulged, requires accepting phobic propositions by … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

BEVAN RAMSDEN. Glimmer of hope for peace on Korean Peninsula glows more brightly.

Technically North and South Korea are still in a state of war. The cessation of hostilities in 1953 ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Now South Korea says it is considering how to change a decades-old armistice with … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. The international press at Panmunjom for the KIm-Moon Summit were much more impressed than the Australian press.

I was  struck by the response, amazement and obvious excitement  of the international press at Panmunjom, near Seoul last Friday.  See link.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw8mROuQs44  But the media interest in Australia seemed remarkably low key and almost disinterested.  At least our media … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Media | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has become a ‘go to’ organisation for anti Chinese commentary

The important agents of influence in Australia are organisations linked ‘hip to hip’ to the US and its military/industrial complex. One of these is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute which is an enthusiastic supporter of almost all things American including … Continue reading

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SAM BATEMAN. South China Sea Encounters

Australian and Chinese warships recently had what has been called a robust but polite encounter in the South China Sea. This was always likely and the Australian Government has been correct in not over-reacting. Rather than unnecessarily confronting China, Australia … Continue reading

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DAVID STEPHENS. Lest We Forget again: Anzac Day is an opportunity to confront our violent frontier past and its shadow today.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a young Somali-Australian Muslim woman, was driven out of Australia last year after she implied that the Anzac sacred cow might be ready to graze new territory. ‘Lest. We. Forget.’, she said, ‘(Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)’. I … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Remembrance Day in New York: Anzac Day in Tasmania.

I was in New York during May last year. At the end of the month, there was a public holiday. It was their Remembrance Day. Not that much happened in New York. There were no flags, no marches or processions. … Continue reading

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