Author Archives: Brian Toohey

Brian Toohey

About Brian Toohey

Brian Toohey is author of Secret: The Making of Australia’s Security State.

“Mind-boggling” waste revealed in the record rise in weapons spending (MWM Nov 30, 2020)

Australian governments and their defence leaders, with help from lobbyists, choose immensely complex, overpriced and overmanned weaponry. Wasteful spending has to end, writes Brian Toohey.

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 9 Comments

One Good Thing: Trump first president since Carter not to drag America into foreign wars

The seeds of civil war may be growing but one good thing to come out of Donald Trump’s four years in power is that he has not sent America into war overseas, joining the Democrats’ Jimmy Carter as the only … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

Our ‘extended’ state’s most powerful mandarin (SMH Oct 30, 2020)

Michael Pezzullo is by far the most powerful public servant in Australia. He created and runs the ever-expanding Home Affairs Department, he oversees a ceaseless avalanche of draconian new laws and he gives public speeches about what he sees as … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

Australian submarines operating in the South China Sea is a very provocative and very bad idea.

In responding to my post (19 October) about the Morrison government’s plan to spend at least $90 billion on large submarines, Jon Stanford’s post (21 October ) argues that we should do what the Commander of the US Submarine Force … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | 12 Comments

In for a penny, in for a pound: $90 billion for an obsolete submarine fleet

So much for Australian sovereignty. We are locked out of repairing key US components of our subs’ computer systems, and the Coalition has committed our submarine fleet to the extraordinarily dangerous role of helping the US conduct surveillance in the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics, Top 5 | 14 Comments

Problems with new F-35 fighter planes shouldn’t fly under the radar (Canberra Times Sep 1, 2020)

Defence gives an average price of less than $126 million for Australia’s 72 F-35s when fully delivered. But the Australian Strategy Policy Institute estimates the sustainment costs to be triple those of the F-18 fighters it replaces.

Posted in Defence and Security | 10 Comments

ASIO and AFP have questions to answer

ASIO and the AFP have questions to answer in the wake of reported raids on the homes and offices of Chinese journalists and a Labor backbencher.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 8 Comments

Australia’s national security laws leave us on a similar path to Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s new national security laws are attracting well-deserved condemnation. It’s a pity that there hasn’t been greater recognition that Australia’s own national security laws share some common features with those in Hong Kong.

Posted in Defence and Security, Human Rights, Politics, Top 5 | Leave a comment

Folly of following the Five Eyes Anglo-Saxon relic

The main countries comprising this electronic espionage group have made an abysmal hash of responding to the economic and health impacts of Covid-19. Yet the Australian government has chosen them to develop a “strategic” economic response to the Covid 19 … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Economy | 3 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. Reports of China spies and takeover plots are fanciful (SMH 5.12.2019)

Wildly exaggerated intelligence warnings about communist influence are not new in Australia. A US naval intelligence officer who was posted as an attache to the American embassy in the late 1940s, Stephen Jurika, reported back to Washington that communism was … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 6 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. The man who thought he owned a Prime Minister

‘This is the gravest risk to the nation’s security there has ever been.’Sir Arthur Tange, 6 November 19751.   Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the son of a former solicitor-general, was initially attracted to the notion that Arthur Tange was a dedicated … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY Chained to the chariot wheels of the Pentagon

The British monarchy has no say in Australian government decisions. It’s a different story with the head of the American Republic. A US president presides over a military-industrial-intelligence complex with a huge say in whether Australian governments go to war, … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. Is Pine Gap for Arms Control or the US fighting machine?

Labor governments surrendered Australian sovereignty in other ways by agreeing in 2008 to renew the lease on North West Cape without any conditions on how US nuclear attack submarines could use the base[i].  This could include undermining China’s ability to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. Teresa May’s rush to judgment on nerve agents

The British Prime Minister Teresa May failed to produce any evidence that the Russian state used a nerve agent called Novichok before she announced measures to punish the Kremlin.  At least Tony Blair famously produced a “dodgy dossier” claiming Saddam … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 5 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. ABC kowtow to government and ASIO on cabinet papers was gutless.

The ABC’s treatment of what it calls one of the “biggest national security breaches in Australian history” is a disgrace. It put the identity of its source at risk, but reported very little from the documents, preferring to talk at … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. Could our new subs sink our new frigates?

Could Australia’s big new $70 billion submarines sink its big new $35 billion frigates? Could the frigates sink the subs? The questions are worth answering before we spend these huge sums on potentially vulnerable frigates and subs. The subs cost, … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 2 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. PM walks with energy dinosaurs

The person known as Malcolm Turnbull who took over as Prime Minister is gone. That’s the one who declared immediately after getting the job that Australians have a wonderfully exciting future provided they recognise “change is our friend, if we … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Economy | 1 Comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. Building submarines in SA simply sinks Australian dollars

Despite claims to the contrary by the defence industry minister Christopher Pyne, this sector is not driving growth in the economy or jobs. A defence economics specialist Mark Thompson has debunked these claims in a careful analysis just released by … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Economy | 1 Comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. Prevention better than cure when it comes to terror

We shouldn’t  trash our own values to  support harsh anti-terrorism policies that don’t guarantee more security. There is a wealth of evidence about what does and what does not help to protect us from terrorism, and we’re doing too much … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Human Rights | Leave a comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. How to repair neo-liberalism

The policy debate needs fresh ideas to fill the gap left by the lack of popular and political support for the neo-liberal economic agenda. Paul Keating, who championed that agenda, recently said neo-liberal economics “has run into a dead end … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

BRIAN TOOHEY. New Series. We can say ‘no’ to the Americans.

There is nothing wrong with pursuing Australia’s commercial interests and avoiding pointless military gestures demanded by the US. 

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 1 Comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. The quality of intelligence advice.

  A  former top US intelligence official David  Gompert has issued a sober warning to those who  want to lock Australia into any future war with China. Speaking  on Monday, Gompert  said a war between the US and China could … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Media, Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

Brian Toohey. The $50 b. submarine purchase.

Jon Stanford’s three-part series on the Turnbull government’s determination to spend $50 billion on big new submarines is a welcome contribution to understanding what’s at stake at a time of cuts elsewhere. The decision risks repeating the Hawke government’s disastrous … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Economy, Politics, World Affairs | Leave a comment