Category Archives: Defence/Security

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.  

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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

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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. 

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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

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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

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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

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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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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Morrison joins the conga line.

And so back to Mark Latham’s conga line of suck holes – Scott Morrison goes to Washington. The regular obeisance is hardly unexpected, but it is no less embarrassing for that. Morrison has made it clear that the main purpose … Continue reading

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GARETH EVANS. Emotion, reason and nuclear disarmament

I first came to Hiroshima in 1964 as a twenty-year old student, and it was one of the most formative experiences of my life. Nothing had quite prepared me for the experience of standing at the epicentre of that first … Continue reading

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BRENDON KELSON. Letter to Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel

The Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Dear Minister $498M AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL EXPANSION Thank you for Robert Curtin’s reply of 25 July 2019 to my letter to the Prime Minister of 19 June 2019. That … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Urgent appeal to save nuclear agreements (Japan Times 25-8-19)

HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima Round Table held its seventh annual meeting last Wednesday and Thursday. For the first time, in recognition of the uniquely dangerous international security environment since the dawn of the atomic age in this beautiful city, the … Continue reading

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QUENTIN DEMPSTER. New nuclear arms race brings higher risk of global catastrophe

The world is at its highest risk of a global catastrophe in decades, thanks to an unpredictable resumption in the nuclear arms race. Veteran defence and security analyst Brian Toohey has warned that talk of war between the West, and … Continue reading

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KELLIE TRANTER. Defence exports – what are we subsidising?

Last month Australian defence company, Electro Optic Systems (EOS), again denied its weapons system was being used in the Yemen war when photographs surfaced of four consignments of its Remote Weapons System for export in June and July to the … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Australia’s strategic folly: lessons from Barbara Tuchman.

We arein a situation where decisions that seem simple can commit Australia to fundamental errors of strategic judgement. The decision to send a ship and a plane and headquarters staff to a new venture with the United States in the … Continue reading

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ERNST WILLHEIM. The saga of Bernard Collaery and Witness K continues.

If you watched the program [ABC 4-Corners] you will already know this is a talk about some shameful events in Australia’s recent history. And I very much fear the shameful saga is about to continue. It is about Australian commercial … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Hong Kong and the ghost of Tiananmen

Michael Shoebridge  of  the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has artfully given the appearance of logic to a melding of fact, supposition and obsession in order to reach the conclusion that it is ‘time for the international community to step up … Continue reading

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ILAN PAPPE. Israel’s latest attempt to erase Palestine (The Electronic Intifada 25-7-19)

The attempt to suppress official documentation of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 is not new.

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