Defence experts and industry figures say it makes sense for Christopher Pyne to take on a new senior defence industry role in cabinet but warn against Mr Pyne’s using the job to favour his home state of South Australia. Read more
The Greens’ aspiration to become a mainstream political party was underlined last week by leader Richard Di Natale’s foray into defence and foreign policy, an area which is unfamiliar terrain for a party that began life as an environmental protest movement.
The sympathetic Left predictably applauded Di Natale’s sentiments but offered little in the way of supporting arguments for his speech to the Lowy Institute, which challenged many of the established tenets of Australian defence and foreign policy. The Right also failed to seriously engage with Di Natale’s arguments. The Daily Telegraph dismissed his speech as the ramblings of the ‘‘loony Greens’’.
A little remarked consequence of the fact Australia is part of an interconnected world — no longer isolated by geography or tyrannised by distance — is the quantum surge in people and goods crossing our borders.
During the past decade, there has been a 60 per cent rise in international passenger movements and 34 per cent in the number of travel visas issued. Imported sea cargo has increased by 50 per cent and air cargo a staggering 450 per cent, from 6.1 million consignments in 2005-06 to 33.6 million in 2014-15.
The Turnbull government has boldly proclaimed that the new defence white paper “is the most rigorous and comprehensive in Australia’s history”. This is not just rhetoric. The white paper articulates a viable strategy for the Australian Defence Force that is potentially transformational and should ensure the ADF is properly equipped to deter and defeat the multiplying defence and security challenges confronting the nation.
What sets this white paper apart is the muscularity of the envisaged defence force, which bears all the hallmarks of Tony Abbott’s persona and hard-nosed approach to defence and national security.
Hugh White’s considered response to the questions I posed in our recent exchange in the Lowy Interpreter on the fundamentals of Australian defense strategy prods me to elaborate on my previous arguments as well as to make some counterpoints. Read more
Given he was the principal author of the 2000 Defence White Paper, it is reassuring to know that Hugh White agrees with me that Australian strategic policy needs a rethink, even if he is not persuaded by all of my prescriptions. So, in the spirit of a full and frank debate about what needs to be done, let me respond to Hugh’s observations and counterpoints to my Lowy Analysis paper, Full-Spectrum Defence: Re-thinking the Fundamentals of Australian Defence Strategy. Read more
Australia’s defence planning is outdated and lacks coherence, relying on old notions of defending the continent from conventional military attack and focussing overly on the nearby region, one of the nation’s top strategic thinkers says. Read more
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) needs to develop a full-spectrum defence strategy which includes cyber weapons according to a new report by Professor Alan Dupont.
Full Spectrum Defence: Re-thinking the fundamentals of Australian defence strategy, published by the Lowy Institute, notes that the ADF has a maritime, land and aerial approach to defence. Read more
When Tony Abbott and his colleagues on the National Security Committee of cabinet sit down to have their first serious look at defence this week they will find a dispirited and disjointed department in need of direction and renewal. Read more