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The Rise of China and Australia's Security

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 18:20 authored by Gelber, H

The Defence White Paper of May 2013 is the latest in a long series of documents to address the dilemmas of Australian security. Most of them claim to introduce novel ideas and even exciting new weapons. Y et for all the technical innovations of recent decades as well as the huge political changes in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the main principles of national security policy have remained much the same.

The latest White Paper lists four priorities, in order, for Australia’s defence. The first is the direct defence of Australia (and leaving aside for the moment number two, the security of the South Pacific), and that defence obviously depends, as it has always done, on the third and fourth priorities: the security of the general Indo-Pacific “region” and co-operation and participation with greater allies. Effective defence has always depended on up-to-date technologies in weaponry and intelligence. That, too, has depended on relations with greater allies, from British-made machine guns and artillery in the First World War to the new American aircraft now proposed and Australian access to an intelligence and nowadays cyber community whose origins go back to the Anglophone intel community created during and just after the Second World War. An exception may be the proposal to build a new class of submarines in Australia, though the precedent of the current Collins-class boats is hardly encouraging. In any case, that has probably more to do with introducing new machinery, technologies and skills into Australia, than with creating a fleet able to take on a major enemy, let alone of co-operating with the USA in distant waters, as Australia has long wanted.


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School of Social Sciences


Quadrant Magazine Ltd.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Defence and security policy

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