For a document that self-advertises as “the most substantial and ambitious approach to Defence … since the second World War”, the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) is neither.
When former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg learned of Scott Morrison’s secret plan to spend a quarter of trillion dollars on nuclear submarines that, just two years earlier, the navy said they didn’t need, he said: “Everything is affordable if it’s a priority. This is a priority.”
The election of a new government presents Australia with a much-needed opportunity to reappraise its place in the world. In less than 20 years, we have segued from serious engagement in Asia and a leadership role in the Pacific to marginal significance in the affairs of Asia (except as a massive mine and a source
On ANZAC Day our nation remembers and honours those who lost their lives in that failed, bloody mission at Gallipoli in 1915. Today, with a war in Europe and instability closer to home, it’s worth contemplating how we can best honour the memory of the fallen by avoiding repeating the mistakes of the past.
Make no mistake: the heightened risk of armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine has serious implications for Europe, especially the Nato members, as it does for the rest of the world. But most importantly, it has massive strategic consequences for the US. And that’s where it matters for Australia. To judge from much western media
Australia is still trying to find its place in Asia, Paul Keating says, which explains why we’re so preoccupied with Taiwan and China.
Our Prime Minister believes in miracles – which is lucky, because he might need one to get himself out of the political mess the Coalition has made of climate policy in Australia. Any day now, it is expected the Morrison government will make a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. The PM is probably
To say the very least, the government’s decision to acquire the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines is problematic. For those Australians familiar with the role of submarines in Australia’s defence planning – and there are more people involved in that arcane world than you might think – there is a kind of inevitability in the
Twenty years pass so quickly, and so slowly. Memories of that Tuesday in September are very much alive because the shock remains so fresh, just as the shock of the fall of Kabul is so immediate. Of course, 9/11 and the catastrophe that has become Afghanistan are deeply connected – historically, psychologically and strategically. The
Things feel like they’ve taken a turn for the apocalyptic lately. Between the fall of Afghanistan, the IPCC report and the exponential growth of Covid cases in NSW, every time you turn on the news things are spinning out of control. Not because there’s no hope, but because of the hubris of some of our
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s repeated offer to deploy troops to help control people’s movements in Sydney’s lockdown areas has found acceptance – not by Gladys Berejiklian, but by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. The commissioner likes a bit of fear in the community, and with a couple of regiments of soldiers in cams, he’ll have it.
Carbon taxes are coming to Australia whether we like it or not. They are coming despite the triumphant ‘axing of the tax’ in 2014. They are coming despite the updated but equally loud ‘technology not taxes’ sloganeering from the Morrison government in 2021. They are coming despite our government’s refusal to commit to a net-zero
On ANZAC Day we remember lives lost in the strategic failure that was Gallipoli – a salute to Churchillian hubris and a newly emerged ex-colony only too keen to prove itself in defence of the “mother country” and her Empire. On this ANZAC Day, we prepare ourselves for another strategic failure, just as we did
“We love you, you’re very special.” Thus US President Donald Trump addressed the armed insurrectionists looting the Congress in more loving terms than with which one suspects he has ever addressed his own children. But we have come to expect as much from the President who once described neo-Nazis as “very fine people”. It was
by Allan Behm[Originally published in public policy journal, Pearls & Irritations, on 21 Dec 2020] The Brereton report has major deficiencies around where ultimate responsibility lies for war crimes in Afghanistan. To understand this and to eradicate the cultural and systemic causes of the alleged crimes, we need a Royal Commission. War crimes are perhaps
by Richard Denniss [Originally published by Guardian Australia, 09 December 2020] Political pressure makes the impossible inevitable. Unfortunately, so much has been written about how democracy is broken, that it can seem churlish to point out that sometimes it works just as it is designed to: slowly, imperfectly and then suddenly. Take, for example, Scott
by Ben Oquist[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 28 November 2020] Suddenly it seems diplomacy is important. The Foreign Minister has praised the role Australia’s diplomats played in the release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert; the Prime Minister is defending the use of an Air Force plane to help get Mathias Cormann elected to the plum post
by Ebony Bennett[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 14 November 2020] Australia is experiencing climate change now and warming is set to continue, according to the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO’s 2020 State of the Climate report released yesterday. This news won’t come as a galloping shock to most Australians – we can see the evidence of global warming
by Richie Merzian[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 04 November 2020] Whether Donald Trump loses or wins the presidential election, the US will officially withdraw from the Paris agreement on Wednesday. The US intention to withdraw was announced in mid-2017 and, exactly one year ago, formal notification was sent to the United Nations. It caps
by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 30 October 2019] After decades of pursuing free trade at the expense of local jobs, the conservatives in the Coalition — aping Donald Trump and Boris Johnson — have decided to pivot to populism. Gone is the rhetoric of Alexander Downer and Julie Bishop about how
by Richie Merzian[Originally published on 10 Daily, 01 October 2019] Last Wednesday Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to the world stage, using Australia’s annual address to the United Nations (UN) to talk about the environment. He was two days too late. And everyone at the UN, diplomats and commentators alike, knew it. Having been involved
by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 02 September 2019] Neoliberalism has made Australia more fragile, fractious and open to foreign influence. We talk a lot about the rise of Chinese influence but there’s less discussion about the decline in our national self-confidence. Despite living in the world’s 14th largest economy with some
by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 20 August 2019] Short-term thinking is often a feature of Australian domestic politics but when it comes to foreign policy, we’ve usually played the long game. Not any more. The Morrison Government is placing 1000 potential coal jobs ahead of its ‘Pacific Step Up’, announced in 2017 to
by Richie Merzian[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 10 August 2019] Late last Friday – a timeslot where ministers are known to announce policies they are most proud of – the Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, ordered a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear energy. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus
by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 17 May 2019] Bob Hawke is perhaps credited most often for his economic reforms, but he also leaves a tremendous legacy of protecting Earth’s wilderness. Without Bob Hawke, Antarctica would be a quarry, Tasmania’s iconic Franklin River would be flooded and Queensland’s Daintree rainforest would be a
The footage was shocking: One Nation figures meeting with the National Rifle Association in the US in search of political donations, media support and strategic advice. Australians may be surprised to discover the gun lobby in Australia rivals the NRA in size and spending, according to Australia Institute research commissioned by Gun Control Australia. Most people have
By Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program. [Read article in the New Matilda Here] Private and public investment in a safe climate future is growing, despite the best and worst efforts of some of the world’s leading polluters, writes Richie Merzian. On a reclaimed swamp fringing the outskirts of the industrial