The future of Australia’s defence is not only changing, but faces clear and present dangers from a ‘rising China’ and a ‘rebalancing America’, say the editors of a new book from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.
The book, Australia’s defence: towards a new era?, was launched by Defence Minister David Johnston.
Senator Johnston thanked the authors and co-editors Professor Brendan Taylor, Dr Peter Dean and Dr Stephan Fruhling from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.
“We are in an era where Australia’s status as a ‘middle power’ and its capacity to maintain its longstanding military technological edge over other countries in its region will likely be tested,” said Professor Taylor.
“Particularly as Asia’s giants, China, India and Indonesia, and other medium sized powers, like South Korea and Vietnam, stand up.
“It is also the beginning of an era of new government for Australia, which will lead to the publication of a new defence white paper in 2015.”
It’s not just a matter of bullets and bombs though. Defence’s new era is equally about discussion.
Professor Taylor was quick to point out that issues of Australia’s defence wasn’t just something to keep politicians, policymakers and academics sleepless at night.
“This is a book for the public, about a very public issue,” said Professor Taylor.
“We should never be afraid to have public discussion on defence. It is the public, after all, which seeks and needs to be defended.
“And we should be encouraged that this is the case today. Fifty years ago defence was seen as a matter for the government and not the electorate.
“Half a century on, the scope of public debate on the subject of Australia’s defence is radically different. Issues of defence policy are vigorously contested among leading defence intellectuals, the media and the wider public.”'
Australia's defence: towards a new era? is available from Melbourne University Press.