- HONEST HISTORY - https://honesthistory.net.au/wp -

Brangwin, Nicole, et al: history of Australia’s defence white papers

Brangwin, Nicole, Nathan Church, Steve Dyer & David Watt

Defending Australia: a History of Australia’s Defence White Papers: Parliamentary Library Research Paper 2015-16, 20 August 2015

This is a timely publication, given the recent extended commitment to Iraq-Syria, defence spending commitments, notably on the Joint Strike Fighter, continuing discussion about war powers reform, the imminence of a new defence white paper and, most recently, the swearing-in of a new prime minister who lacks a significant track record in defence and foreign policy. (The prime minister’s son-in-law, James Brown, is a former military officer and now defence analyst, previously at the Lowy Institute, now at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Anzac’s Long Shadow.)

1382730782278Lockheed Martin F-35 (Lockheed Martin)

The paper looks at the purpose of white papers and the historical background to 1976, before analysing (against common criteria) each of the six white papers that have come out in the years 1976-2013 plus the three ‘Defence Updates’ in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The tone of the paper is measured, befitting its provenance, but it provides useful background nevertheless.

The key points in the Executive Summary are as follows:

15 September 2015