Academic internships with the Australia Defence Association

The public-interest research and monitoring, public education and community advocacy programs and activities undertaken by the ADA provide rewarding opportunities for students and academics seeking internship experience in public policy making and public-interest oversight. Particularly concerning strategic policy, defence, international relations and wider national security issues.



The ADA national office in Canberra is operated by a mix of full-time and part-time staff supplemented by volunteers and interns.


Academic disciplines

Internships with the ADA particularly suit those studying international relations, defence studies, strategic studies, Asian studies, economics, communications and journalism.

Where a full internship is not possible, or sought, we welcome volunteers for our panel of book reviewers.



We are generally willing to host internships recommended by Australian tertiary institutions, professional institutes and associated organisations.

We retain the right to decline applications, even if appropriately recommended.

To save us both time your initial query or application needs to include, as a minimum:

  • your full name;
  • the tertiary institution in which you are enrolled or the professional institute prepared to reference your internship;
  • your academic or professional sponsor at that tertiary institution or professional institute respectively (including their telephone and email contact details);
  • the tertiary qualifications you have gained to date (if any);
  • the relevant degree or graduate diploma course you are currently studying;
  • the date periods you are available and the periods that are best for you (noting the advice about Parliamentary sessions below);
  • why you are interested in an internship with the ADA;
  • your citizenship (including any dual citizenships);
  • your postal and email addresses; and
  • your daytime and out-of-hours telephone numbers (including a mobile number where possible).

Please note that we cannot consider applications unless all the above detail is provided. 

ADA privacy policy can be found here.


Planning considerations


Internships with the ADA are generally located with our national office in Canberra. In some cases, once sufficient supervisory arrangements are in place, they can be undertaken remotely from other locations.

The value of an internship is usually maximised when located in Canberra, even if only periodically.

In some circumstances, we can offer self-contained and self-catered accommodation at minimal cost, but you would need your own car as the location in rural NSW is near Canberra but not in it.


The duration of internships depends on the particular circumstances involved but they generally cover periods between three weeks and three months. 

We can also offer part-time internships, either in Canberra or remotely, where your academic discipline, study program and our operational circumstances enable worthwhile inter-action for both you and us.

Remote, predominantly research-focused internships, may also be best if temporarily living in Canberra is not possible during your internship.


In planning your timing of a possible internship, periods when Parliament is sitting can offer a particularly interesting and academically useful time to study one of the ADA's major public-interest watchdog efforts.

Periods incorporating Senate Estimates Committee examination of the Department of Defence are especially useful and the relevant dates can be found here (or in outline on the parliamentary-sitting calendar above). 

Discounted subscription:

You do not have to be an ADA member, or  join, in order to undertake an internship with us.

However, for those with a genuine interest in informed public debate on strategic security, defence and wider national security issues we offer full-time students a discounted membership subscription.


General conditions

  • The ADA is staunchly non-partisan institutionally and operationally. You would have to fully abide by this during your internship in both attitude and activities.
  • As our work can involve extensive inter-action with the public, government officials and parliamentary representatives we require a high standard of dress, grooming and behaviour during such inter-actions.
  • Due to the resource constraints faced by many independent community watchdog organisations (when preserving our independence and institutional transparency) your internship with the ADA needs to be self-funded.
  • If the costs of your internship are being covered by a scholarship, grant or otherwise sponsored by another institution or organisation, or a commercial entity, this needs to be declared by you and approved beforehand by the ADA.
  • You need to be over 18 years of age but the most successful internships tend to be after or near the end of a bachelor-degree course or during post-graduate studies.


Additional conditions

Due to the particular public-policy area of the ADA's public-interest watchdog role and activities, and the national security considerations that can be involved, the following guarantees and conditions also apply. You would have to agree to them in writing during the application process:

  • we can only offer internships to Australian citizens;
  • the Enhanced Chatham House Rule applies, in perpetuity, to all knowledge gained during your internship; and
  • the sensitive and at times discreet public-interest watchdog work of the ADA may preclude your full participation in some of our confidential consultation, liaison and advocacy activities.


Please ring (02) 6231-4444 or contact our national office by email to ask questions or otherwise discuss a potential placement.

Remember to include all the detail requested above.

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