"Defender": Autumn 2007

The complete issue may be downloaded here. Individual pdf versions of key commentary, articles and reviews may be downloaded below. The Major Furphy column may be downloaded separately from the Major Furphy page.


Disengagement, deficient debate and defeat: Most Australians are so disengaged from their defence force that they ignore the current wars we are fighting, do not regard them as important, or see them as being fought by someone else and not by Australia or themselves in any personal, community or citizenship sense. This situation is dangerous in a democracy and needs to be reversed. The Government and the Opposition need to co-operate on a bipartisan public education campaign so informed national debate on the issues concerned is possible.

Letters to the Editor: Proust Review, Iraq, John Howard, David Hicks, tanks, outmoded strategic commentary, next-generation submarines, counter-terrorism policies, psychiatric trauma casualties, PTSD and the dangers of 'coaching' as to its symptoms.



An explanation of the extensive ADA measures undertaken to investigate and adjudicate an allegation of bias in Association commentary.

Real joint command and control of ADF operations and capability development is succeeding. Many old-fashioned and/or out-of-touch commentators cannot understand this integrated approach and continue to think and speak of Navy, Army and Air Force capabilities (and their contributions to ADF operations) individually. Some even resent the largely successful elimination of serious inter-Service rivalry, particularly because civilian bureaucrats and others can no longer exploit such tensions to divide and conquer the Services individually during bureaucratic gameplaying.

We need to understand our strategic history not perpetuate it. The recent telemovie Curtin unfortunately concentrated on producing a dramatic story rather than accurately recounting the enduring strategic lessons of the late 1941 - early 1942 period. Some of the bad lessons have echoed down to the present day and many of the good ones are forgotten or discounted because of the 'Curtin-alone' myth.

Recent statements by some so-called community leaders purporting to represent Muslim-Australians have continued to criticise counter-terrorism policy as somehow too 'hard-line'. This is simply blaming the victim, the Australian community as a whole, rather than the Islamist extremists actually causing most of the problems and all of the terrorism.

One aspect of overcoming personnel shortages in the ADF is fixing our unfair and clearly inadequate treatment of the veterans of previous wars because this is a growing disincentive to both recruitment and retention for the current and future defence force.

Superannuation in the defence force is also an important recruiting and retention measure. Continual controversy about the unfair and discriminatory indexation method used for ADF superannuation schemes, and the compensation payments paid to disabled war veterans, is easily fixed by adopting the same method used to index parliamentary pensions.

War veterans will not achieve success in their public campaigns to improve their treatment unless they stop fighting among themselves, stop silly abuse of those trying to help them and work together logically and reasonably to air and resolve the public policy issues involved effectively.


Australia's New Security Agreement with Japan by Professor Robyn Lim

Australia and East Timor: If You Cannot Get a Strategy Get a Plan Young Man by Grant Sanderson

The Proust Review: Yet More Tinkering by Neil James

Control Orders: Sword or Shield? by Robert Cornall

What a Difference a Decade Makes: Risking the Sustainment Capability of the Air Force
by Air Commodore Garry Bates (Retd)

Struggling for Altitude: The JSF Project by John Tirpak


Bean's Gallipoli: The Diaries of Australia's Official War Correspondent
Edited and annotated by Dr Kevin Fewster
(reviewed by Dr Michael McKernan)

Gallipoli: The Pilgrimage Guide by Garrie Hutchinson
(reviewed by Dr Karl James)

Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin & Churchill Won One War & Began Another
by Jonathan Fenby
(reviewed by Dr Malcolm Kennedy)

Command in Vietnam: Reflections of a Commanding Officer by Colonel F. Peter Scott
(reviewed by Brigadier John Essex-Clark)

An Atlas of Australia's Wars (Second Edition) by Lieutenant General John Coates
(reviewed by Neil James)

The Howard Paradox: Australian Diplomacy in Asia 1996-2006 by Professor Michael Wesley
(a review essay by Graeme Dobell)

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Bagdad's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
(reviewed by Neil James)


Brigadier Denis Owen Anthony Magee (Retd)

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Robert Charlton, RFD (Retd)

George Douglas Jacklin