"Defender": Winter 2005

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.

Cover Page



Recruiting, retention, remuneration and recovery: The 2004 exit survey of those leaving the ADF and the opinion surveys of those remaining reflect the defence force's inter-related problems of recruiting shortfalls, retention strains, hollow units, operational stretch and block obsolescence.


In June 2005 the Australia Defence Association celebrated its 30th anniversary. Australia is quite a different country from that of 1975 but the need for the ADA as an independent, non-partisan public interest guardian organisation remains relatively unchanged.

The 2005/06 defence budget, despite the hype about (largely unavoidable) current spending, still allocates insufficient funds to capital investment and the rebuilding of the defence force for the future.

Recent political debate about which historical figures in Australian politics were appeasers in the 1930s has largely missed the point that there were many appeasers on both sides and that, more to the point, both sides of politics contributed to Australia having to fight World War II grossly unprepared.

No individual Australian can be lauded as the man who saved Australia by deciding the three surviving infantry divisions of the 2nd AIF needed to be brought home from the Middle East in early 1942. However, too many have not paid due attention to the important role of the then Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Vernon Sturdee, in providing professional and moral backbone to a largely panicking government.

Recent rivalry between Victoria and South Australia over the contract to build new destroyers has obscured the real strategic issues involved, especially the need to avoid over-concentration of defence industry in any one part or polity of the country.

It is hypocritical, to say the least, that some of the biggest and most biased critics of the decision to re-equip the ADF with destroyers are the very people responsible for the existing serious capability gap in this regard.

Australia may have to sign the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Co-operation even though it should not have to. The irony of Malaysia demanding we sign while Vietnam declaring it is unimportant should not be lost on any Australian who knows their history.

Recent political squabbling over who may or may not officiate at the commissioning of flagpoles in schools once again ignores but underlines the real point that there continues to be too much politicisation of national events, ceremonies and symbols that need to be above politics.


Easier Said Than Done: At the Six-year Mark in Remaking the ADF by Dr Mark Thomson

How to Avoid Backing into the Future by General Peter Cosgrove (on his retirement as CDF)

The Clock is Ticking on Papua New Guinea by Susan Windybank

Torture: An Unwarranted Case by Neil James

Keeping Our Balance in Troubled Times: Legal Measures, Freedoms and Terrorist Challenges
by Robert Cornall (Secretary of the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department)

Affordability and the New Air Combat Capability by Peter Goon

Snapshots from Al Muthanna Province by Matt Brown (ABC Middle East Correspondent)


The Silent 7th: An Illustrated History of the 7th Australian Division by Dr Mark Johnston
(reviewed by Neil James)

Tobruk 1941 by Peter Cochrane
(reviewed by Bill Deane)

Hellfire: The Story of Australia, Japan and the Prisoners of War by Cameron Forbes
(reviewed by Dr Peter Stanley)

Paul Cullen, Citizen and Soldier: The Life and Times of Major General Paul Cullen AC, CBE, DSO*, ED by Kevin Baker (reviewed by Neil James)

War: The Lethal Custom (Second Edition) by Dr Gwynne Dyer
(reviewed by Brigadier Justin Kelly)

The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib edited by Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel
(reviewed by Dr Paul Monk)

The Long, Slow Death of White Australia by Dr Gwenda Tavan
(reviewed by Max Tapping)

Remapping East Asia: The Construction of a Region edited by T.J. Pempel
(reviewed by Professor Robyn Lim)