Prodding my fellow Australians about the first responsibility of any Australian government and, indeed, every Australian citizen

Why do I have a civic responsibility to take an interest and do something about Australia's strategic security, defence and other national security issues?

  • Ensuring Australia is strategically and internally secure, including being adequately defended, is the primary responsibility of every Australian government.
  • Helping defend Australia is also a universal civic responsibility of every Australian citizen.
  • Every Australian has a role in keeping our governments honest in regard to them meeting their defence and other national security responsibilities.
  • Your opinions are important but you have a responsibility to note all the relevant facts before finalising or passing on your opinions.
Why you need to be interested 

Few Australians think much about Australia's strategic security and our common defence. Even fewer ever change their vote on a national security issue alone.

As three key consequences:

  • those we elect to govern Australia tend to ignore their national defence responsibilitities because it is usually advantageous electorally to do so;
  • general public debate on defence issues therefore tends to be cursory, and often misinformed or simplistic, because few voters care and our politicians tend to exploit this apathy, complacency or ignorance; and
  • many Australians do not even begin to realise the vital importance of strategic security and defence issues until a crisis occurs that requires sudden use of our (generally under-resourced) defence force.

Unfortunately, by then:

  • it is usually too late to redress the years of complacency or neglect concerning adequate national investment in our common defence, strategic security or strategic freedom of action as a sovereign country; and
  • there is often a reflexive and mistaken tendency to blame a victim — our defence force — rather than sheet blame home truly to the ministers, governments and opinion-makers actually responsible for the sustained neglect.

Or, indeed by us — as Australian citizens and voters — admitting fault and accepting responsibility ourselves for our complacency or indifference about the perennial under-resourcing of Australia's national defence capabilities.

Chiefly because we choose to ignore that portion of our taxes continually diverted away from adequate investment in national defence because of our own self-interest, perceived short-term benefit and evasion of the inter-generational inequity involved in unfairly inflicting greater strategic risk, or worse, on future Australians.


What happens when you do not pay adequate attention

As a further and long-term consequence of this community and electoral indifference, Australian politicians of all parties tend to neglect their national defence responsibilities.

They do this because they see no votes in it and/or they find thinking about their defence responsibilities too hard intellectually or inconvenient politically.

Especially as defence is a national governance responsibility requiring long-term planning and sustained investment over very long periods.

Particularly when the adequately sustained defence investment needed over time clashes with party-political perspectives driven instead by our, much shorter, three-year federal electoral cycle — where the future Australians placed at risk by this perennially inadequate investment don't get to vote now to fix it now (before it may be too late in their time).

But our political leaders are able to neglect their defence responsibilities, and divert investment elsewhere so often, only because most Australians (and the media and other opinion makers) allow them to do so through indifference, intellectually short-term perspectives or other self-interest.


Doing something about it 

If you have something important to say about Australia's strategic security, defence, or broader issues of national security, you should consider directing your correspondence to one or more of the following (as relevant).

Remember to identify yourself properly (only cranks or cowards use anonymity) and be constructive, calm and civil.

If you are an ADA member, remember to also comply with our code of conduct for public debate (as detailed in the members-only section of this website).

Should you choose to do so, please drop us a copy at ADA Feedback.


Politicians: The Government

Hon Malcolm Turbull, MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7700; Fax: (02) 6273 4100

Hon Senator Marise Payne
Minister for Defence
Parliament House CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7800; Fax: (02) 6273 4118 

Hon Dan Tehan, MP 
Minister for Defence Personnel
Parliament House CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7620; Fax: (02) 6273 7112 

Hon Christopher Pyne, MP
Minister for Defence Industry 
Parliament House CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 3415; Fax: (02) 6277 5806  


Politicians: The Opposition

Hon Bill Shorten, MP
Leader of the Opposition
Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 4022; Fax: (02) 6277 8495

Senator Hon Stephen Conroy
Opposition Spokesman for Defence
Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 3222; Fax (02) 6277 5772

Hon David Feeney, MP
Opposition Deputy Spokesman for Defence
Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
Tel: (07) 5580 0355; Fax (07) 5580 0366

Gai Brodtmann, MP
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence
Parliament House, CANBERRA, ACT, 2600
(or 205 Anketell Street, TUGGERANONG, ACT, 2900)
Tel: (02) 6293-1344; Fax: (02) 6293-1068


Major Australian newspapers

The Editor, The Australian

The Editor, The Australian Financial Review

The Editor, The Age (Melbourne)

The Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

The Editor, The Courier Mail (Brisbane)

The Editor, The Canberra Times

The Editor, The West Australian (Perth)

The Editor, The Advertiser (Adelaide)

The Editor, The Mercury (Hobart)

The Editor, The Herald Sun (Melbourne)

The Editor, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)


Major New Zealand newspapers

The Editor, The New Zealand Herald (Auckland)

The Editor, The Dominion Post (Wellington)

The Editor, The Press (Christchurch)


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