Is the ADA just an organisation of former defence force, police or intelligence and security agency personnel?

No — as a national public-interest watchdog organisation we are necessarily broadly based in the Australian community.

Ensuring Australia is adequately defended and internally secure is a universal civic responsibility of all Australians (like jury duty).

It is not a responsibility solely or largely confined to former (or indeed serving) members of our defence force, one of our police forces or one of our intelligence and security agencies.

Our members are Australians from all walks of life who are concerned about our defence and wider national security.

Fewer than one third of our members, for example, have ever served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), a state or territory police force, or one of Australia’s security or intelligence agencies.

 Even with this ratio, of course, we still have many members with such experience.

Our broad community membership — rather than an ex-Service, current-Service or profession-focused membership base — is one of the key differences between the ADA and other groups with an actual, nominal or purported interest in defence or wider national security matters.

Our independence and strictly non-partisan basis are other key differences.


Our defence is everyone's responsibility — not just a matter for defence force personnel or war veterans

It is also worth noting that the commonplace assumption that all or most war veterans are (or should be) actively interested in how Australia is currently defended is not a valid assumption or a fair expectation.

Similarly, the assumptions that only war veterans (or serving defence force personnel) need to be interested, or only they are responsible, are equally invalid and unfair.

Relatively few war veterans take such an active interest and there are many and varied reasons for this.

Significant ones include:

  • the age and/or health problems of many veterans;
  • other focuses in their post-war lives; and, to some extent,
  • a belief that 'they have done their bit' and it is now someone else's turn to worry about it.

In general, the percentage of war veterans who are actively interested in current defence issues is not markedly larger than that of the population at large. Nor should this be expected of them — although most veterans do tend to have a much better general understanding of many defence issues when they arise in public debate.

Our common defence remains a universal civic responsibility of all Australians, not just war veterans or current members of our defence force.

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