Australia's threat perceptions: a search for security

Author/s (editor/s):

Alan Dupont

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 82

A nation's perception of the likely origin, nature and level of potential external threats is fundamental to its sense of security and well-being, and reveals much about its character and value system and degree of anxiety and apprehension about external threats which appears inconsistent with its relatively benign geostrategic environment.

This monograph traces the evolution of Australia's threat perceptions from early colonial times to the present, exploring the philosophical and rhetorical differences which have characterised the attitudes of the major Australian political parties towards national threats. In doing so it seeks to provide some explanation of the causes of Australia's sense of vulnerability, comparing and contrasting popular perceptions with the official threat assessments of Australia's military and intelligence community. The monograph also makes some judgements about the accuracy and perspicacity of the official forecasts.

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