Australia’s Northern Shield? Papua New Guinea and the Defence of Australia since 1880

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    The book’s major theme is no surprise. Over an extended period – going well back into the nineteenth century – Papua New Guinea (PNG), located to the immediate north of Australia, has been of central importance in Australia’s security outlook. It was the ‘focus of Australian concerns about the ambitions of Imperial Germany, Japanese aggression and [in the 1960s] the Indonesian threats of infiltration and subversion’ (xiv). The Defence White Paper of 2016 insists that we ‘cannot be secure if our immediate neighbourhood, including Papua New Guinea … becomes a source of threat to Australia’ (290). Given the ‘inescapable geographical reality’ (to use Gareth Evans’ phrase) reinforced by the experience of fighting in PNG during the Pacific War, the continuing PNG priority is only to be expected, and might have been argued in this book with greater brevity. Hunt, however, offers a range of other observations about Australian strategic policy-making, some very interesting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-133pp
    JournalAustralian Historical Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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