Self-Reliance Defence of Australia

Self-Reliance Defense of Australia


Self-reliance in defence is one of the core principles of any independent sovereign state. A country that lacks self-reliant armed forces with the capability of protecting the country from its domestic enemies, as well as foreign enemies, is not considered to be a completely sovereign and independent state. Imperialism is known to be one of the leading causes of war, and US imperialism has contributed to the emergence of myriad wars in the world today. One of the best ways of preserving Australian national independence is to oppose the imperialist war of aggression using the war of liberation. It is important for Australia to work hard and enhance its preparedness for any possible imperialist moves and win any war of aggression. Implementation of the principle of self-reliant in defence, therefore, becomes critical to the country.

After British army moved out of Australia in 1870, there was a debate on whether local forces should be empowered to protect the country or the state should send troops to support imperial objectives overseas. Eventually, Australian colonies implemented some aspects drawn from both concepts before federation in 1901. When the World War 1 broke, the government recognized Australians roles being part of the British Empire. Australians military preparedness weakened because the ‘Singapore’s strategy’ was more dominant in domestic strategic thinking and it was at this point that the military expenditure was minimized.

Australia was left to depend on the royal navy despite questions being raised by some military leaders about what would happen if war broke out in Asia. During world war two, British strategic defence priorities shipped Australia’s security policy. This research will shed light on why the country needs to focus on self-reliant defence in an attempt of being independent in its security sector. To undertake this, the study will focus on the benefits of being self-reliant and the risks or shortcomings that are associated with lack of a self-reliant defence by the country or that comes as a result of forming alliance with other countries when the internal security is not strong enough.

What change in American military posture means to Australia

With the current tensions between US and China, Australia can be forced to fight a war that is not in their interest if the two powerful countries started fighting. The consistent strategic rivalry experience between US and China can have a great impact on Australia. The alliance between US and Australia can no longer guarantee to assist the latter when under threat. There is more reason to worry because Australia appears to have lost the capacity of carrying out autonomous decisions. The intertwining of Australian and US forces has set strategic limits on Australia. Due to over-reliance on the US alliance, an enemy can easily destroy Australia after America choosing to stay out of the war. Australia is therefore left with no other option but to strengthen its defence forces that can protect the country from any threat before considering joining another alliance.

 Large zone of maritime jurisdiction

The national interests of Australia are broad. Its zones of maritime jurisdiction are ranked among the world largest. Also, the location of Australia is unique because a majority of its allies and friends are not its close neighbours. The United States, for example, has its first Allie located approximately 9429 miles away from Australia. Also, Australia, unlike other countries, is not closely aligned with any local block. The economy and security of the country are closely linked to the sea lines of the country being secure, safe passage of commodity export and stability among the most powerful nations in Asia. It, therefore, means that the interests of Australia spread far from the immediate security of its population. For that reason, the country requires its powerful military or else risk losing its economic growth and prosperity if its territorial waters are insecure.

Neighbourhood security challenges

East TIMOR together with some South Pacific island states does not show signs of ending the constant problems of population pressure, effects of natural disasters as well as scarcity of resources. Illegal fishing, piracy, smuggling of people, drugs and weapons is a major concern that has been affecting Australia over years. Australia is not spared from terrorists either and must protect its citizens. The only way that the country can survive is by having a well-organized and equipped a military that can safeguard the interests of Australians and protect them from criminal activities that are arranged in the South Pacific island states.

The rise of Asian nation’s military capability

The Australian defence policy has consistently ignored Asian countries military capability because it can access advanced defence technology and its budget ranking 13th among the largest across the globe. It was only after 2013 when defence white paper acknowledged that major Asian countries are rapidly growing their economies and have the full potential of challenging its military capability by modernizing their military forces. The Australian Treasury stated that other Asian countries are likely to challenge its military power if Australian continued to allocate its usual portion of GDP to the army because the Asian countries have a higher economic growth rate compared to its price. Regardless of Australia having a more professional military as compared to its neighbours, some of them are investing in submarines, acquiring highly trained fighters and sophisticated 21st-century defence forces. With the constant economic growth, the countries have shown the interest to develop ballistic missile systems as well as enhancing cyber surveillance. Japan, for example, is a major supplier of critical missile components to powerful militaries like the US and the UK. Japan is also known to design and produce powerful Tanks like the MCV in addition to fighter Jets and destroyers for the Navy. India has not been left behind either and is credited for its Brahmas missile. The weapon is recognized as the world’s speediest cruise missile currently operating and can be launched from different environments in air, land or the ocean. The different deployment that has taken place in the last decade has led to the wearing out of Australian defence forces equipment’s, and they require replacement. The 10.5 percent reduction of the defence budget in 2012 by Gillard further weakened the military. If the trend continues, Australia is likely to lose it regional defence edge. The country must, therefore, be more concerned about strengthening its military capability or be left behind by its neighbours.

Threat to the Australian-Chinese economic relationships

The 21st century has been characterized by rapid economic growth among the Asian nations, China being among them. Australia has not been left behind in reaping the benefits of china’s economic development but its alliance with the US is likely to affect the trade between China and Australia.  Following a deal made in China, it is estimated that the two countries are exchanging goods worth 130 billion US dollars per annum. They also have a plan where programs will be initiated for cultural integration including Chinese culture being one of the subjects studied in Australia. Such programs target at increasing cross-cultural communication between the two nations. The Australian companies have also started equipping their top representatives with knowledge about Chinese business customs. Business specialists argue that a country with a large population of 1.5 billion people is an important trading partner for Australia, and it will affect the future of their economy. The last two decades are a proof of a successive two-way trading between Australia and China.

Despite the success in trade, there is a perceived mistrust between China and Australia. The Australia alliance with the US on military matters is to blame for the distrust. After the news that US troops were to be operating in Darwin went public, the Chinese officials were concerned and claimed that subsequently, Australia would have to make the hard choice on whether to trade with the US or maintain its business with China. Equally, President Obama, the current commander in chief of US military, cast his doubt on whether Australia would maintain its political loyalty to the US while at the same time trading more with China. The growing tension between the United States and China continues to bring fear about a possible war between the two nations in future. The presence of US military in the larger part of Asia-pacific region has been interpreted by experts on international relational matters as a deliberate attempt to prevent China from obtaining more military hardware from European nations as well as Israel. Given the enormous benefits Australia is reaping from trade with China, a possible cutting off trade ties with China would significantly limit Australian economic development. Australia needs to re-align its organization of defence to be able to make its independent decisions on matters related to their economy without US interference. Building military that is self-reliant is the best way to attain autonomy to make related economic decisions.

Growth of terrorism

It has emerged that an estimated 120 Australian nationals are part of Islamic state militants. It, therefore, means that Australia is not immune to suffering from terrorist attacks as witnessed in France and other European countries. The Islamic jihadists are known to have profound hatred towards the United States of America and its allies. Australian allegiance in the United States increases its susceptibility to a terrorist attack occurring on Australian soil. In preparation of a probable terrorist attack in Australia, the military must be well prepared. The military intelligence ought to have latest intelligence gathering techniques and technologies to monitor any suspicious activities taking place in the country. The signal Directorate in Australia was able to detect more than 1200 cyber security related incidence in 2015 alone validating why it must boost its capability to handle cyber-attacks. The military needs to be self-reliant by having highly trained and competent team to handle a possible cyber-attack. Isis is recognized as one of the most capable terrorist groups in using technology and information to cause havoc. Australia’s military must be highly specialized by having a team that can detect any threat to the country’s information asset either software or hardware. A lack of an independent or self-reliance defence mechanism can lead to a devastating cyber-attack with un-reversible consequences within minutes before help can be sophisticated from military allies. Self-reliant defence is critical to Australia’s national security.

Political support

In recent times, the idea of establishing a robust and modernized Australian defence force has enjoyed support across the political divide. The Defence White Paper released in 2013 comprehensively covered the envisioned 2030 force that has the necessary capacity to attack and neutralize an attack of any magnitude that threatens Australian interests. Strengthening the Australian Defence Force is therefore not a new idea to the Australian public and does not face any opposition making the implementation process smoother. The only stumbling block is a lack of adequate funding as the Australian government has been reluctant for a long time by not viewing the construction of the force as a top priority. The political support was evident during the 2013 elections with the first contestants promising to increase the defence budgetary allocation. The opposition leader at the time had promised that when elected, the financial allocation to defence would rise to 2 percent of the GDP within ten years’ time. The Prime Minister at the time also made the same promise but without stating the exact timeframe. Australia needs to learn that delaying cannot be a sustainable foundation for security policy for the country. The civilian population is also eagerly waiting for strategic guidance from the political class on how the current military structure will be strengthened. Furthermore, the declaration by the US that it is not willing to engage in a war where its interests were not directly threatened in 2008 sets the politicians free from the terms of the agreement with the United States. Since the United States has altered its position on defending Australia, its ally the Australian government will have every right to concentrate on empowering its force without US interference. The politicians are now at liberty to speak about military contingencies without the fear of ruining diplomatic relations with America. The political class is likely to get sceptical in getting to another military alliance without building a self-reliant defence. The main reason to fear is the fact that the union may end with the other nation-altering terms of the agreement in future and place them in a similar predicament they are already in.  The idea of having an independent military cannot, therefore, be ruled out.


Self-reliant is an important technique employed by various institutions and countries all over the world with the intention of driving its force. It would be an ideal idea for Australia to engage in a self-reliant defence to gain various advantages such as autonomy and improvement in the services of the country. Because of increased terrorist attacks, it would be substantial for the country to have an independent defence that can be useful in safeguarding the welfare of the state and the people. The quality offered by the department of defence would also improve because of internal or independent focus by the country’s government. Also, Australia would benefit from trade with other nations such as China because independence in the defence sector would help empower and protect the economies of the trading partners, therefore, improving the living status in the country. Self-reliance in defence can benefit the country in various ways therefore contributing to growth and well-being of the economy of the state.


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