In fear of security: Australia's invasion anxiety

Thursday, 13 December 2001

A NEW book being launched in Adelaide today (Thursday, December 13) sheds some light on a dark side of Australia's history -- our obsession with security.

"In Fear of Security: Australia's Invasion Anxiety" is written by Adelaide University politics lecturer Dr Anthony Burke. Dr Burke is an expert in international security, Australian foreign policy, the Middle East and military strategy.

His book, which is being launched as part of Adelaide University's Nation/States conference, shows how Australia's obsession with security is the dark thread running through its history -- an obsession in which 'our' security always depends on the insecurity and suffering of another.

The issues covered in the book include boat people, asylum seekers, East Timor, White Australia, Vietnam and the "War against Aborigines", and deals with current issues such as the Tampa crisis and Australia's policy on refugees.

Dr Burke argues that "security has dominated and distorted Australia's foreign policy and national life, from Cook's first voyage to the Asian crisis". Against this corrosive tradition, he advocates a generous and non-coercive form of responsibility for a global existence.

"'In Fear of Security' turns academic and political orthodoxies on their heads, and offers challenging ways of thinking about history, international relations, politics and culture. It is essential reading for all those concerned with the burning questions that face Australia and the Asia-Pacific region," he says.

The book will be launched by Dr McKenzie Wark, writer, cultural commentator and author of The Virtual Republic and Celebrities, Culture and Cyberspace.

5 pm Thursday, December 13
SA Museum Armoury Lawns
North Terrace, Adelaide

The Nation/States conference, organised by the Adelaide Research Centre for Humanities & Social Sciences (ARCHSS) at Adelaide University, runs from December 13-16 and includes many sessions and guest speakers on migration, illegal immigration and refugees, as well as Aboriginal reconciliation, sovereignty and Federation.


Contact Details

Dr Anthony Burke
Department of Politics
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5603

Dr Catherine Driscoll
head, ARCHSS
Business: +61 8 8313 5625