Australia's National Security Neoconservatives

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Sussex, M
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2021
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Abstract

This article examines how elites shape debates during major contests over national security, with specific reference to a new neoconservative strand of Australia's domestic discourse. It argues that Australian neoconservatives have adopted a revisionist narrative: a direct challenge to orthodox views about the nature and purpose of foreign and security policy. I demonstrate this in four stages. First, I identify the securitisation of “Australian values” as a hallmark of Australian national security neoconservatism. Next, I identify its core themes, which bear similarities to neoconservative thinking in the United States. Third, I explore the main strategies Australia's national security neoconservatives utilise to revise domestic debates. These incorporate the inflation of threat perceptions; interpreting values as virtues; and the marginalisation of opposing viewpoints. Finally, in assessing the effect of these strategies I find that Australian neoconservatism is internally divisive, constrains Australian choices, and ultimately damages the values its proponents seek to protect.

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Australian Journal of Politics and History

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This publication has been entered as an advanced online version in Griffith Research Online.

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Political science

Policy and administration

Defence studies

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Sussex, M, Australia's National Security Neoconservatives, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 2021