Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy: Attitudes and Trends Since 1945 [1st ed.] 9789811573965, 9789811573972

This book examines the impact of Australian public opinion towards defence and foreign policy from the mid-twentieth cen

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Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy: Attitudes and Trends Since 1945 [1st ed.]
 9789811573965, 9789811573972

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xxi
Defence, Foreign Affairs and Public Opinion (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 1-15
Confidence in Defence and Foreign Policy (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 17-41
The Alliance with the United States (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 43-76
Forward Defence: Korea, Malaya and Vietnam (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 77-97
Overseas Deployments After Vietnam: East Timor and Iraq (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 99-120
Trade and Relations with Asia (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 121-149
Terrorism and Security (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 151-174
International Engagement (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 175-199
Conclusion (Danielle Chubb, Ian McAllister)....Pages 201-206
Back Matter ....Pages 207-236

Citation preview

Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy Attitudes and Trends Since 1945 da n i e l l e c h u bb i a n mc a l l i s t e r

Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy

Danielle Chubb · Ian McAllister

Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy Attitudes and Trends Since 1945

Danielle Chubb School of Humanities and Social Sciences Deakin University Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Ian McAllister School of Politics and International Relations Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia

ISBN 978-981-15-7396-5 ISBN 978-981-15-7397-2 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore

Preface

Public policy is shaped by many forces, from the views of politicians, interest groups and the public service, to international conditions and one-off events. While the balance of these forces varies by the policy in question, one common factor is public opinion. In a liberal democracy, it is at election time that political elites are held to account for the actions they take while in government. Voters choose to either reward or punish the incumbent party based on their record in government. This relationship is well recognised in taxation or social welfare policy, for example; it is less well understood in the areas of defence and foreign policy. This is surprising since in Australia, defence and foreign affairs combined are the third highest area of government spending. In this book we seek to shed light on this neglected area. This book examines Australian public opinion towards defence and foreign policy from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. Our aims are two-fold. First, by analysing attitudes towards defence and foreign policy in depth and over an extended period we aim to uncover the drivers behind public opinion and explain how and why they change. Some of these drivers are structural, such as long-term changes in the social structure or the economy; others are political, such as the actions of political elites; and others again are caused by specific and usually unforeseen events. Second, we aim to understand how, when and why government policy has either responded to this opinion, or overlooked or circumvented it. How and under what circumstances will a government v

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take notice of public opinion? These are the questions we seek to answer in this book. In achieving these goals we have a rich body of survey data to draw on. While Australia does not have the large field of opinion data that can be found in the U.S. (see, for example, Holsti 2004) or Britain (see, for example, Clements 2018) there is nevertheless much survey data that can be used, starting as far back as 1941. For the 1940s through to the 1960s, we rely on commercial opinion poll data. In 1967 the first academic survey of political behaviour was conducted by Don Aitkin, and repeated in 1969 and 1979 (Aitkin 1982). From 1987 the Australian Election Study (AES), conducted at each federal election, fills an important gap (McAllister 2011). And finally, the excellent Lowy Polls, conducted annually from 2005, are a key source of evidence about public opinion. Taken together and supplemented by other surveys, these data sources provide a rich vein of evidence of changing public opinion towards defence and foreign affairs over eight decades. The Australian Election Study has been almost continuously funded by the Australian Research Council and The Australian National University. Ian McAllister is grateful to his many colleagues on the project over the years, most recently Clive Bean, Juliet Pietsch, Rachel Gibson, Jill Sheppard and Toni Makkai. We acknowledge the continuing and generous support provided to us by Alex Oliver and Natasha Kassam in making the Lowy Polls available for analysis as quickly as possible after they are collected. The Lowy Polls are a major innovation for Australia and a key resource for academics, policy makers and students. Finally, many of the surveys are deposited in the Australian Data Archive at The Australian National University and we thank Steve McEachern and the archive staff for their ongoing support of the project. Support for writing this book has been provided to Danielle Chubb by Deakin University and the Alfred Deakin Institute. We are also grateful to the scholarly generosity of many people who have provided advice and encouragement over the years this book has been in progress. For their advice and expertise, we would like to thank Chris Waters, Andrew Carr, Murray Goot and Jacob Dreyer. We benefited greatly from the collaborative environment and feedback provided on chapter drafts by the Deakin SHSS Writing Group convened by Andrew Singleton as well as from the 2019 Women in Political Leadership Workshop convened by Renee Jeffrey, Maria Rost Rublee and Sarah Percy.

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We are most deeply indebted to our families. As we finish writing this book from our houses during a global pandemic, there is no escape for our loved ones from the writing process. Danielle Chubb thanks her two young children, Jarrah and Karri, who are always ready to offer their own very honest opinions about how the world should work, and her husband, Bret Harper, without whose patience and support perhaps no words would ever be written. Ian McAllister thanks his partner, Toni Makkai, for her good humour and sage advice as the book took shape.

Outline of the Book Chapter 1 delineates the empirical, conceptual and methodological contours of the case studies that follow. In particular, the chapter outlines the prior research which has examined the role of public attitudes towards the institutions of defence and foreign affairs. Chapter 2 looks specifically at what survey data can tell us about levels of public confidence in these institutions and their personnel, as well as the correlation between these confidence levels and the willingness of the public to pay more for defence at specific historical junctures. The chapter also considers the cultural role played by the Australian Defence Force in society. The remainder of the book provides a series of analyses which explore the link between opinion and policy. In his influential work on public opinion and U.S. foreign policy, Holsti (2004: 300–301) argues that three key variables are important for the successful execution of case studies: the stage of the policy process; the context in which decisions are being made; and the beliefs and values of individual policymakers. The case studies in Chapters 3 to 8 shed light on all these variables by combining in-depth analyses of the survey data with broad-ranging qualitative research that draws on both primary and secondary material across the span of the case study’s life. These range from parliamentary debates, media commentary, opinion pieces and policy speeches, to scholarly and journalistic inquiries into the political context against which foreign policy was being made. Chapter 3 begins with an examination of public and political sentiment at the time of the signing of the ANZUS treaty, with a specific focus on the positions taken by various key figures within the major political parties. The evolving nature of public opinion towards Australia’s security alliance with the U.S. is then explored with reference to key

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points of tension in the relationship: the Vietnam War, nuclear disarmament, the MX missile crisis, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Trump presidency. Recent work on generational shifts in support for ANZUS is used to develop a comprehensive picture of contemporary attitudes towards ANZUS. Continuing the previous chapter’s discussion of the U.S. alliance, Chapters 4 and 5 consider the changing nature of public opinion with regard to what Australia’s contribution to this relationship should be, with a specific focus on the ADF’s overseas deployments. In Chapter 4, Australia’s most significant Cold War combat deployments are first examined with an overview of public opinion towards Australia’s involvement in the wars in Korea and Vietnam, with Chapter 5 turning its attention to the post-Vietnam deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both chapters seek to understand the ways in which these broader public debates have been reflected in democratic processes, such as elections and parliamentary debates. The chapters also examine the question of peacekeeping operations. Drawing on the public opinion data discussed in Chapter 2, Australian perceptions of peacekeeping operations are examined and contrasted with attitudes towards more traditional military adventures. The refocusing of Australia’s diplomatic, trade and security priorities towards Asia has been the subject of much public and scholarly interest. Chapter 6 first canvasses Australian responses to Britain’s attempts to join the European Economic Community. This event fostered a sense of betrayal that framed Australia’s refocusing of its economic priorities towards Asia. The chapter then examines the relationship between public views of trade and economic security, and how these views influenced public response to political debate regarding Australia’s shifting relationship with Asia during the Hawke and Keating governments. Chapter 7 examines the public’s responses to the increased threat of terrorism as a foreign policy priority. The chapter examines the public discourse that arose following Australia’s most significant terrorist attack: the 1978 bombing outside Sydney’s Hilton Hotel during a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. The ideas that figured in this debate, as well as the way in which it was conducted, is contrasted with contemporary public attitudes towards terrorism and the level of support extended towards government responses, especially following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the U.S. and the Bali bombings. These responses include the deployment of military personnel abroad and the curtailing of a range of civil and political liberties.

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The book’s final case study in Chapter 8 explores the central issues around the broader theme of how liberal values are incorporated into foreign policy; this is sometimes characterised as Australia’s quest to be a ‘good international citizen’. First, the chapter examines Australia’s contribution to multilateral institution building via the United Nations. Parliamentary debate and public opinion towards Australia’s historical involvement in the UN is examined and is compared with debate and opinion surrounding the bid for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council and the ways in which Australia subsequently engaged with this role. Analysis then turns to the question of foreign aid and the ways in which foreign aid priorities have been discussed, challenged and justified in public discourse. Finally, Chapter 9 summarises the conclusions developed in the case study chapters and discusses their analytical and normative implications. This discussion seeks to answer the book’s central research questions, namely the degree to which successive Australian governments have been responsive to public opinion and under what circumstances. We conclude with a reflection on the ways in which public opinion and elite interests interact in the quest to develop responsible foreign and defence policy and, ultimately, a progressive and stable security environment. Melbourne, Australia Canberra, Australia

Danielle Chubb Ian McAllister

References Aitkin, D. A. 1982. Stability and change in Australian politics. Canberra: ANU Press. Clements, B. 2018. British public opinion on foreign and defence policy, 1945– 2017 . Abingdon: Routledge. Holsti, O. R. 2004. Public opinion and American foreign policy. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. McAllister, I. 2011. The Australian voter: Fifty years of change. Sydney: University of NSW Press.

Contents

1

1

Defence, Foreign Affairs and Public Opinion Foreign Policy and Public Opinion in International Relations Understanding the Foreign Policy-Opinion Relationship Australia and the Making of Foreign Policy Defence, Foreign Policy and the Public References

2 3 6 8 12

2

Confidence in Defence and Foreign Policy Defence, Security and Public Trust Confidence in Defence Armed Forces and Society Defence Spending Conclusion References

17 17 21 27 32 38 40

3

The Alliance with the United States Negotiating the ANZUS Treaty Public Support for the ANZUS Treaty Crisis Relations with the U.S. The Future of the ANZUS Treaty Conclusion References

43 44 50 57 66 72 75 xi

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77 78 82 86 91 94 96

4

Forward Defence: Korea, Malaya and Vietnam The Korean War The Malayan Emergency The Vietnam War The Legacy of the Vietnam War Conclusion References

5

Overseas Deployments After Vietnam: East Timor and Iraq Regional Peacekeeping and Military Intervention Peacekeeping in East Timor The Iraq War Conclusion References

99 100 105 111 116 119

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Trade and Relations with Asia Australia, Britain and the European Economic Community The Shift Towards Asia Engagement with Asia: 1980s and 1990s The Howard Government and Asia Attitudes Towards Indonesia Attitudes Towards China Conclusion References

121 122 126 132 134 138 142 145 147

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Terrorism and Security Terrorism and Australia The Bali Bombings and Indonesia Public Concerns About Terrorism Government Responses to Terrorism Conclusion References

151 153 156 160 163 169 171

8

International Engagement The Founding of the United Nations The UN Security Council, 1946 and 2013 Postwar Overseas Aid

175 176 182 185

CONTENTS

9

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Foreign Aid After the Cold War Conclusion References

188 194 197

Conclusion References

201 206

Appendix

207

References

213

Index

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Abbreviations

ACFID ACFOA ADAA ADAB ADF AES AFP ALP ANPAS ANZAC ANZUS APEC APOP ASEAN ASIO AuSSA CSCE EEC EU FTA GATT ISIS ISSP NATO RAAF RAMSI

Australian Council for International Development Australian Council for Overseas Aid Australian Development Assistance Agency Australian Development Assistance Bureau Australian Defence Force Australian Election Study Australian Federal Police Australian Labor Party Australian National Political Attitudes Survey Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Australian, New Zealand, United States Alliance Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Australian Public Opinion Polls Association of Southeast Asian Nations Australian Security Intelligence Organization Australian Survey of Social Attitudes Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe European Economic Community European Union Free Trade Agreement General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Islamic State of Iraq and Syria International Social Science Program North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Royal Australian Air Force Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands xv

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ABBREVIATIONS

SAS SEATO UNDP UNSC USIS WMD

Special Air Service Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation United Nations Development Program United Nations is the Security Council U.S. Information Service Weapons of Mass Destruction

List of Figures

Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig.

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 4.1

Fig. 5.1 Fig. 5.2 Fig. 6.1 Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig.

6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4

Public opinion towards defence capabilities, 1996–2019 Public opinion towards conscription, 1943–1989 Generational support for conscription, 1951–1984 Public opinion towards defence spending, 1975–2019 Trust in the U.S. to Defend Australia, 1971–2019 Support for the ANZUS Alliance, 1993–2019 Support for the U.S. Alliance, Lowy and AES/ANUpoll Attitudes Towards Nuclear Powered Warships, 1976–1989 Trust in the U.S. to Act Responsibly, 2006–2019 Support for ANZUS by Generation, 1993–2019 Attitudes towards involvement in the Vietnam War, 1965–1971 Support for the Iraq War, August 2002–March 2003 Worth going to war in Iraq, 2004–2007 Attitudes towards Asian immigration by generation, 1967 and 1987 Closer links with Asia, 1996–2019 Views of Indonesia, 1996–2019 China as a threat, 1967–2019 Levels of Chinese investment in Australia, 2009–2019 Support for the ‘War on Terror’, 2001–2019 Indonesia as a threat and a friend, 1967–2019 Feelings of personal safety, 2005–2018 The level of threat from terrorism, 2007–2017

26 30 32 34 52 55 56 59 65 71 88 112 114 132 136 141 143 144 156 158 161 163

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List of Tables

Table Table Table Table Table

2.1 2.2 2.3 3.1 3.2

Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table

3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7

Table 4.8 Table 4.9

Confidence in institutions, 1983–2018 Explaining confidence in defence, 1995 and 2018 Priorities for public expenditure, 2019 Likelihood of another world war, 1944–1948 Attitudes towards Russia’s military expansion, 1946–1947 Attitudes towards the United Nations, 1946–1948 Attitudes towards a treaty with the U.S., 1950 Views of Australian–U.S. relations, 1967–1987 Benefits from the U.S. alliance, 1993 Views of U.S. military forces in Australia, 1993–2013 Views of the MX missile crisis, 1985 The U.S. alliance under Trump, 2016–2018 Explaining support for ANZUS, 1993–2019 Use of armed forces in Korea, August 1950 Participation in the Korean War, 1951–1953 Use of nuclear weapons in Korea, 1950–1953 Nuclear weapons and the possibility of war, 1950–1956 Support for Australian forces in Malaya, 1950–1955 The military’s role in Malaya, 1955–1956 Support for participation in the Malayan emergency, 1955–1956 The level of assistance to Malaysia, 1968–1969 Support for Australian forces in Malaya after 1972, 1968–1972

23 25 36 47 47 48 49 51 55 61 63 66 68 79 79 80 81 83 83 84 85 85

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LIST OF TABLES

Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table

4.10 4.11 4.12 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 6.11 6.12 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6

Table Table Table Table Table

8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5

Table Table Table Table Table Table

8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 8.10 8.11

Conscription and the Vietnam War, 1967 and 1969 Military assistance to Southeast Asia, 1971 and 1975 Forward bases in Southeast Asia, 1971 Support for overseas military intervention, 1993 Importance of military operations, 2000 Estimates of acceptable casualty levels, 2000 Views of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, 1976 Support for intervention in East Timor, 1999 Defence involvement in East Timor, 2000 UN endorsement and support for military action, 2003 Public information, threat of terrorism, 2004–2006 National identity, 1947 The impact of the common market, 1962 Britain, the U.S. and Australia’s Defence, 1965 and 1966 British support for Australia, 1968 Postwar immigration, 1949 Levels of Asian immigration, 1965 Asian migration, 1967–1987 Trade with Asia, 1993 Explaining closer links with Asia, 1996 and 2019 Trust in security agreement with Indonesia, 1996–2007 Views of Indonesia, 2014 Trends in Australia–Indonesia relations, 2006–2014 Views about Indonesia and terrorism, 2013–2019 Concern about terrorist attack, 2007–2016 Civil liberties and terrorism, 2007–2009 Indefinite imprisonment for terrorist suspects, 2007 Measures to counter-terrorism, 2016 Concern for terrorism and counter-terrorism measures, 2016 Support for a postwar international body, 1944–1945 Prospect of world war, 1944–1948 Satisfaction with the United Nations, 1946–1955 The United Nations as a world government, 1946–1955 Views of Australia’s membership of the UN security council, 2009–2015 Strengthening the United Nations, 2007–2009 Aid to Indonesia and New Guinea, 1964–1971 Support for foreign aid, 1975 and 1978 Spending on foreign aid, 1984 and 1987 Views of foreign aid, 1994–2014 Expenditure on foreign aid, 1998–2017

90 92 93 102 103 104 106 109 110 113 115 123 124 128 128 129 130 130 135 137 139 140 140 159 162 165 166 166 167 178 179 180 181 184 185 187 188 190 192 192

LIST OF TABLES

Table 8.12 Table A.1 Table A.2

Government spending priorities, 1987 and 2019 Australian election study voter response rates, 1987–2019 Lowy Institute Polls, 2005–2019

xxi 193 210 210

CHAPTER 1

Defence, Foreign Affairs and Public Opinion

For most of the twentieth century, with the exception of the two world wars, defence and foreign affairs were rarely the subject of vigorous political contestation. This has resulted in a long-running bipartisanship in Australian politics, which in practice has excluded these policy areas from robust political discussion or scrutiny. Such bipartisanship has sustained relatively low public interest in foreign and defence issues, and the public has for the most part possessed limited knowledge about the strategic options available and has expressed few firm views on defence policy, especially views that might stray from the orthodoxy. The principal postwar exception to this pattern was the Vietnam War and the eventual decision to withdraw troops in 1972. This event was at least partly due to political divisions over Australia’s support for the U.S.-led action. The period since 2001 has seen a change in both the Australian public’s engagement with defence and foreign affairs issues, as well as how they are debated by political elites. A number of shifts in the strategic environment have contributed to this transformation, catalysed by a series of by now familiar events. The 11 September 2001 attacks in the U.S., followed in October 2002 by the Bali bombings which claimed the lives of 88 Australians, catapulted foreign affairs (and international terrorism) into mainstream political discourse. Australia’s military commitment to the Iraq War also raised the profile of defence policy, with major party divisions emerging over the government’s decision to support the 2003 U.S. © The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_1

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intervention. This created a heightened public awareness of a policy area that usually attracts a great deal of bipartisanship.1 Alongside these major intervening events, globalisation has continued apace, bringing with it the overlapping of economic and trade considerations with defence and foreign policy and accordingly further increasing public interest in defence and foreign policy as it becomes more directly related to the everyday lives of Australians. In parallel with these changes, advances in public opinion polling on issues related to foreign and defence policy have opened up opportunities to gain a stronger understanding of Australian attitudes. Prior to the late 1980s, defence and foreign affairs topics were rarely included in commercial polls. When they were, coverage was sporadic and the survey questions were often not repeated. This meant that any tracking of public opinion over an extended period was impossible. Since 1987 and the introduction of the Australian Election Study survey, and since 2005 and the introduction of the annual Lowy Institute survey on foreign affairs, such a database on public opinion has now become available for secondary analysis. For the first time, the systematic study of longitudinal trends in public opinion on defence and foreign affairs is possible. This book utilises this wealth of public opinion poll data to examine ordinary Australians’ views about defence and foreign affairs in-depth, and over an extended period. The chapters that follow delve into the parliamentary debates, elite and public attitudes and media coverage of key moments in Australia’s foreign policy history. The aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the domestic imperatives that underpin defence and foreign policy decision-making in Australia and how they relate to public opinion. The analysis centres on three central questions: how has Australian public opinion towards defence and foreign policy evolved since 1945?; how responsive have successive governments been to public opinion?; and, finally, when and under what circumstances has public opinion shaped defence and foreign policy?

Foreign Policy and Public Opinion in International Relations What the public thinks about foreign affairs, and whether foreign, defence or security policy is, or should be, shaped by public opinion, are questions that have been debated for many decades in the political science and international relations literature. Foreign policy realists, committed to

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foreign and defence policy that is shaped around material power considerations, tend to view public opinion as capricious and unpredictable, albeit potentially significant as a source of support for governments in their international pursuits (Morgenthau 1950: 100–104). For this group, public opinion is at best a distraction and at worst an impediment to effective policymaking. In contrast, liberal perspectives place value in the potential for greater accountability and democracy to help create a more peaceful world, with public opinion playing a core role in this process. More recently, debate over the democratic peace grants gives explicit recognition to the link between public opinion and foreign policy outcomes (e.g. Owen 1994: 100–101). The idea that public opinion can place limits on the narrow pursuit of national interests is also found within liberal institutionalist strands of thought. Keohane and Nye (2001: 224) argue, for example, that the role played by the media in focusing the attentions of the public on certain human rights issues has influenced the responses of leaders, causing them to respond to one conflict rather than another. These debates, interrogating as they do paradigmatic perspectives on the conduct of international relations, tell us very little about the nature of the opinion-policy link. The question of whether public opinion really matters in the formulation of foreign policy is one that is starting to attract some interest in the fields of international relations and Australian foreign policy, but has nonetheless received little systematic attention. The first section of this introductory chapter explores existing theories about public opinion and foreign policy, with a focus on competing explanations regarding the directionality of the opinion-policy relationship. Since this scholarship has been largely conducted within the scope of U.S. foreign policy, the second section turns the chapter’s attention to the question of how Australia fits into this picture, providing an overview of the politics of foreign policymaking in Australia and existing understandings about whether and how attitudinal factors are significant in the context of Australian defence and foreign policy.

Understanding the Foreign Policy-Opinion Relationship What drives public opinion on foreign affairs? Is it inchoate, uninformed and unpredictable? Is the public mindset easily susceptible to elite views, or to partisan attachments? Do events drive opinion, which has a tendency

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to migrate towards outcomes that promise victory? Or do latent beliefs, values and principles form a strong basis from which public opinion towards foreign affairs is formed, similar to the processes that are seen to underpin opinion in the domestic policy space? Models of the role that public opinion plays in the foreign policy process tend to focus on either top-down or bottom-up explanations of the opinion-policy relationship. In the decades following the Second World War, what has become known as the ‘Almond-Lippman consensus’ was widely accepted as selfevident: that public opinion on foreign policy is ill-informed, incoherent and as a result unlikely to exert significant influence over the foreign policymaking process (Holsti 1992: 443–445). This interpretation had its origins in more general postwar survey research which found that the public had little knowledge of politics, and had distinctly authoritarian tendencies. This led to the theory of democratic elitism, by which citizens should be permitted only to choose between competing political elites at regular elections. These elites would be the ‘carriers of the democratic creed’ and charged with defending minority rights and freedoms in the face of an intolerant mass public (Stouffer 1955; McCloskey 1964). This consensus was seriously challenged during the Vietnam War and led, as discussed below, to the development of pluralist models of public opinion and foreign policy. The advent of sophisticated polling techniques also led to a refinement of new elite-driven understandings of the opinion-policy link. In these models, public opinion was now understood as mature (rather than inchoate), but was understood to find its substance in elite cues. This top-down understanding of public opinion puts events in the context of the information environment in which the public actually operates (Kertzer and Zeitzoff 2017: 545). Scholars such as Zaller (1990: 125, 200) argue that political awareness is an important element in the formation of public opinion and involves a process of socialisation, whereby elite cues and partisan loyalties help citizens who are politically aware translate information into various opinions. This top-down interpretation of public opinion finds predictability in the tendency of the public to interpret political debates through frames provided to them in the public sphere. The first serious challenge to the elitist model of foreign policy and public opinion emerged with the Vietnam War, which served as a turning point for understanding the interaction between foreign policy decisionmaking and domestic political imperatives (Hudson 2008: 23): as the prospect of victory became ever more elusive, as casualties mounted, and

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as live footage from the battle was transmitted to televisions in households across the United States, public support for the war waned, and the U.S. government sought to disentangle itself from the conflict (Burstein and Freudenburg 1978). Influential works emerged to challenge the image of the public as both irrational and insignificant and have examined in detail the influence of elite and public opinion on the foreign policymaking process in the U.S., as well as decision making and outcomes (see, for example, Holsti 1992; Sobel 2001). Out of these new pluralist models emerged work that acted as an optimistic rejoinder to the postwar cynicism of early thinkers (Kertzer and Zeitzoff 2017: 544). Here, data-driven political science underpinned by extensive survey research served as a counterpoint to received wisdom around public opinion (Holsti 1992: 445). Research found that, in fact, the public reacts in a predictable and logical way to world events, rather than with emotion and irrationality as was earlier assumed. The new research found different explanations for how and why the public formed particular views (e.g. Parker 1995). What these approaches shared was a ‘sense that public opinion about foreign policy is characterized by order rather than chaos, and that the source of this order can be derived from within the public itself’ (Kertzer and Zeitzoff 2017: 544). The top-down (or elite) position views foreign policy as the domain of the few charged with pursuing a nation’s security interests. The bottomup (or pluralist) position stresses the role played by broad societal interests in helping to shape the types of policies that both define and achieve the national interest. Both positions operate at an analytical and at a normative level. The elite view of foreign policy seeks to describe not only how policy is made, but maintains that the incorporation of pluralism into the foreign policymaking process is dangerous and can lead to incoherent and dangerous policy. The pluralist position likewise refers not only to a growing body of literature that seeks to disprove the idea that public opinion plays no role in foreign policymaking (see, for example, Cheeseman and McAllister 1994; Miller 2015a; Han and Rane 2013); it also takes the normative position—derived from classical Wilsonian liberal ideas—that policymakers have an obligation to open up foreign policy to domestic debate (Mulherin and Isakhan 2019).

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Australia and the Making of Foreign Policy The bipartisan nature of foreign policy in Australia is often blamed for the stymying of the democratic process around foreign policy (Carr 2017; Mulherin and Isakhan 2019). The major political parties, by way of example, have been reluctant to bring decisions over troop deployments into parliament and to make them contingent on parliamentary approval. In 2014 the Australian Greens lost a motion to force debate over plans to engage military personnel in the Iraq conflict, with representatives from both major parties stressing the importance of leaving such decisions in government hands. And yet, while there is indeed a distinct lack of robust partisan debate around key foreign policy issues, both sides of politics have experienced shifts in position over time. This book’s examination of government and opposition rhetoric on key issues, alongside survey results and major media coverage, helps us to develop a better understanding of the parameters of debate over foreign policy in Australia, and the ways in which this may or may not be reflected in policy. Australia’s foreign policy options and choices have changed greatly in the decades since 1945. Concomitantly, Australia’s socio-cultural composition has also changed dramatically. Australia is a vastly different place, viewed both from the outside and the inside, from what it was in the immediate postwar years. Viewed externally, it is no longer a dependent ally tied to the fortunes of the British Commonwealth. Instead, it is a country with foreign policy choices, a trusted ally of the United States, and a state that increasingly seeks relevance—both economic and political—in its immediate region. Since the early 2000s, Australia has signed a wide range of free trade agreements, with the U.S. in 2004, Japan and Korea in 2014, China in 2015, Hong Kong in 2018, and Indonesia in 2019. These are in addition to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership which was signed in 2018. Australia has been a member of the United Nations Security Council on five occasions since its foundation, including the first session in 1946 over which it presided. From the inside, Australia’s demographics no longer reflect the results of a policy that encouraged the migration of white Europeans. As Castles argues, international migration is a dynamic social process that has significant consequences for policymakers (2015: 9–10). In Australia in 2018, 29% of the population had been born overseas, a level that is exceeded among the liberal democracies only by Israel. In total, almost half of the

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population has been born overseas or has one or both parents who were born overseas. Even more important than the aggregate level of migration is the changing ethnic composition of immigrants. The proportion of European migrants to Australia has dropped from 52% in 2001 to 40%, in 2018, while the proportion of those migrants born in Asia had increased in the same time period from 24 to 33% (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018). Such an increase in ethnic diversity within a relatively short period of time cannot fail to have an impact on foreign policy attitudes, as it does on other political attitudes and aspects of political behaviour. Pietsch and Aarons (2012) demonstrate that Australia’s political engagement with Asia has been accompanied by closer personal (social, cultural and economic) ties between Australian and Asian society. How the changing social nature of the Australian political landscape has translated into domestic debates about foreign policy is a topic that we examine later in the book. At the level of the Australian political elite, bipartisanship has been a common feature of foreign policy for much of its history, despite rhetoric to the contrary (see Carr 2017). Australia’s centre right political parties (Liberal and National) adopt language that stresses the importance of continuity in foreign policy, emphasising the close relationship Australia enjoys with the United States and the value of this alliance for combatting traditional threat scenarios, as well as the importance of regional relationships for these same reasons. On the centre left, the Labor party tends to speak a language of change: investment in diplomacy and dialogue, as well as the importance of Australia’s relations—both economic and political— with its immediate Asian region, seeing the latter as more than simply a realisation of traditional security assurances. At face value, the rhetoric suggests very divergent policy values and goals. In contrast to the rhetoric, in practice the behaviour of the major parties once in government is instructive. In a recent example, during the 2013 election campaign, the Liberal party, under the leadership of Tony Abbott, derided the incumbent Labor government for its significant financial investment in securing a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council and committed an Abbott government to advancing a foreign policy that would be more focused on Asia. Yet the aplomb with which the newly elected Liberal-National government approached Australia’s role on the Security Council, once in power, was remarkable

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and the government was applauded for having ‘performed exceedingly well’ during its time on the Council (Nadin 2014) In fact, so positive was the Abbott government’s experience that the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, announced in late 2015 that Australia would run again for the Council, albeit not until 2029–2030. ‘The Coalition government’ surmised one analyst, ‘now appears to be a Security Council convert’ (Oliver 2015b). Similarly, while the foreign policy hallmark of the 2007–2013 Labor government may have been its diplomacy around the United Nations Security Council campaign, it was under this government that Australia’s commitment to its military alliance with the U.S. was reinforced with the announcement that a detachment of 2500 marines would be rotated through the Darwin as part of the United States’ long-term ‘pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific region. The question for public opinion analysis, in view of this evident bipartisan consensus, is: what room has there been for the incorporation of public views into the decision-making process? In answering this question critics have lamented the lack of an informed foreign policy debate in Australia, arguing that there is a democratic deficit in these processes (Mulherin and Isakhan 2019). One example in support of this interpretation is the secrecy that surrounded the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations (Tucker 2014). Others have raised alarm at the recent incorporation of populist policies into foreign policy decisions, to the detriment of more thoughtful policies that address the challenges of a global world (McDonald 2015: 652). In the chapters that follow, we evaluate these claims by examining what the public thinks about foreign policy and security, using a wide range of public opinion polls conducted over more than half a century.

Defence, Foreign Policy and the Public Studies of the role of public opinion in the foreign policymaking process—matching scientific polling to qualitative analysis—have been largely missing or overlooked in Australia. While rich and publicly available survey data is available, scholars have been slow to draw on this data and explore the range of issues that it raises, from both analytical and normative viewpoints. There are, of course, some important exceptions, which this section will briefly explore. Academic and commercial surveys of public opinion in the 1980s were covered in several studies. Campbell (1986: 22–23) examined polling

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around questions of threat, alliance building and a variety of nuclearrelated issues, finding that ‘entrenched feelings of insecurity which are so characteristic of the Australian electorate give rise to a perceived need for a strong military alliance’, and links the lack of success of the peace movement (discussed further in Chapters 4 and 5 of this book) to this relationship between threat perception and the U.S. alliance. Marshall, too, writing after the end of the Cold War, found the relationship between public opinion and threat perceptions to be a meaningful one, arguing that low levels of perceived threat ‘affects opinions on “downstream” issues, principally some of the perceived obligations under the alliance’ (1990: 33). Building on these insights, and drawing on a wide range polls that canvassed elite as well as public opinion, McAllister and Makkai’s findings included the insight that elite opinion was becoming increasingly less favourable to defence spending, matching a similar trend in public opinion (1991: 220–221). Since the introduction of the Australian Election Study (AES) in 1987, and the annual Lowy Institute survey on foreign affairs in 2005, extensive data on public opinion is now readily available. AES data on defence and foreign affairs is explored in a number of issue-specific reports (see McAllister 2004, 2005, 2008), as are the results of the Lowy Institute’s polling programme, which are published annually, alongside analytical commentary (see, for example, Oliver 2015a). Scholarly work drawing on this group of survey data includes inter alia research into Australian attitudes towards engagement with Asia (McAllister and Ravenhill 1998; McDougall and Edney 2010; Pietsch and Aarons 2012); support for the U.S. alliance (Miller 2015a, b; Cheeseman and McAllister 1996); as well as for Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War (Gibson and McAllister 2007; McAllister 2015; Goot 2003) and toward defence, security and terrorism more generally (Gibson and McAllister 2007; McDonald 2005b; McLean 2016; Pietsch and McAllister 2012; Goot 2006; Cheeseman and McAllister 1994). One of the most well-researched themes to emerge from this work on public opinion concerns trends in attitudes towards Asia, and what this means for Australia’s diplomatic and military relationships more broadly. In 1998, McAllister and Ravenhill found that Australians tended to be supportive of closer engagement with Asia in broad terms, so long as there were buffers—such as tariffs and ongoing support for the U.S. military alliance—to overcome ongoing concerns regarding the protection of primary industry and potential threats from the region. Drawing

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not only on data from the AES, but also its predecessor, the Australian National Political Attitudes Survey (ANPAS), the literature on this subject has also considered the question of generational change and its effect on policy attitudes over successive governments. While attitudes towards Asian immigration into Australia have been remarkably stable (and negative) over time, they do not seem to affect voting patterns (McAllister and Ravenhill 1998: 139) or translate into concrete policy outcomes (McDougall and Edney 2010). In generational terms, the McAllister and Ravenhill study (1998: 139) found that, given the concentration of ‘anti-Asian’ sentiment among older voters, future efforts to engage more closely with Asia should find greater support with the passage of time.2 Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is considered among the country’s most significant foreign policy areas, given the country’s size and proximity to Australia. As such, policymakers are reluctant to subject this relationship to public debate. However, the increasingly close social, political and cultural ties that have developed between Australia and this near neighbour have complicated these attempts. Public criticism of the Indonesian government has flared up at times of diplomatic crisis, including the East Timor emergency of 1999 and the arrests of nine Australian citizens on drug charges in 2005 and the subsequent execution of the two ‘ringleaders’ in 2015. McDougall and Edney (2010: 215) found that while John Howard, who was prime minister during the East Timor crisis and the arrest of the ‘Bali nine’, framed his responses in terms of the national interest, he simultaneously accommodated public opinion in an attempt to quell concerns. Another predominant theme in the literature on public opinion is Australia’s commitment to the ANZUS alliance, which has long enjoyed a bipartisan recognition of its centrality to Australia’s security. Bisley (2013: 8–9) argues that this bipartisan support is based on three ‘pillars’, the second of which—as evidenced by polling data—is strong and persistent public support. Miller also finds a high level of support for the alliance, and predicts that this support is likely to endure into the future, despite lower levels of support among younger voters. This, he argues, is because research shows that ‘individuals become increasingly pro-ANZUS as they get older’ (2015b: 3). Complicating data which shows overwhelming support for ANZUS are attitudes towards Australia’s involvement in overseas military interventions, such as the Iraq war, which are a direct result of alliance commitments. Labor’s lack of support for the Iraq War led to greater political debate about Australia’s commitment

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to it; the survey evidence finds a large proportion of people opposed the war and Australia’s involvement in it (Gibson and McAllister 2007: 45).3 Other analysis of the deliberative context within which Australian foreign policy is made has also been slowly entering international relations scholarship. Work by McDonald, for example, explores the analytical and normative implications of the opinion-policy interface around the issues of asylum seekers, security policy, terrorism and the ANZAC identity (McDonald 2005a, b, 2010, 2011, 2015). In general, this work focuses on elite perceptions of what the public believes about foreign policy and explores some of the normative implications of this approach to policymaking. Carr, conversely, turns the focus onto pluralist models, arguing that Australia’s lacklustre democratic processes in foreign policy have led to an underdevelopment of foreign policy options and opportunities (Carr 2017). Studies have also examined the interaction between Australian identity politics and security themes (Burke 2008), the building of traditions and myths in the Australian story of how it interacts with the world (Benvenuti and Jones 2011), the politics of climate change (Tranter 2013), military interventions (McDonald and Merefield 2010) and the ways in which the creation of security and defence policy functions at the elite level (Tiernan 2007). Taken together, this scholarship tells a story about the complex ways in which contemporary government incorporates, manipulates or disregards the public when it comes to the creation of policy. We investigate and develop these themes in the chapters that follow. In summary, this book draws on the rich survey data now available, and builds on previous studies, to provide a systematic overview of Australian attitudes towards defence, security and foreign affairs since 1945. It seeks to understand the politics surrounding key moments in Australia’s history and to learn what role, if any, public opinion has played in the development of policy. Our analyses show that the public are increasingly less willing to allow Canberra to define and pursue Australia’s national interests without subjecting policy to some level of public debate. An examination of political discussions of defence and security policy in the decades since 1945 reveals a series of themes that repeat themselves in each chapter and can thus be said to define the parameters of how citizens think about foreign and defence policy. These include: the nature and extent of Australia’s engagement with Asia; the value of the military alliance with the U.S. and the extent of Australia’s contribution to it; and Australia as a ‘good international citizen’. These are broad themes and

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within each, a rich diversity of issues and opinions can be found. These are explored in detail in the subsequent chapters.

Notes 1. Though the government and opposition were united in sending military forces to the first Gulf War in 1990–1991 and participating in the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Labor opposition opposed any commitment to the Iraq War in the absence of a United Nations mandate. The Labor leader, Simon Crean, in farewelling the Australian contingent, stated that he didn’t believe the troops should be going and said he favoured, instead, a deployment of United Nations forces. 2. Chapter 6 provides an update on these findings, incorporating two decades’ of new data on questions relating to Australian attitudes towards Asia. 3. Chapter 3 updates these findings to include recent data on the implications of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency for these public opinion trends.

References Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2018. Migration, Australia 2017–18. Cat 3412.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Benvenuti, A., and Jones. D. M. 2011. Myth and misrepresentation in Australian foreign policy: Menzies and engagement with Asia. Journal of Cold War Studies, 13(4): 57–78. Bisley, N. 2013. ‘An ally for all the years to come’: Why Australia is not a conflicted US ally. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 67(4): 403–418. Burke, A. 2008. Fear of security: Australia’s invasion anxiety. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Burstein, P., & Freudenburg, W. 1978. Changing public policy: The impact of public opinion, antiwar demonstrations, and war costs on Senate voting on Vietnam War motions. American Journal of Sociology, 84(1): 99–122. Campbell, D. 1986. Australian public opinion on national security issues. Peace Research Centre, Working Paper No. 1. Canberra: Australian National University. Carr, A. 2017. Is bipartisanship on national security beneficial? Australia’s politics of defence and security. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 63(2): 254–269.

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Castles, S. 2015. International human mobility: Key issues and challenges to social theory. In S. Castles, D. Ozkul, & M. A. Cubas (eds.), Social transformation and migration: National and local experiences in South Korea, Turkey, Mexico and Australia: 3–14. London: Palgrave. Cheeseman, G., & McAllister, I. 1994. Popular and élite support in Australia for overseas military intervention. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 48(2): 247–265. Cheeseman, G., & McAllister, I. 1996. Australian opinion on international trade and the security link with the United States. The Pacific Review, 9(2): 265– 274. Gibson, R., & McAllister, I. 2007. Defence, security and the Iraq war. In D. Denemark, et al. (eds.), Australian social attitudes 2: Citizenship, work and aspirations. Sydney: University of NSW Press. Goot, M. 2003. Public opinion and the democratic deficit: Australia and the war against Iraq. Australian Humanities Review, April–May. Goot, M. 2006. Neither entirely comfortable nor wholly relaxed: Public opinion, electoral politics and foreign policy. In J. Cotton & J. Ravenhill (eds.), Australia in world affairs 2001–2005: Trading on alliance security: 253–304. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Han, E., & Rane, H. 2013. Making Australian foreign policy on Israel-Palestine: Media coverage, public opinion and interest groups. Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing. Holsti, O. R. 1992. Public opinion and foreign policy: Challenges to the Almond-Lippmann consensus. International Studies Quarterly, 36(4): 439– 466. Hudson, V. M. 2008. The history and evolution of foreign policy analysis. In S. Smith, A. Hadfield, & T. Dunne (eds.), Foreign policy: Theories, actors, cases: 11–30. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Keohane, R. O., & Nye, J. S. 2001. Power and interdependence. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Kertzer, J. D., & Zeitzoff, T. 2017. A bottom-up theory of public opinion about foreign policy. American Journal of Political Science, 61(3): 543–558. Marshall, A. 1990. Australian public opinion and defence. Peace Research Centre, Working Paper No. 92. Canberra: Peace Research Centre, Australian National University. McAllister, I. 2004. Attitude matters: Public opinion towards defence and security. Canberra: Australian Strategic Policy Institute. McAllister, I. 2005. Representative views: Mass and elite opinion on Australian security. Canberra: Australian Strategic Policy Institute. McAllister, I. 2008. Public opinion in Australia towards defence, security and terrorism. In Special Report Issue 16. Canberra: Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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McAllister, I. 2015. Australian public opinion towards the Iraq war. In R. Thakur (ed.), Australian and Canadian Perspectives on the Iraq War: Perspectives on an Invasion: 275–299. Toronto: Dundurn Press. McAllister, I., & Makkai, T. 1991. Changing Australian opinion on defence: Trends, patterns, and explanations. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2(3): 195– 235. McAllister, I., & Ravenhill, J. 1998. Australian attitudes towards closer engagement with Asia. The Pacific Review, 11(1): 119–141. McCloskey, H. 1964. Consensus and ideology in American politics. American Political Science Review, 58(2): 361–382. McDonald, M. 2005a. Be alarmed? Australia’s anti-terrorism kit and the politics of security. Global Change, Peace & Security, 17(2): 171–189. McDonald, M. 2005b. Constructing insecurity: Australian security discourse and policy post-2001. International Relations, 19(3): 297–320. McDonald, M. 2010. ‘Lest we forget’: The politics of memory and Australian military intervention. International Political Sociology, 4(3): 287–302. McDonald, M. 2011. Deliberation and resecuritization: Australia, asylum-seekers and the normative limits of the Copenhagen School. Australian Journal of Political Science, 46(2): 281–295. McDonald, M. 2015. Australian foreign policy under the Abbott government: Foreign policy as domestic politics? Australian Journal of International Affairs, 69(6): 651–669. McDonald, M., & Merefield, M. 2010. How was Howard’s war possible? Winning the war of position over Iraq. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 64(2): 186–204. McDougall, D., & Edney, K. 2010. Howard’s way? Public opinion as an influence on Australia’s engagement with Asia, 1996–2007. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 64(2): 205–224. McLean, W. 2016. Neoclassical realism and Australian foreign policy: Understanding how security elites frame domestic discourses. Global Change, Peace and Security, 28(1): 1–15. Miller, C. 2015a. Free riders in spite of themselves? Public opinion, elite behavior, and alliance burden sharing in Australia. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 28(2): 196–216. Miller, C. 2015b. Public support for ANZUS: Evidence of a generational shift? Australian Journal of Political Science, 50(3): 442–461. Morgenthau, H. 1950. Politics among nations: The struggle for power and peace. New York: Knopf. Mulherin, P., & Isakhan, B. 2019. The Abbott government and the Islamic State: A securitised and elitist foreign policy discourse. Australian Journal of Political Science, 54(1): 82–98.

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Nadin, P. 2014. Australia on the UN Security Council: An end-of-term review. The Interpreter. Available from https://www.lowyinstitute.org/theinterpreter/australia-un-security-council-end-term-review. Accessed 21 March 2016. Oliver, A. 2015a. Australia and the World. In The Lowy Institute Poll 2015. Sydney: Lowy Institute for International Policy. Oliver, A. 2015b. Australia makes another tilt at the UN Security Council. The Interpreter. Available from https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/ australia-makes-another-tilt-un-security-council. Accessed 21 March 2016. Owen, J. 1994. How liberalism produces democratic peace. International Security, 19(2): 87–125. Parker, S. 1995. Towards an understanding of ‘rally’ effects: Public opinion in the Persian Gulf War. Public Opinion Quarterly, 59(4): 526–546. Pietsch, J., & Aarons, H. 2012. Australian engagement with Asia: Towards closer political, economic and cultural ties. In J. Pietsch & H. Aarons (eds.), Australian identity, fear and governance in the 21st century: 33–46. Canberra: ANU ePress. Pietsch, J., & McAllister, I. 2012. Terrorism and public opinion in Australia. In J. Pietsch & H. Aarons (eds.), Australian identity, fear and governance in the 21st century: 79–94. Canberra: ANU ePress. Sobel, R. 2001. The impact of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy since Vietnam: Constraining the colossus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stouffer, S. 1955. Communism, conformity and civil liberties: A cross-section of the nation speaks its mind. New York: Doubleday. Tiernan, A. 2007. The learner: John Howard’s system of national security advice. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 61(4): 489–505. Tranter, B. 2013. The great divide: Political candidate and voter polarisation over global warming in Australia. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 59(3): 397–413. Tucker, K. 2014. A democracy deficit? Community attitudes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. In Policy Brief No. 58. The Australia Institute. Zaller, J. 1990. Political awareness, elite opinion leadership, and the mass survey response. Social Cognition, 8(1): 124–153.

CHAPTER 2

Confidence in Defence and Foreign Policy

Public confidence in defence and foreign policy has varied over time in response to changes in the external security environment as well as more specific social, cultural and political factors. While changing external conditions certainly affect public confidence and influence attitudes towards defence and foreign affairs and their institutional expression, social and political changes also play an important role. In this chapter we turn our attention primarily towards this latter category: public attitudes towards the creation and implementation of defence and security policies in Australia. We do so through examining trends in three key areas: the level of confidence the public has in defence as an institution; public perceptions of the role that the military plays in society; and the willingness of voters to increase defence spending.

Defence, Security and Public Trust Peter Cosgrove, former Chief of the Defence Force, commenced his first 2009 Boyer lecture with the observation that ‘security … is founded in the informed and intuitive feelings of all Australians who notice their own circumstances’ (Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2009). This sense of an engaged and interested citizenry speaks directly to an interpretation of foreign policy formulation that is responsive to the public. It is predicated

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on the view that the state exists primarily to ensure the security of its citizens. This sense of a social contract between the state and society is of course at the heart of the liberal democracy. Yet, as McDonald remarks, in the area of foreign and defence policy—where the modern sovereign state acts as an existential security guarantor—there is (somewhat paradoxically) relatively little public contestation over the core values defining and driving the national interest (2013: 171). In the place of any such contestation we can observe instead a tentative consensus between government and the public regarding how Australia— a geographically isolated ‘Western’ power—ascertains its strategic place in the world. During the Cold War, this consensus was based on relatively stable public attitudes in the face of a predictable international environment; in this bipolar world system, the alliance with the U.S. acted as a reference point for decision-making. But as the Cold War order fell apart, and Australia started to grapple with its place in an emerging Asian regional order, foreign and defence policy became a matter for greater policy contestation. In the face of these external structural changes, survey data reveals that, when it comes to the translation of the public’s ‘informed and intuitive feelings’ into confidence about Australia’s defence capability, public opinion has varied and is sensitive to moments of crisis as well as to operational modalities. External shocks heighten public awareness of defence and foreign policy issues and have served to both increase confidence at moments of crisis as well as raise alarm at the level of preparedness of the defence force to meet them. The types of operations the military is involved in also matters, and reveals that public opinion discerns the difference between the types of capabilities required for intensive combat as compared to peacekeeping operations. Values also enter the debate at this stage, with the public more likely to support the deployment of troops for missions with clear and achievable short-term objectives—such as peacekeeping operations—than for engagements in which the military objectives are combat-focused, less well defined and longer term. While the Second World War marked a significant turning point in Australian foreign policy, the public continued to place its faith in the country’s leadership when it came to questions of foreign and defence policy. The changes taking place in Australia’s engagement with the world were significant and involved no less than a shift in alliance from the U.K. to the U.S. as security guarantor. As we discuss in detail in Chapter 3, public opinion during the post Second World War years displayed high

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levels of anxiety about rising Japanese militarism and anti-communism, combined with a sense of concern that the major powers did not have a full appreciation for the security interests at stake in the Pacific region. The fall of Singapore in early 1942 to the Japanese highlighted the vulnerability of Australia’s security position. In the immediate postwar world Australia’s physical location created a sense of isolation and a desire to dismantle Japan’s military potential and impose severe restrictions so as to prevent any future resurgence. There was a sense that the U.S. and the other major powers should not be left to negotiate the terms of the peace settlement, given their geographic distance from the threat (Reese 1969: 85). Reference was frequently made to the strategic decision, adopted unanimously by the U.K. and U.S. in early 1941 (almost a year before the Japanese air raids on Australia), that in the case of war with Japan the European/Atlantic theatre would be given priority over the Pacific. This came as a sharp reminder to Australia that their security could not be left solely in the hands of foreign powers, who defined Western interests in terms of Europe and the Atlantic rather than in Australasia and the Pacific (Reese 1969: 86). Public opinion towards defence during the late 1940s and early 1950s was deeply influenced by the vulnerability felt by Australians in the wake of the experiences of the Second World War. As a result, negotiations over the Pacific Pact—which eventually became the ANZUS treaty—took place in a political environment sceptical about the willingness of the major powers to defend Australia as well as the capability of the United Nations to deliver on its collective security promise.1 Commentary on the early diplomatic efforts of the new Menzies government focused on efforts by the minister for external affairs, Percy Spender, to commit the U.S. to the region through a treaty arrangement. The Country-Liberal Party’s entry into government in 1949 brought with it an overhaul of defence and foreign policymaking and a move away from the regional security approach advocated by Evatt and towards a closer alignment with the U.S. The uncertainty surrounding Australia’s defence future, the changing nature of security in the Asia-Pacific region, and the implications for Australia’s national identity, all contributed to a sense of alarm in press commentary. Yet, in the face of all this turmoil, the available survey evidence suggests that around 1950, opinion was overwhelmingly in favour of a treaty with the U.S.2 The confidence shown by the public in the leadership of the Menzies government with regard to its negotiation

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of the security treaty with the U.S. can be partly attributed to the prime minister’s personal reluctance to embrace this new, post-Commonwealth identity. As McDonald (2013) notes, the irony of Australia’s shift towards away from the UK—in both a military and economic sense—and towards the U.S. is that it occurred under the leadership of a self-professed anglophile. Menzies’ reluctance to embrace a new, U.S.-centric security future was founded in his personal disinclination to move away from Australia’s British roots, a sentiment that found resonance among the public. In this way, the significant shifts that did take place were stripped of ideological intent and engendered a sense of public confidence that these were sensible and inevitable policy decisions, influenced by the inexorable structural forces that were starting to make themselves felt with the onset of the Cold War. During the Cold War, public debates—both those curated by the political elite as well as those taking place within the public sphere—displayed a clear sense of where Australia’s security threats originated and how defence should be organised to counter them. The polarised nature of the international system identified the adversaries as well as potential allies. The ANZUS alliance was important in this respect and, as we discuss in Chapter 4, gave the government a great deal of autonomy—at least initially—when it came to decide where to deploy troops abroad. During these decades, then, public attitudes towards defence remained relatively stable and debates over defence preparedness tended to take place outside the political sphere. The event that might have overturned this stability in public opinion was the Vietnam War. But even here the Vietnam War attracted high levels of support during its early years3 ; it was not until it became clear that the war could not be won that public support began to erode.4 The reasons for this erosion of public support, however, went far beyond the question of confidence in defence capability. As Coral Bell (1988: 70) has argued, Vietnam was the ‘least popular war in Australia’s history’, not just because of its military failures, but because ‘none of Australia’s earlier military adventures had generated the moral qualms or the resentful anger among intelligent young people at the whole structure of political and social authority that were those characteristic to the later stages of the Vietnam War’. The underlying factors contributing to public anger over Australia’s participation in Vietnam were largely related to broader social and cultural shifts.

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Even in the face of rising public scrutiny during the Cold War, public attitudes towards defence remained relatively stable. Defence and security issues remained largely an elite preoccupation through a strong bipartisan consensus that defence should be quarantined from the vagaries of partisan debate. As a result, the changes in public opinion that did take place, such as during the 1960s, were gradual and in response to external geopolitical circumstances rather than reflective of domestic policy debate. The power politics that informed the foreign policies of the major protagonists during the Cold War also served as a reference point for public attitudes towards defence. Since the end of the Cold War, public opinion on defence has become more volatile. While confidence measures have remained relatively high, both external political shifts and domestic political factors have renewed debate over how Australia should seek its own security and the role that the ADF plays in society and in securing Australia’s interests abroad. The rise of violent extremism in the form of terrorism and insurgency, as well as the growing influence and militarism of China, have brought into focus the uncertainties associated with today’s growing world disorder. Public opinion is thus influenced by events that challenge Australian preconceptions about how to secure itself in the midst of such uncertainty, such as the Gulf War, the East Timor crisis and the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent attacks on Australians abroad. Against this backdrop of changing interests and priorities, there remains among the political elite a tendency towards a bipartisan approach to defence and security policies. This bipartisanship has endured more than any other policy area with the possible exception of immigration. We discuss these events, and others, in the chapters of the book that follow. Yet, even in the face of a relatively stable elite consensus, this understanding has at times been breached, most noticeably at the time of Australia’s engagement in Iraq, when the Labor party opposed the Howard government’s decision to commit troops to the conflict.

Confidence in Defence Confidence in the major institutions of a society is usually considered to be an essential pre-requisite for a stable democracy. The major institutions cover the political system (such as parliament, political parties and the electoral system) and extend to civil society (such as universities and

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trade unions). International research suggests that confidence in many public institutions, especially those related to the operation of democracy, declined uniformly during the 1980s and 1990s (Smith 2012). It is argued that this can be traced to the rapid expansion of higher education in the advanced societies which has created a large group of mainly younger citizens who subject public institutions to consistent criticism for their perceived lack of performance (Smith 1990). Much of this criticism has been reinforced by the use of social media which is believed to foster distrust in institutions (Ceron 2015). At the same time, confidence in many private institutions has remained stable or even increased, reflecting their ability to deliver economic prosperity, at least up until the 2007–2008 global financial crisis (Newton and Norris 2000). Research in Australia shows that from the 1990s, there was a resurgence in confidence, albeit from relatively low levels, but again this has not extended past the global financial crisis (Blunsdon and Reed 2010). To some degree, then, Australia represents a deviation from the international trends, which show a consistent pattern of declining confidence. This is attributed to the fact that the decline in Australia may have taken place before the 1980s, when survey data on this topic did not exist; this is the pattern that also occurred in the U.S. (Dalton 1999). Another factor may be that economic performance has remained relatively high in Australia over an extended period, thus muting the public criticism of institutions that has occurred elsewhere. Opinion surveys have been conducted in Australia on public confidence in institutions from the 1980s onwards.5 Table 2.1 shows the proportion who express a ‘great deal’ of confidence in eight institutions that have been regularly included in 10 surveys conducted between 1983 and 2018. In 1983, 22% said that they had a great deal of confidence in the defence forces. That figure declined to 15% in 1995, and thereafter has increased, peaking at 40% in 2014 before falling to 31% in 2018. In all but two of the surveys defence is rated more highly than any other institution. The two exceptions are in 1983 and 1995 when the police were rated more highly. The trends therefore show high and gradually increasing public confidence in the two main security organisations, the police and the armed forces. One explanation for this may be the increasing threats from terrorism in the post-9/11 world which brings people together to support the institutions which guarantee public security (Bean 2015).

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Table 2.1 Confidence in institutions, 1983–2018 1983 1995 2001 2005 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 (Mean) Australian defence forces Police Universities Churches, religious institutions Courts, legal system Federal parliament Public service Unions

22

15

26

25

32

36

32

40

32

31

(29)

27 – 21

18 – 12

13 11 –

24 – 7

22 24 13

19 14 –

28 17 6

31 26 11

21 12 –

29 13 6

(23) (17) (11)

12

5

5

11

12

5

14

14

6

14

(10)

9

4

5

5

10

4

5

6

3

4

(6)

6

4

3

3

7

4

4

14

5

5

(5)

4

3

3

3

7

2

4

6

2

4

(4)

Note ‘I am now going to read out a number of organisations. For each one, could you tell me how much confidence you have in them—is it a great deal of confidence, quite a lot of confidence, not very much confidence, or none at all?’ Questions wordings vary slightly between surveys. Estimates are for percent who say ‘a great deal.’ Source World Values Study, 1983, 1995, 2012, 2018; AES 2001, 2010, 2016; Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2005; ANUpolls on Governance 2008 and 2014

At the other end of the scale, the trade unions, the public service and parliament are the institutions in which the public has least confidence. For example, in 2016 just 2% of the respondents said that they had ‘a great deal’ of confidence in trade unions, and only 3% had confidence in the federal parliament. Unlike the defence forces and the police, there are few discernible overtime trends in confidence in these institutions, which attract consistently low levels of confidence from the public. One explanation for the increasing levels of confidence in defence is that views have changed within particular social groups. Blunsdon and Reed (2010) argue that generational factors are important, with older generations responding in a different way to particular events when compared to younger generations. Another explanation is partisanship. Partisans tend to express more confidence in institutions than those who identify with minor parties or who are non-aligned (Bean 2015). Relatedly, U.S. research has shown that ideology plays a major role in

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predicting support for the military, with Republicans becoming consistently more likely to show support than Democrats (Murbach 2019). We therefore hypothesise that generation will increase in importance in shaping confidence, while those on the centre right will show more confidence than those on the centre left. A simple test of these hypotheses is to analyse the factors that affected confidence in defence at an early timepoint, in this case, 1995,6 and to use the same measures to predict confidence in the 2018 survey. The social background measures that are used are gender, age, education, marital status, employment, income and urban residence. Partisanship is measured by identification with either the Labor or Liberal-National parties, with those identifying with minor parties or having no identification forming the excluded category. With the exception of age (which is coded in deciles) all of the other variables are coded as zero or one. Since all of the variables are coded in the same way between the two surveys, the estimates can be directly compared between the two models. These results are presented in Table 2.2. The results in Table 2.2, spanning three decades, suggest that we know relatively little about what underpins confidence in defence, at least based on the social background of the survey respondents. Indeed, in the first equation the variance explained is just 3%, although in 2018 it increases to 9%. However, there is consistency in how the two effects of interest—age and partisanship—influence confidence. In both surveys older respondents have more confidence in defence, net of a wide variety of other factors, and the differences in the impact of age are relatively minor. Age is however second in importance to partisanship. As hypothesised, those who identify with the centre right, in this case the Liberal-National parties, are more confident of defence than Labor partisans, and this effect doubles between 1995 and 2018. However, partisans of both major parties are significantly more likely to be confident in defence compared to other partisans, and those who are non-aligned. There is, then, support for the generational and partisan explanations for increasing confidence in defence. However, given the relative overall weakness of the models in explaining confidence it is obvious that other things matter more. Another explanation for increasing public confidence in defence is the performance of the defence forces in various operations during the 2000s, starting with the East Timor crisis in 2000. In a 2000 survey, 69% of the respondents said that they thought that the defence forces performed ‘very well’ in the East Timor operation and a further

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Table 2.2 Explaining confidence in defence, 1995 and 2018 1995

Social background Gender (male) Age (decades) Tertiary education Married Employed Family income (quintiles) Urban resident Partisanship (other) Labor Liberal-National Constant Adj R-squared (N )

2018 Est

(SE)

Est

(SE)

−.03 .04* .03 .01 −.01 .02 −.09

.04 .01 .07 .04 .04 .02 .04

.03 .05* −.13* .09 .08 .00 .01

(.04) (.01) (.04) (.04) (.04) (.01) (.04)

.12* .20* 2.49 .03 (2048)

.04 .04

.11* .41* 2.59 .09 (1798)

(.05) (.04)

*, statistically significant at p < .01 Note Ordinary least squares regression equations predicting confidence in defence, scored from 1 (none at all) to 4 (great deal). The independent variables are all scored zero or one unless otherwise noted Source World Values Study (Australia), 1995 and 2018

29% said that they performed ‘well’; just 2% expressed a negative view.7 In the subsequent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, while there are partisan differences over whether or not the government should have committed Australia’s involvement, in general the military are broadly viewed as having performed well. It is possible, then, that these peacekeeping operations influenced public opinion by presenting a positive image of defence and its capabilities. The different nature of these deployments makes it difficult to measure with any accuracy their influence on the public’s confidence in defence. Nevertheless, it is possible to trace the public’s views of Australia’s defence capabilities, which tap into the public’s feelings about the ability of defence to handle such operations. A question measuring this aspect of defence has been consistently included in the AES surveys since 1996. These results are shown in Fig. 2.1. The effect on the public of the success of the East Timor deployment, and the subsequent involvements in the conflicts in Afghanistan

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60

50

Percent

40

30

20

Australia defend itself 10

Australian defence stronger 0 1996

1998

2001

2004

2007

2009

2010

2013

2016

2019

Fig. 2.1 Public opinion towards defence capabilities, 1996–2019 (Note ‘Please say whether you agree or disagree with each of the following statements… australia’s defence is stronger now than it was 10 years ago… Australia would be able to defend itself successfully if it were ever attacked’. Estimates combine ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree.’ Source AES 1987–2019; ANUpoll on Defence 2009)

and Iraq, can be clearly seen in Fig. 2.1. The estimates show the proportions who said that Australia could defend itself if attacked, and who believed that defence was stronger now than it was 10 years ago. For both questions there is a significant increase in positive responses after 2001, most notably for the view that defence had become stronger; in 1998 just 23% took this view, increasing to 31% in 2001 and peaking at 57% in 2009. While optimism about defence capability declined after 2009, since 2013 it has been stable. By 2019, positive views about defence were about double the same figure in 1996, almost a quarter of century earlier. While it is not possible to definitively link the military’s involvement in overseas campaigns to these significant changes in public opinion, it is a reasonable hypothesis that the positive publicity surrounding the overseas deployments has had a strong effect on public perceptions of the ADF’s capabilities.

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Confidence in the Australian Defence Force has increased significantly over the past two decades, making it easily the highest ranked institution in society. This is in contrast to many other public institutions, where confidence has either remained stable or declined. At least part of the explanation for this increase in public confidence in defence would appear to be the public’s positive views about its performance in a variety of overseas operations, starting with the East Timor crisis in 2000 and continuing more recently with the ADF’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2001, the proportion of the population who hold a positive view of defence’s capabilities has doubled, at a time when confidence in other public institutions has declined. These results suggest that overseas deployments, while often representing a drain on resources and a diversion from other tasks, can significantly enhance the reputation of the military as capable and effective in the public’s eyes.

Armed Forces and Society Alongside shifts in the broader geopolitical context, the Australian Defence Force has faced changing community attitudes regarding the role of the military in everyday life. This role is bound up with the identity profile that the armed forces are seen to have in a modern, developed, middle-power nation like Australia. While the results presented in the previous section show that the integrity of defence institutions has survived the social and political changes of the past half century intact, at the same time the relevance of the military to everyday life and the functions it should play—both at home and abroad—have been called into question. The high degree of trust the public tends to place in defence and its capacity to serve its military functions isolates it from the everyday political debate, and there is some evidence that the public has a somewhat distorted view of the ADF (Carter 2018: 79). Nevertheless, in order to continue to attract recruits to its ranks, defence must continually reform itself both in response to external events and in keeping up with broader socio-cultural changes. In terms of external events having an influence on perceptions of the ADF, the late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed a revival of Cold War tensions and a concomitant growth of insecurity within the region, following a period of détente.8 This change caused the Fraser government to embrace Australia’s traditional alliance politics with the U.S.9 At

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the same time, the end of the Vietnam War era brought with it the determination of the U.S. to avoid further military engagements in Asia. In response, policymakers were forced to fundamentally rethink the country’s relationship with its immediate region and look to its neighbours as security partners rather than as potential adversaries. By the late 1970s, this change had started to make itself felt in immigration policy, with the Fraser government opening up the borders to thousands of Vietnamese refugees. In this context, the ADF needed to both assure the public of its strategic capabilities and simultaneously adapt its identity to reflect the changes taking place within society, especially with regards to the country’s increasingly multicultural composition. A 1980 report commissioned by defence’s recruitment organisation reflects these tensions. The report’s key findings revolve around community attitudes towards the military, specifically the place of the ADF in society, its perceived achievements, and its purpose in peacetime. In the face of a growing sense of insecurity occasioned by the resurgence of external security threats and a sense that the ADF could not adequately defend Australia without assistance, the report found a high level of support for the ADF and a ‘growing appreciation among the Australian community of the need for a strong, effective and well-funded Defence Force’. Yet at the same time, the report also found that few Australians could clearly articulate the purpose of the ADF, and lacked specific information regarding its composition and functions. The popular image of the armed forces was framed by armed combat, ‘thus making it difficult for the army to be seen as relevant to meaningful peacetime activities’. During peacetime, the report concludes, the ‘important communications point is that the defence force has no major perceived peacetime role other than waiting for war’ (Australian National Opinion Polls 1980). Following the end of the Cold War, another report was commissioned by the recruiting arm of the Defence Force (Bergin et al. 1993). Like its predecessor, this report documents the need to adjust military symbols and norms to better reflect modern Australian life. Current images of the ADF, the report notes, are influenced largely by its history. This lends itself to a strong British influence in the form of traditions and symbols. The report raised the concern that this image profile was limiting the recruitment pool, reflecting an anglophile, monocultural institution. The report argued that this image did not reflect the lived experiences of large sections of society, particularly potential recruits from indigenous or nonEnglish speaking backgrounds. The ADF, the report posits, should make

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moves to adopt a more ‘Australian identity’. Examples of efforts in this direction include the decision of Lieutenant-General John Grey, the new chief of the general staff, to replace the British lion on his personal crest with the Australian rising sun badge and to wear the Australian slouch hat in place of the British peaked one (Bergin et al. 1993: 124). While the immediate goal of defence force personnel involved with this image transformation process was to meet recruitment targets, these efforts also reflect the important relationship a country’s defence force has with the society of which it is a part. Hugh Smith (1990: 345) notes that, while social and political considerations are ‘not the traditional stuff of military strategy … they shape Australia’s armed forces and its defence policy just as surely’. In 1995, Smith documented a series of sociological changes that had occurred within the ADF in response to broader social change. These included the ways in which ethnic diversification influenced recruitment tactics, as described above, as well as the gradual integration of norms regarding women’s rights and tolerance of homosexuality (Smith 1995). Since the mid-1990s, Australia’s troops have been increasingly involved in a range of peacekeeping and combat missions. In the Solomon Islands and East Timor, the role of the armed forces as a peacekeeping, statebuilding force has transformed its image. In this respect, the more traditional role played by Australian troops in U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have also been represented, in public discourse, as missions with a humanitarian focus. Smith’s argument, that the very nature of defence business is a reflection of the broader sociopolitical environment in which it finds itself, resonates in the recruitment campaigns from the mid 2000s onwards. There are various examples of how these recruitment campaigns have adapted to changing circumstances. During the mid 2000s, in what was a very successful bid to attract young people to the armed forces, the army imbued its television advertisements with images of troops engaged in humanitarian and peacekeeping activities, with significantly fewer references to military combat. It also appealed to the ANZAC legend, which grew in prominence as part of political narratives about the ADF from the early 2000s (McDonald 2010: 297). While the reality of a soldier’s life might be far removed from the images of the humanitarian soldier shown in the recruitment material, the explanation for why the army chose to promote the service in this way—and for its success—can be found in

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deeply held public beliefs regarding Australia’s role in regional and global security.10 One area in which the defence has had a direct impact on society is through conscription or ‘national service’. Conscription—sometimes called compulsory military service—was a contentious issue during the First World War when it was rejected in two plebiscites and resulted in a split within the Labor party. Conscription was introduced in the early stages of the Second World War, lasting until 1946. It was again introduced, in various forms, in 1951 at the start of the Korean War and remained in operation until 1959. When Australia began a military commitment to Vietnam in 1962 it was again reintroduced in 1964 and lasted until 1973, one year after Australia withdrew its remaining forces from the country. Figure 2.2 shows public opinion towards conscription from 1943, just after its introduction in the Second World War, to 1989, the last year for which survey data is available. The poll results come from two sets of surveys, so they are not exactly comparable either in methodology 90 80 70

Percent

60 50

Support Oppose

40 30 20 10 0

Fig. 2.2 Public opinion towards conscription, 1943–1989 (Note ‘Do you favour or oppose compulsory military training for young men?’ Exact question wordings vary between surveys, see McAllister and Makkai [1991: Appendix]. Source McAllister and Makkai [1991]; Morgan Gallup Surveys; Frank Small and Associates Surveys)

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or question wording. Nevertheless, they tell a consistent story. First, throughout the almost half century period, more people have consistently favoured conscription than opposed it, although in the late 1980s the gap between the two groups had shrunk considerably. Second, although there has been a majority in favour of conscription, support was in longterm decline almost from the beginning. This pattern is notwithstanding two peaks in support after the end of the Korean War and towards the end of Australia’s Vietnam War involvement. Third, there appears to be little relationship between support for conscription and the period in which conscription was in operation. To the extent that attitudes towards conscription are influenced by contemporary events and policies, government policy on compulsory military training would not appear to be one of them. Conscription has an important impact on the societies in which it operates, by bringing military values and discipline to the attention not just of those who join, but also to their families and broader social networks. One of the factors identified as important in the ending of conscription in 1974 was the active opposition of many young people, who regarded it as unnecessary and disruptive of their education and careers. Using the surveys for which age estimates are available, we can see the increase in the proportion of young people who opposed conscription (Fig. 2.3). For most of the period there are few if any differences in opinion between those aged under 30 years or those aged 30 or over. This pattern changes in the mid-1970s, with the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, and thereafter there is a significant and growing age gap in the proportions supporting conscription. In 1984, the final survey for which age estimates are available, 66% of older respondents supported conscription and 39% opposed it. In any country the military is dependent on the support of the public it is charged with defending. In order for that support to continue, the military must continually adapt and evolve, to ensure that it remains as broadly representative of the society as possible. As we have outlined in this section, the ADF has continually sought to ensure that its recruitment has mirrored the diversity of society, most notably in attracting first and second generation immigrants. Similarly, government policy has responded to weakening public support for conscription, especially among young people following the end of the Vietnam War. As we outline in Chapter 4, many young people opposed the war and this was exacerbated by the continuing use of conscription as a means of recruiting troops for the conflict.

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100 90

Percent support

80 70 60 50 40

30 or over

30

Under 30

20 10

1982

1984

1980

1978

1976

1975

1974

1972

1971

1969

1970

1968

1967

1966

1964

1962

1963

1961

1958

1955

1951

0

Fig. 2.3 Generational support for conscription, 1951–1984 (Note Estimates are the percent who favoured conscription for the two age groups, derived from Fig. 2.2. Source McAllister and Makkai [1991]; Morgan Gallup Surveys; Frank Small and Associates Surveys)

Defence Spending While socio-political factors influence the nature and structure of Australia’s armed forces, public attitudes towards spending more directly affect the day-to-day operation of the defence force. In the 2016 defence white paper, the Turnbull Coalition government promised to transform Australia’s defence capabilities and organisation in order to achieve the country’s strategic defence objectives.11 This would involve increasing the defence budget based on a ten year funding model, with expenditure rising to $42.4 billion in 2020–2021 (Department of Defence 2016). Shortly after the release of the white paper, the 2016–2017 federal budget was handed down and the government demonstrated its commitment to the white paper, allocating $32.4 billion to defence funding, on track to achieving the 2020–2021 goal. In 2019, the budget allocated $38.7 billion to defence. However, while further budget increases have remained a core commitment of the government, the 2020 COVID19 pandemic has dramatically revised the country’s financial position, as well as a number of other factors tied in with defence spending, such

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as reduced alliance activity and delays in acquisition projects. It therefore remains to be seen how the defence budget will be affected (Hellyer 2020). When it comes to public opinion, by themselves these numbers actually tell us very little about the nature of the national conversation taking place regarding the country’s defence preparedness. Moreover, it seems that the public’s understanding of these figures, or of what they represent in terms of policy, is slight at best. The relationship between public confidence and defence funding levels is a complex one. On the one hand, the government knows that in return for its investment in defence-related national security architecture and operations, the public expect that they can be confident about the delivery of an effective defence force. On the other hand, given the protected and existential nature of debate over defence and national security issues, defence spending is often exempt from the broader oversight that surrounds the annual budget. Political leaders, usually on the centre right, will imply a greater commitment to defence capability and preparedness through the announcement of increased defence funding. By contrast, those on the centre left will emphasise efficiency and value for money. In practice, defence budgets are determined through a process of negotiation that takes place at the public, institutional and policy levels. Carr and Dean (2013) argue that this normally involves a strategic assessment of the current geopolitical environment, a conversation about what kinds of capabilities best meet the current challenges, and a process of balancing these requirements against Australia’s fiscal reality. Implicit in this process is the understanding that strategic assessments and budgetary considerations must reflect the outcomes of ongoing domestic debates regarding how to represent the national interest. The willingness of the public to direct public money towards the defence force and away from other public goods acts as a key indicator of overall levels of confidence in the armed forces (McAllister and Makkai 1991: 211). There is, unsurprisingly, a strong correlation between security threat perceptions and the public’s willingness to increase spending on defence. Likewise, survey respondents who demonstrate concern over an external threat tend to hold stronger views on defence spending.12 On the other hand, and particularly in times of relative peace, respondents tend to express stronger opinions about international diplomatic

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efforts and domestic economic issues, while at the same time favouring a decrease in military expenditure. Many of the surveys conducted over the past half century contain questions about defence spending, allowing us to trace long-term trends in public opinion on the issue. The 41 year trend in Fig. 2.4 shows that there were two peaks in support for increased defence spending. The first peak occurs just after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 when 77% supported increased spending, compared to just 15% who wanted less. The second peak occurs after the East Timor crisis in 2000 and the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. in 2001; at this point around six in every 10 respondents wanted an increase in defence spending. The two lowest points for defence spending come in 1990, following the 90

Spend more

80

Spend less

70

Percent

60 50 40 30 20 10

2016

2019

2010

2013

2009

2007

2001

2004

2000

1998

1993

1996

1990

1987

1984

1985

1983

1980

1981

1975

1979

0

Fig. 2.4 Public opinion towards defence spending, 1975–2019 (Note ‘Do you think that the government should spend more or spend less on defence?’ Exact question wordings vary between surveys conducted prior to 1987. From 2013 the question is: ‘Please say whether there should be more or less public expenditure in each of the following areas. Remember if you say ‘more’ it could require a tax increase, and if you say ‘less’ it could require a reduction in those services.’ Source McAllister and Makkai [1991]; AES 1987–2019; Survey of Defence Issues 2000; ANUpoll 2009)

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collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, and in 2009, when Australian military forces were withdrawn from Iraq. At both points there is marginally more support for reduced spending than for an increase. Notwithstanding the peaks and troughs in the trends in Fig. 2.4, the long-term pattern across the 1975 to 2019 period is for a gradual decrease in support for defence spending. Indeed, there are three time points when the proportion of survey respondents who want to see less spending rather than more. The first is in 1990, following the end of the Cold War, while the second is in 2009 and is related to the austerity that followed the 2007–2008 global financial crisis. The third is in 2016 and appears to be the continuation of a trend that began in 2010. Drawing a trend-line through the four decades of survey results suggests that the rate of the decline in public support for defence spending is almost 1 percentage point per year, or around 9 percentage points per decade. In the absence of a major international crisis that could influence the public’s views of the necessity of defence, we would expect that decline to continue. Certainly the figure for 2016—the lowest at any point in the series—suggests a strong reversion to the general downward trend. At the same time as public support for defence spending has weakened, the context in which defence policy is created has become more complex. While Australians still report feeling relatively secure and confident in their armed forces capabilities, the 2016 defence white paper indicated a clear shift in Canberra’s strategic thinking. The white paper talks in clear terms about the ways in which shifting power dynamics in the region poses challenges to the rules-based order ‘leading to uncertainty and tension’ (Department of Defence 2016). This language, clearly directed at China, is a significant departure from previous public analysis about the future role China will play in the region (Schreer 2016). The defence white paper also sets out an expanded military role for the defence force in the region, with the development of a ‘future force’ that is ‘more capable, agile and potent’ in response, among other things, to Chinese adventurism in the South China Sea. The challenge for government is making the case for increased government spending on defence to the public, while at the same time justifying reduced spending on other government services. This challenge is likely to become more acute as the economic climate becomes more restrictive following the impact of COVID-19. Placing defence alongside other priorities for government expenditure shows that defence spending is a low priority for most people. Table 2.3 places public opinion on views about defence spending against nine other

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Table 2.3 Priorities for public expenditure, 2019

Health Education Old age pensions Public transport Police, law enforcement National disability support Child care Unemployment benefits Defence Business, industry

Much more

Somewhat more

Same as now

Somewhat less

Much less

Total

(More-Less)

32 29 24

47 44 44

19 25 28

1 1 3

1 1 1

100 100 100

(+77) (+71) (+64)

22 15

40 37

34 41

3 5

1 2

100 100

(+58) (+45)

17

30

45

6

2

100

(+29)

14 10

29 23

41 42

11 19

5 6

100 100

(+27) (+8)

8 7

21 20

49 52

15 16

7 5

100 100

(+7) (+6)

Note ‘Please say whether there should be more or less public expenditure in each of the following areas. Remember if you say “more” it could require a tax increase, and if you say “less” it could require a reduction in those services’ Source AES (2019)

areas of expenditure, ranging from health and education to public transport and social welfare. The results show that defence ranks ninth out of the 10 areas, just ahead of business and industry but behind that perennially unpopular area of government expenditure, unemployment benefits. The top priorities for expenditure in the public’s view are health, with 79% advocating increased spending, and education, where 73% want an increase. These patterns suggest that defence is a very low priority for government spending. Moreover, there has been little change in these patterns since 2013 when the question was first asked in the AES survey.13 Against this background of public pressure for spending on government services that directly affects citizens, it is not surprising that successive governments have found it difficult to increase defence spending. In addition, political instability and electoral volatility have characterised politics since 2010, making it even more difficult to prosecute the case for more defence spending. The 2011 defence budget, when the Abbott

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government came to power, was significantly weakened by a convergence of international and domestic factors. A series of delays and cuts to defence funding accompanied with continuing military operations in the Middle East and the continuation of expanding capability plans left defence with ‘a long shopping list and a shrinking purse to pay for it’ (Thomson 2016). Alongside this, there was increasing pressure from the U.S. for more burden sharing. Carr and Dean (2013: 69–71) argue that it was in this context—a confluence of budgetary concerns and the succession of Abbott to the Liberal leadership, with his combative political style—that a new discourse developed to make the case for greater defence spending. While still in opposition, Tony Abbott declared that funding for our armed forces in the 2012 budget was placing Australia in great peril: ‘defence spending, as a percentage of GDP, will soon be at the lowest level since 1938’. Carr and Dean (2013: 73) argue that, while the historical GDP comparison was in fact a ‘gross distortion and misrepresentation’ and unhelpful to understanding the strategic funding requirements, it was a powerful political tool and found resonance in among the public: ‘the spectre of 1938 allowed the public … to conjure up images of the period just prior to the Second World War … commonly associated with defence unpreparedness during an era of intense escalating threats’. In the leadup to the 2013 election, both parties committed to a spending target of 2% of GDP for defence, despite the impracticality of linking funding that should be determined by strategic analysis and force analysis to a predetermined, volatile amount (Thomson 2016: 68). The 2016 white paper maintains the 2% budget commitment—largely in response to both public sentiment and U.S. pressure—with the important caveat that ‘the 10-year funding model set out in this defence white paper will not be subject to any further adjustments as a result of changes in Australia’s GDP growth estimates’ (Department of Defence 2016: 36). For some, the question of where the government should spend its money is unambiguous: growing regional volatility requires the government to choose an increase in defence spending (in response to future strategic risk) over debt reduction (in response to future economic risk). For the wider community, of course, the choice is less clear-cut and the trend towards a preference for lower defence spending is likely to continue in the absence of any short-term political crises. As Thomson (2016: 70– 71) notes in an overview of the challenges facing the government as it seeks to fund and deliver the 2016 defence white paper, ‘for the time

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being, private financial concerns appear to be foremost in people’s minds, and the fractiousness of the electorate guarantees that politicians will be attentive to these concerns. For that reason, future governments will face far greater difficulties in ramping up defence spending than the Howard government did in the halcyon days of the 2000s’. With the COVID-19 pandemic having a major impact on Australia’s financial position, these difficulties have become even further entrenched.

Conclusion At one level, the public’s view of defence is contradictory. As we have shown in this chapter, defence and the armed forces enjoy very considerable confidence among the public. Indeed, if there has been any change, it has been in the direction of greater confidence not less, a trend that is in the opposite direction to many of the other major institutions of society, such as the churches and the banks. This increased confidence has come about because of defence’s strong performance in peacekeeping operations such as East Timor which was widely recognised by the public as being a major success. Confidence has also been maintained because the role of defence in Australian society has not become a partisan issue. It came closest to partisan division during the Iraq operation, which seriously divided the public, and by Labor’s view that the military should not participate in the conflict. However, at the same time as confidence has increased, support for defence spending has declined substantially since the end of the Cold War. Currently defence is one of the least favoured areas for public spending, and in the eyes of public opinion is on a par with unemployment benefits. How do we explain this apparent paradox? The answer rests in the public’s perceptions of the threats that exist to Australia, which we deal with in a number of the chapters that follow. What is clear is that threat perceptions have declined consistently since the end of the Cold War and with it, the belief that defence has a greater priority for public expenditure than health, education or pensions. To the extent that there are major threats to Australia, they are viewed as not of the type that defence is trained or equipped to deal with, such as terrorism and natural disasters. The challenge for defence in the twenty-first century will be to convince the public that they have a key role in responding to these new threats and that they have the skills, training and commitment to respond to them.

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If they can do that, it may serve to halt the long-term decline in public support for funding defence.

Notes 1. As we show in Chapter 3, public satisfaction with the United Nations was at best lukewarm and evenly divided between satisfaction, dissatisfaction and no opinion throughout the late 1940s. 2. See Chapter 3, Table 3.4 for details. 3. See Chapter 4 for a detailed discussion of the various factors that explain this high level of support. 4. In addition, the issue of conscription attracted criticism and dissent from the burgeoning peace movement. 5. There is also survey evidence on the honesty and integrity of the main professions covering the same period, but unfortunately these surveys have not covered the military as a profession. See http://www.roymorgan.com. au/findings/5531-image-of-professions-2014-201404110537. Accessed 1 December 2019. The trends for the major professions produce substantially the same results as is shown in Table 2.1. 6. We were unable to use the earliest survey, conducted in 1983, as the baseline because it did not collect partisanship. 7. The survey was the 2000 Survey of Defence Issues and the question was: ‘Overall, how do you think Australia’s defence forces performed during the East Timor operation? Would you said they performed very well, performed well, performed badly, or performed very badly?’ 8. This period of the Cold War was a time of heightened tensions, most starkly illustrated by the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 9. This represented a return to the traditional foreign policy agenda, after a short period of change under Whitlam, with the normalisation of foreign relations with China. 10. For the evolution of public attitudes with respect to overseas deployments, see Chapters 4 and 5. 11. These objectives are defined as: deter, deny or defeat attacks to Australia, its national interests or proximate sea lines of communication; provide for the security of the nearer region through offering military support to maritime Southeast Asian countries and supporting the state-building and strengthening efforts of PNG, East Timor and Pacific Island countries; coalition-based military contributions to ‘support Australia’s interests in a rules-based global order’. See Department of Defence (2016). 12. See the comments by Andrew Davies in McAllister (2008: 9). 13. In the 2013 AES, defence ranked sixth in importance out of eight areas of government expenditure and in 2016 AES eighth out of nine areas.

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References Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009. Lecture 1: National security at the breakfast table? Radio National Boyer Lectures, 8 November. Available from https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlect ures/lecture-1-national-security-at-the-breakfast-table/3090408. Accessed 3 October 2018. Australian National Opinion Polls. 1980. Community attitudes towards Australia’s defence force. Australian Government Advertising Service. Sydney: Australian National Opinion Polls. Bean, C. 2015. Changing citizen confidence: Orientations towards political and social institutions in Australia, 1983–2010. The Open Political Science Journal, 8: 1–9. Bell, C. 1988. Dependent ally: A study in Australian foreign policy. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Bergin, A., et al. 1993. The ethnic composition of the Australian Defence Force: Measurement, attitudes and strategies. Canberra: Australian Defence Force. Blunsdon, B., & Reed. K. 2010. Confidence in Australian institutions, 1983– 2005. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 45(4): 445–458. Carr, A., & Dean, P. 2013. The funding illusion: The 2% of GDP furphy in Australia’s defence debate. Security Challenges, 9(4): 65–86. Carter, C. 2018. Tell us what you really think! A new way to measure public opinion. Australian Defence Force Journal, 203: 75–86. Ceron, A. 2015. Internet, news, and political trust: The difference between social media and online media outlets. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 20(5): 487–503. Dalton, R. J. 1999. Political support in advanced industrial democracies. In P. Norris (ed.), Critical citizens: Global support for democratic governance: 57– 77. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Department of Defence. 2016. 2016 Defence White Paper. Canberra: Department of Defence. Available from http://www.defence.gov.au/WhitePaper/Docs/ 2016-Defence-White-Paper.pdf. Accessed 1 March 2017. Hellyer, M. 2020. Australia’s defence budget in the age of Covid-19: Where are we now? The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 15 May. Available from https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australias-defence-budget-in-the-ageof-covid-19-where-are-we-now/. McAllister, I. 2008. Public opinion in Australia towards defence, security and terrorism. In Special Report Issue 16. Canberra: Australian Strategic Policy Institute. McAllister, I., & Makkai, T. 1991. Changing Australian opinion on defence: Trends, patterns, and explanations. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2(3): 195– 235.

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McDonald, M. 2010. ‘Lest we forget’: The politics of memory and Australian military intervention. International Political Sociology, 4(3): 287–302. McDonald, M. 2013. Foreign and defence policy on Australia’s political agenda, 1962–2012. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 72(2): 171–184. Murbach, D. 2019. Partisan dimensions of confidence in the U.S. Military, 1973–2016. Armed Forces and Society, 45(2): 211–233. Newton, K., & Norris, P. 2000. Confidence in public institutions: Faith, culture or performance? In S. Pharr & R. Putnam (eds.), Disaffected democracies: What’s troubling the trilateral democracies? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Reese, T. 1969. Australia, New Zealand and the United States: A survey of international relations, 1941–1968. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs. Schreer, B. 2016. The 2016 Defence White Paper, China and East Asia: The end of an illusion. The Strategist, 25 February. Available from https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-2016-defence-white-paper-chinaand-east-asia-the-end-of-an-illusion/. Accessed 3 October 2019. Smith, H. 1990. The defence force and Australian society. In D. Ball & C. Downes (eds.), Security and defence: Pacific and global perspectives. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. Smith, H. 1995. The dynamics of social change and the Australian Defence Force. Armed Forces and Society, 21(4): 531–551. Smith, T. 2012. Trends in confidence in institutions, 1973–2006. In P. Marsden (ed.), Social trends in American life: 177–211. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Thomson, M. 2016. Funding and delivering the 2016 Defence White Paper. Security Challenges, 12(1): 65–76.

CHAPTER 3

The Alliance with the United States

Since 1951, when the security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States (ANZUS) was signed, the alliance with the U.S. has represented the cornerstone of Australian defence policy. From the public’s perspective, it is one of the best recognized and understood aspects of contemporary Australian defence and attracts regular media attention and discussion. The alliance receives regular public visibility through the annual meetings that take place between Australian and U.S. officials, usually involving the Australian defence secretary and the U.S. secretary of state, and by frequent joint military exercises in Australia and overseas. The ANZUS treaty itself gained considerable visibility after the September 11 attacks in the U.S. when it was invoked for the first time by the prime minister, John Howard, who was visiting the U.S. at the time.1 The origins of the treaty go back to the immediate postwar years when Australia was reassessing its strategic position in the light of the Second World War. In June 1950 Australia provided support for a U.S.-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution requesting military aid for South Korea, and subsequently committed Australian forces to fight under UN auspices in Korea in 1950. These decisions were driven in large part by the desire of the minister for external affairs, Percy Spender, to obtain a U.S. guarantee against attacks on Australian territory. This aspiration was eventually formalised with the signing of the ANZUS alliance. Although public support for the alliance in New Zealand during © The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_3

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the 1980s became embroiled in controversy over the unwillingness of the Labour government to accept visits by U.S. nuclear vessels, public opinion in Australia has not resiled from the position of successive governments that ANZUS is by far the most important of Australia’s defence relationships (McAllister and Ravenhill 1998). This chapter examines the origins and subsequent evolution of the U.S. alliance, and the role that public opinion has played in the process. The first section examines its formation in public concerns about a war involving Russia, and related scepticism about the ability of the UN to prevent such a conflict. The second section traces public support for ANZUS and relations with the U.S. generally, from the mid-1960s through to the present day, using a variety of public opinion polls. The major crises and strains that the alliance has encountered are covered in the third and fourth sections. These cover the Vietnam War, in which public opinion played a major role in securing a troop withdrawal, and the less traumatic but nevertheless serious crises involving visits by U.S. nuclear powered warships, joint Australia–U.S. defence facilities, and the MX missile tests. The final section examines the future of public support for the alliance, and tests three explanations for possible future changes.

Negotiating the ANZUS Treaty Coral Bell, in her seminal study of the Australia–U.S. alliance, described the very concept of ANZUS as ‘a testimony to a national sense of insecurity’ (Bell 1988: 47). Signed in September 1951, the ANZUS treaty was a response to a rising awareness of the potential vulnerability of Australia and New Zealand to attack within the Pacific region. This followed the experience of the Second World War when Australia’s traditional ally, Britain, was unable to provide sufficient resources in order to defend Australia against the Japanese attacks. The entrance of the U.S. into the war in December 1941, following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, brought considerable resources to bear in the southwest Pacific in order to halt the Japanese advance towards Australia. As Australia entered the postwar era, it did so with a clear understanding of its isolation from its traditional British ally and sought to address this through the pursuit of formal military guarantees from its wartime protector. While public opinion did not play a leading role in initiating the negotiations that led to the treaty, national sentiment about Australia’s position

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within the region was a factor in terms of providing a permissive environment in which officials could pursue such a shift in the country’s foreign and defence relations. In particular, there was a general sense of insecurity generated by the rise of communism in many parts of Asia in the immediate postwar years, as well as unease about the prospect of resurgent Japanese militarism. Another public concern during the period was the perceived inadequacy of the United Nations, which had been formed in October 1945, for resolving any future conflicts involving Russia and the new communist states of central and eastern Europe. One means of allaying public fears about communism—and the potential threat it might pose to Australia’s security—was to cement a mutual defence treaty with the U.S. Such a treaty would also guard against the failure of the UN to deal with any regional conflicts that might emerge. While these public sentiments were a backdrop to the reasons behind the treaty, its creation was driven almost entirely by a series of decisions made exclusively by the country’s foreign policy elite. Indeed, a notable feature of foreign and defence policymaking in the 1940s and 1950s was the significant influence that individual ministers for external affairs were able to wield. Reflecting this, accounts of the politics surrounding the signing of ANZUS devote much attention to the personal political and ideological inclinations of the two key politicians involved in the negotiations leading up to the signing of the treaty; Labor’s H. V. Evatt who was minister for external affairs between 1941 and 1949, and the Liberal’s Percy Spender who held the position between 1949 and 1951. Personal influence on policy was heightened by the relative absence of institutions charged with foreign policymaking. The Department of External Affairs was not established until 1935 and five years later, in 1940, it still had just 15 staff (Wolfsohn 1951: 70). In the absence of in-depth policy advice, the personal preoccupations of a minister were paramount. Evatt and Spender therefore played a decisive personal role in bringing the ANZUS treaty to fruition. Particularly influential was Spender’s commitment to the cause, based on his firm view that Australia’s future security rested more in cementing alliances with major world powers than in collective security through the United Nations. His success in securing the ANZUS treaty came despite only modest interest from the Americans. Drawing on Spender’s own accounts of the negotiations, Coral Bell describes the approach of John Foster Dulles to the negotiations as ‘somewhat reluctant’ and the attitude of Harry Truman as ‘benevolent but preoccupied’ (Bell 1988: 47). Even Menzies himself, Bell argues,

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was probably sceptical that the treaty would ever come into being and ‘remained patronizing and very little interested right up to the moment of a success’ (Bell 1988: 47). While the immediate imperative for an alliance was the postwar strategic environment, the origins of the ANZUS treaty go back to the interwar period. In 1936 a ‘Pacific Pact’ was proposed, involving a regional security agreement based on the principle of non-aggression. The proposal was aired publicly for the first time at an Imperial Conference in 1937 by the prime minister, Joe Lyons. As Starke (1965: 7–8) notes, this served notice that ‘Australia now felt she had a primary independent role to play in the Pacific’. Both major political parties were largely in agreement on the need for such a treaty and to the extent that there were differences, it was in long-term strategies rather than in methods (Greenwood 1947: 55–56). While an emotional attachment to Britain and the Commonwealth remained important, the practical realities of Australian security required a strong link to the U.S.2 Yet while elite considerations and preferences seem to have weighed more heavily than public opinion when it came to the decision to seek a treaty with the U.S., there was no shortage of political wrangling over foreign policy. In David Lowe’s (2010) account of Spender’s political life, he argues that ‘the second half of the 1940s was remarkable in Australian politics for the degree of diametric opposition over foreign policy’ (Lowe 2010: 115). In opposition, Spender and his colleagues attacked the government over a range of issues, accusing Evatt for being overly involved in the United Nations at the expense of relations with the UK and the U.S. and for endangering the Commonwealth with his reckless embrace of decolonisation. Spender also frequently conflated the threat of international communism with communism in Australia (Lowe 2010: 115–117). Evidence from this time shows that a general public concern about security within the region, and the threat of communism in particular, does appear to have been a factor in the impetus to seek a treaty with the U.S., even if it may not have played directly into the elite policymaking process. Three opinion polls conducted between 1944 and 1948 show increasing public concern about the possibility of a war with Russia within the next 25 years (Table 3.1). In 1944, 42% took this view, but this increased to 62% in 1946 and 67% by 1948. Most notably, the proportion who did not have a view on the topic declined from almost a quarter of the respondents in 1944 to just 4% in 1948. This reflects the increasing

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Table 3.1 Likelihood of another world war, 1944–1948

Will be war Will not be war Undecided Total

1944

1946

1948

42 34 24 100

62 18 20 100

67 29 4 100

Note ‘Do you think there is likely to be another world war in the next 25 years?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 195–204 (May–June 1944); 382–397 (September–November 1946); 548–558 (October–November 1948)

Table 3.2 Attitudes towards Russia’s military expansion, 1946–1947 Russia building protection or ruling power

1946

Russia peaceable or aggressor nation

1947

Ruling power Protection Uncertain No opinion Total

48 27 18 7 100

Aggressor Peaceable No opinion

61 22 17 100

Note ‘Do you think Russia is just building up protection against being attacked, or is she trying to make herself the ruling power of the world?’; ‘Do you think Russia is a peaceable nation, willing to fight only in self-defence, or an aggressor nation, willing to start a war for something she wants?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 365–374 (August–September 1946); 470–477 (November– December 1947)

frequency of public debate on the potential threats that were emerging in the region.3 In the immediate postwar years the public viewed Russia as representing a considerable security threat. Russia’s effective annexation of large parts of eastern Europe, by supporting and placing local communist parties into government, was seen as a model that could be applied to the Asia-Pacific region and was a major concern to Australians. Asked about their views of Russia’s military intentions, surveys conducted in 1946 and 1947 show increasing public scepticism among the respondents about Russian motivations. Table 3.2 shows that in 1946 almost half of those interviewed believed that Russia wanted to become a ‘ruling world power’. Just a year on, in 1947, almost two-thirds believed that Russia had become an ‘aggressor nation’, reflecting Russia’s increasing control

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over eastern Europe and the implications it posed for relations with the U.S. and the rest of Europe. Concern regarding Russia’s military intentions was accompanied by widespread dissatisfaction with the conflict resolution capacities of the United Nations. Early discussions towards the end of the war about the formation of an international body had received broad public support. A poll conducted in 1944 which asked ‘What is your opinion about the League of Nations having an armed force after the war’ found that 67% favoured the proposal, and just 15% opposed it, with 18% having no opinion.4 However, by 1946 Table 3.3 shows that opinions about the UN were evenly divided between satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and no opinion. By 1948, views had changed only marginally, with a small 4 percentage point increase in satisfaction, to 38%. The question of how to deal with a defeated Japan was also a politically sensitive issue. Coral Bell describes how, while Australia and the U.S. were divided on the question of the Japanese peace settlement, the publics in the United Kingdom and Australia were of one mind in this regard, especially those on the political left. She adds that, in the case of Australia, political opinion on the right was also ‘critical or alarmist’ about the idea of a Japanese peace treaty that allowed re-armament, with this section of public opinion being led by the Returned Servicemen’s League (Bell 1988: 47). The bitter treatment experienced by Allied prisoners of war and the brutal and ferocious manner in which the Japanese conducted themselves during wartime had become legendary and resulted in a lingering distrust of Japan. Not surprisingly, public opinion in the late 1940s was increasingly concerned about the prospects of another world war, a resurgent Japan, and about Russia’s military intentions. The Cold War had Table 3.3 Attitudes towards the United Nations, 1946–1948

Satisfied Dissatisfied Undecided Total

1946

1947

1948

34 34 32 100

26 39 35 100

38 29 33 100

Note ‘Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the progress to date of the United Nations?’ Ns are not available Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 426–435 (May–June 1947); 559–568 (January–February 1949)

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just begun, symbolised by Winston Churchill’s famous March 1946 ‘iron curtain’ speech in which he called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviet Union. At the same time, the newly formed United Nations appeared to be having relatively little impact in reducing international conflict, and in these years its only substantive decision had been to approve a resolution to partition Palestine and create the state of Israel. This decision resulted in a 1947–1948 war with the neighbouring Arab states which Israel eventually won, increasing the size of its territory significantly. Given this unstable international context, the public was very receptive to the idea of a security treaty with the U.S. Direct survey evidence on the topic from the period is sparse, but the Australian Gallup Poll did ask a question in June 1950 about views on a possible treaty. Interviewing began on 24 June 1950, shortly before the North Koreans invaded South Korea.5 Table 3.4 shows that an overwhelming majority of the respondents—87%—supported Australia signing such a treaty, with just 7% opposed to it; only 6% were undecided. Concerns about postwar security, the ineffectiveness of the UN in dealing with regional conflicts, and gratitude for U.S. support during the Second World War, all combined to make support for a mutual defence treaty with the U.S. a logical and popular choice for the public. Of course, the beginning of the Korean War would also have played a role in predisposing the respondents towards support for a treaty. On the eve of the signing of the ANZUS treaty, overwhelming support for the initiative prevailed. The absence of public dissent on the issue can be attributed to two factors. First, there was a general consensus among major political parties that a Pacific security pact was essential. As Watt (1967: 120) notes ‘at one time or another during the period 1936–50 all Australian political parties have advocated negotiation of some form Table 3.4 Attitudes towards a treaty with the U.S., 1950

Favour Oppose Undecided Total

87 7 6 100

Note ‘Would you be for or against an agreement with the U.S. which would automatically require one to join the other in the event of a Pacific War?’ N = 1600 respondents Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 690–699 (June–July 1950)

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of Pacific security pact as an essential element in Australian foreign policy’ (emphasis in original). Second, there was no opposition to the treaty from the press, which itself was a consequence of a general lack of interest in foreign affairs and defence issues in favour of economic reconstruction. In practice, this allowed the incumbent government to take its proposals to the international arena, with limited public debate and media scrutiny.

Public Support for the ANZUS Treaty At one level, the U.S. alliance is almost a valence issue for the public, meaning that it is an issue on which virtually everyone is agreed. There is a general consensus that defence is important, and general agreement that Australia would be unable to mount a serious defence without significant external assistance. In this context, a defence alliance with the U.S. attracts overwhelming support. Given that the alliance approaches the level of a valence issue, the only variable to consider is the strength of this support. Moreover, we would expect the intensity of support to vary over time, as a result of specific events and changing circumstances within the international environment. In this section, we outline the level of public support for ANZUS over an extended period, and in the two sections that follow examine the international events which have served to shape the intensity of that support. Questions about the link with the U.S. have been included in public opinion surveys from the 1950s onwards, but until 1993 there was no consistent trend question specifically asking about the ANZUS alliance. In terms of survey methodology, this was a consequence of the belief that the acronym was thought to be too complex to be asked in an opinion survey, and that as a result there would be a large number of non-responses. This problem has been substantially mitigated by asking the question: ‘How important do you think the Australian alliance with the United States under the ANZUS treaty is for protecting Australia’s security?’ The question therefore primes the respondent that ANZUS refers to the security alliance with the U.S. In 1993, when the question was first asked, just 2% of the respondents did not answer the question.6 In the most recent survey, conducted in 2019, the proportion not answering the question was also just 2%. The vast majority of the respondents would therefore appear to understand the question. Other survey questions which bear indirectly on alliance relations with the U.S. include those that have asked how close relations between

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the two countries should be, and about trust in the U.S. to come to Australia’s defence in the event of an international crisis or physical threat. Such questions are, of course, highly correlated: in 2019, for example, the correlation between views of the ANZUS alliance and trust in the U.S. is .64 (p = < .000) meaning that the two are almost interchangeable. Before turning to the results for the ANZUS alliance itself, we outline public opinion on a range of questions, including trust in the U.S., which bear on the public’s views about links with the U.S. The first academic survey of political opinion, the Australian National Political Attitudes (ANPAS) survey conducted in 1967, asked the respondents how close they thought relations with the U.S. should be. The question was replicated in the two subsequent ANPAS surveys conducted in 1969 and 1979, and in the inaugural Australian Election Study survey conducted in 1987. The late 1960s was the period when Australia expanded its military involvement in Vietnam in response to requests from the U.S.; we deal with public opinion towards the Vietnam War in the next section. Relations with the U.S., and its consequences for Australian foreign policy, were therefore at the forefront of public debate at this time. After the Australian withdrawal from Vietnam in 1972, and the U.S. withdrawal in 1975, the salience of the defence link with the U.S. was reduced for many in the general public. Over the twenty year period between 1967 and 1987, popular feelings towards a close relationship with the U.S. gradually weakened (Table 3.5). In 1967, half of all of the respondents believed that the relationship should be ‘very close’; by 1987 just over one quarter took this view, a significant and important decline, with just under one in five believing Table 3.5 Views of Australian–U.S. relations, 1967–1987

Very close Fairly close Not very close Don’t know Total (N )

1967

1969

1979

1987

50 38 8 4 100 (2054)

44 45 9 2 100 (1873)

41 48 9 2 100 (2016)

26 55 18 1 100 (1830)

Note ‘How close do you think Australia’s links with the United States should be?’ Source Australian National Political Attitudes surveys (ANPAS), 1967, 1969, 1979; Australian Election Study, 1987

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that Australia should distance itself from the U.S. Also worthy of note is the very small proportions—varying between 1 and 4%—who had no opinion on the issue.7 In effect, Australians have consistently wanted to have a positive relationship with the U.S., but the intensity of those feelings declined over the period under review. Another important factor to consider, when it comes to an assessment of Australian opinion towards the value of the defence treaty, is the level of confidence people had that the U.S. would meet its obligations if asked to do. The extent to which the Australian public has trust in the U.S. to defend Australia if it were attacked is shown in Fig. 3.1, using surveys conducted from 1971 up to the present time. The 1971–1990 surveys were conducted by the U.S. Information Service (USIS) and its predecessor organisations, which regularly tracked public opinion towards the U.S. in a wide range of countries. The USIS question has been replicated in the AES since 1993, as well as in several other national surveys, 60

50

Percent

40

30

20 Great deal 10

A fair amount Not much/none

1971 1975 1977 1979 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1993 1996 1998 2000 2001 2004 2007 2009 2010 2013 2016 2019

0

Fig. 3.1 Trust in the U.S. to Defend Australia, 1971–2019 (Note ‘If Australia’s security were threatened by some other country, how much trust do you feel Australia can have in the United States to come to Australia’s defence?’ Question wording varies slightly. Source (1971–1990) USIS; (1993–2013) AES, 1993– 2019; Survey of Defence Issues, 2000; ANUpoll on Defence, 2009)

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producing an extended and reliable measure of public opinion on this particular facet of the alliance. In general, the trends in Fig. 3.1 show that the public has greatest confidence when the U.S. has demonstrated a willingness to engage in overseas conflicts and play a major role in world affairs. Consequently, there was greatest trust immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when the U.S. committed to the invasion of Afghanistan and then to the invasion of Iraq. In 2001, over eight in every 10 respondents had either a ‘great deal’ or a ‘fair amount’ of trust in the U.S. to defend Australia. In this period, the lowest level of trust occurs in 2000, just prior to 9/11, when just 22% said that they had ‘a great deal’ of trust; this is by far the lowest figure in any of the surveys over the post-1971 period for which data are available. This significant but momentary decline may have been partly a public response to the U.S. reaction to the East Timor crisis, when the U.S. ruled out direct military involvement. The lower levels of trust in the mid-2000s also reflect a degree of unpopularity with the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., ratified in 2004.8 The election of Donald Trump as president in 2016 and its full implications for U.S. military involvement around the world are shown in the 2019 estimates, with just 23% of respondents saying they had very great trust. The costs of the U.S. alliances are, at times of conflict, carried by the public which sends its women and men to fight in overseas deployments. Ongoing public support for the alliance, evident in the persistent poll trends, indicates that the public is willing to support the idea that the benefits of the alliance outweigh these costs. What does the public believe these benefits are? At one level, these are understood in broad terms, such as military support in the event of a direct physical threat to one or other country. At another level, it is expressed in the sharing of intelligence and other background material which may benefit the foreign policies of both countries. The sharing of intelligence as an aspect of the alliance has been particularly important in Australia because of the existence of joint defence facilities, such as Pine Gap, just outside Alice Springs, which is used by the U.S. military mainly to monitor signals intelligence in Asia and has played a key role in monitoring compliance with arms control agreements. In more recent times, Pine Gap has most likely been used to provide information for extra-judicial drone strikes (Tanter 2012). Another joint facility, Nurrungar near Woomera, operated from 1969 until its closure in

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1999 and was tasked with providing an early warning of a missile attack against the U.S. These and other joint facilities have been viewed as an indispensable benefit to Australia by intelligence officials, but they have also been controversial and attracted many protests and demonstrations. The most significant of these took place during the 1980s, by anti-nuclear activists, and again in 2001, this time in response to Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War (Welch 2014). For the most part, however, the secrecy surrounding these facilities has kept them out of the public realm as a topic of debate. The exception has been the insights provided by intelligence scholars like Desmond Ball, who spoke publicly about the nature of the intelligence operations, at times criticising Australia’s evolving role in operations and drone strikes (McDonald 2016; Welch 2014). For the most part, however, the public’s knowledge of the facilities is limited to government statements which seek to assuage concerns and re-state the centrality of the facilities to securing Australia’s national interests.9 When asked in 1993 about who benefitted most from the U.S. alliance, a plurality of the respondents—44%—thought that both countries benefitted equally. However, slightly more (33%) thought that the U.S. gained more from the alliance than Australia (20%). The fact that one in three believed that the U.S. gained more from the relationship perhaps reflects the realities of the post-Cold War world; the relative absence of immediate external threats left Australians feeling more secure than they had for decades. Despite this sense that the alliance was of less benefit to Australia than the U.S., the overwhelming majority—over eight out of every 10— favoured the joint defence facilities with the U.S., with one in five saying that they were ‘strongly’ in favour. Just 15% opposed the facilities, and only 3% ‘strongly opposed’ them (Table 3.6). There is, then, strong and consistent support for defence links with the U.S., albeit with some variation in the intensity of that support. Is this pattern replicated with the question related directly to the ANZUS treaty? Since the early 1990s, when the question was first asked in an opinion survey, a large majority of the public has viewed the ANZUS treaty as important for protecting Australia’s security. Figure 3.2 shows that between eight and nine out of every 10 respondents see the treaty as either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important to Australia’s security, with peaks of support in 2001, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, and in 2009. The lowest level of public support is recorded in 1993, just after the collapse

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Table 3.6 Benefits from the U.S. alliance, 1993 Benefits from alliance

View of joint defence facilities

Australia gains more Both benefit equally U.S. gains more No opinion

20 44 33 3

Total (N )

100 (3023)

Strongly favour Favour Oppose Strongly oppose No opinion

20 62 12 3 3 100 (3023)

Note ‘Who do you think benefits more from Australia’s alliance with the United States?’; ‘Thinking now about the joint Australia-United States defence facilities in Australia. In general, do you favour or oppose the joint defence facilities?’ Source AES, 1993

60 50

Percent

40 30

Very important Fairly important

20

Not very/not at all important

10 0 1993 1996 1998 2000 2001 2004 2007 2009 2010 2013 2014 2016 2019

Fig. 3.2 Support for the ANZUS Alliance, 1993–2019 (Note ‘How important do you think the Australian alliance with the United States under the ANZUS treaty is for protecting Australia’s security?’ Source AES, 1993–2019; Survey of Defence Issues, 2000; ANUpoll on Defence, 2009; ANUpoll on Foreign Policy, 2014)

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of communism, when just 37% thought that the alliance was ‘very important’, and in 2019, when 39% said it was ‘very important’. The most recent decline in trust in the U.S. is not therefore reflected in any dramatic decline in public support for ANZUS. Since 2005, the annual Lowy Institute survey has also asked a question about support for the alliance with theU.S.; this question uses a simpler wording than the AES question by omitting explicit mention of the ANZUS treaty. The results in Fig. 3.3 show that this different wording produces estimates that are broadly in line with the AES, especially since 2009, albeit with some decline in the most recent surveys. In 2007, the Lowy survey estimate is 21 percentage points below that of the equivalent AES.10 However, in the years following 2009 where there is equivalent data, the average variation is much less, at just over 7 100 90 80 70

Percent

60 50

AES/ANUpoll 40

Lowy

30 20 10

2018

2019

2017

2015

2016

2014

2013

2012

2010

2011

2008

2009

2007

2006

2004

2005

2000

2001

1998

1996

1993

0

Fig. 3.3 Support for the U.S. Alliance, Lowy and AES/ANUpoll (Note [Lowy] ‘How important is our alliance relationship with the United States for Australia’s security?’ For the AES/ANUpoll question, see Figure 3.2. Estimates are the percent who say ‘very’ and ‘fairly’ important. Source AES, 1993–2019; Survey of Defence Issues, 2000; ANUpoll on Defence, 2009; ANUpoll on Foreign Policy, 2014; Lowy Polls, 2005–2019)

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percentage points. Both surveys—the AES and Lowy—therefore confirm the strong and consistent public support that exists for the alliance. By any standards, the trends in public opinion over the period for which data is available show strong and consistent public support for the ANZUS alliance, reflecting the bipartisan political support that it attracts. That support has been relatively consistent over the twenty year period of the surveys, with few fluctuations caused by international events or crises. To the extent that there has been change, it is in respondents moving between ‘very important’ and ‘fairly important’, rather than moving in the direction of seeing the alliance as unimportant. Moreover, the trends show that those taking a strong position in favour of ANZUS are proportionately greater than those who take a strong stance against it. In many ways, then, the ANZUS alliance is a stable and continuing backdrop to the public’s views about Australian foreign policy.

Crisis Relations with the U.S. Notwithstanding the strong public support that exists for the ANZUS treaty, the relationship has undergone periods of stress and these have necessarily impinged on views of the U.S. as a defence partner. The most important is the Vietnam War, and the withdrawal of Australian forces in 1972 due to the election of the Whitlam Labor government. The Vietnam War was a particular source of contention between the two countries; we deal with this in detail in Chapter 4. Other issues that caused friction in the defence relations between the two countries and which influenced public opinion are examined in this section. During the 1970s and the 1980s, the growth of the peace movement led to an increase in Australian public interest in the Australia–U.S. alliance, particularly in terms of questions around Australia’s role in nuclear disarmament efforts. This growth in dissenting voices was accompanied by a significant change in political leadership, with the election of a Labor government in Australia, followed 16 months later by the election of the Lange Labour government in New Zealand. Bill Tow (1989), in an essay examining the future of U.S. extended deterrence in the Pacific region during the 1980s, explains that the entry of these parties onto the political scene, which in opposition had advocated strong disarmament positions, brought about a strategic reassessment of the nature of the threats that ANZUS was designed to deter. We deal with public opinion

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on the three central issues pertaining to ANZUS during this time—visits by nuclear powered warships, joint Australia-U.S. defence facilities, and the MX missile crisis—in turn. Nuclear Powered Warships. In 1985, New Zealand’s newly elected Labour prime minister, David Lange, upheld an election promise to prohibit the entry of nuclear armed and powered ships into his country’s territorial waters. Since the U.S. did not publicly acknowledge which ships carried nuclear weapons and which did not, the practical effect of the policy was to ban the U.S. Navy from visiting New Zealand’s ports. Negotiations between the U.S. and New Zealand to try and resolve the issue ended without agreement and both the U.S. and Australia viewed the policy as a breach of New Zealand’s obligations under ANZUS. As a consequence, the U.S. announced that all treaty obligations to New Zealand would be suspended until the government reversed its antinuclear policy, characterising New Zealand as ‘a friend but not an ally’ (James 1992: 112). The anti-nuclear warships policy proved to be highly popular in New Zealand and was driven by strong public support for the peace and environmental movements. From 1976 until 1985, when the new policy was announced, between 35 and 50% of survey respondents opposed the visits of nuclear powered warships. After 1985, public opposition to the visits increased significantly, peaking at 65% in 1995 (Reitzig 2005: Figure 2). When public opinion towards nuclear armed (as opposed to powered) warships is examined, the shift in opinion is even more dramatic with more than eight out of every 10 respondents opposing such visits from the late 1980s onwards. Examining the survey evidence, Lamare (1987: 425–427) estimates that ‘a massive swing’ in public opinion occurred in a relatively short space of time, involving more than one-third of the New Zealand public. Australian public opinion likewise exhibits a considerable turnaround on the issue, also in a relatively short period of time, but not at the same levels as is found in New Zealand. Figure 3.4 shows that in 1976 just 20% opposed visits by nuclear powered warships, with 60% supporting them.11 The proportion opposing visits increased consistently from 1985 onwards, as the New Zealand decision gained publicity, and peaked at around four in every 10 respondents during the late 1980s. Indeed, from 1987 onwards, more survey respondents opposed such visits as supported them. In 1989, for example, 48% opposed such visits, while just 26%

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70 60

For Against

Percent

50 40 30 20 10 0 1976 1982 1985 1986 1987 1987 1988 1988 1988 1989 1989 1989

(Sep) (Dec) (Mar) (Oct) (Nov) (Mar) (May) (Dec)

Fig. 3.4 Attitudes Towards Nuclear Powered Warships, 1976–1989 (Note ‘I’d like you to tell me how you feel about visits to Australian ports by nuclear powered warships. Do you favour or oppose such visits, or do you not care?’ Question wordings vary slightly between surveys. Source McAllister and Makkai [1991: Figure 8 and Appendix Table])

supported them. Australian public opinion was therefore clearly in line with its New Zealand counterpart on the issue. While the anti-nuclear issue in New Zealand gained such momentum that it ultimately guided the Lange government’s policy on the ANZUS treaty, this was not the case in Australia. Two factors are most commonly cited for this disparity in approach. The first is the inherent conservatism of Australian society and a desire not to jeopardise the Australian-U.S. alliance during the Cold War. This, in turn, is often linked to the composition of Australian society, and to strong anti-communist sentiments among immigrants coming from Asia and Europe, many of whom had arrived as refugees (Pugh 1989: 120–121). Mack (1986: 452) also alludes to anti-communist feelings among the public as an explanation for why nuclear powered warship visits did not attract the same response in Australia as in New Zealand. He suggests that ‘New Zealand Labour does not have the tradition of highly conservative, anti-communist Catholicism that has been—and continues to be—so important within the right wing of the Australian Labor party’ (Mack 1986: 452).

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A second explanation for why the issue did not emerge in Australia pertains to the role of political leadership. Mack (1986: 452) argued at the time, that David Lange was prepared to ‘lead public opinion on the controversial nuclear issue in a way that the Hawke government never has been’. Lange and several of his ministers had been actively involved in anti-Vietnam War protests while Bob Hawke had not. The net effect of these differences was that public opinion had a much greater influence on foreign policy in New Zealand than in Australia. Joint Australia-U.S. Defence Bases. By the late 1970s, the peace movement, along with a section of the Labor party as well as the Australian Democrats, were vocal in their criticism of Australia’s involvement in various aspects of U.S. nuclear strategy. These included the issue of nuclear powered warships visits, discussed above, as well as the existence of joint Australia-U.S. defence facilities, and particularly those to which Australia had limited access (such as Pine Gap, as discussed above). The backdrop to the debate was Australia’s support for international disarmament, a fact recognised by Malcolm Fraser in a June 1978 speech at the UN (Paul 2000: 62ff). The Hawke government, following Fraser, continued this emphasis on disarmament and arms control in its foreign policy. In a speech in October 1983, Bill Hayden argued that one his first actions as foreign minister had been ‘to elevate greatly within the whole spectrum of Australian foreign policy, Australia’s determination to pursue arms control and disarmament goals’ (cited in Mulhall 1986: 32).12 Critics, however, argued that permitting the U.S. to operate bases on Australian soil made the government complicit with U.S. strategic doctrines that are ‘morally repugnant, dangerously destabilising, and make Australia a nuclear target’ (Mack 1986: 454–455; see also Camilleri 1987). Despite a great deal of personal and ideological difference between the peace activists, there was consensus around the movement’s principal demands (Camilleri 1987: 2). These included opposition to the introduction of nuclear weapons into Australia, the removal of all nuclear-related military installations, and an end to visits by nuclear powered or armed warships, as well as the establishment of nuclear free zones in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Annual rallies held on Palm Sunday became the public face of the peace movement, and they placed disarmament firmly on the public agenda. The first rally in April 1982 attracted around 100,000 participants and there were an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 participants at the 1985 rally (Camilleri 1987: 3). This renewed activity reinvigorated

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a movement that had been largely moribund since the anti-conscription campaigns of the 1960s (Pugh 1989: 118). And yet, while the peace movement gained a relatively high profile in Australia, public opinion polls reveal that attitudes towards the U.S. utilising Australian facilities for its defence operations remained overwhelmingly positive. While the exact format of the questions used in the surveys varies, they all ask about the U.S. military presence in Australia. In 1993, Table 3.7 shows that a total of 82% favoured joint defence facilities, with just 15% expressing opposition. The Lowy survey has asked questions about the presence of the U.S. military in Australia in its 2011, 2012 and 2013 surveys. When the question is framed more directly in terms of U.S. military forces, as in the Lowy surveys, support is lower than for the question about joint facilities, but still constitutes a majority of the respondents. In 2011, 55% of the respondents favoured allowing U.S. military forces to be based in Australia, compared to 61% in 2013. A more complex question fielded in 2012, asking specifically about the placement of 2500 U.S. soldiers in Darwin, attracted support from 74% of the respondents. What these numbers tell us is that although the peace movement was successful in focusing attention on the presence of U.S. bases in Australia, Table 3.7 Views of U.S. military forces in Australia, 1993–2013

Strongly in favour Somewhat in favour Somewhat against Strongly in favour Don’t know Total (N )

1993

2011

2012

2013

20 62 12 3 3 100 (3023)

20 35 21 22 2 100 (1005)

32 42 12 10 4 100 (1002)

26 35 17 17 5 100 (1002)

Note (1993) ‘Thinking now about the joint Australia-United States defence facilities in Australia. In general, do you favour or oppose the joint defence facilities?’ (2011, 2013) ‘Still on the alliance relationship with the United States. Are you personally in favour or against Australia allowing the United States to base U.S. military forces here in Australia? Is that strongly or somewhat?’ (2012) ‘In November 2011, the Australian prime minister and the United States president announced that up to 2500 U.S. soldiers would be based in Darwin and Northern Australia on a rotating but permanent basis. Are you personally in favour or against up to 2500 U.S. soldiers being based in Darwin? Is that strongly or somewhat?’ Source AES, 1993; Lowy Polls, 2011, 2012, 2013

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it appears to have had little impact on public opinion. Over the 20 year period for which survey data is available, a large majority of the public have supported U.S. bases. Mack (1986: 454) argues that while the peace movement succeeded in drawing the attention of the general population to security-related matters, ‘the public … responded by clinging ever more tightly to its ANZUS security blanket’. Gelber (1986: 30) further suggests that the leaders of the peace movement attracted a public backlash because of their tactics of civil disobedience and that as a consequence, the public became more wedded to the U.S. alliance than it otherwise might have been. Lack of political leadership on this issue is also likely a factor, with strong bipartisanship for the alliance structures enduring throughout Labor’s periods in office during the 1970s and 1980s. The MX Missile Crisis. The incident which became known in Australia as the ‘MX missile crisis’ occurred within weeks of the U.S.–New Zealand dispute over nuclear powered warships. The ‘crisis’, which was magnified in importance by this timing, was precipitated by a story written by Brian Toohey and published in The National Times on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Bob Hawke to Washington (Toohey 1985). Toohey’s report revealed that Australia would play a key strategic role in forthcoming U.S. missile tests. Hawke, it was revealed through a subsequent series of media stories,13 had agreed to honour the former Liberal government’s commitment to support the long range tests of U.S. missiles (Alves 1985; Mack 1986; McDougall 1989). The role that Sydney airport would play in these tests, as a base from which the last stages of the missile flight would be monitored, was at the heart of the controversy over the role Australia should play in such arrangements, and particularly as a country committed to nuclear disarmament. The agreement to move forward with the arrangement originated in a conversation between the U.S. secretary of state, George Shultz, and Bob Hawke in late 1983. In committing Australian support, Hawke had consulted neither his full cabinet nor the parliamentary party caucus (Mack 1986: 448). Instead, a small group called the ‘security cabinet’ (consisting of Hawke, the foreign minister Bill Hayden and defence minister Kim Beazley) had been exclusively involved in the decisionmaking process (McDougall 1989: 170). When the commitment became public, Hawke’s decision was bitterly opposed by many groups within the Labor party, ‘including Hawke’s own right wing faction of Labor that could normally be counted on to support U.S. nuclear policies’ (Mack

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1986: 448). The decision came at a time when the Reagan administration was promoting its Strategic Defence Initiative, colloquially known as the ‘Star Wars’ programme. This was also a highly sensitive issue for Labor since it was ‘at odds with Canberra’s own rejection of forward defence strategy in the post-Vietnam era’ (Tow 1989: 126). A Morgan Gallup Survey conducted in late February 1985 found that around two in three had heard of the MX missile proposal (Table 3.8). By that time—almost a month since the government had announced that U.S. planes monitoring the test would be permitted to land in Australia— the issue had been extensively canvassed in the media. When asked if they supported or opposed the use of Sydney airport to track the missile test, just over half of the respondents said that they supported the proposal, with four in 10 saying that they opposed it. Public opinion was, then, clearly divided on the issue, to a much greater extent than was the case when asked simply about the alliance with the U.S. Faced with public opposition to the MX missile test and combined with acute opposition from his own party, Hawke was left with very little choice but to withdraw his commitment to the U.S. Given that the uproar coincided with his visit to Washington, the withdrawal was announced in person, and Reagan helped to ease his host’s discomfort by withdrawing the U.S. request in a face-saving move (Camilleri 1987: 9). The official account of the meeting reported that as a result of ‘community concerns in Australia … [a] decision has been made by the U.S. to conduct the MX Table 3.8 Views of the MX missile crisis, 1985 Heard about MX missile proposal Yes No Can’t say Total (N )

Use of Sydney airport to track missile 65 34 1 100 (1822)

Should Should not Can’t say

51 41 8 100 (1822)

Note ‘Did you hear or read about the proposal that Sydney airport be used by American airplanes, used to track the splash-down of an MX missile, between New Zealand and Tasmania?’; ‘The Australian government agreed to Sydney airport being used, and then withdrew its permission. In your opinion, do you think those American airplanes, tracking the splash-down of an MX missile, should or should not have been allowed to use Sydney Airport?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 1295 (March 1985)

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tests without the use of Australian support arrangements’ (Department of Foreign Affairs 1985: 135). The MX incident was viewed by many Labor activists as a betrayal of the principles of Labor policy. Critics pointed out that while the ALP had condemned French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific (see Fry 1986; Langdon 1988), it was willing—under the MX agreement—to support the testing of a U.S. weapons system whose strategic significance would be far greater and more destabilising. This action appeared to put Labor at odds with its earlier endorsement of a nuclear freeze and its promotion of a nuclear weapon free zone in the South Pacific. As Andrew Mack (1986: 460) put it at the time: ‘The Hawke government stood accused of selling out, of being terrified to take a principled stand on key issues; the contrast with the Lange government in New Zealand is constantly emphasised’. Australian public opinion clearly had a strong impact on the government’s decision, but probably equally important was the division within the Labor party itself on the issue (Goot 1986). Each of these three issues—nuclear powered warship visits, U.S. military bases and the MX missile crisis—show that the public, while strongly committed to the alliance, was at times able to express a view at odds with that of its senior ally. While there is consistent support for U.S. military presence in Australia, the public moved against both supporting visits by U.S. nuclear powered warships and assisting with MX missile tests. That these issues did not impact on overall public support for the alliance itself, shows that the public differentiates between specific short-term issues and the fundamental long-term importance of the alliance. Moreover, with the exception of the MX missile crisis, government policy was not altered as a result of the public’s view. The Election of Donald Trump. The most recent crisis in Australia– U.S. relations was the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in 2016. It is unprecedented for the election of a president to cause a significant change in public opinion towards the U.S., but Trump’s victory heralded a major change in the direction of postwar U.S. foreign policy. Trump rejected the core tenets of the liberal international order, instead casting doubt on America’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the UN, and the world trading system, to mention just three (Schweller 2018). Instead, he emphasised narrow, short-term goals often at the expense of long-term allies. Australia was caught up in the early stages of this fundamental change when a phone call—subsequently leaked—between Trump and Malcolm Turnbull in January 2017

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descended into an argument about the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. These difficulties were not lost on the public. Figure 3.5 uses a question about the U.S. acting responsibly to trace opinion from 2006 until 2019. With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 the proportion who felt the U.S. was responsible increased markedly, peaking at 40% in 2011. In 2017, immediately following the election of Donald Trump, this proportion halved to 20%, and further declined to 14% in 2019. This is a significant change in public opinion in a short space of time and reflects the extent to which Trump’s radical departure from the established pattern of postwar U.S. foreign policy impacted on Australian public opinion. Other evidence concerning the impact of the Trump presidency on public opinion comes from two questions asked in the Lowy surveys concerning the future of Australia–U.S. relations and the possibility of joint military action (Table 3.9). Immediately following Trump’s election, 45% believed that Australia should distance itself from the U.S., but by 2018 that had declined to 31%. Many of the survey respondents may have felt that while Trump’s early rhetoric was isolationist, his ability to fundamentally change the direction of U.S foreign policy was more limited. 50 45 40

Percent

35 30 25 20 15

Great deal

10

Somewhat

5

Not much/none

0 2006

2008

2009

2011

2017

2018

2019

Fig. 3.5 Trust in the U.S. to Act Responsibly, 2006–2019 (Note ‘How much do you trust the following countries to act responsibly in the world? …the United States’. Source Lowy Polls, 2006–2019)

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Table 3.9 The U.S. alliance under Trump, 2016–2018 2016 Australia-U.S. relations Australia stay close to U.S. Australia distance itself from U.S. Don’t know Total Joint military action More likely Less likely No difference Don’t know Total (N )

2017

2018

51 45 4 100

65 29 6 100

64 31 4 100

4 59 35 3 100 (1202)

– – – – 100 (1200)

10 48 40 1 100 (600)

Note ‘Now that Donald Trump is President of the United States, which one of the following statements closes closest to your personal view? Australia should remain close to the United States under President Donald Trump. Australia should distance itself from the United States under President Donald Trump’. ‘Now about Australia joining with the U.S. in future military action. Now that Donald Trump is President of the United States, are you personally more likely or less likely than you were previously to support Australia taking future military action in coalition with the U.S. under Donald Trump, or does it make no difference to you?’ Question wordings vary slightly Source Lowy Polls, 2016–2018

The largest proportion of respondents did however take the view that Trump’s election made it less likely that Australia would engage in any joint military action with the U.S. In 2016 59% took this view, although this declined to 48% in 2018. The election of Donald Trump therefore had a tangible effect on Australian public opinion on foreign policy and resulted in many people taking a more sceptical view of the willingness of the U.S. to assist Australia in any future conflict. Nevertheless, the changes observed in the surveys start from a high base, with a large majority taking an optimistic view of U.S. relations, so any decline is relative. However, Trump’s election and his particular foreign policy focus does show that these events impinged on public opinion in distinct and important ways.

The Future of the ANZUS Treaty While the ANZUS treaty is regarded as the cornerstone of Australian defence policy and has attracted widespread public support, social changes are often mentioned as one mechanism by which that support could

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erode (Walsh 2013). One possible source of change is generational and the observation is that as those who have personal experience of the Second World War and its aftermath leave the electorate, overall public support for the treaty should decline. Advancing this argument, Walsh (2013) observes that while Australian foreign policy experts aged over 40 ‘portray the alliance as an integral part of Australia’s national security strategy’, those aged under 40 are ‘far more willing to voice their displeasure with current Australia-U.S. relations’. This, Walsh argues, places the alliance at long-term jeopardy unless the benefits to Australia are better communicated to the public by political leaders. A second source of potential change to the alliance with the U.S. is immigration. As the composition of the population moves away from Anglo-American donor societies public support for the alliance may weaken. Australia has the greatest proportion of immigrants within the population of any advanced society. And as a greater proportion of recent immigrants are sourced from Asian countries, many with a traditional enmity towards the U.S., we might expect them to be less supportive of the alliance. A third source of change is political and concerns the shifting views of political parties and political leaders. Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal prime minister between 1975 and 1983, famously argued that a strategic alliance with the U.S. was in Australia’s national interests during the Cold War but represented an anachronism in the post-Cold War period, as Australia seeks to build economic and political ties within Asia. As Fraser put it in his book, Dangerous Allies, dependence on the U.S. has become a paradox: ‘we need America for defence from an attacker who is likely to attack us because we use America for defence. It is not a sustainable policy’ (Fraser and Roberts 2014: 167). Mark Latham, the Labor leader between 2003 and 2005, has also taken a stridently anti-American stance, arguing that Australia should have an independent foreign policy, a position he holds ‘as a badge of honour’ (Latham 2011: 125). Similarly, while the major political parties have generally given the ANZUS alliance bipartisan support, the Greens have advocated closing all joint defence facilities and halting overseas military deployments in Australia. We use four of the Australian Election Study surveys—1993, 2003, 2013 and 2019—to test these three explanations for public support for the ANZUS alliance (Table 3.10). Social background is measured by age and birthplace, the latter divided into the broad region of the respondent’s birthplace, with gender, education and income used as control

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Table 3.10 Explaining support for ANZUS, 1993–2019 1993

2003

2013

2019

Est.

Stand. Est.

Stand

Est.

Stand. Est.

Stand.

.04 .04** −.32** −.03*

.03 .07** −.14** −.06*

.08* .03* −.12* .01

.05* .06* −.06* .01

.04 .06** −.04 .00

.02 .14** −.03 .00

.07* .06** .08* .00

.05* .13** .05* .02

−.13* −.12 .15 −.12 −.12

−.05* −.03 .02 −.02 −.02

−.13* −.09 −.08 −.25** −.20*

−.05* −.02 −.02 −.06** −.05*

−.17** −.18* −.08 −.33** −.22*

−.06** −.04* −.01 −.11** −.05*

−.21** .12 −.69** −.37** −.12

−.07** .02 −.09** −.11** −.02

Social background Gender (male) Age (decades) Tertiary education Family income (quintiles) Birthplace (Australia) N Europe S Europe E Europe Asia Other Partisanship (Lib-Nat) Labor Democrat/Green Other/none Party leaders (0–10) Labor Liberal

−.10 −.06 −.17 −.02 −.17** .06**

.01 .01 −.41** .11** −.07 −.03

.01 .04**

−.02* −.06* .01* .09** .40** .03**

Constant Adj R-squared (N )

2.92 .08 (2308)

.05 .15**

2.70 .25 (1689)

−.03 −.02 −.16** −.10** −.23** −.07** −.09 −.03 −.15** −.08** −.14** −.07**

2.90 .08 (3860)

.04* .15**

.01 .07**

.05 .27** --

2.59 .14 (2090)

**, statistically significant at p < .01, *p < .05 Note Ordinary least squares regression equations predicting support for ANZUS, scored from 1 (not at all important) to 4 (very important). Figures are partial and standardised regression coefficients. The independent variables are all scored zero or one unless otherwise noted Source AES, 1993, 2001, 2013, 2019

variables. This tests the hypothesis that support for the ANZUS alliance may be contingent on changes in the social composition of Australian society. Partisanship is measured by identification with one of the main parties, with an additional category for those who identify either with a minor party or who said that they had no identification. We might expect that there would be minor differences between supporters of the two major parties, but more substantial differences between these groups and those who support the Greens. Finally, in order to test the potential

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importance of specific political leaders in shaping opinion, the two main party leaders in each of the three elections are added to the equation, in the form of zero to 10 thermometer scales. These groups of independent variables are used to predict support for the ANZUS alliance. Which of the three explanations—social change, political parties or leaders—gained greatest support from the results in Table 3.10? In 1993, 2013 and 2019 the patterns are very similar, with social background having the predominant effect, with leaders and partisanship coming second and third in importance, respectively. The evidence from 2003 differs: in this election there was a major effect for leaders, in this case for John Howard, the Liberal leader. Respondents who rated Howard highly were significantly more likely to support ANZUS, net of other things. This may be due to Howard’s presence in New York during 9/11, and his decision to invoke the ANZUS treaty as a consequence. It may also reflect Howard’s strong support for the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in March 2002. Whatever the reason, the respondents closely associated him with ANZUS, while there is only a more minor (and, as expected, negative) effect for Latham, the Labor leader. Indeed, it is notable that the effects for the four Liberal leaders are consistently and significantly more important than that of their Labor counterparts. The social background of the respondents confirms the importance of age and birthplace. Older respondents are consistently more likely to support ANZUS, net of other things; the effect is largest in the 2013 and 2019 surveys and indeed it is the second largest effect in the overall models in both surveys. As predicted, being born overseas reduces support for ANZUS, and the effects are negative for every birthplace group for which the coefficient is statistically significant. Moreover, the effect of birthplace is increasing across the surveys. For example, the partial coefficient for having been born in an Asian country increases from −.12 in 1993 to −.37 in 2019. It would appear, therefore, that large-scale immigration is indeed changing overall support for the alliance, and that support is weakest among those coming to Australia from Asia. Bipartisanship over ANZUS is reflected in the lack of any consistent and statistically significant differences between Labor and LiberalNational respondents on the issue. To the extent that there are partisan differences, it is in Australian Democrat (in 1993) and Green partisans (in 2003 and 2013) being opposed to the alliance, along with supporters of minor parties and those with no party identification. Comparing the

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impact of the major parties as against that of their leaders in support for the alliance, leaders are consistently more important than parties. In the public mind the alliance is thus something that is more closely associated with politicians and their pronouncements than with party policies. The consistent importance of age across the three surveys, which has been confirmed by Miller (2015) among others, has attracted considerable attention. The observation that supports for the U.S. alliance is highest among older respondents—especially those who grew up during the Second World War and to a lesser extent during the Korean and Vietnam wars—implies that public support will gradually decline as these generations leave the population. Underlying this finding is the view that public support for the U.S. alliance is based on generations and their associated life experiences rather than on age and the normal progression of the lifecycle. Since the newer generations do not possess the experiences of growing up when the alliance with the U.S. was important to Australia’s security, it is argued that they will place less value on it. Distinguishing age from generational influences in support for the alliance is possible by examining support for the alliance by the year in which the respondent was born. If generational effects are present, we would expect the same generations in different surveys (that is, respondents surveyed when they are at different stages of the lifecycle) to show broadly the same patterns of support for the alliance. If lifecycle effects are present, then the patterns of support should trend in a similar way across the surveys, regardless of when the survey was conducted. A third possibility is that there are period effects, that is, there are effects which are unique to the year in which the survey was conducted. These possibilities are tested by examining public support for the alliance across the four surveys and by scoring views of the alliance on a scale, in order to reduce any variations in the intensity of the responses. The results in Fig. 3.6 show little support for generational effects in support for the alliance. In each survey, the trend suggests an age or a lifecycle effect, with support gradually increasing with age across all four surveys. There is relatively little evidence that particular generations behave in any consistent way. For example, those born between 1969 and 1975 have different levels of support for the alliance across each of the surveys; if they were behaving as a generation, then their support for the alliance should be similar, regardless of the year in which their views are measured. There is, however, some evidence of period effects, with the survey year being important, at least comparing 1993 with 2003

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10 9 8

Mean, zero to 10

7 6 5 4 3 2

1993 2001 2013 2019

1 0

Year of birth

Fig. 3.6 Support for ANZUS by Generation, 1993–2019 (Note Estimates are mean values in the 1993, 2003, 2013 and 2019 AES surveys on a zero to 10 scale [scored 10 = very important, 6.7 = fairly important, 3.3 = not very important, 0 = not at all important]. Source AES 1993, 2003, 2013, 2019)

and 2013. These results are similar to those of Miller, who finds ‘strong support for the existence of both period and age effects but little for the existence of cohort effects’ (Miller 2015: 455). These results suggest that public support for the ANZUS alliance may encounter change in the future as a result of changes caused by immigration. There is no evidence that generational change will impact on public support, at least based on the survey evidence analysed here. Much more important than immigration, however, is political leadership. The findings demonstrate the pivotal importance of what leaders say affecting what voters think. When leaders praise the ANZUS alliance, public support will increase; when leaders criticise it, support is likely to weaken. This underpins Walsh’s (2013) argument that political leaders must publicly emphasise the value of the alliance to Australia if they wish it to remain.

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Conclusion The alliance with the U.S. has formed the bedrock of Australian foreign and defence policy almost since it was signed in 1951. It has guided Australia’s involvement in foreign wars stretching from Korea in the early 1950s to Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s. The alliance attracts bipartisan support from the political elite and no serving major party leader has publicly criticised it.14 While there have been periodic crises in the relationship— several of which have been outlined here—none have threatened the fundamentals of the alliance. Both sides have compromised in order to ensure that the relationship remains unaffected. Given this elite unanimity, it is not surprising that the alliance receives strong support from the public. The survey evidence presented in this chapter shows that public support for the alliance has been consistently high for as long as opinion polls have asked about it, with a modest decline following the election of Donald Trump in 2016. To the extent that there have been fluctuations in attitudes, it is in the intensity of those opinions not in their direction, and this intensity has varied with the willingness of the U.S. to engage in overseas operations. Such overseas engagements send a message to the public that they can count on the U.S. for support in the event of a military threat to Australia. To all intents and purposes, then, for the public the U.S. alliance is a valence issue rather than a positional one; it does not divide the parties or their voters, and no major party has sought to politicise it. Concerns about weakening support for the alliance have typically focused on generational change. The results presented here suggest that this is erroneous; any change related to age appears to be a consequence of ageing itself, not of generational experience, and even then the effects are relatively minor. Another possible driver of change in attitudes towards ANZUS is immigration, especially from southeast Asia. Again, while there are statistically significant effects apparent in the surveys, such demographic change would take many generations to have any meaningful impact on overall attitudes across the population. A more likely shift in attitudes in a shorter time period is likely to occur from a black swan event that brings about a rift in the Australian bipartisan consensus. What does matter in shaping public opinion are the actions of the major party leaders, in particular Liberal leaders. The results consistently

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show a strong positive relationship, net of a wide range of other factors, between the incumbent Liberal leader and public support for ANZUS. This underpins the importance of elite consensus to the alliance. Calls to subject ANZUS, and the force deployments that arise from it, to greater public scrutiny and debate are resisted by political leaders for this very reason; for ANZUS to prosper and be maintained, politicians are aware that they must continue to resist turning it into a partisan battle ground.

Notes 1. Howard took the view that as 9/11 represented an attack on the U.S. mainland, it required a formal response. As he put in his speech to parliament: ‘In every way, the attack on New York and Washington and the circumstances surrounding it did constitute an attack upon the metropolitan territory of the United States of America within the provisions of articles IV and V of the ANZUS treaty. If that treaty means anything, if our debt as a nation to the people of the United States in the darkest days of World War II means anything, if the comradeship, the friendship and the common bonds of democracy and a belief in liberty, fraternity and justice mean anything, it means that the ANZUS treaty applies and that the ANZUS treaty is properly invoked’. http://www.low yinterpreter.org/post/2014/08/15/Great-Australian-foreign-policy-spe eches-Howard-911-US-alliance.aspx. Accessed 8 March 2016. 2. As Don Rawson put it in 1969, ‘no Australian party which did not make obeisance to the United States would succeed in holding or gaining office’ (Rawson 1969: 41). Further, as Lee (1995: 74) explains: ‘Labor’s foreign policy was internationalist and its defence policy regional. The Liberal and Country parties, supported by the press, sharply disagreed with Labor’s policies: they had little faith in the ability of the United Nations to preserve peace; and they wanted Australia to rely for its security on the global strategic plans of the United Kingdom and the United States’. 3. A poll conducted in 1946 confirmed these findings. Asked the question ‘In your opinion, are prospects of world peace better or worse now than after the 1914–18 war?’ 29% of the respondents said they were better, 40% believed they were worse, 12% said no difference, and 19% had no opinion (Australian Public Opinion Polls 337–344, April–May 1946). 4. Australian Public Opinion Polls 205–212 (July–August 1944). 5. The report does not say when interviewing was completed. 6. The mail self-completion methodology does not give the respondent the option of giving a ‘don’t know’ response, so the estimates refer to those who left the question blank.

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7. The 1967–1979 ANPAS surveys were all collected using a personal interview, while the 1987 AES was mail self-completion. The consistency of the proportions with no opinion therefore suggests that there was no method effect involved. 8. The 2005 Lowy Institute Poll found that 34% of those interviewed thought that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States would be good for Australia, 34% that it would make no difference, and 32% that it would be bad for Australia. This survey did not include a question on trust in the U.S. which would have permitted a test of the link between views of the FTA and trust in the U.S. However, a question about the ANZUS alliance was asked in the survey and the correlation between views of ANZUS and views of the FTA was .33 (p < .000), suggesting a significant link. 9. See, for example, Pyne (2019) who, as defence minister stated: ‘the public can have confidence that its government is acting lawfully and responsibly in overseeing such activities [at the joint defence facilities], and that Australia’s continuing support for these activities is in our nation’s best interests’. 10. It is unclear what the reasons for the discrepancy between the earlier surveys might be. The surveys have all used different methodologies, with the AES using a mail-out self-completion method, and the Lowy Poll and the ANUpoll a phone method. 11. Data for the estimates are extracted from McAllister and Makkai (1991: Figure 8 and Appendix Table) using surveys which sampled the total adult population and asked the same survey question, with minor changes. 12. Australia’s commitment to issues such as these, and involvement in the multilateral institutions that sought to define the norms and rules around them, is discussed in more detail in Chapter 8. 13. A detailed description of the series of articles can be found in Goot (1986) and Ramsey (1985). 14. Both Malcolm Fraser and Mark Latham had resigned from the Liberal and Labor parties, respectively, by the time they criticized ANZUS. In office, while Latham advocated pulling troops out of Iraq, the foreign policy platform he took to the election, outlined in his April 2004 speech to the Lowy Institute, still placed the alliance as a pillar of Australian foreign policy. See https://australianpolitics.com/2004/ 04/07/labor-and-the-world-latham-foreign-policy-speech.html. Likewise, Simon Crean, when Labor leader in 2003, opposed sending Australian troops to participate in the invasion of Iraq, on the grounds that it had not received UN endorsement. He did not, however, criticize ANZUS. See http://australianpolitics.com/2003/03/20/why-labor-does-not-sup port-the-war-crean.html. Accessed 30 August 2017.

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References Alves, D. 1985. Anti-Nuclear attitudes in New Zealand and Australia. Washington, DC: National Defense University Press. Bell, C. 1988. Dependent ally: A study in Australian foreign policy. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Camilleri, J. 1987. Nuclear disarmament: An emerging issue in Australian politics. London: Australian Studies Centre, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. Department of Foreign Affairs. 1985. Visit by the Prime Minister to the U.S.: Joint Communique. Australian Foreign Affairs Review, 56(2): 135. Fraser, M. with Roberts, C. 2014. Dangerous allies. Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press. Fry, G. 1986. The South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone: Significance and implications. Critical Asian Studies, 18(2): 61–72. Gelber, H. 1986. Australia, the peace movement and the international balance. Australian Outlook, 40(1): 25–31. Goot, M. 1986. Saying ‘No’ to MX: The electoral fallout. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 21(4): 271–284. Greenwood, G. 1947. Australia’s foreign policy. Australian Outlook, 1(1): 53– 67. James, C. 1992. New Territory: The Transformation of New Zealand, 1984–1992. Auckland: Bridget Williams Books. Lamare, J. 1987. International conflict: ANZUS and New Zealand public opinion. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 31(3): 420–437. Langdon, F. 1988. Challenges to the United States in the South Pacific. Pacific Affairs, 61(1): 7–26. Latham, M. 2011. The Latham diaries. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Lee, D. 1995. Britain and Australia’s defence policy, 1945–1949. War and Society, 13(1): 61–80. Lowe, D. 2010. Australia between empires: The life of Percy Spender. London: Pickering and Chatto. Mack, A. 1986. Crisis in the other alliance. World Policy Journal, 3(3): 447–472. McAllister, I., & Makkai, T. 1991. Changing Australian opinion on defence: Trends, patterns, and explanations. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2(3): 195– 235. McAllister, I., & Ravenhill, J. 1998. Australian attitudes towards closer engagement with Asia. The Pacific Review, 11(1): 119–141. McDonald, H. 2016. What really happens at Pine Gap? The Saturday Paper, October 1–7. McDougall, D. 1989. The Hawke government’s policies towards the USA. The Round Table, 78(310): 165–176.

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Miller, C. 2015b. Public support for ANZUS: Evidence of a generational shift? Australian Journal of Political Science, 50(3): 442–461. Mulhall, D. 1986. Australia and disarmament diplomacy, 1983–1985: Rhetoric or achievement? Australian Outlook, 40(1): 32–38. Paul, T. 2000. Power versus prudence: Why nations forgo nuclear weapons. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press. Pugh, M. 1989. The ANZUS crisis, nuclear visiting and deterrence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pyne, C. 2019. Joint facilities: Enhancing Australia’s security and prosperity. Ministerial Statement, 20 February. pyneonline.com.au/media-centre/spe eches/ministerial-statement-joint-facilities-enhancing-australias-security-andprosperity. Ramsey, A. 1985. The iceberg that went unnoticed. The National Times, 1–7 February. Rawson, D. 1969. Foreign policy and the political parties. In M. Teichmann (ed.), New directions in Australian foreign policy: Ally, satellite or neutral? Middlesex: Penguin. Reitzig, A. 2005. New Zealand’s ban on nuclear-propelled ships revisited. Auckland: MA dissertation, University of Auckland. Schweller, R. 2018. Three cheers for Trump’s foreign policy: What the establishment misses. Foreign Affairs, 97(5): 133–143. Starke, J. 1965. The ANZUS treaty alliance. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Tanter, R. 2012. The ‘Joint Facilities’ revisited: Desmond Ball, democratic debate on security, and the human interest. Special Report, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, 12 December. Toohey, B. 1985. Sydney role in U.S. missile tests. The National Times, 1–7 February. Tow, W. 1989. The ANZUS dispute: Testing U.S. extended deterrence in alliance politics. Political Science Quarterly, 104(1): 117–149. Walsh, M. 2013. Generational divide could endanger long-term AustraliaU.S. relations. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 2 August. Available from http://journal.georgetown.edu/generational-divide-couldendanger-long-term-australia-u-s-relations-by-michael-walsh/. Watt, A. 1967. The evolution of Australian foreign policy: 1938–1965. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Welch, D. 2014. Top intelligence analyst slams Pine Gap’s role in American drone strikes. 7.30 Report, 13 August. Available from https://www.abc.net. au/7.30/top-intelligence-analyst-slams-pine-gaps-role-in/5669322. Wolfsohn, H. 1951. Australian foreign policy. Australian Outlook, 5(2): 69–70.

CHAPTER 4

Forward Defence: Korea, Malaya and Vietnam

This chapter considers the public’s views on the role of its armed forces in security policy, through the lens of Australian military involvement in overseas combat and peacekeeping missions. The focus is on the three conflicts which dominated defence and foreign policy in the immediate postwar period. The first is the Korean War which began in 1950 when North Korea invaded the South and ended with partition of the Korean peninsula in 1953. The second is the Malayan Emergency which began in 1948 when communists sought to overthrow British colonial rule; the insurgency ended in 1960. The third and most significant conflict from the perspective of public opinion is the Vietnam War, which began in 1955 and ended in 1975, although Australian troops were withdrawn earlier, in 1972. Australia’s involvement in these three conflicts was based on a strategy of ‘forward defence’, through which defending Australia could best be achieved by neutralising threats where they arose within the region. This approach was popularised in the ‘domino theory’, which argued that Chinese-backed communists planned to progressively occupy southeast Asia (Slater 1993). Strategic planning in the immediate postwar period emphasised this strategy through the value of a strong allied presence in the region. Within that framework, Australia functioned as a willing southern base from which to mount operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The military’s force structure also reflected this © The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_4

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strategy, and resources were directed towards both the maintenance and enhancement of interoperability with allied forces. In addition, troops were deployed to ground operations in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam (Cheeseman 1991: 430). The role the armed forces play in securing Australia at various historical junctures has been determined largely by strategic assessments and defence doctrine. Yet the decision to deploy troops abroad is not solely a strategic one; its successful implementation relies heavily on the participation and consent of the population. The interplay between elite and public attitudes towards the deployment of troops abroad in both combat and peacekeeping roles is poorly understood. This chapter traces the role of public opinion towards Australia’s defence in decisions around the general shape of force structure as well as troop deployments. It aims to understand public attitudes towards these decisions through exploring the ideas that shape public opinion at key moments of Australian involvement in overseas conflicts. In this chapter we examine the postwar conflicts up to and including Vietnam; these most typify the strategy of ‘forward defence’. In Chapter 5 we examine defence strategy since the Vietnam War.

The Korean War Japanese rule in Korea, which began in 1910, was ended by their defeat in the Second World War. Following the Japanese withdrawal the northern part of the peninsula, defined by the 38th parallel, was occupied by Russia, while the southern part was occupied by the U.S. After a series of diplomatic failures to try and unite the two opposing factions, the North Koreans invaded the South in June 1950. The invasion prompted the newly formed United Nations to pass a resolution condemning the North and asking for military assistance from its members to form a military force. Australia responded by raising a force of 1000 men with prior military experience to enlist for three years, one year of which would be served in Korea (O’Neill 1981). At the beginning of the conflict, in August 1950, a large majority of the public supported Australian participation. Table 4.1 shows that around three in every four supported the government’s decision to send military forces. There is slightly more support (77%) for sending ships and planes than for sending troops (71%) who would be deployed on the ground. The relatively small proportions with no opinion—less than one

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Table 4.1 Use of armed forces in Korea, August 1950

Ships, planes Approve Disapprove No opinion Total (N )

77 15 8 100 (1620)

79

Infantry, artillery 71 20 9 100 (1620)

Note ‘Do you approve or disapprove of the government sending ships and places/infantry and artillery to Korea?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 700–710 (August–September 1950)

Table 4.2 Participation in the Korean War, 1951–1953

February 1951 Keep fighting Withdraw No opinion Total (N )

58 25 17 100 (1700)

February 1953 54 26 20 100 (1600)

Note ‘If the Chinese won’t agree to a ceasefire in Korea, do you think the UN should keep fighting, or not?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 744–755 (February–March 1951); 906–915 (February–March 1953)

in 10—reflects the public’s sensitivity to one country invading another, remembering the Japanese invasion of the region in the Second World War. It is also a consequence of the fact that the military would be deployed within a UN-sanctioned framework. Australian forces arrived in Korea in September 1950 and with the communist forces in retreat, it seemed likely that the war would be quickly won. This prompted a ‘home by Christmas’ campaign by which UN forces sought to make one final offensive against the North in order to end the conflict. However, the direct intervention of the Chinese in October together with Russian assistance resulted in a communist counter-offensive which pushed the UN forces back to Seoul; the capital fell to the communists in January. What followed was a prolonged and bitter land battle with neither side gaining an upper hand. Table 4.2 shows that this stalemate had an impact on public opinion, with support

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for continuing the war dropping to 58% of the survey respondents in early 1951. Around one in four thought that the UN should withdraw. Towards the end of 1952 the U.S. began to seek diplomatic ways of ending the war, and by February 1953 the Australian public’s support for continuing the fighting had declined further, to 54%. An armistice was eventually signed in July 1953 which again partitioned Korea at the 38th parallel. The Korean War was the first major conflict after the Second World War in which nuclear weapons were available as a strategic military option. Throughout the Korean War the threat of the use of nuclear weapons was never far away, given their use in Japan in 1945. That was seen to have successfully ended the war with much less loss of Allied lives than would otherwise have been the case; a majority of respondents—59%—in a December 1953 survey said that it was right to use nuclear weapons against Japan.1 During the war, American military planners considered nuclear weapons to be a viable strategic option against China if the situation demanded it and their view was that the public would support their use (Dingman 1988: 53–54). The situation was made more complex by the decision of the U.S. President, Harry Truman, to relieve General Douglas MacArthur of command of UN forces in Korea due in part to his advocacy of using nuclear weapons to end the conflict. At the start of the war, the Australian public was against the use of nuclear weapons. Table 4.3 shows that in August 1950, just two months after the North Koreans invaded the South, fewer than one in Table 4.3 Use of nuclear weapons in Korea, 1950–1953

August 1950 Favour Oppose No opinion Total (N )

18 73 9 100 (1250)

December 1951 33 51 16 100 (1500)

February 1953 28 57 15 100 (1600)

Note ‘If peace doesn’t come soon in Korea, do you think the United Nations should or should not use atom bombs on military targets in Korea?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 700–710 (August–September 1950); 822–834 (December 1951–January 1952); 906–915 (February–March 1953)

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five supported their use. However, as the war dragged on without any prospect of an Allied victory, public opinion became more supportive of their use. In late 1951 one in three supported it, and this declined only slightly, to 28%, in early 1953. This increased support for their use was undoubtedly related to direct Chinese participation in the war, which began in October 1950 and was the cause of the UN’s failure to push the communist forces back into the north. Many respondents will have seen nuclear weapons as the only way of halting a Chinese advance. One consequence of the debate about whether to use nuclear weapons in Korea and the decision not to deploy them was an increasing belief that they helped to ensure peace during the Cold War. Table 4.4 shows that in January 1950—almost six months before the Korean War started—three out of 10 believed that the presence of nuclear weapons had made the possibility of another world war more likely. However, during the years that followed that proportion declined incrementally, to a low of 16% in 1956. By then, there appeared to be some public acceptance that nuclear weapons were an important part of maintaining the balance of power between east and west. Coming just five years after the defeat of Japan in 1945, the conflict in Korea invoked strong opinions among the public. The initial invasion of the South by the communist forces produced strong support for Australian participation. But as with so many overseas conflicts, the absence of a quick victory and the emergence of a brutal and prolonged land battle gradually eroded public support. In this regard, the Korea War foreshadowed the patterns of public opinion that came later in the Vietnam War. A total of 17,000 Australians served in Korea of whom 339 Table 4.4 Nuclear weapons and the possibility of war, 1950–1956 January 1950 More Less likely No opinion Total (N )

30 37 23 100 (1800)

June 1952 24 45 31 100 (1800)

May 1954 18 56 26 100 (2000)

September 1956 16 61 23 100 (2000)

Note ‘Do you think the atom bomb has made another war more likely or less likely?’ In 1954 and 1956 ‘hydrogen bomb’ was used in place of ‘atom bomb’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 645–661 (January–February 1950); 865–874 (July–August 1952); 1036–1046 (September–October 1954)

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were killed, compared to 60,000 who served in Vietnam where 521 were killed. In both wars the public rapidly began to weary of the conflict as the casualties mounted and the prospect of victory became more elusive.

The Malayan Emergency The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war waged by communists against British colonial rule; it began in 1948 and ended only in 1960 with a communist defeat. Malaya became independent from Britain in 1957 but the new state remained reliant on Commonwealth forces for its defence.2 Australia’s involvement in the Malayan Emergency began in 1950, when RAAF aircraft and personnel arrived in Singapore. The first Australian ground troops arrived in 1955 and Australian forces along with other Commonwealth forces served between 1950 and 1963. A total of 39 Australians were killed during the Malayan Emergency, most of whom were from the army (Australian War Memorial, n.d.). In the initial stages of the emergency the Australian military commitment was limited to aircraft and naval ships, with the aircraft being used for ground attack against the communists who were operating in the jungle (Dennis and Grey 1996). In these early years of the insurgency, fighting the communists in the jungle was limited mainly to British troops. As the conflict dragged on without a resolution, the British requested that Australian soldiers be added to the Commonwealth forces. Table 4.5 shows that in May 1950 around two in every three Australians supported volunteers going to assist the British in Malaya, with just one in four opposed. The next month, when a question was asked which did not mention assisting the British, the proportion supporting participation declined to one in two. By 1955, when the decision whether or not to commit ground troops was being discussed, a majority, albeit a narrow one, supported the use of ground troops. The role that the ground troops would play in Malaya if they were committed was widely discussed in the media. Early in the conflict the British realised that the use of large numbers of troops in the jungle was ineffective, and that the soldiers would have to emulate the guerrilla tactics of their communist opponents if they were to prevail. Consequently, the Australian public was made aware of what might be required if their soldiers were committed to the conflict. Table 4.6 shows that the public was generally divided over whether they should be used to fight the communists in the jungle or used to guard key installations. In June

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Table 4.5 Support for Australian forces in Malaya, 1950–1955 Volunteers to help Send volunteer British in Malaya force to Malaya May 1950 June 1950 Favour Against No opinion Total (N )

63 27 10 100 (1800)

Troops to Singapore to help Malaya February 1955

50 29 21 100 (1800)

60 22 18 100 (2000)

Troops to Malaya June 1955 54 25 21 100 (2000)

Note ‘Would you favour or oppose an Australian force of volunteers going to help the British in Malaya?’ ‘Do you think Australia should or should not send a volunteer force of soldiers to Malaya?’ ‘Are you for or against Australian troops going to Singapore to help garrison Malaya?’ ‘Are you for or against Australian troops going to Malaya?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 677–689 (May–June 1950); 690–699 (June–July 1950); 1070–1080 (February–March 1955); 1093–1102 (June–July 1955)

Table 4.6 The military’s role in Malaya, 1955–1956

June 1955 Fight communists Garrison duty No opinion Total (N )

December 1955

February 1956

40

35

45

34 26 100 (2000)

41 24 100 (2000)

33 22 100 (2000)

Note ‘If Australian troops do go to Malaya, do you think they should fight the communists in the jungle, or keep to garrison duty?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 1150–1151 (February– March 1956)

1955 a plurality—40%—took the view that they should fight the communists in jungle warfare. This declined to 35% in 1955 but increased again to 45% in 1956, which coincided with the offer of an amnesty to the communists by the British. Other evidence about the views of the public towards participation in the Malayan Emergency in the mid-1950s comes from two questions asked in surveys in mid-1955 and early 1956, respectively. These questions asked the respondents if they thought Australian forces should

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Table 4.7 Support for participation in the Malayan emergency, 1955–1956

June 1955 Remain in Malaya Return to Australia No opinion Total (N )

55 29 16 100 (2000)

February 1956 53 27 20 100 (2000)

Note ‘Do you think Australian forces should remain in Malaya or return to Australia?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 1127–1142 (November– December 1955)

remain in Malaya or return to Australia. Table 4.7 shows that a narrow majority were in favour of them remaining, and the proportions are consistent across the two surveys. Between 27 and 29% wanted the forces withdrawn to Australia. This survey evidence, together with the survey findings presented earlier, suggest that while support for military participation in Malaya was not overwhelming, it represented a majority of the population, and it remained at that level for most of the period leading up to the cessation of hostilities in 1960. Some Australian forces remained in Malaya following the end of the insurgency, mainly at the air force base in Butterworth. In 1957 the new Malaysian state came into existence and was admitted to the Commonwealth. British forces remained in order to provide security against a renewed communist insurgency. However, in 1968 the British government announced that it would withdraw its forces from east of Suez, effectively abandoning all of its bases in southeast Asia and the Middle East; this was scheduled to be completed by 1972. This withdrawal presented a dilemma for the Australian government, which had traditionally assisted British forces in southeast Asia. It also coincided with the peak in Australian military involvement in Vietnam which by then was beginning to garner less public support. Despite the inability to win a decisive victory in the Vietnam War, the survey evidence suggests that the public was broadly in favour of Australian forces remaining in the new Malaysian state after the British withdrawal. Table 4.8 shows that a majority were in favour of retaining the same level of forces as at present or increasing them. In February 1969, for example, 44% opted for the same troop level while 17% wanted an increase; just 20% wanted to withdraw Australian forces. However,

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Table 4.8 The level of assistance to Malaysia, 1968–1969 April 1968

February 1969

24 37 7 19 13 100 (992)

17 44 7 20 12 100 (1000)

Increase As now Reduce Withdraw No opinion Total (N )

Note ‘By 1972, Britain will have withdrawn all its armed forces from Singapore and Malaysia. In 1972 do you think Australia’s armed forced in Malaysia should be increased, kept as now, reduced, or withdrawn?’ Source Morgan Gallup Polls 197 (April 1968); 201 (March 1969)

Table 4.9 Support for Australian forces in Malaya after 1972, 1968–1972 February 1968 Favour Against No opinion Total (N )

63 27 10 100 (6141)

October 1969

October 1970

50 29 21 100 (3546)

60 22 18 100 (3999)

April 1972 54 25 21 100 (2391)

Note ‘If Malaysia asks us to continue to keep some of our armed forces there after the British withdraw in 1972, should we keep those forces in Malaysia or bring them back to Australia?’ Source Morgan Gallup Polls 196 (February 1968); 206 (October 1969); 214 (October 1970); 230 (April 1972)

Table 4.9, using a different question, shows that support for continued participation declined between 1968 and 1972. While each of the four surveys records a majority in favour of supporting Malaysia militarily (although October 1969 records just 50% in favour) the overall trend shows a decline, in line with public opinion about Vietnam. By 1972 those favouring keeping armed forces in Malaysia after 1972 had declined by 9 percentage points compared to the 1968 estimate. Compared to the Korean and Vietnam wars, the Malayan Emergency represented a relatively small military commitment by Australia. On that basis, and because Malaya (and later Malaysia) were relatively small countries with strong historic connections to the British Commonwealth, the

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public remained broadly in favour of continued involvement. Undoubtedly the relative success of the Commonwealth armed forces against the communist insurgents was also a factor in the public’s support. However, a decline in public support is also apparent by the early 1970s, and this is inevitably linked to the increasingly remoteness of a victory in the Vietnam War. In the next section we examine these changes in public opinion towards the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam War Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War commenced in the early 1960s with the deployment of a small number of advisors. However it was not until 1965, which Dupont (1991: 56) refers to as ‘a seminal year in Australian defence and foreign policy’, that a significant military force was committed. Bell argues that the decision to commit military forces to Vietnam came about because of increased concerns about regional stability, especially with respect to the communist threat and fears of a Peking-Jakarta connection. Australia’s participation in the war was justified by the terms of the ANZUS alliance, and both the Australian Embassy in Washington and the Department of External Affairs in Canberra argued that participation alongside U.S. forces was in Australia’s national interest. They argued that the objective of participation should be to achieve such a sense of mutual obligation with the U.S. that in a time of need the U.S. would have little option but to come to Australia’s defence (Bell 1988: 73).3 The decision regarding military involvement in Vietnam alongside U.S. forces is, in hindsight, usually regarded as almost unavoidable. At the time, however, Australia’s initial agreement was to become politically rather than militarily involved in Vietnam (Cox and O’Connor 2012: 175). Thus, while the Menzies government did send advisors to Vietnam in 1962, it resisted American pressure to increase Australian involvement, holding out until 1965. In the intervening years, as the situation in Vietnam deteriorated, Canberra became more hawkish, eventually committing a significant troop presence to the conflict (Cox and O’Connor 2012: 175). These shifts in government policy were not met by an opposition party with a robust alternative view. To the contrary, the Labor party failed during this time to produce a clear position on foreign policy issues, and media attention tended to focus on disputes within Labor rather than on questions of policy (Sexton 1981: 132).

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Party alignment (or, the absence of a strong alternative policy position from the opposition) on policies towards the Vietnam War had important implications for press coverage and public knowledge. Ashley Lavelle (2006) argues that the strong degree of bipartisanship that existed over the Vietnam War had its roots in two themes. First, there was a fear of being labelled as ‘communist sympathisers’ by the government, coupled with a strong anti-communist tradition within the Labor party itself. Supporting capitalist South Vietnam to prevent invasion from the communist north was therefore a logical and defensible policy. Second, there was a reluctance in the Labor elite to appear to be in opposition to the widely supported U.S. alliance. The net result was that Labor had to attempt the difficult balancing act of arguing against military involvement in Vietnam, while at the same time endorsing the U.S. alliance and condemning communist tendencies. For its part, the Menzies government did all it could to exploit the situation and stifle any discussion of the specific arrangements surrounding Australia’s involvement in Vietnam.4 Media coverage of the Vietnam War during the early years was, for the most part, largely uncritical. Tiffen (1983) has noted that most of the newspapers of the time relied on international news agencies for their reporting on Vietnam, rather than on their own reporters. Australian news editors were also less critical of official reports than their U.S. counterparts, resulting in news coverage frequently reflecting the official government view. Tiffen argues that even after Australian forces had been deployed, most of the stories emanating from Vietnam focused on human interest stories about the ‘activities … feelings and bravery’ of the soldiers (Tiffen 1983: 175). All of the major daily newspapers were supportive of the war, with the important exception of The Australian (Sexton 1981: 162). In summary, then, public debate about the Vietnam War was stifled by a lack of difference between the Liberal government and the Labor opposition, and by the absence of any informed discussion in the media. The lack of informed debate on the Vietnam War is also reflected in the existence of only sporadic opinion poll evidence monitoring public views. The main evidence comes from a series of Gallup surveys conducted between 1965 and 1971, and a question in the ANPAS surveys fielded in 1967 and 1969. The Gallup surveys show declining support for the war over the six year period under study (Fig. 4.1) In September 1965, shortly after the decision to commit troops was taken, 56% of the respondents believed that Australia should continue to fight in Vietnam, a figure which peaked at 69% in January 1968. This early period encompasses

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80 70 60

Continue Bring back Undecided

Percent

50 40 30 20 10 0

Fig. 4.1 Attitudes towards involvement in the Vietnam War, 1965–1971 (Note ‘Do you think we should continue to fight in Vietnam, or bring our forces back to Australia?’ Source Morgan Gallup Poll Reports 179, 185, 190, 197, 200, 201, 203, 207, 213, 214, 218)

the 1966 federal election, which was the first to include defence and foreign policy issues as major topics of debate and was the first formal opportunity for voters to raise its voice with regard to Vietnam. Hughes (1970: 13) goes so far as to argue that ‘in 1966 party politics was more about foreign policy, and the war in Vietnam in particular, than about [domestic] economic policy’. Public support for involvement in the Vietnam War peaked in January 1968 and declined thereafter. This was precipitated initially by the Tet Offensive, which was at its most intense in January-February of that year. While the offensive was defeated with heavy loss of life on both sides, it alerted the public to the possibility that the war might be difficult to win—and was even possibly unwinnable (Ekins 2016; McNeill and Ekins 2003). As a result of widespread media coverage, publicity and the dramatic visual images of street fighting in major Vietnamese cities, the impact of the Offensive on public opinion was swift. Between January and October 1968 support

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for the war declined from 69 to 54% and dropped further, to 49%, in December. Support for the war never again attracted a majority of the population and in two periods—in 1969 and in 1970–1971—those advocating withdrawal outnumbered those wanting continued involvement. By the time of the 1969 federal election, the Vietnam War had become the longest conflict that Australia had then ever been engaged in (Lavelle 2006: 124). While the war was no longer accepted as legitimate by a large section of the population, the Coalition government (which supported the war), was returned to power. Two factors account for this outcome. First, the Whitlam Labor opposition failed to seize the opportunity to exploit growing dissatisfaction about the war to its advantage instead focusing his party’s election campaign on domestic policy issues (Hughes 1970: 13–14). Second, negative public sentiment towards the war was not strong enough to have a significant political effect on the vote. Bell (1988: 84) argues, for example, that antiwar sentiment was still chiefly concentrated among the ‘critical public’ or the radical left, and that ‘the general public, not exactly absorbed in foreign news reports, was relatively less affected until the very end’.5 The withdrawal of military forces from Vietnam began in November 1970 in line with the U.S. policy of ‘Vietnamization’, with responsibility for security being gradually passed to local forces. In August 1971 the Australian government formally took the decision to withdraw, and a phased withdrawal began with all troops, save for a small embassy contingent and some training advisors, having departed by March 1972. In April 1971 just 37% of the public wanted to continue involvement, the lowest figure recorded since polling commenced on the topic. With the election of the Whitlam Labor government in December 1972, these small remaining forces were also withdrawn. Public debate over Australia’s involvement in Vietnam often focused on the issue of conscription, and much of the declining support for the war can be understood through this lens. As casualties increased, dissent for the war often focused on the issue of conscription, which has historically been a contentious issue; in 1916, during the First World War, a conscription plebiscite rejected the proposal. Since then, the use of conscripts in overseas conflicts has been divisive and it was therefore a highly sensitive issue in the context of military involvement in Vietnam (Albinski 1970: 194–196). A total of 15,381 conscripted military personnel served in Vietnam, or about one quarter of the total Australian contingent; 200 of the 521 soldiers who were killed were

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conscripts (McNeill and Ekins 2003). The Gallup survey question on views of the Vietnam War reported earlier offered the respondents a binary choice: continued involvement or withdrawal. However, the two ANPAS surveys conducted in 1967 and 1969 presented the respondents with a more nuanced set of options, distinguishing between military involvement using conscripts and involvement by volunteers. When the respondents in the 1967 and 1969 surveys were asked their views of involvement in Vietnam taking into account whether conscripts should be used, the picture is more complex than the patterns apparent in the Gallup surveys. Table 4.10 shows that the largest group of respondents—43% in both surveys—believed that Australia should participate in the war but only using volunteers; a further 28% in 1967 and 24% in 1969 thought that conscripts should be involved. In total, then, a large majority in both surveys favoured participation in the war and this declined by only 4 percentage points between 1967 and 1969, compared to a decline of 22 percentage points in support for the war using the responses to the Gallup question over the same period. Conscription clearly made a significant difference to the public’s views of the Vietnam War and the use of national serviceman appears to have been a major factor in weakening public support for the war.6 Table 4.10 Conscription and the Vietnam War, 1967 and 1969

1967 Participate, including conscripts Participate, only volunteers Only civilian experts Stay out altogether Don’t know Total (N )

28 43 7 16 5 100 (2054)

1969 24 43 12 18 3 100 (1873)

Note ‘As you know, there is a lot of discussion around Australia these days about what we should be doing about Vietnam. Which of these statements comes closest to what you yourself feel should be done? If you don’t have any opinions about this, just say so. We should have troops fighting in Vietnam, including conscripts. We should have troops fighting in Vietnam, but only volunteers. We shouldn’t have any troops fighting in Vietnam, and only send civilian experts. We should stay out of Vietnam altogether’ Source Australian National Political Attitudes Surveys, 1967, 1969

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The Vietnam War was the first postwar foreign policy issue in Australia on which public opinion appears to have had a direct influence as it had done in the U.S., with those in favour of involvement gradually being replaced by those in favour of withdrawal from 1968 onwards. In the mid1960s, in the absence of detailed party policies, informed public debate and any consistent media coverage, the public was broadly in favour of involvement. This was in line with fears about communist insurgence in southeast Asia which dated from konfrontasi with Indonesia between 1962 and 1966 over the creation of Malaysia. As the public become more informed about the war, and as the parties developed separate policies, public opinion began to shift in favour of withdrawal. As we have seen, opinions were also complicated by question of using national servicemen in military action; if they are removed, the decline in support for the war is more gradual than the aggregate figures suggest.7

The Legacy of the Vietnam War Did public interest in Australia’s defence policy during the Vietnam War have any immediate effect on public opinion towards overseas operations? To answer this question, we need to understand the context of attitudes towards the defence of Australia, towards the role of the U.S. alliance, and towards the most appropriate configuration of both resources and personnel. The impetus for the ANZUS alliance, together with the decision to commit a significant troop presence to the Vietnam War, came from the strategy of ‘forward defence’. This sought to ensure Australia’s security in the post-Second World War period by encouraging major allies (Britain and the U.S.) to remain committed to the region (Lee 1995). While it was the shift in strategic circumstances precipitated by the U.S. experience in Vietnam that most directly propelled Australia to actively explore options for a more self-reliant defence posture, there is evidence that the Menzies government perceived cracks in the veneer of the forward defence posture in the early 1960s. The government harboured concerns about Indonesian irredentist claims over Dutch-held New Guinea. In a special report on West New Guinea, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs warned that the U.S. ‘is not interested in the defence angle in the disposal of New Guinea’ and offered a range of scenarios under which Australia could strive to ensure Western influence in West New Guinea and prevent an Indonesian takeover of these Melanesian islands (National Archives of Australia 1958). In the

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early 1960s, in what appears as a reaction to Indonesia’s foreign policy aggressions in the islands, Menzies oversaw a transformation of ADF capabilities and introduced conscription (White 2007: 165). Hugh White argues that, ‘by 1965, Menzies had, almost by stealth, laid the foundations of a defence force able to protect Australia and its regional interests without relying on allies’ (2007: 165). Public attitudes towards a more self-reliant defence posture evolved significantly from the late 1960s onwards. Several factors combined to draw attention to a new strategic reality, including that both the U.S. and Britain had greatly reduced or withdrawn their strategic commitment to the region. More immediately, and in direct reaction to the Vietnam War, there was a much reduced appetite among Australians for the deployment of troops to conflicts that did not pose a direct and immediate threat to Australia. The opinion poll evidence on the public’s views of forward defence is sparse. However, several surveys conducted during the 1970s did ask about what options the government should follow in certain scenarios. Table 4.11 shows that in 1971, as the withdrawal from Vietnam was gathering pace, 58% of respondents still believed that Australia should provide military assistance to a southeast Asian country that was experiencing a communist rebellion. This is higher than the figure shown in Fig. 4.1 for the same year with respect to continuing military assistance to Vietnam. The discrepancy may reflect the fact that the respondents may have thought that a rebellion might be easier to suppress, given Table 4.11 Military assistance to Southeast Asia, 1971 and 1975 Military assistance to Southeast Asian country (1971) Yes No Unsure Total

58 31 11 100

Military assistance to Thailand (1975) 44 46 10 100

Note ‘If a southeast Asian country were to ask us to defeat a communist rebellion, should Australia provide military assistance?’ ‘If forces from Vietnam and Cambodia enter Thailand, and America send forces to keep them out, in your opinion should Australia send forces to Thailand to help the Americans or not?’ Source Australian National Opinion Polls (September 1971); Morgan Gallup Poll 67 (March–April 1975)

4

Table 4.12 Forward bases in Southeast Asia, 1971

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Military in Southeast Asia Based permanently Only in time of war Not under any circumstances Unsure Total

34 37 21 8 100

Note ‘Do you think it is better to have Australian armed forces based permanently in Southeast Asia, based there only in time of war, or not based there under any circumstances?’ Source Morgan Gallup Poll, September 1971

their experience with a prolonged and difficult war in Vietnam. By 1975, however, considerably fewer—44%—supported sending military assistance to Thailand in the event of an invasion from Vietnam and Cambodia. In this case, forward defence was not regarded as the first option. Further evidence for weak support for forward defence is found in Table 4.12, which shows opinion towards a question regarding whether or not military forces should be based in southeast Asia. Around one in three thought that there should be military forces permanently stationed in the region. However, more of the respondents—37%—thought that this should occur only in time of war. Around one in five thought that the military should not be stationed in the region under any circumstances. Relatively few of the respondents—less than one in 10—took no position on the issue, suggesting that it had been widely discussed in the media and was thus an issue with which Australians were familiar enough to have formed an opinion. Forward defence thus fell out of favour with a sizeable portion of the Australian public in the 1970s, facilitating a shift in government policy towards greater self-reliance—a defence posture that Menzies had quietly started preparing for a decade earlier. The 1976 and 1987 defence white papers set the conceptual foundations and force planning approach, respectively, for a more self-reliant defence policy (White 2007: 166). The 1987 paper extended the ideas introduced in 1976, clarifying strategic objectives and capability priorities. In 1967 the government’s vision was one which saw military personnel best deployed locally rather than ‘in some distant or forward theatre’. At the heart of this document was the concept of self-reliance: ‘in our contemporary circumstances we can no longer base our policy on the expectation that Australia’s navy or army

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or air force will be sent abroad to fight as part of some nation’s forces’.8 The 1987 paper sought to implement this vision and defence spending during the 1980s, White (2007: 166–167) notes, included large-scale investments in major capability acquisitions, such as submarines and the expansion of military bases in the country’s north and west. The deep antipathy Australians held towards the deployment of expeditionary forces, however, proved to be temporary. Short-lived also was the idea of an Australia whose defence doctrine should be focused primarily on defence of the continent against immediate regional threats. Shortly after the publication of the 1987 white paper which espoused these very ideas, Australia’s structural circumstances were to change once more with the end of the Cold War.

Conclusion The three case studies that we have examined in this chapter—the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War—were all based on the concept of forward defence, then the dominant paradigm in defence strategic thinking. This concept, widely understood and supported across the population, saw the defence of Australia as best served by committing forces to overseas conflict in concert with British and American allies. The three case studies also share a common adversary—the communists—so they fitted easily into the narrative of the Cold War. Examining patterns of public opinion towards these three conflicts leads to two conclusions. First, public support for overseas military intervention is relatively important, but not necessarily crucial. Without it, at least in the initial stages, it is difficult for any government to prosecute an overseas military campaign. Such public support cannot be generated in the short term, but in the case of the three conflicts examined here, the government was able to argue for participation based on the concept of forward defence, the need to work with powerful allies to ensure their long-term support, and the importance of halting communist penetration in the region. While these factors serve to mould strong initial support for participation, the second conclusion is that without a rapid victory, or the prospect of one, public opinion will quickly turn against a war. This is particularly the case when the rationale for entering the conflict experiences significant resistance as became the case in Vietnam. Citizens make calculations about the likelihood of success or failure, and about the potential benefits

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if the goals are achieved. In this sense, as Berinsky (2009: 2) argues in his examination of American public opinion at times of war, the public is just as likely to critique the success or failure of foreign policy as it does domestic policy.9 These conclusions come to the fore in the next chapter, when we examine how Australia responded to the new political reality of the 1990s and early 2000s in the context of the East Timor crisis and the Iraq War. Both of these events introduced brought new paradigms for the role of the military, in terms of humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping.

Notes 1. The question was ‘Do you think it was right or wrong to use atom bombs against Japan?’ Those saying it was right were 59%, wrong 26%, and no opinion 15%. Australian Public Opinion Polls 975–987 (January–February 1954). 2. A further period of conflict began in 1967, with the communists this time trying to overthrow the new Malaysian government; this also proved to be a long insurgency and ended only in 1989. 3. The main concern at the time was relations with Indonesia, which it was thought could result in future conflict. 4. As Sexton (1981: 132–133) comments: ‘As often as possible the government stood the parliamentary game on its head by ignoring Labor’s attempt to discuss specific decisions and making the debates an occasion for government attacks on the opposition’s willingness to endanger relations with the United States and encourage the forces of international communism’. 5. This ‘critical public’, Bell (1988: 84) argues, included journalists, academics, parliamentarians, students and intellectuals. 6. This was also the case in the US (see Bergan 2009). 7. A Newspoll survey conducted in 1995 to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the American defeat in Vietnam asked respondents if they believed that ‘the decision by Australia to send troops to Vietnam was justified to participate or not justified’. A surprisingly large proportion believed that the decision was justified: 56% took this view, while 25% thought it was not justified, and 19% were undecided. 8. This did not exclude the possibility that such an expeditionary operation may take place, with the report noting that ‘we do not rule out an Australian contribution to operations elsewhere, if the requirement arose and we felt that our presence would be effective, and if our forces could be spared from their national tasks’. 9. Berinsky’s central contention is that ‘public opinion about war is shaped by the same attitudes and orientations that shape domestic politics’. This

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book, which looks at broad patterns of Australian public opinion in relation to different aspects of defence and foreign policy, does not examine the question of whether there is a correlation between the attitudes and ideas that shape domestic policy and foreign policy. However, the insight that voters do in fact form strong opinions on foreign policy as they do on many aspects of domestic policy is relevant for this study.

References Albinski, H. 1970. Politics and foreign policy in Australia: The impact of Vietnam and conscription. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Australian War Memorial. nd. Malayan emergency. Australians at war. Available from https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/atwar/malayan-emergency. Accessed 20 November 2019. Bell, C. 1988. Dependent ally: A study in Australian foreign policy. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Bergan, D. E. 2009. The draft lottery and attitudes towards the Vietnam War. Public Opinion Quarterly, 73(2): 379–384. Berinsky, A. J. 2009. In time of war: Understanding American public opinion from World War II to Iraq. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Cheeseman, G. 1991. From forward defence to self-reliance: Changes and continuities in Australian defence policy 1965–90. Australian Journal of Political Science, 26(3): 429–445. Cox, L., & O’Connor, B. 2012. Australia, the US, and the Vietnam and Iraq Wars: ‘Hound dog, not lapdog’. Australian Journal of Political Science, 47(2): 173–187. Dennis, P., & Grey, J. 1996. Emergency and confrontation: Australian military operations in Malaya and Borneo, 1950–1966. Volume 5. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. Dingman, R. 1988. Diplomacy during the Korean War. International Security, 13(3): 50–91. Dupont, A. 1991. Australia’s threat perceptions: A search for security. Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. Ekins, A. 2016. Vietnam: A winnable war? In D. Marston & T. Leahy (eds.), War, strategy and history: Essays in honour of Professor Robert O’Neill: 15–30. Canberra: ANU ePress. Hughes, C. 1970. The rational voter and Australian foreign policy: 1961–69. Australian Outlook, 24(1): 5–16. Lavelle, A. 2006. Labor and Vietnam: A reappraisal. Labour History, 90: 119– 136. Lee, D. 1995. Britain and Australia’s defence policy, 1945–1949. War and Society, 13(1): 61–80.

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McNeill, I., & Ekins, A. 2003. On the offensive: The Australian army in the Vietnam War, 1967 –68. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. National Archives of Australia. 1958. Foreign Affairs Committee—Report on West New Guinea. A1209, 1958/6066. Canberra: National Archives of Australia. O’Neill, R. 1981. Australia in the Korean War. Volume 1. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. Sexton, M. 1981. War for the asking: How Australia invited itself to Vietnam. Sydney: New Holland. Slater, J. 1993. The domino theory and international politics: The case of Vietnam. Security Studies, 3(2): 186–224. Tiffen, R. 1983. News coverage of Vietnam. In P. King (ed.), Australia’s Vietnam: Australia in the second Indo-China war. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. White, H. 2007. Four decades of the defence of Australia: Reflections on Australian defence policy over the past 40 years. In R. Huisken & M. Thatcher (eds.), History as policy: Framing the debate on the future of Australia’s defence policy: 163–187. Canberra: ANU ePress.

CHAPTER 5

Overseas Deployments After Vietnam: East Timor and Iraq

The Vietnam War brought about a reassessment of Australian strategic doctrine away from forward defence. The transition away from this approach to defence, which dominated strategic thinking during the 1950s and 1960s, was in part triggered by the failure and deep unpopularity of the conflict in Vietnam and later reinforced by the end of the Cold War in 1989. The result was that the role of the armed forces in defence and strategic planning began to change in both elite and public consciousness. The end of the Vietnam War thus represented a key faultline in Australia’s postwar strategic thinking and provoked a fundamental reassessment of defence policy. The focus of this strategic reassessment was the ‘defence of Australia’, and with it were new ideas around the role of the military in humanitarian interventions. The armed forces started to take part more energetically in peacekeeping missions, particularly in the immediate region. Shifting political, economic and strategic realities also led Australia to reassess its relationship with its closest neighbours, notably Indonesia. At the same time, there was a greater public awareness of the role its military played as peacekeepers in Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and most importantly, East Timor.1 All of these ideas were debated among the defence and foreign policy elite before they were articulated in policy. Informing

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the public about these new goals and their resource implications took considerably longer. In this chapter we turn our attention to public discourse, debate and opinion polling around the question of the armed forces’ engagement in overseas combat and peacekeeping missions from 1975 onwards. The focus of attention is on the East Timor operation and the war in Iraq, both events about which the public had clear views. Attitudes towards the other major operation in this period in which the military played an important role, the war in Afghanistan, is examined in Chapter 7.

Regional Peacekeeping and Military Intervention The shift to a regional focus for the development of Australia’s defence capabilities, outlined in the Hawke government’s 1987 defence white paper, permitted a broader conceptualisation of what might be considered ‘security threats’ or potential sources of strategic uncertainty. It also paved the way for consideration of the role of peacekeeping in contributing to national security goals. The white paper notes that peacekeeping operations ‘allow Australia to contribute to wider Western interests on a scale appropriate to our circumstances’, and that the armed forces were best placed to provide such capabilities. Thus, while the paper specifically directs the defence force planning process to prioritise structure and capability requirements for regional military deployments, it also flags the deployment of armed forces for peacekeeping further abroad as an appropriate way for Australia to ‘contribute to wider Western interests on a scale appropriate to our circumstances’. Initially, possible interventions were limited to Australia’s immediate area of interest. In a ministerial statement on regional security, Gareth Evans (1989) claimed that the ADF ‘has the capability to undertake— both in Australia, and in the region more broadly—a diverse range of peacetime activities. These extend from those as uncontroversial as civil disaster relief, to fisheries and narcotics surveillance, and activities as sensitive as counter-terrorism operations, the protection and rescue of Australian citizens abroad, or the provision of support for a legitimate government in maintaining internal security’. On these latter activities, the statement noted that these would be restricted to the South Pacific due to the logistical difficulties of mounting interventions farther afield. The focus on the South Pacific stemmed from the longstanding concern that it remain politically stable and pro-Western. For much of

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the period after the Second World War, Australia paid little attention to the Pacific Islands, focusing instead on Southeast Asia.2 This started to change during the 1960s, when attention turned to the island states’ vulnerability to external hostile powers who might seek to exert power in the region and thus threaten Australian interests. Australia’s response was to resist supporting decolonisation (despite growing domestic public support) and encourage the prevailing Western powers to exercise a predominant influence in the region or to provide at least a countervailing presence (Wallis 2017: 41–42). By the 1980s, however, policymakers were confronted with a series of potentially destabilising developments whose geneses were not primarily external, but rather came from within the region itself. These included the two Fiji coups in 1987; Vanuatu’s declaration of nonalignment; attempts by Kiribati and Vanuatu to establish fishing agreements with Russia; the independence movement in New Caledonia; and the attempted secession by the independence movement in Bougainville which lasted from 1988 until the peace agreement in 1998. Outside Australia’s region, the end of the Cold War in 1989, the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and increasing international concern over gross human rights violations taking place in the context of civil conflict, all combined to give rise to increased calls for limited military intervention. These were given form by the United Nations in its 1992 report, An Agenda for Peace, which recommended that the UN extend its military activities beyond traditional peacekeeping to include ‘preventive deployments’, aimed at stabilising a national crisis or deterring an interstate dispute. This view was actively encouraged by the Hawke-Keating government and foreign minister Gareth Evans (1993) argued that Cold War confrontation had to be replaced by ‘cooperative security’. In 1993, the public was not enthusiastic about these new guiding principles for foreign intervention. As Table 5.1 shows, most voters polled in that year were generally unsupportive of Australian military intervention in foreign countries, unless its citizens were at risk. But even in these circumstances, only 28% believed that intervention was ‘always’ justified, the majority taking the more cautious view that it was only ‘sometimes’ justified. The remaining reasons for intervention attracted equally lukewarm public support. Only 6% believed that intervention was ‘always’ justified if the country requests it and only 4% if the country oppresses its own citizens, although in each of these scenarios a large majority—82 and 59%, respectively—took the intermediate position. There was least

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Table 5.1 Support for overseas military intervention, 1993

Always Sometimes Never Total

Australian citizens at risk

Request from country’s government

Country oppresses citizens

Australian trade threatened

28 64 8 100

6 82 12 100

4 69 27 100

3 43 54 100

Country Foreign cannot nationals maintain at risk order 2 70 28 100

1 76 23 100

Note ‘Some people feel that Australia should never intervene militarily in other countries. Other people feel that intervention can be justified in certain circumstances. Please say whether you feel that military intervention is always justified, sometimes justified or never justified in the following circumstances’. N = 3023 Source Australian Election Study, 1993

support for intervention when Australia’s overseas trade was threatened, with a narrow majority saying that it was ‘never’ justified. By any standards, these results suggest a marked public reluctance to endorse overseas military intervention, with the sole exception of when Australian citizens were at risk.3 In the early 1990s, the public’s hesitancy in endorsing military intervention except under very specific circumstances undoubtedly had its roots in the Vietnam War experience, and the waste in lives and resources in fighting what proved to be an unwinnable war. There is also evidence from the U.S. which shows a similar reluctance among the public to commit the military to overseas operations post-1975 (Benson 1982). However, once the military becomes involved in a military operation— and the survey questions move from a hypothetical to an actual situation—public opinion moves to support the intervention. This is what John Mueller (1970) has called the ‘rally round the flag’ effect, by which the public makes a short term move to support the policies of the prevailing government when the country appears under threat. As applied to the U.S., presidents can expect surges in short-term public support during periods of international crisis or war. Mueller’s (1973: 21) three preconditions for this to occur are that the crisis is international; directly involves the president; and is ‘specific, dramatic, and sharply focussed’. As time progressed, it appears that the Australian public became somewhat more willing to countenance a wider set of scenarios for Australian military involvement. Later evidence concerning public support

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for various types of military operations comes from a 2000 opinion survey conducted for the Department of Defence. The survey asked about the importance of five hypothetical scenarios, two domestic and three international. The two domestic scenarios were ‘defending Australia against a foreign aggressor’ and ‘stopping illegal immigrants and drugs coming into Australia’. The three international scenarios were ‘peacekeeping within the region’, ‘assisting allies against attack’ and ‘participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations anywhere in the world’ (Table 5.2). The respondents viewed the two domestic scenarios as being of the highest importance. ‘Defending Australia’ was seen as very important by 82% of the respondents, and stopping ‘illegal’ immigration and drugs was seen as very important by 79%. Peacekeeping ranked third, with 67% viewing it as very important, while 46% took the same view about assisting allies and 36% about UN operations. Notably, only a small minority saw any of the operations, even UN peacekeeping, as unimportant; the only difference was whether they viewed each of the five scenarios as ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important. Within this set of scenarios, then, peacekeeping ranked higher than military operations involving allies or the UN, but below that of defending Australia and securing its borders. Table 5.2 Importance of military operations, 2000

Very important Fairly important Not very important Not at all important Total (N )

Defending Australia

Stopping immigrants

Peace-keeping

Assisting allies

UN operations

82

79

67

46

36

14

14

29

46

50

3

5

3

6

12

1

2

1

2

2

100 (1196)

100 (1192)

100 (1199)

100 (1184)

100 (1187)

Note ‘I will now read out a list of activities. Please tell me how important you think each of them is to Australia’s defence forces. … peacekeeping within our region. … stopping illegal immigrants and drugs coming into Australia. … defending Australia against a foreign aggressor. … assisting our allies against attack. … participating in United Nations operations anywhere in the world’ Source Survey of Defence Issues, 2000

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The survey also asked about the maximum number of casualties that the government should accept in each of these five hypothetical situations. Such estimates are a major consideration in policymakers’ decisions about whether to commit forces to any overseas conflict (Gartner and Segura 1998). However, asking the average respondent to make an estimate of the level of casualties they would accept in a hypothetical international operation is somewhat problematic; the 2000 survey found that between 30 and 36% of the respondents declined to volunteer an estimate, while a large group also said that the government should not be prepared to accept any casualties whatsoever. This latter figure varied between 38% in stopping illegal immigrants and drugs coming into Australia, to 19% in the event of an attack on Australia by a foreign aggressor. In total, 14% of the population said that they would not tolerate casualties in any of the five scenarios. A third group believed that casualties should be unlimited; not surprisingly, this estimate was highest in the defence of Australia. Of those who were prepared to provide an answer to the casualty level, Table 5.3 shows that in four of the five operations the largest group is composed of those who believe that the government should accept no casualties. This group varies in size, from 54% in the case of stopping illegal immigrants to 35% in assisting allies against attack. The exception is the defence of Australia, where the largest group believed that an unlimited number of causalities was acceptable. In between these two extremes, Table 5.3 Estimates of acceptable casualty levels, 2000

None 1–10 11–25 26–100 101–1000 More than 1000 Unlimited Total (N )

Defending Australia

Stopping immigrants

Peace-keeping

Assisting allies

UN operations

27 4 1 7 7 14

54 12 4 7 5 1

40 14 6 12 10 6

35 7 2 14 14 11

42 14 5 14 9 7

40 100 (836)

13 100 (841)

13 100 (810)

16 100 (768)

9 100 (805)

Note ‘What are the maximum number of casualties you think the government should accept in ….’ See Table 5.2 for exact wording of options Source Survey of Defence Issues, 2000

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opinion is divided about what the government should accept. There does, however, appear to be a division in opinion at around 50–100 casualties; there is some degree of tolerance for up to 50 casualties in all operations which exclude the defence of the country; levels of casualties higher than about 100 have much less public support. These debates about the role of military intervention, and the types of operations that the public were most likely to support, provide an important backdrop to the two major foreign policy events of the immediate post-Vietnam period: East Timor and Iraq. Both events represent almost diametrically opposed examples of what the public is prepared to accept, with the East Timor operation enjoying strong public support and few casualties, while the Iraq War divided public opinion almost from the very start. It is to the public’s views about the East Timor intervention that we turn first.

Peacekeeping in East Timor In the years following the Vietnam War, the image of Australia’s armed forces changed to incorporate ideas about the role military personnel could play in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, alongside more traditional combat roles. As outlined in Chapter 2, the evolution of the ADF in the Australian imagination was transmitted to society in recruitment campaigns. These emphasised Australia’s leadership in peacekeeping operations in Bougainville between 1997 and 2003, East Timor between 1999 and 2013 and the regional assistance mission to the Solomon Islands from 2003 onwards. In these campaigns, images of troops repairing buildings and delivering aid proliferated, presenting the ADF to potential recruits as a modern institution reflecting Australian values, projecting them beyond the nation’s borders, and in so doing working to build a more stable and secure region. At the same time, of course, while the public image of the military may have undergone this change, the primary focus of the military has always remained its defence capabilities, with peacekeeping operations complementing rather than replacing the combat focus. The decision to intervene in East Timor raised considerations beyond the role of the military. From a defence and foreign policy standpoint, the intervention challenged the conventional bipartisan wisdom that Australia’s security and diplomatic priorities should lie with the fostering of good relations with Jakarta (Cotton 2001: 213). As Bell (2000: 170)

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Table 5.4 Views of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, 1976

Indonesian occupation of East Timor Favour Oppose Undecided Total

15 50 35 100

Note ‘Next about the island of Timor, north of Darwin. The western part of Timor is Indonesian, and the eastern half was Portuguese. Do you favour or oppose Indonesia taking over East Timor?’ Source Morgan Gallup Poll 105, February 1976

argues, successive Australian governments had maintained this position— on the primacy of good diplomatic relations with Indonesia—for over half a century. The commitment had involved many compromises and had ‘required Canberra to shrug off a great deal’, including the repression of dissident voices under Sukarno, the coups of 1965, the 1975 invasion of East Timor, and the subsequent annexation of that island in the face of international condemnation.4 When the issue first came to the public’s attention in 1976, Table 5.4 shows that half of the respondents were opposed to an Indonesian occupation of East Timor and just 15% supported it. However, just over one in three of those interviewed did not have an opinion, reflecting the lack of general public debate around the issue. Once the Indonesian occupation of East Timor became a fait accompli, the matter was largely forgotten in Australia, with only sporadic publicity about human rights abuses by the Indonesia military against pro-independence forces and civilians. When the Howard government came to power in 1996, it undertook a complete re-evaluation of Australia’s approach to East Timor. This involved applying pressure to the Indonesian leadership to respond to calls for self-determination and to start a process towards achieving more autonomy and eventual independence, in accordance with public sentiment.5 The Indonesians finally agreed to hold a referendum on full Timorese independence on 30 August 1999,6 overseen by the UN in order to ensure a free and fair election. The result of the referendum was an overwhelming vote in favour of independence, with 78.5% voting yes on a turnout of 98%. However, following the ballot, violence broke out and in what has been described as a ‘scorched earth’ wave of destruction, the Indonesian military and

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its militia proxies launched a campaign of terror, murdering and raping innocent civilians, and violently displacing hundreds of thousands more. Joseph Nevins (2005: 5–6) estimates that the military forces destroyed 70% of the territory’s infrastructure and argues that ‘it is likely that the killings, rapes, and destruction … were intended largely as a parting blow, a punishment against a population that had the audacity to vote for independence from its brutal colonial overseers’. Australian diplomats responded swiftly to the violence. Within a week, the cabinet had signed off on a significant contribution of armed forces to a UN peacekeeping force. Significant diplomatic capital was then invested in the achievement of four crucial yet politically complex goals: support—particularly from regional states—for such a force; the approval and participation of the U.S.; consent for the intervention from the Indonesian government; and a UN mandate (Cotton 2001: 222–223). Connery (2010: 32–33) describes in detail the energetic representation of Australian leaders and diplomats on these issues, activities which took place ‘at many levels within the Australian government’. These efforts culminated in the UN passing Resolution 1264 on 15 September 1999, which mandated a peacekeeping force led by Australia. Having for so long refused to take any responsibility for the plight of the East Timorese people, Australia was now fully committed. The dramatic turnaround in Australia’s policy towards East Timor served to bring policy and public opinion in closer alignment on selfdetermination and the need to respond to human rights abuses. Since the 1970s, as the Australian public had become more aware of the brutality of Indonesian rule in East Timor, they had also become less willing to agree that Australia should refrain from intervening. In 1976, while 50% of Australians had opposed the Indonesian occupation, one-third of respondents did not express an opinion. The issue largely remained outside the consciousness of most Australians. But throughout the 1990s, dissatisfaction with the Australian government’s response slowly grew. This came on the back of a strengthening protest movement inside Australia which sought to increase awareness around the brutality of Indonesia’s rule, and at the same time questions started to be raised about the death of five Australian journalists (the ‘Balibo 5’) during the 1975 occupation. Although it did not become a mainstream issue until 1998, a range of groups inside Australia were involved in protest and activism around East Timorese resistance and self-determination efforts. The Australian Catholic Church did not have a unified policy towards East Timor, but

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the East Timorese church had aligned with Fretilin which had emerged as the major opposition force engaged in resistance. The Church’s reach and power enabled the resistance movement to operate clandestinely inside East Timor (Aarons 2006). In Australia, sections of the Catholic laity maintained strong connections with the East Timorese community during the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, through refugee and asylum issues, as well as through relief work. In addition, at times of crisis, the Catholic laity banded together to raise awareness and publicly protest against the treatment of the East Timorese (Smythe 2003). Protest marches by groups of Australian Catholic activists took place after the 1991 Santa Cruz killings, with demonstrators criticising ADF complicity with the Indonesian military, or the role that Australian companies played in providing military hardware to the Indonesians (Smythe 2003: 113). Other groups involved in the East Timor issue included trade unions and Second World War veterans, the latter motivated by memories of the support of the East Timorese during the guerrilla war against the Japanese (Leaver 2001: 3–4). By 1999, then, a vocal segment of Australian society was already calling on the government to send troops into East Timor.7 While there was a generally high level of public dissatisfaction with Australia’s approach to the East Timor issue, it did not enter mainstream discourse until 1998. Up until the election of the Howard government in 1996—and during 13 years of Labor government—the growing popular dissatisfaction was not widely shared among policymakers. Divisions within the Labor party had failed to translate into policy during the Hawke and Keating governments; Labor’s left faction consistently supported self-determination for East Timor, but was sidelined by the more practical foreign policy approach of Hawke, followed by Keating’s ‘Asia First’ approach. By 1998, at the same time as major changes were taking place in Indonesia with the downfall of Suharto, Australia’s foreign policy environment was changing and, in opposition, Labor’s left faction became re-energised.8 In parliament, members started pushing for a re-orientation of Australian policy towards East Timor, particularly in terms of supporting the move towards self-determination for the East Timorese.9 The mounting domestic pressure to intervene politically in East Timor soon evolved into an impetus to provide practical military support once it became clear that the Indonesians were either unable or unwilling to ensure stability in the lead-up to the 30 August referendum. In a poll conducted just two weeks after the referendum, Table 5.5 shows that

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Table 5.5 Support for intervention in East Timor, 1999

Government assistance Lot more

31

Little more

10

Doing enough Doing too much Unsure Total

45 6 8 100

109

Send peacekeeping forces Strongly in favour Partly in favour Partly against Strongly against Unsure

54 23 7 8 15 100

Note ‘Thinking now about the current situation in East Timor. Do you personally think the Australian government is currently doing too much, doing enough or should they do more to help the situation in East Timor? Are you personally in favour or against Australia sending troops to East Timor as part of an international peace-keeping force?’ N = 1200, fieldwork 10–12 September 1999 Source Newspoll, September 1999

around three in 10 of those interviewed believed that the government should be doing more to assist East Timor; just under half of those interviewed believed that the government was doing enough. On the question of sending peacekeeping forces to East Timor, a large majority were in favour and 54% expressed this view strongly. This undoubtedly reflected the media coverage of the violence which was accompanying the Indonesian withdrawal from the island. The Howard government’s decision to reverse its non-intervention policy vis-à-vis Indonesia and East Timor and deploy peacekeeping troops therefore had considerable public support. So strong was support for this intervention that the dramatic policy reversal, rather than being greeted with scepticism and criticism as such reversals often are, was instead widely acclaimed and is often seen as one of the Howard government’s foreign policy successes (Leaver 2001: 4). When compared with the public sentiments about involvement in the Vietnam War, this was indeed a major turnaround in public opinion. The positive view of Australian military involvement in East Timor remained intact a year after the operation began. When interviewed in September 2000 Table 5.6 shows that the overwhelming majority of the

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Table 5.6 Defence involvement in East Timor, 2000

Participation in Timor Strongly for For

51 40

Against

5

Strongly against Total

4 100

Performance in Timor Performed very well Performed well Performed badly Performed very badly

68 31 1 0 100

Note ‘Do you think it was right for Australia’s defence forces to participate in the peacekeeping operation in East Timor, or do you think Australia’s defence forces should not have become involved? Do you feel very strongly or somewhat strongly about that?’ ‘Overall, how do you think Australia’s defence forces performed during the East Timor operation? Would you say they performed very well, performed well, performed badly or performed very badly?’ N = 1040 Source Survey of Defence Issues, 2000

respondents believed that the armed forces had performed well, despite the major logistical and political hurdles such an intervention involved.10 More than nine out of 10 of those interviewed supported participation in the operation, with the largest group (51%) saying they were strongly in favour. No less than 99% were of the view that the military had performed well, with more than two in every three saying that they had performed very well. This remarkably positive public view of the East Timor operation and its perceived legitimacy increased the standing of the defence establishment in the eyes of the public, leading to an increase in both confidence in defence, and support for an increase in defence spending (see McAllister 2004: 3). After the defeat in Vietnam, the public appetite for international interventions had been considerably dampened. This sentiment was shared by the government and reflected in the ideas and strategies developed in the 1976 and 1987 defence white papers. In this light, the East Timor operation, a quarter of a century later, had a major impact in re-energising public support for military intervention in the region. In this case, the public were strongly supportive of peacekeeping in the cause of protecting a small, impoverished island which was widely regarded as having suffered

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from the pro-Indonesian policies of successive Australian governments. The Howard government was able to draw on this public support for its later operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but as we outline in the next section, at the cost of increasing public questioning of what Australian military intervention was designed to achieve. The following section will focus on Iraq. The intervention in Afghanistan, which formed part of Australia’s efforts to support the U.S. ‘war on terror’, is discussed in Chapter 7.

The Iraq War The success of the East Timor operation, the end of the Cold War and a growing economic and political self-confidence, were gradually expanding public views on what role Australia’s armed forces could—and, importantly, should—play in the region and in the world. While the emphasis in opinion polling consistently reflected the idea that the nation’s armed forces should primarily be equipped for and focused on securing Australia against potential threats, peacekeeping was regarded by the public as an important function of the armed forces. This is the context for public opinion in the period leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the ‘war on terror’ that ensued. The lead-up to the Iraq war generated considerable publicity, as the military forces gathered in the Gulf. In a speech to the UN in September 2002 President George W. Bush characterised the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein as a ‘grave and gathering danger’. Following a UN Resolution in November, weapons inspectors began searching for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), but by January 2003 none had been found. The chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, indicated that the Iraqi authorities had not been fully cooperative, leading to the suspicion that weapons had been hidden. These events were widely reported in Australia and while the government had not yet taken a decision to participate in a future invasion of Iraq, the media characterised Iraq as a supporter of international terrorism (Entman 2004: 76–94; Kull et al. 2003). In the months leading up the war, those favouring involvement with the U.S. were in a minority. Figure 5.1 shows that in September 2002, just after Bush delivered his speech to the UN, 36% favoured involvement in the war while 53% opposed it. Just 11% had no opinion, a relatively small proportion; this indicates that the vast majority of the respondents

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60 50

Percent

40 30 In favour 20

Against

10 0 Aug-02

Sep-02

Oct-02

Dec-02 19-20 Mar 21-23 Mar 28-30 Mar 03 03 03

Fig. 5.1 Support for the Iraq War, August 2002–March 2003 (Note [August– December 2002]: ‘Thinking now about Australia’s involvement in possible USled military action against Iraq with the objective of deposing Saddam Hussein. Are you personally in favour or against Australian forces being part of any USled military action against Iraq?’ [March 2003]: Thinking now about Iraq and Australia’s’ involvement in military action against Iraq. Are you personally in favour or against Australian troops being involved in military action against Iraq?’ Source Newspoll)

had formed a view on the issue. As a war became more likely, the proportion opposing it gradually declined. In a poll conducted just as the attack on Iraq began, opinion was evenly balanced, with 45% in favour and 47% against. In two subsequent polls conducted in the days after the invasion, when the coalition forces were clearly in the ascendancy, those in favour reached a majority for the first time. While a majority was in favour, a vexed issue for voters was the role of the UN. Government policy was to seek a UN mandate for military action, but still to proceed to war if that endorsement was not forthcoming. The policy of the Labor opposition was to require a UN mandate as a prerequisite for participation in any invasion; without the mandate, Labor opposed any decision to enter into a conflict in Iraq. Table 5.5 shows that the public clearly preferred involvement in the war with UN support rather than without it.11 In February 2003, for

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example, 57% supported military involvement if UN endorsement was forthcoming; without UN endorsement, public support for the war was just 18%. Moreover, the strength of opposition to the war without a UN mandate was considerable; 58% said that they would be ‘strongly against’ military action without UN endorsement. This pattern is replicated in a subsequent survey using the same question conducted one month later (Table 5.7). When considering Australian opinions towards the participation in the Iraq War, and attitudes towards the use of the military in the ‘war against terror’ in the early 2000s, the picture that emerges is of a divided electorate—and a similarly divided elite (McDonald and Merefield 2010). While reactions to the 9/11 terror attack rallied opinion in support of the U.S. alliance, in 2003 the lack of bipartisan support for the decision to deploy troops to Iraq and the related question of the legality of the intervention created divisions within the public. In February, citizens took to the streets as part of a global protest movement against the Iraq War. The global protest event was believed to be the largest in human history (Walgrave and Dieter 2010: xiii), and the Australian peace marches possibly the biggest in the country’s history. Table 5.7 UN endorsement and support for military action, 2003 With UN support

Strongly favour Somewhat favour (Total favour) Somewhat against Strongly against (Total against) Uncommitted Total (N )

Without UN support

February 3

March 3

February 3

March 3

23 34 (57) 11 28 (39) 4 100 (1200)

27 29 (56) 11 26 (37) 7 100 (1200)

8 10 (18) 18 58 (76) 6 100 (1769)

9 13 (22) 16 55 (71) 7 100 (1873)

Note ‘Thinking now about Iraq and Australia’s involvement in military against Iraq. Are you personally in favour or against Australian troops being involved in military action against Iraq if the United Nations supported such action? And if the United Nations did not support military action, are you personally in favour or against Australian troops being involved in military action against Iraq?’ Fieldwork for the February survey was 31 January–2 February; for the March survey, 28 February–2 March Source Newspoll

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The Howard government’s decision to commit troops to Iraq was therefore a controversial one. Speaking on the weekend of the global protests, Howard defended the government’s support of the U.S.-led invasion. He argued that while there was considerable opposition to the war, he suggested that there was also significant public support (from Australians who are not ‘perhaps as noisy about it’), but that ultimately this was a decision about Australia’s national interests that was more suitable for executive decision making and not subject to swings in public opinion. As Howard put it, ‘this is a very difficult issue and I respect the fact that a lot of Australians don’t agree with me on this … In the end, my charge as prime minister is to take whatever decision I think is in the best interest of this country’ (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 2003a). As the Iraqi insurgency gained ground and it became clear that an Australian military presence would be required for a considerable time, the public’s support for the war faded further. Figure 5.2 shows that in February 2004, almost one year after the invasion and 10 months since 80 70

Percent

60 50

Worth going to war

40

Not worth going to war

30 20 10 0

Fig. 5.2 Worth going to war in Iraq, 2004–2007 (Note Newspoll: ‘Overall, do you think it was worth going to war in Iraq or not?’ AES [October 2004, November 2007]: ‘Taking everything into account, do you think the war in Iraq has been worth the cost or not?’ Sources Newspoll; Australian Election Study, 2004 and 2007)

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George Bush had declared ‘mission accomplished’, opinion was evenly divided on whether or not it was worth going to war. From then on, the proportion believing that it was not worth going to war increased significantly. By 2007 the proportion believing that it was worth going to war had more than halved, to 22%, while 74% believed that it was not worth going to war. This is a substantial change in opinion over the space of just three years and indicates the extent of the public’s disillusionment with the way the aftermath of the war was handled. Did the public think it had been misled over the reasons for the war? And did the public believe that the war had reduced the threat of terrorism, as the government claimed it would do? The issue of how far the public believed it had been misled over the stated reasons for the war was a potent one, given the failure to find any evidence of WMDs following the cessation of hostilities. Table 5.8 shows that in both July 2003 and in February 2004 a majority of the public felt that they had been misled over Iraq’s possession of WMDs. In 2003, slightly more believed that they had been ‘knowingly misled’; by early 2004 opinions Table 5.8 Public information, threat of terrorism, 2004–2006

Knowingly misled Unknowingly misled Did not mislead Uncommitted Total (N )

Public information

Threat of terrorism

July 3

February 4

March September 4 4

October 4

December 6

36

26

More likely

65

66

56

64

31

36

30

31

41

31

25

26

No difference Less likely

1

1

2

2

1 100 (1873)

3 100 (1200)

8 12 100 100 (1200) (1200)

Uncommitted 4 2 100 100 (1200) (1769)

Note ‘Thinking now about Iraq. In the lead up to the war in Iraq, do you think the Howard government knowingly misled the Australian public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, unknowingly misled the Australian public, or, did not mislead the Australian public?’ ‘Thinking now about the potential for terrorism in Australia. Do you personally think Australia’s involvement in the Iraqi war has made a terrorist attack in Australia more likely, less likely, or has it made no difference?’ Sources Newspoll; Australian Election Study, 2004

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were more charitable to the government, and more thought that they had been ‘unknowingly misled’. Whether the Iraq War had reduced the threat of terrorism was also a sensitive issue for the government. On 13 March 2003, John Howard was clear that one of the central goals of the intervention was to remove the possibility that Iraq could become a haven for terrorists and provide them with access to WMDs. This claim was first made during one of Howard’s regular appearances with Sydney talkback radio host Alan Jones: ‘It is directly in Australia’s national interest to see that Iraq is disarmed without delay and loses the chemical and biological weapons’ (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 2003b). The head of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Keelty, had been publicly rebuked by the prime minister when he suggested that the March 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people might be linked to Spain’s involvement in Iraq. Keelty was forced to clarify his statement, claiming that his initial remarks were taken out of context. However, the second part of Table 5.8 shows that the public largely endorsed Keelty’s view. Between March 2004 and December 2006, around two in every three respondents thought that the Iraq War had made a terrorist attack more likely, with the partial exception of the October 2004 poll. In March 2004, for example, at the time of Keelty’s statement, just 1% thought that the war had made a terrorist attack less likely. Two conclusions can be drawn from public opinion on the Iraq War between mid-2002 and late 2007. First, public opinion was generally opposed to the war until it had commenced, at which point the ‘rally round the flag’ effect took hold. However, after about a year, public support for the war began to wane. Second, the narrow majority that existed in support for the war rested on insecure foundations; just several months after the war had been won, a majority believed that they had been misled about the reasons for it. More tellingly, a large majority believed that Australia was at greater risk of terrorism as a result of involvement in the war, undermining one of the government’s key arguments for going to war in the first place. This sentiment lingered for many years and is explored further in Chapter 7.

Conclusion The move in strategic thinking from forward defence to the defence of Australia brought renewed consideration among the public about the role of the armed forces in the post-Vietnam era (Cheeseman 1991). The

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opinion surveys show that the public was prepared to support peacekeeping operations close to Australia, but that there was generally little support for overseas conflict with uncertain outcomes. The two operations examined in this chapter exemplify these two diverging threads in public opinion. The East Timor operation was to bring peace to a poor island nation close to Australia which had been subjected to occupation by a powerful and oppressive regional neighbour. The whole operation was conducted quickly and with few casualties, and the public saw it as a great success. By contrast, the Iraq War was a conflict far from Australia, with the prospect of many casualties and with a goal that was by no means clear. The public was divided and as the war progressed, became more opposed. These case studies show the increasing importance of public opinion to bolster overseas operations. As we demonstrated in the previous chapter, public opinion towards the Korean War or the Malayan Emergency was not a central consideration for policymakers. Even in the early stages of the Vietnam War, opinion did not figure much in elite discourse, with Australian involvement being based on the policy of forward defence and the imperative to support the U.S. to ensure that country’s long-term commitment to Australia’s defence. But the Vietnam War was the first Australian military operation in the post-Second World War era in which public opinion played a key role. In the absence of victory and as casualties and the demand for more resources mounted, the public’s support or at best ambivalence, turned to outright opposition. The public’s changing view of the Vietnam War is replicated in Iraq (Cox and O’Connor 2012). In the case of Iraq, a slim majority of the Australian public saw the threat of terrorism from WMDs and the goal of supporting the U.S. as sufficient justifications for the Iraq War; when WMDs could not be found, the sole justification for war was to maintain the U.S. alliance, much as had been argued in the later stages of the Vietnam War. That ultimately proved to be not a strong enough justification for many citizens despite (as discussed in Chapter 3) persistently high levels of support for the alliance. The costs inherent to a war that does not have a clear humanitarian or direct national interest outcome are high. The public is highly adept at identifying instances where Australian involvement is unlikely to result in any productive outcomes and may in fact be harmful. In addition, having made such an assessment, the public is unwilling to extend unconditional support to the deployment of troops overseas in such circumstances.

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Notes 1. These peacekeeping missions were motivated by a range of humanitarian and strategic considerations. The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) operation in particular reflected not only a humanitarian element, but also supported Australia’s strategic imperative to maintain stability in the region, and particularly in the South Pacific. The 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. had highlighted the danger inherent to failed and failing states for harbouring terrorist elements, as well as the human insecurity costs to the local populations. As well, in the twenty-first century, discourse around the Australian armed forces portrayed them as involved in hybrid missions, engaged simultaneously in war-fighting and state-building, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. 2. The exception to this was the Australian administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea (Papua New Guinea). 3. For more detailed analysis of the public opinion trends, as well as estimates for election candidates, see Cheeseman and McAllister (1994). 4. The list of actions ‘wilfully ignored’ by Canberra is of course longer than this, and includes the repression of dissent under Suharto and abuses against the West Papuans. For more on the role of militarism in Suharto’s Indonesia, see Budiardjo (1986). 5. For the role played by Australia see Cotton (2001: 214–222). 6. In comments for a documentary on the Howard government’s role in the referendum and its aftermath, President Habibie claims that he was angered at the colonial parallel drawn in a letter from Howard, between the East Timor situation and the fate of New Caledonia, and that this pushed him into making a snap decision to immediately hold a referendum for full independence. It is likely, however, that pressures internal and external to Habibie’s new democratic government also played a role in both necessitating the vote, and in the fact that Habibie did not seem to anticipate the violent response to it (Schulze 2001: 77–79). 7. For an advocacy account of the evolution of some of these activities, see Conway (2011). 8. Cotton (2001) argues that the broader public also became reenergised on the issue with the publication of a new instalment of the Sherman report into the deaths of Australian television journalists at Balibo in 1975. 9. Labor MP Laurie Ferguson strongly made the case for a shift in policy, noting that ‘Australia, unfortunately, has not played the best role in this matter and [has] alone in the world … given de jure recognition to Indonesia’. He continued: ‘The time is over when [Indonesia] can avoid giving the Timorese people some say by way of plebiscite. Whether it comes at a certain point after giving it special status is a point not to be debated. The time is overdue for the Timorese people to have some say

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in their future’ (Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives 1998: 5544). 10. While the intervention was welcomed by Australians, the speed with which the crisis developed, the lack of direct assistance from the U.S. and other regional powers, and the need to minimise conflict with Indonesian forces during their withdrawal, all raised questions about Australia’s capacity to undertake such a complex logistic and political operation. The operation was by far the largest and most delicate the ADF had been involved with since the withdrawal from Vietnam in 1972. 11. This pattern is similar to U.S. public opinion, see Krull et al. (2003: 569).

References Aarons, M. 2006. Beloved companheiros: What happened in East Timor. The Monthly, August: 24–31. Bell, C. 2000. East Timor, Canberra and Washington: A case study in crisis management. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 54(2): 171–176. Benson, J. M. 1982. The polls: US military intervention. Public Opinion Quarterly, 4(4): 592–598. Budiardjo, C. 1986. Militarism and repression in Indonesia. Third World Quarterly, 8(4): 1219–1238. Cheeseman, G. 1991. From forward defence to self-reliance: Changes and continuities in Australian defence policy 1965–90. Australian Journal of Political Science, 26(3): 429–445. Cheeseman, G., & McAllister, I. 1994. Popular and élite support in Australia for overseas military intervention. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 48(2): 247–265. Commonwealth of Australia. House of Representatives. 1998. Hansard Parliamentary Debates: House of Representatives, 29 June. Connery, D. 2010. Crisis policymaking: Australia and the East Timor crisis of 1999. Canberra: Australian National University ePress. Conway, J. 2011. Companion to East Timor—Jude Conway. Canberra: ADFA School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Available from https://www. unsw.adfa.edu.au/school-of-humanities-and-social-sciences/timor-compan ion/jude-conway. Cotton, J. 2001. The East Timor commitment and its consequences. In J. Ravenhill & J. Cotton (eds.), The national interest in a global era: Australia in world affairs: 213–234. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Cox, L., & O’Connor, B. 2012. Australia, the US, and the Vietnam and Iraq Wars: ‘Hound dog, not lapdog’. Australian Journal of Political Science, 47(2): 173–187.

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Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2003a. Interview with Charles Wooley, 60 Minutes, Channel Nine, 16 February. Available from pmtranscr ipts.pmc.gov.au/release/transcript-20691. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2003b. Interview with Alan Jones, Radio 2 GB, 13 March. Available from pmtranscripts.pmc.gov.au/release/tra nscript-20720. Entman, R. M. 2004. Projections of power: Framing news, public opinion and US foreign policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Evans, G. 1989. Australia’s regional security. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Evans, G. 1993. Cooperating for peace: The global agenda for the 1990s and beyond. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. Gartner, S. S., & Segura, G. M. 1998. War, casualties, and public opinion. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 42(3): 278–300. Kull, S., Ramsay, C., & Lewis, E. 2003. Misperceptions, the media, and the Iraq War. Political Science Quarterly, 118(4): 569–598. Leaver, R. 2001a. Introduction: Australia, East Timor and Indonesia. Pacific Review, 14(1): 1–14. McAllister, I. 2004. Attitude matters: Public opinion towards defence and security. Canberra: Australian Strategic Policy Institute. McDonald, M., & Merefield, M. 2010. How was Howard’s war possible? Winning the war of position over Iraq. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 64(2): 186–204. Mueller, J. 1970. Presidential popularity from Truman to Johnson. American Political Science Review, 64(1): 18–34. Mueller, J. 1973. War, presidents and public opinion. New York: Wiley. Nevins, J. 2005. A not-so-distant horror: Mass violence in East Timor. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Schulze, K. 2001. The East Timor referendum crisis and its impact on Indonesian politics. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 24(1): 77–82. Smythe, P. 2003. The heaviest blow: The Catholic Church and the East Timor issue. Muenster: Lit Verlag. Walgrave, S., & Dieter, R (eds.). 2010. The world says no to war: Demonstrations against the war on Iraq. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Wallis, J. 2017. Pacific power? Australia’s strategy in the Pacific Islands. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

CHAPTER 6

Trade and Relations with Asia

For most of the period since white settlement, and particularly during the postwar years examined in this book, Australia’s proximity to Asia has been experienced as insecurity in both an economic and a strategic sense. Economically, the high number of low-wage labourers in the populations to Australia’s north has been viewed as an ever-present threat to prosperity (McAllister and Ravenhill 1998: 119). Strategically, powerful Asian states have been viewed as hostile, threatening and hard to predict or understand (Burke 2008: 114). At the same time, Australia’s inward and outward facing identity as an imperial outpost surrounded by foreign enemies was reinforced until the 1970s by an exclusionary migration policy. While these defensive attitudes of insecurity towards the Asian region persist in various forms,1 Australia’s relationship with the region has also undergone a dramatic transformation. This has been accompanied by attitudinal and identity shifts among the public, which would not have been thought possible even in the 1960s. These shifts have been prompted by technological changes in communication, increased travel and migration within the region, and by the forces of global capital which have brought many foreign firms, businesses, students and other individuals to Australia. The shifts have also been assisted by efforts within the political elite to both reflect and direct the evolution of public attitudes towards Asia. © The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_6

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A key contradiction underlies the tension in Australia’s relationship with Asia and continues to complicate Australian foreign and defence policy today, as well as public attitudes. The contradiction is that Australia’s economic, political and security futures hinge upon the stability of the Asian region, and the fostering of deep and meaningful ties with neighbouring states. These tensions have provided a constant background to trade policy. The economic importance of the Asian market is today reflected in the engaged approach taken by successive policymakers, institutions and businesses to their regional partners (Pietsch and Aarons 2012: 33). Yet this outlook, shared widely among the political and business elite, has only come about after a long-term evolution in attitudes. This chapter outlines what this more recent ‘shift towards Asia’ has meant for foreign, defence and trade policies, and how public attitudes have responded to, and shaped, these changes. We first provide the historical backdrop to these issues, canvassing responses to Britain’s attempts to join the European Common Market2 in the 1960s and 1970s, and the sense of betrayal that framed Australia’s refocusing of its economic priorities towards Asia. The chapter then examines the relationship between public views of trade and economic security, and how these views influenced public responses to political debate regarding Australia’s changing relationship with Asia during the Hawke and Keating Labor governments, and the shift to the more cautious response taken by the Howard government in its early years. The chapter then examines attitudes to Australia’s nearest significant neighbour, Indonesia. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the contemporary debate surrounding China’s military and economic rise and what it means for Australia’s economic, strategic and political policies.

Australia, Britain and the European Economic Community In his study of the role of British patriotism in Australian political life, Stuart Ward (2001: 33) argues that events in the 1950s and 1960s provoked ‘a crisis of British race patriotism in Australia, and prompted long-overdue reflection, discussion and debate about the changing determinants of Australian nationhood in the post-war world’. Early changes came in the form of nationality and citizenship, while later changes were brought about by Britain’s application to join the European Economic

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Table 6.1 National identity, 1947

TRADE AND RELATIONS WITH ASIA

British identity Australian identity Don’t know Total

123

65 28 7 100

Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 470–477, November– December 1947

Community (EEC). This first section provides an overview of the nature of this debate. The importance of the British link was paramount to Australian foreign policy in the immediate postwar years. The 1948 British Nationality Act gave Commonwealth citizens the right to enter the UK and enjoy the same social, economic and political rights as those who had been born there. The importance of ‘Britishness’ to Australian identity, and the lack of any significant migrant group from a non-British background, meant that there was little desire for a separate Australian identity. In a 1947 Gallup poll, Table 6.1 shows that almost two in every three of those interviewed opted to retain a British identity rather than to establish a separate Australian identity. The salience of the issue is emphasised by the relatively small proportion—just 7%—who had no opinion on the question. The first major threat to this settled postwar relationship with Britain came with the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. This new economic alignment forced Britain to choose between its commitments to its Commonwealth partners and integration with its European neighbours. The challenges that this economic policy environment posed to policymakers were at the same time distinct from and deeply intertwined with the political and strategic questions Australia was facing during the 1950s. Postwar Australia had benefited from the preferential imperial trading system that had operated since 1932, with Britain acting as the main export market until the 1960s (Benvenuti 2011: 298). The bulk of Australian exports were either agricultural commodities or metals and minerals, which would be endangered by the EEC’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that was taking shape during the 1960s (Ludlow 2001: 272). One year after Britain’s first, unsuccessful, application to join the Common Market in 1961, the public clearly had undecided views about its long-term consequences for Australia. Table 6.2 shows that 40% took the view that Australia would be better off in ten years, but

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Table 6.2 The impact of the common market, 1962

Better off Worse off Don’t know Total (N )

40 18 42 100 (1925)

Note ‘If Britain enters the Common Market, how do you think it will affect Australia 10 years from now?’ Source Morgan Gallup Poll 157, October 1962

slightly more—42%—had no view. Just 18% believed that Australia would be worse off. The poll was conducted in September 1962, just six months after the 1962 UK Immigration Act was passed. While the legislation was aimed at restricting immigration from the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia, it was clear from the outset that it would also have implications for Australia, and it marked a long-term reorientation of Britain away from the Commonwealth and towards Europe. While Australia took pragmatic steps in response to this economic change, actively engaging the Japanese and East Asian trade network,3 Britain’s reorientation towards Europe was nonetheless met with a sense of betrayal and frustration. In a contemporaneous The Round Table journal article, Australia’s reaction to Britain’s decision to negotiate for full entry into the EEC is described as ‘prompt and forceful’ (Round Table 1961: 43). Decades later, in a publication commemorating the 50th anniversary of official EU–Australia relations, Australian diplomat Peter Doyle describes Britain’s decision to accede to the EEC in 1973 as ‘a traumatic experience, because we lost preferential trade access for our agricultural goods, but … also felt abandoned by mother England’ (cited in Delegation of the European Union to Australia 2013: 22). In the 1950s, despite an increasing global focus on the Asia-Pacific region, Australia continued to resist integration into its geographical region which it viewed almost exclusively through the prism of Cold War conflict (Gurry 1995: 24–25; McAllister and Ravenhill 1998: 121). This is reflected in a number of policy choices, such as the negotiation of the ANZUS treaty and the maintenance of the country’s racially discriminatory immigration policy, known as the ‘White Australia policy’. Australia’s apparent antipathy towards its own region, and the preservation of a hostile migration scheme, was facilitated by its strong position within the Commonwealth (Meaney 1995: 181). This started to change in the 1960s, as Britain

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shifted its focus towards Europe economically, politically and strategically, and away from its traditional role within the Commonwealth. The disruption of Commonwealth economic ties that came about as a direct result of Britain’s accession to the European Economic Community—and in particular the termination of the imperial preferential trade system—was significant for the economic damage Australia would suffer as a result (Benvenuti 2011: 298). Also of concern was what it meant for the importance of Commonwealth ties in foreign and trade policy more generally. While the rise of the U.S. as a security partner had already started to redefine Australia’s relationship with its own region, the economic shifts that came about with European integration further pushed Australia towards a reimagining of its own identity and place in the region. As documents from the time have become available, historians have investigated the factors that led to important economic, political and strategic shifts in Australia’s outlook.4 Of particular interest is the question of which factors were most important in Australia’s eventual embrace of Asia as the centre of the country’s strategic and economic interests. For example, Ward (2001: 260) argues that Britain’s application to join the European Common Market not only brought about a ‘disentangling’ of British and Australian political and economic interests, but that it also played an important role in a political culture shift in Australia, away from its imperial roots. Building on this insight, and drawing on extensive archival material as well as British and Australian parliamentary records, Benvenuti (2008: 7–8) argues that the decline in Anglo-Australian relations was the cumulative result of four events: Britain’s first application to the EEC in 1961; the 1967–1968 British withdrawal from the east of Suez; Britain’s second EEC application in 1967; and the reinstatement of this application in 1971–1972. After the UK’s first application to join the EEC in 1961, voices in Canberra arguing for the extension of Australian export options to new markets gradually prevailed. As a result, when the British Labour government reapplied for membership in 1967, Australia was more or less resigned to this new economic reality, with the trade minister, Doug Anthony, telling parliament in August 1971 that while Australia would no longer have a special trade relationship with the UK, ‘I am sure this country can stand on its own feet’ (cited in Kunkel 2004: 21). However, these upbeat assessments of the political elite notwithstanding, it is clear that the decline in Anglo-Australian relations that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s had a significant and wide-ranging effect on Australia’s

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international outlook, reverberations of which are still felt today. The following section looks at public debate around these changes in more detail.

The Shift Towards Asia Britain’s eventual membership of the EEC in January 1973 coincided with the scaling down of the Vietnam War and the U.S. strategic withdrawal from the region. In both economic and strategic terms, Australian decision-makers were faced with unenviable choices. The transformation of attitudes required to facilitate such choices was, unsurprisingly, an uneven process. Among some of the political elite, these changes were met with a sense of dismay and abandonment.5 And yet, at the same time, pragmatism prevailed and there is evidence that Menzies and his cabinet were willing to embrace new ideas about how Australia might define itself in this new economic and strategic environment, and that these changes in elite attitudes had begun much earlier (Meaney 1995: 182). The economic dimension to these ideas, as we will now briefly discuss, proved electorally popular and give us an indication of a slow shift taking place in public attitudes towards the country’s future in the late 1940s and the 1950s. The 1949 federal election was to prove significant, with Labor losing government; it would not win another federal election until 1972. One of the prominent themes in the Liberal party’s election campaign was a warning against the advance of ‘socialist’ ideals under Chifley’s Labor (Kendall 2008: 48). Against an international backdrop of increasing tensions in the early years of the Cold War, and in the context of domestic pressures on the cost of living, as well as concerns about wages and employment in what many had hoped would be prosperous postwar years, these arguments against ‘socialist government’ garnered a high level of support. Menzies himself painted Labor policies as ‘socialist’ and a brake on economic growth. Speaking days before the election, he pointed to postwar Britain, struggling to recover from the war, as an example of a state hampered by ‘socialist rule’. A key issue in the election was the public’s dissatisfaction with the continuation of wartime rationing, especially of petrol. Petrol rationing continued for many years after the war, in line with British interests, and was the subject of great frustration among motorists (Froude 2002).

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Menzies, despite his deep sense of personal loyalty to the Commonwealth, shared this frustration and promised to end the petrol rationing system that the Chifley Labor government was committed to retaining. Two months after the December 1949 election, Menzies made good on his promise. In a speech broadcast nationally, he asserted the primacy of Australian interests and freedoms, while also providing assurances that this did not represent a turn away from the sterling area or the Commonwealth: ‘We would not dream of turning our backs upon the mother country, whose economic problems we regard as a matter for our deep concern. But it is quite wrong to suppose that the petrol problem is the same in all countries’ (The West Australian 1950). There are other indications that the Menzies government’s global economic outlook was shifting away from a traditional commitment to the imperial preference trading system and towards greater multilateralism and engagement with East Asia. These include the Australia-Japan Trade Treaty of 1957 and a renewed activism in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) after a subdued period during the early years of the Menzies government (Capling 2001: 37–65). These incremental shifts, as suggested above, had the effect of preparing the economy for Britain’s eventual accession to the EEC. In addition to economic changes, the strategic environment was also changing. Australia’s gradual shift towards Asia during this period was facilitated by a number of other external events including the British decision, announced in January 1968, to withdraw armed forces from east of Suez by 1971.6 While little data exists to ascertain how much attention Australians were paying to the broader economic and strategic picture at this time, including their own government’s efforts to weather any potential changes, we do have public opinion data around the British withdrawal from Suez.7 In the years leading up to the British announcement, survey respondents were asked to choose between Britain and the U.S. in planning Australia’s defence, and Table 6.3 shows that a consistent majority thought that Australia should work with both countries equally. However, there was a modest proportion more in favour of working with the U.S., a position most likely due to the experience of the Second World War, when Britain had proven incapable of supporting or defending Australia. Once Britain’s decision to withdraw from east of Suez was made, there were clear implications both for Australia’s positioning of its armed forces within the region, as well as for the belief that Britain might be able to

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Table 6.3 Britain, the U.S. and Australia’s Defence, 1965 and 1966

Britain United States Both equally Don’t know Total (N )

1965

1966

5 17 72 6 100 (1952)

5 19 73 3 100 (1619)

Note ‘In planning our defence, do you think we should work chiefly with Britain, or chiefly with America, or with both equally?’ Source Morgan Gallup Polls 179 (September 1965), 185 (February 1966)

Table 6.4 British support for Australia, 1968

British support if Australia attacked Very confident Fairly confident Not confident Don’t know Total (N )

17 42 36 5 100 (1911)

Note ‘If Australia were in danger of attack after 1972, how confident are you that Britain will send big armed forces to help Australia?’ Source Morgan Gallup Poll 197, April 1968

assist Australia in the event of an attack. Table 6.4 shows that few of the respondents interviewed in a 1968 survey had a high degree of confidence in Britain supporting Australia in the event of an attack; just 17% took this view. More than one in three said that they were ‘not confident’ of British support. As Australia looked to its region for its economic future and began a strategic re-evaluation of its defence partnerships, it also started to make significant changes in immigration policy. In the postwar years, the immigration programme had started to accept immigrants of non-English speaking backgrounds (largely from Southern and Eastern Europe), whose migration was considered appropriate within the paradigm of the White Australia policy. In the 1960s, this underlying principle of

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discrimination (which had long been embedded in migration policy) was challenged and eventually dismantled. The White Australia policy remained formal migration policy until 1973, but the shift away from the idea of a race-based discrimination policy started at least seven years earlier. In 1965, the Labor opposition removed the White Australia policy from its platform. Under prime ministers Holt and Gorton,8 the government introduced important immigration reforms that would result in a larger number of non-European immigrants (Burke 2008: 124; Meaney 1995: 179). However, while debate in parliament now no longer referred to ‘White Australia’, MPs insisted that basic immigration policy had not changed, and those nonEuropeans selected to settle in Australia were chosen on the basis of their ability to culturally assimilate into Australian society (Meaney 1995: 178–179). Surveys of the time trace the changes in public opinion towards non-British and, later, Asian immigration. The decision by the Chifley government to encourage non-British immigration, mainly by people who had been displaced by the war and its aftermath in the Soviet takeover of eastern Europe, was broadly welcomed. Table 6.5 shows that in 1949, just over half of those interviewed considered the new immigration programme to be good for the country, with just under one in three seeing it as bad. Nevertheless, while there was support for European immigration, support for Asian immigration remained negligible. In 1965, seven years before the formal end of the White Australia policy, only a small minority of respondents—around one in 20—were in favour of unrestricted Asian immigration to Australia (Table 6.6). The large majority were in support of a degree of selection in allowing Asian migrants to enter the country. These opinions about Asian immigration Table 6.5 Postwar immigration, 1949

Good Bad Don’t know Total

54 31 15 100

Note ‘As you know, many thousands of non-British mostly displaced persons have come to Australia from the continent of Europe since the war. In the long run, do you think their coming here will be good, or bad, for Australia?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls, September–October 1949

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Table 6.6 Levels of Asian immigration, 1965 No restrictions Selective None Don’t know Total (N )

6 71 16 7 100 (1952)

Note ‘Should migrants from Asia be allowed here without restrictions, or on a selective basis, or not at all?’ Source Australian Public Opinion Polls 179, September 1965

Table 6.7 Asian migration, 1967–1987

No restriction on Asians Small quota Asians No Asians Only British and N Europeans No immigrants at all Don’t know Total (N )

1967

1969

1979

1987

19 36 7 20 13 5 100 (2054)

23 41 5 17 11 3 100 (1873)

27 29 3 5 34 2 100 (2016)

22 24 3 7 40 4 100 (1785)

Note ‘There’s a good deal of talk these days about migration. Which of these statements comes closest to what you feel should be done? Asians should be allowed to enter Australia as migrants just like people of European descent … There should be a small quota of Asian migrants … Asians should not be allowed to enter Australia as migrants … We should only allow people from Britain and Northern Europe to enter Australia as migrants … We should not have any more migrants at the present time’ Source ANPAS, 1967, 1969, 1979; AES, 1987

had been largely stable since the end of the war. Only 16% of the respondents opposed any form of immigration, suggesting that any concerns about the immigration programme were largely associated with the countries that migrants came from, and especially if they came from Asian countries. A more detailed question on immigration was asked in the 1967, 1969 and 1979 ANPAS surveys, with the same question asked in the 1987 AES (Table 6.7). These results permit a more fine-grained analysis of public opinion towards different types of migration, in addition to providing views both before and after the official end of the White Australian policy

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in 1973. The results show a marked increase in the proportion who support unrestricted Asian immigration, from 19% in 1967, to 23% in 1969, and 27% in 1979. However, this is also accompanied by fluctuations in the proportions who instead support a small quota of Asian immigrants, which peaks at 41% in 1969. The proportion who supports no Asian immigration, 7% in 1967, is similar to the 1965 estimate in Table 6.5. During the twenty year period of the surveys, this figure was more than halved. The figures are also notable for the steady increase in the proportion who want a complete halt to immigration, from 13% in 1967, to more than one in three of all respondents in 1979, and to 40% in 1987. The evidence would suggest, then, that while the aggregate view about Asian immigration had not shifted significantly, within this group the balance of opinion had shifted towards restrictions and away from the use of quotas. Among the remainder of the population, there was a large increase in the proportion who wanted a complete halt to immigration of all types. What drove this significant change, in the course of just 20 years? There is contemporary survey evidence that generational change may have been a major influence. Writing in 1970 and drawing on Gallup polls, Goot (1970: 189) notes that discernible shifts in attitudes towards immigration are observable between 1957 and 1964. In 1957, only 35% favoured changing Australia’s discriminatory White Australia policy; in 1964, by contrast, only 16 per cent opposed non-white immigration. The impact of generations between 1967 and 1987 on attitudes towards Asian immigration is examined in Fig. 6.1.9 The first two lines, for the 1967 and 1987 surveys, respectively, show the proportion who support a quota being placed on Asian immigration. The trends show a clear generational effect. Unrestricted Asian immigration is more likely to be supported by the newest generations, notably the Baby Boomers, who came of age in the 1950s and early 1960s, and Generation X, who came of age in the late 1960s and 1970s. The evidence suggests, therefore, that the attitudes of the most recent (at least in 1987) generations towards Asian immigration are very different from their older counterparts, especially the generation that came of age during the Second World War, with their memories of fighting the Japanese. The removal of the White Australia policy from the official policy positions of all major political parties in the mid-1960s thus came on the back of shifting public sentiment. As members of the postwar generation—whose experiences of Asia include positive interactions and who, as

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Fig. 6.1 Attitudes towards Asian immigration by generation, 1967 and 1987 (Note See Table 6.7 for question wording. Source ANPAS, 1967; AES, 1987)

Grant (1969: 33) argues, have acquired an ‘understanding of the politics, the history and the cultures of Asia which had either remained an enigma for Australians, or simply had not sufficiently aroused their curiosity’— started to express their political voice, so too did the discourse of the political elite start to broaden its parameters.

Engagement with Asia: 1980s and 1990s The interface between public and elite attitudes towards Asia during the three decades after 1945 suggests that they were mutually constitutive. While external variables explain many of the decisions made by foreign policy elites during this period, it is evident that domestic debates around national identity also influenced how Australians viewed their closest neighbours. Australia’s postwar economic and strategic focus moved away from Britain and towards Asia and was orchestrated by the political elite. Menzies assured the public that such a shift would not fundamentally alter Australia’s relationship with the British empire and spoke of the pragmatic benefits that would flow from increased trade and regional defence arrangements with Asia. In a 1954 speech to parliament about Australia’s accession to the Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) Menzies reassured the country: ‘All I need say is that Australia is British’.10

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While the trend towards a closer relationship with Asia started (in a limited way) in the 1950s and became embedded in Australian policy in the 1980s, it was not until the end of the Cold War that the trend accelerated. By the early 1990s engagement with Asia had become the dominant theme in discussions over foreign policy. As Australia re-assessed its regional relationships, it did so in a global environment where state power was increasingly being understood in economic terms: a state’s ability to pursue its interests was now correlated closely with trade performance and competitive advantage (Cotton and Ravenhill 1997: 15). Three key reports from the late 1980s all predicted a new and more important role for Asia in Australian decision-making. The 1988 Fitzpatrick Report surveyed rapidly shifting immigration patterns while the 1989 Garnaut Report argued that Asia would provide the investment opportunities to drive the transformation of the economy. The third report, foreign minister Evans’ statement on Australia’s Regional Security which appeared in 1989, concentrated on diplomatic and defence concerns. All three reports presaged trade as the key to repositioning Australia within Asia; in the first half of the 1990s, exports to East Asia increased by more than 50%, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries representing the most rapidly growing market (Ravenhill 1997: 107–108). Reflecting on the increased importance of economic issues in Australia’s external relations, two key regional initiatives—the Asia-Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum—formed the heart of Labor government engagement with Asia in the 1990s (Cotton and Ravenhill 1997: 2). APEC was pitched to the public as an Asia-Pacific counterpart to the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). In line with this new economic imperative, the focus of foreign policy moved away from alliance politics and towards Asian engagement. Thus, while the involvement of the U.S. in APEC was an essential motivation behind its formation, this aspect of the initiative was downplayed in government rhetoric in favour of the idea that APEC would allow for deeper and more meaningful Australian engagement in its immediate region.11 This foreign policy shift was not necessarily reflected within the defence establishment. Defence policymaking also had to adjust to the new emphasis on Asian engagement, an endeavour that Cotton and Ravenhill (1997: 4–5) describe as having only ‘limited success’, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Defence coming up with significantly different interpretations of this new reality.

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In his December 1989 statement, Australia’s Regional Security, the foreign minister described his vision of ‘cooperative security’ which prioritised consultation, diplomacy, transparency and interdependence over confrontation, secrecy and unilateralism. The Department of Defence, on the other hand, remained committed to more traditional defence priorities such as the maintenance of a strong national defensive capacity to deal with military threats (Cotton and Ravenhill 1997). The opposition parties largely refrained from criticising the broad strategy of increased Asian engagement, instead focusing on individual policies and strategies. For example, during the 1993 and 1996 election campaigns, the Liberal opposition accused the Hawke and Keating governments of pursuing multilateralism at the expense of bilateral initiatives. Ultimately, however, there was broad bipartisanship towards increasing engagement with Asia along the lines envisaged and promoted by Labor, and particularly by Keating. In the broader community, too, institutions (including the media, universities and businesses) were refocusing their gaze on their regional counterparts. Again, however, changes occurring at the elite level were not necessarily reflected among the public, which continued to express ambivalence about the value of an Australia more closely integrated with Asia. Two questions concerning trade with Asia which were asked in the 1993 AES demonstrate this ambivalence. When asked if trade with Indonesia was more important than the East Timor issue,12 40% of the respondents declined to take a firm view, with the remainder being evenly balanced for and against. Similarly, when asked if Australia should side with Japan or the U.S. on economic matters, almost half of the respondents did not take a view, although here the balance of opinion among the remainder was firmly in favour of siding with the U.S. (Table 6.8).

The Howard Government and Asia Sensing a growing unease among the public in the mid to late 1990s, John Howard came to power in 1996 campaigning on a platform that advocated a more cautious approach to Asian engagement. While it appears that, in reality, Howard’s approach to the region was in fact not one that sought to vigorously downgrade the relationships curated during the Keating years,13 under Howard the political narrative around the role of the Asian region in Australia’s future certainly shifted. Notably, the rhetoric that accompanied Asian engagement was less enthusiastic than

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Table 6.8 Trade with Asia, 1993

Strong agree Agree Neither Disagree Strongly disagree Total (N )

Trade with Indonesia more important than E Timor

Side with Japan not the U.S. on trade

6 22 40 24 8 100 (2890)

4 13 48 26 9 100 (2900)

Note ‘During the election campaign, there was a lot of discussion about Australia’s trade with other countries. Please say whether you agree or disagree with the following statements. … Our trade agreements with Indonesia are more important than our differences over East Timor… Australia should side with Japan and not the United States on economic matters’ Source AES, 1993

it had been under the leadership of Keating, or even Hawke. Howard’s rationale for this approach was that there was in fact no tension between Australia’s geography and history, and that Australians wanted a foreign policy that was ‘practical’ and ‘realistic’ (Gyngell 2017; Leaver 2001: 19–20). In terms of the interaction between policy and attitudes, this new emphasis represented a significant reversal. Whereas the 1983–1996 Labor governments had made the case for closer Asian engagement, seeking to convince voters of the value of such an approach, the new Liberal government took direction from its own reading of the public mood. The Howard government’s initial circumspection towards Asian relations was amplified by the rise of Pauline Hanson, who was elected as an independent MP in 1996 on an anti-Asian and anti-immigration platform. Despite the damage caused to Australia’s reputation in Asia by Hanson’s controversial and racially charged public statements, the prime minister was slow to publicly dissociate his government from the most popular of the MP’s views (McAllister and Ravenhill 1998: 139). At least part of the explanation for this reticence was the fact that many conservative voters shared Hanson’s views on immigration and her new One Nation Party was drawing support from disaffected Liberal and National supporters (Gibson et al. 2002; Jackman 1998). While Howard insisted that his rhetoric reflected public attitudes, the survey evidence suggests that on the issue of Asian engagement, the

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public wanted to see more engagement with Asia during this period rather than less, as reflected in the proportion who thought that closer links with Asia had ‘not gone far enough’ (Fig. 6.2). In the early years of the Howard government, around one in four took this view, but by 2004 this had increased to around one in three. At the same time, just over half of the respondents took the view that the current level of engagement was about right and that proportion has remained generally stable over the 25 year period of the surveys. With the change in government in 2007 and again in 2013, public opinion has remained reasonably stable.14 Also notable is the small proportion (and, since 2001, remaining generally stable) who see closer engagement with Asia as having gone too far. There is, then, relatively little public opposition to the policies of successive Liberal and Labor governments who wish to have closer ties with Asia. 70 60

Percent

50

Not gone far enough About right

40

Gone too far 30 20 10 0 1996

1998

2001

2004

2007

2010

2013

2016

2019

Fig. 6.2 Closer links with Asia, 1996–2019 (Note ‘The statements below indicate some of the changes that have been happening in Australia over the years. For each one, please say whether you think the change has gone too far, not gone far enough, or is it about right? … building closer relations with Asia.’ ‘Gone too far’ combines ‘gone much too far’ and ‘gone too far’, and ‘not gone far enough’ combines ‘not nearly far enough’ and ‘not far enough’.’ Source AES, 1996–2019)

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The survey question reported in Fig. 6.1 can be analysed in order to determine which social groups are more likely to support closer relations with Asia. There are a variety of explanations which could account for these opinions. One potential explanation is generational, with older generations being more focused towards Europe rather than to Asia. A second possible explanation is the shifting composition of the immigrant population, and as Asian immigrants form a greater proportion of the intake, this may gradually change opinions. Third, schools and universities include many more courses that cover Asian languages, culture and society, and this may influence opinions. Fourth, the growing number of business relationships, especially with China, may account for changing opinions. These explanations are tested in Table 6.9 using the Australian Election Study, which compares the factors affecting opinions towards a closer relationship with Asia in 1996 and 2019, using the same explanatory variables. The results show a strong and consistent effect for tertiary education, net of other things, and in both 1996 and 2019 those with tertiary education are significantly more likely to favour closer engagement. Family income is also a strong predictor and it also has a similar Table 6.9 Explaining closer links with Asia, 1996 and 2019 1996

Gender (female) Age (decades) Tertiary education Australian born Married Employed Family income (quintiles) Urban resident Constant Adj R2 (N )

2019 Est.

Stand.

Est.

Stand.

−.22* .01 .35* −.09 −.06 −.01 .08* .00 2.58 .06 (1795)

−.12* .01 .15* −.04 −.03 −.01 .12* .00

−.29* .01 .26* −.05 −.20* −.12* .09* .05* 2.54 .07 (1870)

−.16* .02 .13* −.02 .10* −.06* .14* .07*

Note *, statistically significant at p < .01. Ordinary least squares regression equations predicting closer relations with Asia, using the question reported in Fig. 6.2 scored from 1 (gone much too far) to 5 (not nearly far enough). Figures are partial and standardised regression coefficients. The independent variables are all scored zero or one unless otherwise noted Source AES 1996, 2019

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impact in both years; this suggests that those with greater economic resources view engagement with Asia as being more important. There is no support for generational influences on attitudes and age is not significant in either analysis. Also notable is the effect of marital status and employment in 2019 but not in 1996, with those who are married and in fulltime employment being less likely to support more Asian engagement. This reflects concerns about the impact of Asian trade on jobs in the most recent survey. Public opinion towards Asia has become gradually more favourable towards closer engagement during the 1990s and 2000s. A large majority see increased trading relations with Asia as being important. Only a small minority oppose this trend and that proportion has been declining since the mid-1990s. Education appears to be a significant driver behind views of Asia, and as tertiary education expands across the population, we would expect the trend to continue. However, concerns about the impact of this trend on employment are evident in 2019; to the extent that economic conditions deteriorate, this is likely to produce more public opposition to closer Asian engagement.

Attitudes Towards Indonesia Since the late 1990s, fear around the threat of Asian immigration to the Australian identity and economy has been replaced by new fears, as migration and security issues have become increasingly intertwined— a phenomenon discussed at greater length in Chapter 7 on attitudes towards terrorism. Debate about Australia’s relationship with Asia in the twenty-first century has been dominated by the question of how Australia should approach relations with Indonesia and with China, two countries with which Australia has distinct (and different) relationships. Public opinion towards China is examined in the next section; this section deals with Indonesia. Australia’s relationship with Indonesia was a particularly vexed issue in the 1990s, largely as a consequence of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor (discussed in detail in Chapter 5). In line with its emphasis on closer engagement with Asia, the Keating Labor government signed a security agreement with Indonesia in 1995. The agreement was the fourth that Australia had signed with countries in the region, but the first to be signed by Indonesia, which has had a long standing opposition to such

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Table 6.10 Trust in security agreement with Indonesia, 1996–2007

Strongly agree Agree Neither Disagree Strongly disagree Total (N )

1996

1998

2001

2004

2007

1 7 31 42 19 100 (1722)

2 6 31 44 17 100 (1840)

1 5 26 44 24 100 (1953)

1 7 28 48 16 100 (1716)

1 6 29 49 14 100 (1835)

Note ‘Please say whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with each of the following statements. The security agreement between Australia and Indonesia means that we can trust Indonesia never to be a military threat’ Source AES, 1996–2007

formal associations (Brown et al. 1996). The 1995 security agreement was superseded by the 2006 Lombok Treaty. Starting in 1996, five AES surveys have asked the respondents whether they believed the security agreement would reduce the potential military threat from Indonesia. The results in Table 6.10 show that over the period of the surveys, the public has maintained a healthy scepticism about the agreement, with barely one in 10 believing that it would reduce any potential threat. By contrast, in each of the five surveys a majority—ranging from 61 to 68%—believe that the agreement will make no difference. The figures are also notable for the fact that the period covers the East Timor crisis. Relations with Indonesia are delicate due to its close proximity to Australia. Over the past decade, there have been tensions with Indonesia with respect to Islamic terrorism and people smuggling. In 2001, following the Bali bombings, a significant minority of the public viewed Indonesia as a potential threat to Australia’s security. However, in recent years that proportion has declined significantly. This is reflected in the survey findings, with a 2014 ANUpoll showing that the public viewed Indonesia as friendly to Australia but not an ally (Table 6.11). A further 16% regarded Indonesia as an ally and the same proportion saw the country as friendly. Virtually no-one regarded Indonesia as an enemy. These figures reflect the wariness with which the public views Indonesia. The causes of this wariness can be traced to the proportions who believe that Indonesia has not assisted with the two major issues of contention

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Table 6.11 Views of Indonesia, 2014 Relationship with Australia Ally Friendly, but not ally Unfriendly Enemy Total (N)

16 55 16 3 100 (1204)

Assisted Not assisted Don’t know

People smuggling

Terrorism

24 59 17

27 53 20

(1204)

(1204)

Note ‘Do you consider Indonesia an ally of Australia?’ ‘Do you think that Indonesia has assisted or not assisted Australia in combating people smuggling?’ ‘And do you think that Indonesia has assisted or not assisted Australia in combating people smuggling/reducing the threat of terrorism?’ Source ANUpoll on Foreign Policy, 2014

Table 6.12 Trends in Australia–Indonesia relations, 2006–2014

Improving Staying the same Worsening Don’t know Total (N )

2006

2008

2014

19 31 47 3 100 (1722)

26 53 16 5 100 (1840)

7 50 40 3 100 (1953)

Note ‘In your opinion are relations of Australia with Indonesia improving, worsening or staying about the same?’ Source Lowy Polls, 2006, 2008, 2014

between the two countries: terrorism and people smuggling. In each case, but especially with regards to people smuggling, a majority of the public take the view that Indonesia has not assisted Australia.15 This view is also reflected in three Lowy polls conducted between 2006 and 2014, which show changing opinions about the direction of the Australia–Indonesia relationship (Table 6.12). In 2006, almost half of the respondents thought that the relationship was worsening, in the wake of concerns about terrorism and the Schapelle Corby case.16 By 2008 the public believed that relations were improving, with just 16% believing that they were worsening. However, by 2014 opinions had become more pessimistic once again, in the wake of allegations of Australian phonetapping of the Indonesian president’s family and concerns about people smuggling.

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Recent evidence about the public’s views of Indonesia comes from the Lowy polls, which have periodically asked a series of questions about public perceptions of the country. Figure 6.3 shows that while a minority believe that Indonesia is a democracy, a majority take the view that the Indonesia economy is important to Australia. In other words, there is widespread scepticism or ignorance about the Indonesian political system, but general agreement that the country’s economy cannot be ignored in terms of its importance to Australia. Other evidence from the Lowy polls comes from their regular question about who is Australia’s ‘best friend in the world’. Not surprisingly New Zealand, the U.S. and the UK consistently come in the top three countries. Since the question was first asked, Indonesia has never been mentioned by more than 1% of the respondents, behind (in 2019) China (4%) and Japan (2%). The public’s views of relations with Indonesia reflect the evolution of the bilateral relationship over the past decade, with an increasing level of friendship overlying tensions over terrorism and the problem of combating people smugglers. Thus a large majority see Indonesia as either an ally or a friend, but equally recognise that more could be done on the issues that divide the two countries. In turn, this is reflected in the 70 60

Indonesia is a democracy

Percent agree

50

Indonesia important economy to Australia

40 30 20 10 0 2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Fig. 6.3 Views of Indonesia, 1996–2019 (Note ‘Here are a number of statements about Indonesia. For each one please indicate whether you personally agree or disagree. Indonesia is a democracy. Indonesia is an important economy to Australia’. Source Lowy Polls, 2013–2019)

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changing views the public has about the direction of the relationship. Overall, the public has doubts about the Indonesia political system, but relatively few doubts about Indonesia’s economic importance to Australia.

Attitudes Towards China There is considerable anxiety within the political elite concerning the economic and military rise of China.17 This was most colourfully illustrated in former prime minister Tony Abbott’s remark to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that Australia is caught between ‘fear and greed’ when it comes to China (Garnaut 2015). The challenge to the liberal democratic order posed by China as it grows in power and assertiveness creates major policy dilemmas, as witnessed in wrangling over the appropriate responses to the South China Sea dispute. Nevertheless, the economic benefits of closer relations with China, and the reliance of resource-rich Australia on Chinese economic growth, creates a paradox whereby Australia simultaneously relies upon, but at the same time fears, Chinese economic power. Two sets of data exist with which to examine public opinion towards China. The first set of data tracks the perception that China may represent a military threat to Australia at some future point in time; reliable longitudinal public opinion data exists on this from the late 1960s onwards so provides an unrivalled half a century perspective on public views about China. The second dataset is concerned with the role of China as an economic power and particularly with its level of investment in Australia, and the strategic implications of that investment. Evidence on this exists only since 2009 but nevertheless provides a concise view on the scale and trajectory of public opinion on the economic role of China. The proportion of Australians that view China as a potential military threat declined following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; prior to that, almost one in three of the survey respondents thought that it was ‘very likely’ that China would pose a military threat to Australia (Fig. 6.4). From a low point in the late 1980s—in 1988 just 2% thought that China was a threat—this figure has then risen steadily, reaching a peak in 2019. In this most recent survey no less than 31% of the public thought it very likely China represented a military threat, almost twice the comparable figure in 2016. The Lowy poll has asked a similar question since 2009 and these estimates track very closely the similar AES findings; they did

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80 70

China threat very likely (AES and other surveys) China threat very likely (Lowy)

60

Little trust in China

Percent

50 40 30 20 10 0 1967 1971 1975 1979 1983 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015 2019

Fig. 6.4 China as a threat, 1967–2019 (Note 1990–2019: ‘In your opinion, are any of the following countries likely to pose a threat to Australia’s security?’ 1967–1988: Exact question wordings and codes vary between surveys. The Lowy question was ‘Do you think it is likely or unlikely that China will become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years?’ ‘How much do you trust the following countries to act responsibly in the world? China.’ Source McAllister and Makkai [1991]; AES, 1987–2019; Lowy Polls, 2009–2019)

not, however, ask the question in 2019 which is when the large increase took place based on the AES surveys. In the absence of estimates after 2019, it is possible that the large increase in the proportion seeing China as a threat in 2019 is the result of survey error. To check for this possibility, Fig. 6.4 also shows the trend for a question in the Lowy surveys concerning trust in China ‘to act responsibly in the world’. The trend for this question begins in 2006 and in that year 40% said that they had ‘not very much’ trust or ‘none at all’. That figure increased to 48% in 2018 but climbed substantially to 68% in 2019. These estimates—using a different question from another survey— endorse the AES findings that there was a substantial change in public opinion towards China after 2018. With China’s ever-increasing economic power has come large-scale investment in Australia. In 2016 Chinese investment peaked at $A15.4bn,

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declining slightly to $A13.3bn in 2017 (Ferguson et al. 2018: 8). This investment was initially welcomed as essential to provide capital to develop industry, but as Chinese firms began to target electricity infrastructure, telecommunications, resources and agricultural land, opposition to the purchases of these strategic assets has become more vocal.18 Concern was heightened by revelations that Chinese businesses had made substantial donations to the major political parties prior to the 2016 election, and in 2017 a prominent Labor senator, Sam Dastyari, was forced to resign over links to a Chinese businessman. In February 2018 the government announced restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land and in June 2018 a Chinese firm was blocked from building a telecommunications cable from the Solomon Islands to Australia amid security concerns. The issue of Chinese investment in Australia and its strategic implications has not gone unnoticed by the public. Since 2009 the Lowy surveys have asked respondents about the level of Chinese investment in Australia (Fig. 6.5). In 2009 around half thought that there was too much Chinese 80 70

Percent

60

Too much

50

About right

40

Not enough

30 20 10 0 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Fig. 6.5 Levels of Chinese investment in Australia, 2009–2019 (Note ‘And now how about Chinese investment in Australia. Overall, do you think the Australian government is …. allowing too much investment from China … allowing about the right amount of investment from China … not allowing enough investment from China?’ Source Lowy Polls, 2009–2019)

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investment, with 42% taking the view that the current level was ‘about right’. From 2010 to 2014 there was a slight increase in the proportion seeing the level of investment as too high, but it remained remarkably stable. In 2018, however, this figure increased substantially, to 72% with just one in four taking the view that the current level was about right. It declined slightly to 68% in 2019. While we do not know exactly what caused these changes in opinions, it is almost certain that it is in response to widespread concern about the level of Chinese investment in strategic assets. Public attitudes towards China reflect the paradoxical reaction to that country’s rise that can be witnessed in parliament and indeed across the advanced democracies (McAllister 2015: 123–125). While on the one hand the world welcomes and accommodates the rise of this economic giant, this comes with a concomitant fear of the ramifications of China’s rise: ‘on one level accommodating and on another displaying an overwhelming sense of anxiety, a fear of being overtaken by China or of losing influence to a mysterious and potentially threatening China’ (McCarthy and Song 2018: 323). There are major concerns about Chinese investment in Australia, but until 2019 these were not matched by any significant increase in those viewing China as a military threat. That situation appeared to change in 2019 when the proportion seeing China as a threat rose to equal the proportion who took the same view at the height of the Vietnam War.

Conclusion Australia’s relationship with Asia is multifaceted, significant and at times vexed and it has experienced a series of changes in the postwar years. The event that first significantly shaped Australia’s view of Asia was Britain’s decision to join the European Common Market; the protracted negotiations that followed created anxiety within Australian society, which still overwhelmingly identified with Britain and the Commonwealth. Yet, pragmatism quickly took hold, and both the government and the broader public adjusted quickly to the shifting circumstances. This resulted in a new view of Asia as a potential source of allies and trading partners. The next event that shaped the trajectory was the debate, which began in the 1960s, over the ethnic and racial composition of the Australian community and the role that immigration policy should play in this process. By the early 1970s the last vestiges of the highly restrictive

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White Australia immigration policy had been removed, and generational views towards Asia played a central role in opening the doors to skilled migration from Asia. And in the twenty-first century, as Australia’s neighbours—and particularly Indonesia and China—have grown in economic and military terms, the public has been forced to grapple with the question of how to balance the economic benefits of this regional growth, with questions around values, identity and security. The growth of China, in both economic and military terms, has brought with it renewed concerns among the public. There has been a steep rise in the proportion of the public who see China as a potential military threat to Australia, and a rise in fears about the consequences for the economy of Chinese investment in Australia. How future governments handle these fears represents one of the greatest foreign policy challenges of the twenty-first century.

Notes 1. This is evident, for example, in attitudes towards China’s changing role in the region as it seeks greater influence. This is discussed later in this chapter. 2. The European Economic Community (EEC) was also known as the European Common Market (Common Market). In this chapter the terms are used interchangeably. 3. Export data from the decades 1938–1970 reveals that Australia responded to British integration into the European community with a shift in export dependence. By 1965 Japan had overtaken Britain as Australia’s most significant export market and trade became increasingly focused on the East Asia trading network (Singleton and Robertson 2002: 8–10). 4. For a discussion of the content of the literature published from these archives, see Benvenuti (2008: 4–5). 5. As evident in the private notations of the minister for air, Peter Howson, who expressed concern that ‘there’ll be no white faces on the Asian mainland … from now on, and to a much greater extent, we shall be isolated and on our own’ (cited in Meaney 1995: 181). 6. Meaney (1995: 178) argues that other factors also played a role in the shift taking place in Australian policy: further abroad, the normative structure that allowed for Western discrimination against non-whites was changing, notably in in South Africa. Two of Australia’s key allies—the U.S. and Canada—removed race bias from their immigration laws. 7. See Chapter 4 for a detailed discussion of the Malayan Emergency.

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8. Following the disappearance of Holt in late 1967, John McEwen held the office in a caretaker capacity until the appointment of Gorton on 10 January 1968. 9. In the 1967 survey the generations are defined as the birth of democracy (age 68 or over), First World War (48–67), Depression (31–47), Second World War (21–30). In the 1987 survey the generations are defined as First World War (aged 68 or more), Depression (51–67), Second World War (41–50), Baby Boomers (28–40), Generation X (18–27). 10. Menzies (1954: 68) went on to say: ‘We are not contracting ourselves out of the old world … [we] are, to put it much more accurately, about to contract ourselves into a regional defensive arrangement which will give strength not only here, but also in Europe itself’. 11. An editorial in the Canberra Times summed up the response to the announcement with the headline ‘PM’s Great Asian Adventure with APEC’ (Milner 1997: 33). 12. See Chapter 5 for a detailed discussion of the East Timor crisis. 13. For an in-depth examination of this question, see Wesley (2007). 14. While the government has changed more frequently due to a change in prime minister, it was at these two elections that the political party gaining a majority in the lower house represented a change in ruling party leadership; in 2007 from Coalition to Labor government, and in 2013 from Labor back to Coalition government. 15. These estimates are close to those recorded in the 2014 Lowy Poll, using similar questions. That survey found that 57% viewed Indonesia as friendly and 36% as unfriendly, with 7% saying that they didn’t know. 16. Schapelle Corby was convicted of attempting to import cannabis into Indonesia and served a nine year sentence. She claimed the drugs had been planted on her. Her case attracted considerable media attention in Australia. 17. This section draws on and updates Chubb and McAllister (2019). 18. See the various reports by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, available at https://www.aspi.org.au.

References Benvenuti, A. 2008. Anglo-Australian relations and the ‘turn to Europe’, 1961– 1972. Martlesham, UK: The Boydell Press. Benvenuti, A. 2011. Opportunity or challenge? Australia and European integration, 1950–57. Australian Economic History Review, 51(3): 297–317. Brown, G., Frost, F., & Sherlock, S. 1996. The Australian-Indonesian security agreement: Issues and implications. Canberra: Parliamentary Library.

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Burke, A. 2008. Fear of security: Australia’s invasion anxiety. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Capling, A. 2001. Australia and the global trade system: From Havana to Seattle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chubb, D., & McAllister, I. 2019. Public attitudes towards the future defence of Australia. In P. J. Dean, S. Fruhling, & B. Taylor (eds.), After American primacy: Imagining the future of Australia’s defence: 28–43. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Cotton, J., & Ravenhill, J. 1997. Australia’s engagement with Asia. In J. Cotton & J. Ravenhill (eds.), Seeking Asian engagement: Australia in world affairs, 1991–1995: 1–16. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Delegation of the European Union to Australia. 2013. Celebrating 50 years: EU-Australia. Canberra: Stroudgate. Ferguson, D., et al. 2018. Demystifying Chinese investment in Australia. Sydney: KPMG, & University of Sydney. Froude, L. 2002. Petrol rationing in Australia during the Second World War. Journal of the Australian War Memorial, 36. Garnaut, John. 2015. Fear and greed drive Australia’s China policy, Tony Abbott tells Angela Merkel. The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April. Gibson, R., McAllister, I., & Swenson, T. 2002. The politics of race and immigration in Australia: One Nation voting in the 1998 Election. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25(5): 823–844. Goot, M. 1970. Red, white and brown: Australian attitudes to the world since the Thirties. Australian Outlook, 24(2): 188–200. Grant, B. 1969. The generation gap and Australian-Asian relations. In J. T. F. Jordens (ed.), The generation gap and Australian-Asian relations: 29–43. Melbourne: La Trobe University Press. Gurry, M. 1995. Identifying Australia’s ‘region’: From Evatt to Evans. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 49(1): 17–31. Gyngell, A. 2017. Australian foreign policy: Does the public matter, should the community care? Australian Journal of International Affairs, 72(2): 85–91. Jackman, S. 1998. Pauline Hanson, the mainstream, and political elites: The place of race in Australian political ideology. Australian Journal of Political Science, 33(2): 167–186. Kendall, T. 2008. Within China’s orbit? China through the eyes of the Australian parliament. Canberra: Parliamentary Library. Kunkel, J. 2004. Perfidious Albion revisited: Anglo-Australian trade relations and European economic integration. In National Europe Centre Paper No. 88. Canberra: The National Europe Centre, Australian National University. Leaver, R. 2001. The meanings, origins and implications of ‘the Howard Doctrine’. The Pacific Review, 14(1): 15–34.

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Ludlow, P. N. 2001. Too far away, too rich and too stable: The EEC and trade with Australia during the 1960s. Australian Economic History Review, 41(3): 267–286. McAllister, I. 2015. Polling report: Public opinion in Australia towards defence and security. In Guarding against uncertainty: Australian attitudes towards defence. Canberra: Department of Defence. McAllister, I., & Makkai, T. 1991. Changing Australian opinion on defence: Trends, patterns, and explanations. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2(3): 195– 235. McAllister, I., & Ravenhill, J. 1998. Australian attitudes towards closer engagement with Asia. The Pacific Review, 11(1): 119–141. McCarthy, G., & Song, X. 2018. China in Australia: The discourses of Changst. Asian Studies Review, 42(2): 323–341. Meaney, N. 1995. The end of ‘white Australia’ and Australia’s changing perceptions of Asia, 1945–1990. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 49(2): 171–189. Menzies, R. 1954. International Affairs, House of Representatives. Debates, 5 August: 63–69. Milner, A. 1997. The rhetoric of Asia. In J. Cotton & J. Ravenhill (eds.), Seeking Asian engagement: Australia in world affairs 1991–1995. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Pietsch, J., & Aarons, H. 2012. Australian engagement with Asia: Towards closer political, economic and cultural ties. In J. Pietsch & H. Aarons (eds.), Australian identity, fear and governance in the 21st century: 33–46. Canberra: ANU ePress. Ravenhill, J. 1997. Australia and the world economy, 1991–1995: Closer economic integration with Asia? In J. Cotton & J. Ravenhill (eds.), Seeking Asian engagement: Australia in world affairs 1991–1995. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Round Table. 1961. Australia and E.E.C. The Round Table, 52(205): 43–48. Singleton, J., & Robertson, P. 2002. Economic relations between Britain and Australia from the 1940s–1960s. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. The West Australian. 1950. Abolition of petrol rationing: Mr. Menzies Broadcasts through 100 stations. The West Australian, 9 February. Ward, S. 2001. Australia and the British embrace: The demise of the imperial ideal. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Wesley, M. 2007. The Howard paradox: Australian diplomacy in Asia 1996– 2006. Sydney: ABC Books.

CHAPTER 7

Terrorism and Security

Since the 1970s terrorism has become a constant backdrop to life around the world. But despite frequent terrorist acts causing considerable loss of life in many comparable societies, Australia has remained relatively immune from such activity. Most of the terrorist acts in Australia have involved isolated and often random attacks on the public, or attacks on diplomats by ethnic extremists (Pietsch and McAllister 2012). This stands in contrast to many other societies. In the U.S., for example, 2998 people died in the 9/11 attacks alone and 198 died in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In Britain, Irish republican violence killed 125 people in bombings and shootings between 1968 and 1998, while Islamic terrorists killed 56 people in London in July 2005 in coordinated attacks on the public transport system, and 22 people in Manchester in 2017 following a rock concert (Hewitt 2018). Even in New Zealand, which has been largely free from terrorism, 51 people died in the March 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings (Battersby and Ball 2019). By contrast, the most notable terrorism incident claiming Australian lives took place offshore, on the Indonesian island of Bali on 12 October 2002, when bombings at two popular nightspots in the tourist district killed 202 people, 88 of them Australian.1 Many of the more seriously injured were flown to Australia for treatment, attracting widespread media attention. An Islamist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, claimed responsibility and said that it had mounted the attacks in retaliation for Australian © The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_7

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support for the U.S.-led ‘War on Terror’. Terrorists acts on Australian soil have for the most part been limited to single individuals randomly attacking bystanders, often using knives or vehicles, and many have been linked to Islamic grievances in one form or another (Harris-Hogan and Zammit 2014; Mullins 2011). At the same time, a large number of planned attacks have been uncovered and halted by the authorities, often targeting significant civil and military infrastructure or prominent individuals (Harris-Hogan 2013). Notwithstanding the relatively low risk of death or injury from a terrorist attack in Australia—the annual risk of getting killed in a terrorist attack in Australia is one in over 33 million, compared to one in 15,000 for a road traffic accident (Michaelsen 2010: 24)—as we show later there is widespread public concern about terrorism. Moreover, successive governments have substantially increased funding and legal measures to counter terrorism. In 2019 alone, the federal budget contained an extra $570 million for the country’s security agencies, with most of the increase being earmarked to enhance the digital surveillance capabilities of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). This injection of resources has followed over 50 pieces of counter-terror legislation enacted by parliament since 2001. The bolstering of the security and intelligence agencies has continued even as the terror threat posed by ISIS and other groups worldwide has abated (Institute for Economics and Peace 2019: 4).2 This chapter examines the views of the public towards terrorism. While the available opinion poll evidence does not start until after the 9/11 attacks and the Bali bombings, since then considerable survey evidence exists which enable us to trace long-term trends. The first section examines the background to terrorism in Australia, starting with the Hilton Hotel bombing in 1978. The second section covers the Bali bombings and how views about Indonesia have changed over time, especially with regard to the country’s role in combating terrorism. The third section covers public anxiety about terrorism and shows how these concerns have increased as random ‘lone wolf’ terrorist incidents have become more common. The public’s response to the various legislative changes designed to increase the powers and resources available to the security agencies is the subject of the fourth section. Finally, the conclusion draws these themes together and evaluates how and in what ways opinion has influenced counter-terror policy, and how this is likely to change in the future.

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Terrorism and Australia Of the three events which have instrumental in shaping the public’s response to terrorism over the past half century, only one occurred in Australia—the Hilton Hotel bombing in February 1978. The other two, the Bali bombings in October 2002 and the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., took place overseas but still resulted in considerable loss of Australian lives. The political and social consequences of both of these events have continued for many years afterwards, in heightened domestic security measures, in foreign policy, and in how the public has viewed terrorism. The Sydney Hilton hotel bombing took place during a Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting, killing three people, two of them council garbage workers; a policeman guarding the hotel died later of his injuries. While no group ever took responsibility for the event, it was widely believed at the time that the bomb was intended to kill the Indian prime minister who was attending the meeting, and was in retaliation for Indian government curbs on the activities of Ananda Marga, a socio-spiritual group dedicated to transforming society (Landers 2016). In the immediate aftermath, Neville Wran, the NSW premier, declared that ‘terrorism is now a fact of life … for the first time in our history terrorism, against innocent and uninvolved people, has become a fact in our country’ (Sydney Morning Herald 1978). Responses to the event, which shocked the Australian public, were manifold. Most immediately, the government called out the military to the streets of the small town of Bowral, where the world leaders gathered after Sydney to conduct their meetings. In the weeks and months following, a debate emerged around how such threats should be countered, and a related conversation around how civil liberties could be preserved in an environment where the state needed to respond to threats whose genesis could be found within the community. There was also considerable public discussion about the nature, purpose and authority of the country’s intelligence agencies who were seen by some to have been negligent in not detecting the threat and neutralising it.3 The debate concerning the role of the intelligence agencies had in fact started much earlier, in the 1960s. While the Hilton bombing is remembered as Australia’s first terrorist attack, there had been a series of incidents earlier in the decade involving Australian-based Croatian separatists. They had mounted attacks against political targets inside as well

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as outside the country, with a view to undermining the Yugoslav government (Finnane 2015). There were concerns that, with the Labor party so long in opposition, ASIO had developed a conservative, anti-communist culture which led it to place less emphasis on actors with whom they were ideologically aligned (such as the Croatian separatists). While a 1977 review of ASIO (the Hope Royal Commission) in part confirmed these views, it also recommended that ASIO’s powers be strengthened, initiating a national conversation about how to ensure accountability in the country’s intelligence agencies in the new threat environment (Cain 1993: 91).4 Ultimately, the transformation of the political climate in favour of stronger preventive security measures paved the way for the transfer of significant new powers and resources to the police and the security agencies (Head 2008). In 1979 legislation was passed to increase ASIO’s operational powers; much of the justification was the rising threat of terrorism evidenced by the Hilton bombing. ASIO was given the ability to intercept a wide range of communications, conduct surveillance using concealed listening devices and the organisation’s search and seizure powers were expanded. New rules also restricted the press, making it a serious offence to publicise the identity of an ASIO officer, agent or employee. Other changes followed two additional inquiries (commissioned after the Hilton bombing) and included the establishment of the Australian Federal Police, the expansion of the SAS for domestic counterterrorism purposes, and specialised teams in state police forces (Head 2008: 242, 256). While debate over the enhancement of counter-terror capabilities originated in the 1960s and 1970s, the actual reach of legislation remained limited until the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. These attacks brought the capabilities of Australia’s security agencies back into the public spotlight. Australia’s response to the 9/11 attacks was both emotional and resolute, with prime minister John Howard declaring that ‘such attacks represent an assault, not only on the people and the values of the United States of America, but on free societies everywhere’. Howard went on to invoke the ANZUS treaty, and thus commit Australia to join the U.S. as it sought to respond through military deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq (Commonwealth of Australia 2001: 30739–30741). This response to the 9/11 attacks took place in the context of a wider debate over the sources of potential external threats to Australia’s security, following the

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government’s refusal to allow a Norwegian freighter, the MV Tampa, to disembark 430 asylum seekers on Australian soil (McAllister 2003). Debate over the government’s response to the Tampa affair was still raging at the time of the 9/11 attacks. As others have argued, the government was able to draw on a discourse around Australian security, identity and values (and particularly the risk posed by outsiders to national security) to make a case for Australia’s involvement in the ‘War on Terror’ (Holland 2010: 658; McDonald 2005: 309). The decision to deploy troops to Iraq was a controversial one, however in a political climate where terrorism had been invoked as a security crisis, the Labor party was unable to mount an effective opposition to the intervention. This failure, argue McDonald and Merefield (2010), was caused by Labor’s inability to provide an alternative to the Howard government’s emphasis on Australian values and its support for the ‘War on Terror’. Thus, despite wavering public support for the intervention, there was little dissent among political elites (at least, those from the country’s major parties) over the appropriate policy responses to 9/11 (Beeson 2002: 226). The 9/11 attacks fundamentally changed U.S. foreign policy. In their wake, George Bush enunciated the ‘Bush doctrine’ which permitted the U.S. to pursue terrorists regardless of territorial boundaries; in Bush’s words, the U.S. would ‘make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them’ (quoted in Jervis 2003). However, the pre-emptive nature of the doctrine dictated that the U.S. should invade Afghanistan first, since it was the base for Al Qaeda operations, the instigator of the 9/11 attacks. It was only after the invasion of Afghanistan had been successfully completed that the administration was able to turn its attention to Iraq. There was considerable public support for the ‘War on Terror’, at least in its initial stages. Figure 7.1 shows that around the time of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, 69% supported Australian participation in the war. Following the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and the subsequent failure to find weapons of mass destruction, which had been the main rationale for the invasion, public support began to wane. Support declined steadily until the low point of 2013 when just 44% supported the war. This period marked the high point of the Iraqi insurgency against the U.S.-backed government which required renewed U.S. military intervention. In both 2016 and 2019 support for the ‘War on Terror’ has remained stable at 52%, with around one in five respondents opposing it. While hardly popular, the war has not attracted the sort of concerted

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80 70 60

Percent

50 Agree

40

Disagree

30 20 10 0 2001

2004

2007

2010

2013

2016

2019

Fig. 7.1 Support for the ‘War on Terror’, 2001–2019 (Note Please say whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with each of the following statements. Australia should provide military assistance for the war on terrorism. Source AES, 2001–2019)

opposition that emerged in the latter stages of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. One reason for continuing public support for participation in the ‘War on Terror’ has been the increase in terrorist incidents in Australia, many of which are viewed as having been inspired or resourced from overseas. Reducing the domestic threat from terrorism is therefore at least partly seen as requiring intervention overseas, sometimes involving the military. Participation in the ‘War on Terror’ fits this narrative, despite the legacy of the Vietnam War. Another reason was the major impact on public opinion of the Bali bombings and views of Indonesia; this necessarily raised the question of Indonesia’s ability and willingness to counter the terrorist threat effectively. These events also came at a time when there was an unprecedented number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat, almost all of them originating in Indonesia. In the next section we examine the public’s views of these events.

The Bali Bombings and Indonesia5 Following the 9/11 attacks, there was considerable discussion about the possibility of a similar terrorist attack on Australian soil. The 12 October 2002 bombings in Bali, while taking place outside Australia, still served

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to abruptly shift the threat of terrorism from the hypothetical to the real. The bombings resulted in mass casualties at two nightspots popular with Westerners. While the Al Qaeda-linked group responsible for the attacks, Jemaah Islamiyah, had as their main target U.S. interests and civilians (Baker 2005: 71), by far the largest number of deaths—88 of the 202— were Australian. For the public, this was a terrorist attack aimed squarely at Australia and Australians (Aly 2013: 267; Lewis 2006: 225). Bali’s place in Australian culture, as a familiar and popular tourist destination, meant that the attack had a profound effect on Australia’s sense of security and vulnerability (Harris-Hogan 2013; Lewis 2006). In the days following the bombings the media coverage reflected a nation in profound grief and suffering a deep sense of insecurity. The images that emerged from the funerals of the young Australians killed amplified this sense of grief, in a manner reminiscent of the aftermath of the 1978 Hilton bombing. In policy terms, the attacks served to reinforce the government’s determination to support the ‘War on Terror’. Colin Powell, the U.S. secretary of state, appealed to Australians to see the Bali attacks as a rallying call, that ‘al-Qa’ida is not just aiming at America. It is aiming at the civilized world’ (cited in Gurry 2003: 229). The attacks, alongside 9/11, were also seen by the political elites as transformational events. The government reinvigorated the debate over whether Australia’s strategy should be focused on its territory and coastlines, or whether a greater portion of the budget should be dedicated to sending troops abroad on expeditionary operations (Gurry 2003). Not least, coming just three years after the East Timor crisis, the Bali bombings again focused attention on Indonesia, and particularly on the government’s response to the rise of Islamic terrorism. For most of the period from the late 1960s to the end of the 1990s, Indonesia was viewed as representing only a modest security threat to Australia. The public certainly regarded it as much less of a threat than either Russia prior to the end of the Cold War or China during the period of the Vietnam War. However, during that period Fig. 7.2 shows that the proportions viewing Indonesia as a threat had been gradually increasing. In 1976, for example, just 10% of those interviewed viewed Indonesia as a serious threat, but by 1996 that figure had increased to 23%. The East Timor crisis in 1999, quickly followed by the Bali bombings, drove a significant increase in public concern, peaking at 31% in 2001 and remaining at that level until the mid-2000s. Since then, the

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60

60

Percent say threat

50

Threat

50

Friend 40

40

30

30

20

20

10

10

0

0

Friend mean, 0 to 100

158

Fig. 7.2 Indonesia as a threat and a friend, 1967–2019 (Note 1967–1988: Exact question wordings and codes vary between surveys. 1990–2019: ‘In your opinion, are any of the following countries likely to pose a threat to Australia’s security? Indonesia.’ ‘Please rate your feelings towards some countries and territories, with one hundred meaning a very warm, favourable feeling, zero meaning a very cold, unfavourable feeling, and fifty meaning not particularly warm or cold. You can use any number from zero to one hundred: the higher the number the more favourable your feelings are toward that country or territory. If you have no opinion or have never heard of that country or territory, please say so’. Source McAllister and Makkai (1991); AES, 1987–2019; Lowy Polls, 2009–2019)

proportion viewing Indonesia as a threat has returned to the levels found in the 1970s. Other evidence about the public’s views of Indonesia after Bali comes from questions included in the Lowy Polls, starting in 2005. The second trend reported in Fig. 7.2 shows the mean ranking on a scale of zero to 100 of views about Indonesia being a ‘friend’. For the most part, this trend tracks the proportion seeing the country as a threat. From 2006 onwards, there is a gradual increase in the public feeling warmer towards Indonesia, as the proportion seeing the country as a threat has declined. The one exception to this trend is the estimate for 2014, when the mean score declined from 53 in 2013 to 42, before returning to trend. The cause of this decline would appear to be two events. First, documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Wikileaks showed that Australian intelligence agencies had monitored the phones of the Indonesian president and

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his wife, together with other senior officials. Second, 2013 marked the peak in asylum seekers arriving by boat; in that year 20,587 asylum seekers arrived in 300 boats, almost all embarking from Indonesia. While not encouraging the boats, there was a widespread public view that Indonesia was not taking sufficient steps to stop them. A significant minority of the public also took the view that Indonesia was not doing enough to fight terrorism. The evidence in Table 7.1 from three Lowy Polls shows that in 2013 a narrow majority believed that Indonesia was attempting to deal with the problem of terrorism, but equally four in 10 of those interviewed believed that it was not doing enough. When the question was asked again in 2018, opinions were equally divided, suggesting a hardening of attitudes among the public. This is also reflected in the second question reported in Table 7.1, namely whether or not the respondents viewed Indonesia as a source of Islamic terrorism. In 2018 around one in three took this view, compared to 37% in 2019.6 While public debate in the aftermath of September 11 and the Bali bombings understandably centred around military responses and support for the ‘War on Terror’, a raft of legislative changes was also passed through parliament, aimed at reducing the risk of terror attacks on home soil. In the first decade following 9/11, at the federal level alone, 50 new statutes were passed by the federal parliament. This legislation, described by constitutional law expert George Williams (2011) as being of ‘unprecedented reach’, included increasing ASIO powers as well as other measures Table 7.1 Views about Indonesia and terrorism, 2013–2019

Agree Disagree Neither/don’t know Total (N )

Indonesians fight terrorism

Indonesia source of terrorism

2013

2018

2018

2019

54 40 7 100 (1002)

44 44 12 100 (1200)

32 41 27 100 (1200)

37 56 7 100 (2130)

Note I am going to read out a number of statements about Indonesia. For each one, please say whether you personally agree or disagree. The Indonesian government has worked hard to fight terrorism. Indonesia is a dangerous source of Islamic terrorism Source Lowy Polls, 2013, 2018, 2019

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intended to augment the ability of authorities to curb the activities of suspected terrorists. The public response to these and other measures are examined in the penultimate section of this chapter.

Public Concerns About Terrorism The public’s fear of being a victim of terrorism stems from the random nature of the violence: when there is no predictability as to who a terrorist act will be aimed at, everyone is potentially at risk. The random nature of terrorism and its effects on the population is similar to the Allies’ area bombing of German cities during the Second World War. Postwar American and British surveys found that the Allied bombing created widespread fear among the civil population and that this was rooted in its random nature. It also had a major effect in weakening the resolve of the mass population to continue the conflict (Frankland and Webster 1961). Nearly a century on from these events, random terrorist attacks are having the same effect on the general population. Surveys conducted immediately after the 9/11 attacks showed a marked increase in the level of personal fear of being a victim of an attack, or that of a close family member (Huddy et al. 2002). That concern gradually declined by the end of the year, but there remained a substantial minority who were concerned not just about bombings or other events similar to the 9/11 attacks, but about biological or chemical attacks as well. This concern came from the Anthrax-laced letters which were sent to several politicians and media offices in the weeks following 9/11, killing five people. Coming immediately after a major terrorist event, the 2001 Anthrax Attacks, as they became known, attracted considerable publicity about a wave of terrorism that was sweeping the U.S. (Winett and Lawrence 2005). Consistent overtime trend data on personal views about terrorism are not available in Australia, unlike the U.S. However, data does exist from 2005 onwards, three years after the Bali bombings. Figure 7.3 shows that just 30% of the respondents in that year’s Lowy Poll felt ‘very safe’ as a consequence of world events. That figure increased thereafter, reaching a peak in 2010 when 42% reported that they felt ‘very safe’. The later years in this period are generally marked by relatively low levels of international tension as the major economies coped with the 2007–2008 global financial crisis, an event that Australia largely managed to avoid. To the extent that there is concern, it is focused on international terrorism: in the

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70 60

Percent

50 40

Safe Very safe Unsafe/very unsafe

30 20 10 0

Fig. 7.3 Feelings of personal safety, 2005–2018 (Note Now about world events, how safe do you feel? Source Lowy Polls, 2005–2018)

2009 Lowy Poll, for example, 68% saw international terrorism as a ‘critical threat’, second only to ‘the possibility of unfriendly countries becoming nuclear powers’. Since 2010 the proportion feeling ‘very safe’ has declined incrementally, to a low of 18% in 2018. This figure is less than half the estimate than for any of the years between 2007 and 2010. At the same time, the proportion who say that they feel ‘unsafe’, at 21% in both 2017 and 2018, exceeds the proportion who say that they feel ‘very safe’. This is a major reversal in public opinion and undoubtedly reflects the prevalence of random attacks on the public by radical Islamic groups around the world, and to some degree in Australia. According to the Global Terrorism Database,7 Australia experienced 10 terrorist incidents between 1978 and 2010, a period of 32 years, resulting in seven deaths. By contrast, in the eight year period between 2011 and 2019 there were nine incidents which resulted in 11 deaths. While the numbers of incidents and deaths are small by international standards, they represent a marked increase in terrorist incidents which cannot fail to have had an impact on public opinion. Other evidence to support the public’s increasing concern about terrorism comes from three surveys, the AES in 2007, an ANUpoll in 2009 and an Essential Poll in 2016, which asked the respondents how concerned they were about terrorism. Table 7.2 confirms the significant

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Table 7.2 Concern about terrorist attack, 2007–2016

Very concerned Somewhat concerned Not very concerned Not at all concerned Don’t know Total (N )

2007

2009

2016

16 48 27 7 1 100 (1873)

15 29 35 20 0 100 (1200)

33 43 17 6 1 100 (1051)

Note 2007: ‘How concerned are you that there will be a major terrorist attack on Australia soil?’ 2009: ‘How concerned are you that there will be a major terrorist attack on Australian soil in the near future?’ 2016: ‘How concerned are you about the risk of a terrorist attack on Australian soil?’ Source AES, 2007; ANUpoll, 2009; Essential Poll, 2016

increase in concern that has taken place over the period since 2005. In 2007 16% of the respondents were ‘very concerned’ about terrorism, a figure that more than doubled, to 33%, in 2016. At the same time, the proportion who said that they were ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ concerned about terrorism declined by 11% points between the two surveys. Also of note is the small proportion—1% in each of the surveys—who had no view, suggesting that almost all of the respondents had considered their personal risk from terrorism. These are, once again, significant changes and suggest that the fear of terrorism has had a major impact on the public. Finally, the available surveys show the extent to which the respondents believe that the level of terrorism has changed since 2007. Once again, the data in Fig. 7.4 shows a steady increase in the proportion believing that terrorism has increased, as indeed the evidence on terrorist incidents reported earlier shows. In 2007, a total of 56% of the respondents thought that terrorism had increased, but by 2017 the same figure had risen markedly, to 74%. In 2017 just one in five believed that the level of terrorism had stayed the same, less than half the same figure in 2007. The survey evidence suggests, once again, that the public holds a clear view about the trajectory of terrorism in Australia. In line with public opinion in the U.S. and elsewhere, Australians have become increasingly concerned about the personal risk of terrorism. This public concern gained momentum after the Bali bombings and the 9/11 attacks, but it has increased noticeably after 2010, in response to random

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80 70 60

Increased Stayed same Decreased

Percent

50 40 30 20 10 0 2007

2014

2015

2016

2017

Fig. 7.4 The level of threat from terrorism, 2007–2017 (Note 2007: ‘As a result of Australia’s military action in Iraq, do you think the threat of terrorism against Australia has increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?’ 2014–2017: ‘Over the last few years, do you think that the threat of terrorism has increased, decreased or stayed about the same?’ The 2015 estimates average the results from three surveys conducted in March, October and November of that year. Source AES, 2007; Essential Polls, 2014–2017)

‘lone wolf’ attacks on the public by Islamic-inspired terrorists, often with an expectation of being killed (Spaaij 2010). It is the random nature of these attacks and the willingness of the terrorists to be killed while committing the act that has fuelled public fear and anxiety, replacing attacks by organised paramilitary groups such as the Irish Republican Army or Basque separatists in Spain.8 One consequence of this heightened public anxiety is a greater willingness to accept restrictions on civil liberties to counter the threat. We examine this aspect of the public response to terrorism in the next section.

Government Responses to Terrorism One of the goals of terrorism is to create fear and anxiety within a population, so that civil liberties are undermined and democracy is placed under undue stress.9 Terrorist groups often aim to convince a government and the mass public that the costs of combating the threat are greater than the costs of acceding to their demands. Suicide terrorism aimed at securing territorial concessions has been shown to be particularly effective; in the

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conflicts in which it has been employed, the terrorist groups have gained significantly more concessions after its introduction than before (Pape 2003). The response of governments around the world has been to introduce a range of measures giving the security authorities greater powers and resources to respond to current or future threats (Pietsch and McAllister 2012). The dilemma is that such measures invariably encroach on a wide range of traditional freedoms, from freedom of assembly and speech to due process under the law (Vergani 2018). Initially at least, such measures are of less concern to the public than the belief that the government is acting to protect the public from the threat. Research conducted in the U.S. after 9/11 found that those most concerned about terrorism were also those most likely to support increased security, as well as being more likely to support legal changes that could undermine civil liberties (Huddy et al. 2005, 2007). Many of the legislative changes that have been enacted have enabled the security agencies to gather more information in order to halt a terrorist act that is being planned. Immediately after 9/11, the USA Patriot Act (2001) was passed which permitted the U.S. authorities to gather information and search premises without a court order. Australian legislation passed in 2004 and in 2014–2015 was intended to achieve the same goal, as well as increasing the period of time a person could be detained without charge. In practice, the legislation makes a distinction between someone who is considered a criminal, and someone who is considered a terrorist, for whom different legal rights should apply (Pietsch and McAllister 2012). There is a wide variety of survey evidence, in Australia and internationally, which shows that there is considerable public support for measures to counter an actual or perceived terrorist threat.10 Freedom of speech and assembly, as well as legal constraints on police powers to search private property, are two civil liberties which are often regarded as being at the core of liberal democracy. Surveys consistently find that citizens are prepared to abrogate those rights in order to mitigate terrorism. Table 7.3 shows that in two surveys, conducted in 2007 and 2009 respectively, around half of the respondents supported removing these rights from those who might be regarded as sympathetic to terrorism. In 2007, for example, 55% agreed that freedom of speech should be limited for these

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Table 7.3 Civil liberties and terrorism, 2007–2009 Freedom of speech not extend to terrorists

Agree strongly Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Disagree strongly Don’t know Total (N )

Allow police to search terrorists’ houses

2007

2009

2007

2009

25 30 20 16 6 3 100 (1873)

30 19 2 27 16 4 100 (1200)

22 28 16 24 8 2 100 (1873)

32 20 2 26 19 1 100 (1200)

Note Please say whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with each of the following statements. Freedom of speech should not extend to groups that are sympathetic to terrorists. The police should be allowed to search the houses of people who might be sympathetic to terrorists without a court order Source AES, 2007; ANUpoll, 2009

groups, and the estimate for 2009, at 49%, is similar. There are comparable levels of support for allowing the police to search the houses of terrorist sympathisers without a court order.11 A particular concern for the security agencies has been to detain suspects for indefinite periods. The agencies cite a number of reasons to support this. One is the claim that there are difficulties involved with obtaining sufficient evidence to bring charges, or that it is difficult to do so within a reasonable time period since liaison with overseas security agencies may be required. A second reason is the risk of allowing a person suspected of planning a terrorist act to remain at large and thus to continue with their preparations to mount a violent act. In the U.S. this concern was addressed by the USA Patriot Act which permits the security agencies to detain non-citizens indefinitely. Australia, the UK and many other countries have responded to the problem by using so-called ‘control orders’, which limit the suspect’s freedom of movement and their personal contacts within the community. Table 7.4 shows that almost three in every four respondents in 2007 supported indefinite imprisonment for terrorist suspects. Moreover, within this group slightly more took a strong position in support. Just 17% disagreed, and only 5% held that view strongly.

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Table 7.4 Indefinite imprisonment for terrorist suspects, 2007 Imprison suspects indefinitely Agree strongly Agree Neither Disagree Disagree strongly Don’t know Total (N )

38 35 8 12 5 2 100 (2522)

Note How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? If a man is suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Australia, the police should have the power to keep him in prison until they are satisfied he was not involved Source Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, 2007

Table 7.5 Measures to counter-terrorism, 2016 Detain without trial Definitely should Probably should Can’t choose Probably should not Definitely should not Don’t know Total (N )

Tap phone conversations

Stop and search at random

Collect information

32

49

49

27

24

35

35

37

2 24

3 7

2 7

2 19

16

4

4

13

2 100 (1267)

2 100 (1267)

3 100 (1267)

2 100 (1267)

Note Suppose the government suspected that a terrorist act was about to happen. Do you think the authorities should have the right to… detain people for as long as they want without putting them on trial?… tap people’s telephone conversations?… stop and search people in the street at random?’ ‘Do you think that the Australian government should or should not have the right to do the following? Collect information about anyone living in Australia without their knowledge?’ Source Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, 2016

More recent survey evidence shows that since 2007, support for indefinite detention has declined to 57% (Table 7.5). However, once again those who are strongly in favour of the measure (32%) outnumber those

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who take a more moderate view (24%). At the other end of the scale, four in 10 of the respondents did not support detention without trial. The survey also asked about other restrictions on civil liberties if a terrorist act was being planned. A large majority—84%—agreed that the government should have the right to monitor telephone conversations and to stop and search people in the street. Almost three in four of those interviewed considered it acceptable that the government could collect information about anyone in Australia without their knowledge.12 By any standards, then, there is considerable public support for a wide range of measures aimed at halting acts of terrorism. In other circumstances such measures would be widely regarded by the public as unacceptable. Who is most concerned about terrorism? And to what extent does fear of terrorism motivate support for changes to the law to counter the threat? These questions are addressed in Table 7.6, which uses a range of social background variables from the 2016 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes to predict concern about being the victim of a terrorist Table 7.6 Concern for terrorism and counter-terrorism measures, 2016 Concern for terrorism Est. Concerned about terrorism (1–4) Gender (female) Age (decades) Tertiary education Australian born Married Employed Socioeconomic status (1–10) Urban resident Constant Adj R 2 (N )

—na— 0.22** 0.11** −0.23* −0.04 0.04 0.06 −0.06** 0.19 2.18 0.04 (904)

Stand.

0.08** 0.15** −0.08* −0.01 0.01 0.02 −0.09** 0.07

Supports counter-terrorism Est.

Stand.

0.60**

0.32**

−0.27 0.17** −0.89** −0.05 0.29 −0.10 0.08* −0.19 4.25 0.17 (904)

−0.05 0.12** −0.18** −0.01 0.06 −0.02 0.06* −0.04

**Statistically significant at p < 0.01, *p < 0.05 Note Ordinary least squares regression equations predicting support for counter-terrorism measures, which combines the four questions in Table 7.5 and is scored from zero (least support) to 10 (most support). Figures are partial and standardised regression coefficients. The independent variables are all scored zero or one unless otherwise noted Source Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, 2016

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attack,13 and in turn to use this concern to predict support for changes to counter-terror laws. In this latter model the dependent variable combines the four items in Table 7.5 into a single scale.14 There is considerable research which shows that those who are most concerned about being the victim of a terrorist incident are those who are least likely to experience one.15 This mirrors the fear of crime research which shows that those who are least likely to experience crime—such as the elderly and those living outside cities—are most likely to fear it, with significant consequences for their views of law enforcement and the police (Ferraro 1995; Hale 1996). This finding is confirmed in the first model in Table 7.6 which shows the impact of social background on concern for being the victim of a terrorist incident. The most important predictor is age, with older respondents being most concerned, followed by socioeconomic status, with those who have lower socioeconomic status being more concerned. Other significant predictors of concern about terrorism are being female and not having a tertiary education. These results are similar to those found in other studies. While the random nature of terrorist violence means that men and women have an equal chance of being killed or injured, women are consistently more likely to express anxiety about war generally (Elvy 2012: 76; Skitka et al. 2004). Women also have a greater degree of risk aversion than men (Borghans et al. 2009). It is no surprise, then, that women are more concerned than men about being the victim of a terrorist attack. Similarly, those with a higher level of education tend to hold a more balanced view of the potential risks and are therefore less concerned about terrorism. Age has also been noted as a consistent predictor of fear of crime, as it is here with terrorism (Hale 1996). Does the fear of being a victim of terrorism predict support for the introduction of measures to combat terrorism which also limit civil liberties? The second model in Table 7.6 shows that, net of other things, fear of terrorism is by far the strongest predictor in the model. It is almost twice as important as tertiary education, and almost three times as important as age. The results therefore confirm the impact that fear and anxiety concerning terrorism has on policy towards dealing with the problem. The implication is that more frequent and serious terrorist incidents, with their attendant publicity, will engender greater support for anti-terrorist policies that serve to weaken civil liberties. Politicians, policymakers and the public have to navigate a delicate middle road between not allowing

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the terrorists to secure their goal of undermining democratic freedoms, while at the same time ensuring public safety.

Conclusion For the citizens of the most established democracies, terrorism has become a fact of every life. In 2003 about three quarters of U.S respondents agreed with the statement that living with terrorism would be a normal part of everyday life in the future; the same question asked in the 2007 AES elicited an almost identical response, with 62% agreeing with the statement (Pietsch and McAllister 2012: 83). If anything, public anxiety about being a victim of terrorism has increased in the years since then. This increase appears to be caused by terrorism moving from a high profile event involving multiple perpetrators and considerable organisation, to a random event often involving one person, usually inspired by Islamic radicalism. The perpetrator’s acceptance that they will die as a result of the incident adds a further level of fear for the general population. The 2014 siege in Sydney’s Martin Place (in which two hostages as well as the hostage taker were killed) exemplified this new pattern of terrorism and was followed by a series of high profile domestic terror events in NSW and Victoria. The results presented here show that since 2015, more than seven out of every 10 survey respondents believe that the threat from terrorism in Australia has increased. At the same time, the proportion who feel safe as a result of world events (the main one being international terrorism) has halved. While the risk of falling victim to terrorism is low, behavioural research has shown that most people find it difficult to accurately assess risk. Sunstein (2003) argues that terrorist events cause people to fall victim to ‘probability neglect’, meaning that their fear of harm is misaligned with the likelihood that it will occur. Fear of terrorism is an emotion rather than a rational fear and this is why governments find it difficult to adequately address the public’s concerns. While the surveys suggest that the public generally believes that the government is dealing with terrorism effectively—in the 2007 AES, for example, 56% of those interviewed thought that the government was doing all it could to prevent terrorist attacks—there remains widespread fear of becoming a victim. In practice, governments have introduced a wide range of counterterror policies, as well as substantially increasing the resources available to

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the national security agencies. While the introduction of such measures is unlikely to significantly reduce the overall threat of terrorism, it does have a substantial effect in undermining civil liberties (Denemark 2012; Wolfendale 2007). As long as the public remains concerned about terrorism, political leaders will find it necessary to respond by continually increasing counter-terrorism measures and expenditures (Mueller and Stewart 2016: 80). Moreover, because intelligence is hidden from the public view, the public is unable to accurately assess whether the counterterror responses presented to them by government are justified in terms of the threat they purport to address (Calcutt 2011). The net effect is that so long as terrorist events occur, public anxiety will remain and with it the impetus or opportunity for governments to address that anxiety through ever more policy changes.

Notes 1. Of the deaths resulting from the 9/11 attacks, 10 were Australians. The largest number of non-U.S. citizen deaths was 67 Britons. 2. Sections of this chapter draw on and expand Chubb (2020). 3. Public sentiment was no doubt also influenced by other unrelated but important political factors; Fraser was deeply unpopular with some sections of the electorate following the controversial 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government which ‘sat fresh, raw and oozing in the minds of the left’ (Landers 2016: 113). 4. For a more detailed discussion of the political context of the 1960s and early 1970s, see Chubb (2020). 5. See also Chapter 6 for a discussion of public opinion towards Indonesia. 6. Other evidence to support the interpretation that the public’s attitudes towards Indonesia over terrorism were hardening comes from a question about relations with Indonesia, reported in Table 6.10 in Chapter 6. 7. See https://www.start.umd.edu/research-projects/global-terrorism-dat abase-gtd. 8. While these groups claim to be directing their violence again the security forces, they have also engaged in, by accident or design, random attacks against civilians (Hayes and McAllister 2013: 125ff). 9. The fomentation of fear is generally considered to be an ‘essential feature’ of terrorism (Avdan and Webb 2017: 4), even if there is some disagreement among scholars over its relative importance in terms of the central goals or motivations of terrorist activities (Kurtulus 2017). Certainly, one of the observable effects of terrorism is that it can shatter and restructure the worldview of those who witness it, and unsettle communities from their preconceived notions of safety (Howie 2012).

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10. For a review of the Australian and international research, see Elvy (2012) and Vergani (2018). 11. There are slight differences between 2007 and 2009 in the proportions who took an intermediate view, which is due to the different survey methodologies. The AES offered an intermediate category, while the 2009 survey, based on a phone sample, did not. 12. There was a similar finding from the 2015 Lowy Poll which found that 63% of the respondents believed that it was justified for the government ‘to require telecommunications companies to retain data about communications such as phone calls, emails and internet usage, but not their content’. 13. The question was: ‘How concerned are you about you personally, a friend, or a relative being the victim of a future terrorist attack in Australia in the near future?’ 14. The mean inter-item correlations between the four items is 0.45 (p < 0.000). 15. For extensive reviews, see Elvy (2012: 73ff) and Downes-Le Guin and Hoffman (1993).

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Huddy, L., Feldman, S., & Weber, S. 2007. The political consequences of perceived threat and felt insecurity. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 614(1): 131–153. Huddy, L., Khatib, N., & Capelos, T. 2002. Trends: Reactions to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Public Opinion Quarterly, 66(3): 418–450. Institute for Economics and Peace. 2019. Global terrorism index 2019: Measuring the impact of terrorism. Available from http://visionofhumanity.org/reports. Jervis, R. 2003. Understanding the Bush Doctrine. Political Science Quarterly, 118(3): 365–388. Kurtulus, E. 2017. Terrorism and fear: Do terrorists really want to scare? Critical Studies on Terrorism, 10(3): 501–522. Landers, R. 2016. Who bombed the Hilton? Sydney: NewSouth Publishing. Lewis, J. 2006. Paradise defiled: The Bali bombings and the terror of national identity. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 9(2): 223–242. McAllister, I. 2003. Border protection, the 2001 Australian election and the Coalition victory. Australian Journal of Political Science, 38(3): 445–464. McAllister, I., & Makkai, T. 1991. Changing Australian opinion on defence: Trends, patterns, and explanations. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2(3): 195– 235. McDonald, M. 2005. Constructing insecurity: Australian security discourse and policy post-2001. International Relations, 19(3): 297–320. McDonald, M., & Merefield, M. 2010. How was Howard’s war possible? Winning the war of position over Iraq. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 64(2): 186–204. Michaelsen, C. 2010. Terrorism in Australia: An inflated threat. Security Challenges, 6(2): 19–25. Mueller, J., & Stewart, M. 2016. Chasing ghosts: The policing of terrorism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mullins, S. 2011. Islamist terrorism and Australia: An empirical examination of the ‘home-grown’ threat. Terrorism and Political Violence, 23(2): 254–285. Pape, R. 2003. The strategic logic of suicide terrorism. American Political Science Review, 97(3): 343–361. Pietsch, J., & McAllister, I. 2012. Terrorism and public opinion in Australia. In J. Pietsch & H. Aarons (eds.), Australian identity, fear and governance in the 21st century: 79–94. Canberra: ANU ePress. Skitka, L., Bauman, C., & Mullen, E. 2004. Political tolerance and coming to psychological closure following September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: An integrative approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(6): 743–756. Spaaij, R. 2010. The enigma of lone wolf terrorism: An assessment. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 33(9): 854–870.

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Sunstein, C. 2003. Terrorism and probability neglect. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 26(1): 121–136. Sydney Morning Herald. 1978. All Australians should mourn: Wran. 14 February. Vergani, M. 2018. How is terrorism changing us? Threat perceptions and political attitudes in the age of terror. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. Williams, G. 2011. A decade of Australian anti-terror laws, Melbourne University Law Review, 35(3): 113. Winett, L., & Lawrence. R. 2005. The rest of the story: Public health, the news, and the 2001 anthrax attacks. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 10(3): 3–25. Wolfendale, J. 2007. Terrorism, security, and the threat of counterterrorism. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 30(1): 75–92.

CHAPTER 8

International Engagement

The role that values should play in pursuing Australian’s national interest on the international stage has long been an important element of the foreign policy debate. This conversation has had many public expressions, such as in the 1997 white paper In the National Interest, and these have outlined a vision for Australia’s foreign and trade policy priorities. In the white paper, for example, the ‘national interest’ is described as comprising three elements: security interests; economic interests; and national values (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 1997). Each of these elements has a distinct role to play in contributing to Australia’s foreign policy. This chapter deals with the third of these elements, national values, and its role in shaping international engagement. As they are defined in the white paper, national values are the ‘values of a liberal democracy’, and in a foreign policy setting these values are described as having three components. First, there is a commitment to multilateralism and pursuing peaceful outcomes in world politics through cooperation and negotiation. The second component is adherence and compliance with all aspects of international law and normative regimes; examples include compliance with environmental sustainability, arms control, peacekeeping, equality and distributive justice, human rights and refugee protection. The third component is support for international institutions designed to uphold these laws and norms. ‘Good international citizenship’, as Gareth Evans has coined this approach, calls on © The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_8

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states to work towards an international common good as part of their own national interest, and not working in opposition to it (Dunne 2014: 214). The preceding chapters have examined public opinion around the issues that speak more directly to the instrumental themes of security and economic interests. This chapter turns its attention to public opinion around the question of how Australia formulates policy that is oriented to the international common good. In other words, how does Australia provide benefit beyond the borders of the state or seek to add value to the cooperative institutions of the liberal international order? And what role does public opinion play in the formulation of such policy? While we recognise that the pursuit of national security and economic liberalism can itself be understood as a manifestation of a value-driven foreign policy, for the sake of analytical clarity we adopt Gyngell and Wesley’s (2007: 273) definition of the pursuit of ‘national values’ as a focus on ‘foreign policy goals that are … concerned with a nation’s sense of self and responsibilities to people and institutions beyond its borders’.1 The chapter starts with a discussion of Australia’s relationship with the United Nations and is followed by an examination of engagement with one specific part of the UN, the Security Council. The resources required to engage in the Security Council provide a good test of the value attached by a country and its public to that organisation’s role in world affairs. We then turn to the question of foreign aid and the ways in which foreign aid priorities have been discussed, challenged and justified in public discourse. The chapter first examines foreign aid in the immediate postwar period, and then following the end of the Cold War. In both of these areas of international engagement—the UN and foreign aid—the question of whether Australia is best served by an inward looking or an outward looking policy direction has been debated. And while the idea of the ‘national interest’ has played a central role in all these debates, the idea that foreign policy has an ethical dimension is also a central part of the policy conversation.

The Founding of the United Nations For the public and the government, the ANZUS alliance with the U.S. has long been the cornerstone of Australian defence and foreign policy, as discussed in detail in Chapter 3. In parallel with this bilateral relationship, Canberra has also sought to make the most of multilateral opportunities. Here, we focus on the most expansive of these forums, the United

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Nations. While regional mini- and multilateral groupings have become increasingly significant (Wilkins 2017), the UN provides middle power states like Australia an opportunity to exercise influence over global politics, beyond the immediate region. In addition, the UN is the multilateral institution most familiar to Australians, even if its function and purpose is not always well understood. In this section, we consider Australia’s involvement with the UN during its establishment and the public’s view of it; the next section focuses on the UN Security Council. While Australia’s commitment to the British Commonwealth remained firm through the 1940s and into the 1950s, new understandings around Australia’s place in the world and the opportunities for other forms of engagement gradually began to emerge and to attract the attention of policymakers. This found expression in efforts to secure Australia— both militarily and economically—through a range of initiatives, including bilateral treaties, regional institutional arrangements and, of course, the United Nations (Waters 2015: 232–233). Australia was deeply involved with the UN during its formative years, due largely to the interest taken by the minister for external affairs, H. V. Evatt. A Labor minister, Evatt was involved in the drafting of the UN Charter in 1945 and presided over the UN General Assembly from 1948– 1949. The Labor party’s early embrace of multilateralism, and the UN in particular, has remained a feature of party policy for more than half a century. High points of Australian engagement with the UN are associated with periods of Labor government (Firth 2011: 108). Indeed, along with Evatt, two other Labor foreign ministers (Gareth Evans and Kevin Rudd, respectively) were deeply involved with the UN during their time in government and have continued this involvement after leaving office. The story of Australia’s history with the United Nations thus tends to be largely told through the experiences and attitudes of foreign ministers. Most saw opportunities for pursuing Australia’s national interests within the UN; many also placed their faith in the ideals of internationalism as a secure base for foreign policy. To what extent were these views of the UN shared by the public? During times of heightened Australian engagement with the UN, its role and responsibilities receive attention in political discourse and in the media. The most prominent of these periods was the lead-up to the foundation of the UN, which began with the 1945 San Francisco conference during which the UN Charter was written and opened for signature. Discussion of the role of the United Nations tended to revolve around the

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desirability of such a security organisation and the sort of structure and scope that it should take, based on the broad principles that had already been discussed among the major powers at meetings such as those in Dumbarton Oaks in 1944 and Yalta in 1945. These meetings were widely publicised and discussed within the media. Not surprisingly given the wartime context, the primary objective of international cooperation was viewed as ensuring collective security. Table 8.1 shows that in both 1944 and 1945 a large majority of the public supported the creation of an international body, and in the 1945 survey three in four of those interviewed supported Australia providing armed forces for such an organisation. While the questions in the two surveys are different, they show consistently strong public support for such a body. Moreover, the proportion with no view declined from 18% in 1944 to just 6% in 1945, reflecting the extensive public discussion of the issue within the media. There are two reasons for this strong initial public support for the UN. The first is broad agreement between the Curtin government and the Menzies opposition on the importance of creating a new world organisation. At the same time, both parties also recognised the continued importance of maintaining traditional military alliances, such as those with Britain and the U.S. According to Harper and Sissons (1958: 42) ‘all party leaders agreed to support the world organization but not to rely entirely upon it for defence; collective security and imperial and local Table 8.1 Support for a postwar international body, 1944–1945

Favour Oppose Undecided Total

1944

1945

67 15 18 100

76 18 6 100

Note (June 1944): ‘What is your opinion about the League of Nations having an armed force after the war?’ (June 1945): ‘One suggestion for preventing wars is to have an armed force of men from all the United Nations. Do you think Australian should—or should not—send her share of men to such an international force?’ Sources Australian Public Opinion Polls 205–212 (July-August 1944); 272–283 (June–July 1945)

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Table 8.2 Prospect of world war, 1944–1948 Will be war Will not be war No opinion Total

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1944

1946

1948

42 34 24 100

62 18 20 100

67 29 4 100

Note ‘Do you think there is likely to be another world war in the next 25 years?’ Sources Australian Public Opinion Polls 195–204 (May–June 1944); 382–398 (September–October 1946); 548–558 (October– November 1948)

defence would become important as conditions should demand’. Thiselite consensus was translated into strong public support for the UN in its initial years. The second reason for the public’s support for the UN was the widespread view that another world war was likely, and only a powerful international body could prevent it. Table 8.2 shows that in 1944, 42% took the view that another world war was likely within 25 years. However, after the end of hostilities and Soviet domination over Eastern Europe— exemplified by Churchill’s famous ‘iron curtain’ speech in March 1946— the view that a new world war was likely increased substantially. In August 1946—six months after Churchill’s speech which marked the de facto beginning of the Cold War—62% thought that a world war was likely. This further increased to two in three of the respondents in 1948. The public’s concern about the prospects of a new world war involving Russia were clearly increasing.2 The UN Charter did not come into immediate effect following its signing in San Francisco since it was subject to domestic ratification in the member states. In Australia, parliamentary debate over the matter took place in September 1945. The overwhelming view was that the Australian delegation, led by Evatt, had played a substantial and productive role in shaping the conference’s outcomes (Harper and Sissons 1958: 81). However, as part of Australia’s contribution in San Francisco, Evatt had publicly criticised the UK on a number of occasions—largely as a result of his concerns about the exclusion of the smaller military powers like Australia from Allied decision-making during wartime—and this was a matter of some concern for the Menzies opposition (Harper and Sissons 1958: 84).

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Table 8.3 Satisfaction with the United Nations, 1946–1955

Satisfied Dissatisfied Undecided Total

1946

1947

1948

34 34 32 100

26 39 35 100

38 29 33 100

Success Not a success Undecided

1952

1955

62 23 15 100

67 15 18 100

Note (1946–1948): ‘Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the work of the United Nations to date?’ (1952–1955): ‘Do you think the United Nations has been reasonably successful or not?’ Sources Australian Public Opinion Polls 426–436 (May–June 1947); 559–568 (February 1949); 1143–1149 (January 1956)

While there was general agreement on the need for a world organisation to deliver collective security, there were more divergent views about such a world organisation accruing more powers. Instead, some placed their faith in a ‘democratic group of powers’ rather than on the sometimes vague promises of collective security. And yet, Menzies also observed, the experience of violent struggle that had emerged from an over reliance on a balance of powers system had meant that ‘[e]ven the realistic critics … join in the pursuit of an international law based upon international action’. And it is for this reason that, the concerns of the Menzies opposition notwithstanding, the legislation to approve the UN Charter was passed without division (Harper and Sissons 1958: 89).3 Once the UN was established, the public’s focus shifted to how well the body was performing, and to how it should develop in the future. On the first question, public opinion was divided in the late 1940s. Table 8.3 shows that satisfaction with the UN varied between 26 and 38%, with similar proportions saying they were undecided. These early years were marked by discussion about contemporary events, but little tangible progress to resolve them. Moreover, shortly after the first meeting of the Security Council in 1946, the first veto was cast by the Soviet Union (which cast every single veto until 1954). The UN’s inability to agree on measures to resolve international conflict was clearly not lost on the public. The public’s view of the UN as ineffective appeared to change in 1950 with the commitment of an UN-sponsored force to defend Korea against communist invasion from the north. While the survey question that is asked in 1952 and 1955 differs from the earlier question, it is substantively similar and shows a major increase in the view that the UN has

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been a success, with around two-thirds of the respondents taking this view. In 1955, for example, just 15% thought that the UN had not been a success. Similarly, the proportion who were undecided is much less than the surveys report in the 1940s. Among the public at least, the UN appeared to be making progress. The public’s views about the potential of the UN as a world government show less variation over this period (Table 8.4). In 1947, just after the UN was founded, slightly under half thought that it could be made into a world government with control of its members’ military forces. This proportion varied little over the period through to 1955; in the final survey when the question was asked, 46% took this view, little changed from 1947. At the same time, a significant minority—between 17 and 25%—responded that they had no opinion on the issue. During the late 1940s and 1950s, with memories of the Second World war still very much alive, the prospect of engaging with an international body such as the UN was attractive to the public. When the Cold War began and the possibility of nuclear war became a possibility, such a prospect became even more attractive. Support for international engagement even extended to a significant proportion of the population agreeing to cede control of the armed forces to a new body that might guarantee peace. As we show later, these positive views tended to decline as the performance of the UN began to be questioned. Table 8.4 The United Nations as a world government, 1946–1955

Favour Oppose No opinion Total

1946

1947

1949

1952

1955

49 39 12 100

48 27 25 100

55 28 17 100

43 40 17 100

46 30 24 100

Note (1946): ‘Should the United States, Britain and Russia work together—or not work together—in a World Government?’ (1947–1955): ‘Some people say the United Nations should be strengthened and made into a World Government, with control over the armed forces of all countries, including our own. Do you favour—or oppose—such a proposal, or do you have no opinion?’ Sources Australian Public Opinion Polls 314–326 (December 1945–January 1946); 569–578 (February-March 1949); 884–894 (November–December 1952); 1143–1149 (January 1956)

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The UN Security Council, 1946 and 2013 The most prominent body within the United Nations is the Security Council. The UNSC is composed of 15 members, five of whom are permanent and represent the victors in the Second World War, and 10 are elected to serve two year terms. Australia has bid six times for a temporary seat on the UNSC and has been successful on five occasions.4 The bids for these seats were undertaken twice by a conservative Coalition government (during the 1950s and 1970s), and four times under a Labor government. Australia’s actual tenure of the UNSC took place under a Labor government on three instances, and under a Coalition government on two others. In this section we provide a brief overview of Australia’s experiences with UNSC membership, starting with the tenure in 1946–1947, up until the successful bid for a 2013–2014 seat. During Australia’s tenure on the first UNSC, the Council’s influence was tested on the world stage. The foreign minister, H. V. Evatt, had firm ideas about how the UNSC should function and used Australia’s position to promote these ideas, which were sometimes at odds with the country’s most powerful allies, the United Kingdom and the United States (Waters 1993).5 While the UN had general support among the Australian population, as evidenced in the previous section, relations with Australia’s wartime allies were still seen as the cornerstones of security policy. The press, for its part, largely echoed the concerns of the Menzies opposition over Australia’s lack of support for the policies of the UK and the U.S. During the 1950s and 1960s, Australia became a less vigorous participant in the UN. The conservative Menzies government, which was elected in December 1949 and remained in power for 17 years, placed less faith than its predecessor in the role of the UN both as a body for international peace and security, as well as in terms of advancing Australia’s own interests. Menzies’ foreign policy returned to the familiar pattern of engaging with the Commonwealth, as well as fostering the relationship with the U.S. (Lowe 1997: 172–173; Stone 1955: 1–2). At the same time, Australia found itself the target of criticism in the UN both for its immigration policy and for its record on indigenous issues. As a result, Australia actively resisted the inclusion of domestic issues on the UN agenda (Lowe 1997: 172–175). On the question of arms control, while Australia later became a strong advocate of disarmament, it was reticent throughout much of the 1960s and 1970s (Jordan 2012: 265–280). While Australia’s level of engagement with UN improved during the 1970s and 1980s, it was not until the 1990s that Australia once again

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became actively involved with the direction and role of the UN in world politics. As was the case during the 1940s, this engagement was due largely to the enthusiasm of an activist foreign minister, Gareth Evans. Evans, a proponent of ‘good international citizenship’, saw the UN as a forum for small and middle powers to exert influence. Consequently, Australia became more active on issues such as UN reform, arms control, the governance of Antarctica and peacekeeping (Ungerer 2007: 538). Evans’ tenure as foreign minister also coincided with the end of the Cold War and a rethinking about the ‘defence of Australia’ (Dee 2012: 242). Despite this heightened level of engagement, Australia did not sit on the UNSC in the post-Cold War period until 2013, having failed in its bid in the mid-1990s. The decision to not elect Australia to the Council came during the Howard government’s term in office.6 This government, with echoes of the attitudes under Menzies, was more sceptical of the UN’s capacity to secure Australian interests. In addition, Australia’s involvement with the Iraq war put it at odds with the Security Council. Perhaps for these reasons, Howard declined to continue what was by now a fairly regular pattern of seeking a UNSC seat about once every decade. When Alexander Downer, the foreign minister, tabled a cabinet proposal to bid for a 2008–2009 seat it was rejected, according to Downer, because ‘he [Howard] thought it was a waste of money’ (Coorey 2008). Australia’s view of the UN changed with the election of the Rudd Labor government in 2007. While Rudd still emphasised the centrality of the U.S. alliance, he also sought to expand Australia’s approach to global politics and announced an intention to bid for a Security Council seat in 2012, after a 22 year absence (Leaver 2008: 605). This announcement was criticised by the conservative opposition.7 The debate within the media about the bid was also ‘overwhelmingly negative and, on occasions, scornful’ (Fullilove 2009: 6). Nevertheless, public opinion was very much in favour of the proposal, with just over half expressing strong support and 6% saying they were against it. Almost one in four of the respondents had no view (Table 8.5). From the public’s perspective at least, the bid for a UNSC seat had widespread support. During this time the public also remained moderately favourable to the UN. Table 8.6 shows that during the first few years of the Rudd Labor government, when the proposal for a UNSC seat was being discussed, just under half of the respondents in the Lowy polls thought that the UN was ‘very important’ for furthering Australia’s foreign policy. The proportion who regarded the UN as either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ important

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Table 8.5 Views of Australia’s membership of the UN security council, 2009– 2015 Should seek seat (2009)

Impact for Australia (2013)

Australia’s influence (2013)

Effort and cost (2015)

Strongly agree Partly agree Partly disagree Strongly disagree No view

52

Good

59

Lot more

11

Worth it

62

19

No difference Bad

37

53

Not worth it Don’t know

33

Don’t know

2

Little more No difference Don’t know

Total (N )

1 5 23 – 100 (1003)

Total (N )

2

– 100 (1002)

Total (N )

34 2 – 100 (1002)

5 –

Total (N )

100 (1200)

Note (2009): ‘Now about the United Nations. The Australian government is seeking a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council beginning in 2013. Do you personally agree or disagree that Australia should seek a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council or do you have no view either way?’ (2013): Now about Australia’s seat on the United Nations Security Council. In your personal view, do you think Australia’s time on the United Nations Security Council will be good for Australia, bad for Australia or make no difference?’ ‘And now to how you think it will affect Australia’s influence in the world. Do you think Australia’s time on the United Nations Security Council will give Australia a lot more influence, a little more influence, or make no difference to Australia’s influence in the world?’ (2015): ‘Now about Australia’s role in international organisations. In 2013 and 2014, Australia held a temporary seat at the United Nations Security Council and hosted the G20 leaders meetings in Brisbane. On balance, do you personally think that this kind of role for Australia is worth the effort and cost, or not worth the effort and cost?’ Sources LowyPolls (2009, 2013, 2015)

remained consistently small, at between 14 and 16% of the respondents. To that extent, the government had a reasonable base among the public from which to launch their ultimately successful bid for a UNSC seat. Following a lengthy campaign, Australia was elected to the UNSC for the 2013–2014 period, winning 140 votes, 11 more than was required. When the outcome was announced, Labor was no longer in government and the tenure was handled by the new Coalition government. At the outset of its membership, Table 8.5 shows that the public regarded membership as good for Australia. Almost six in 10 of those interviewed shortly after the term began took the view that it was good for Australia, with just 2% regarding it as bad. However, more than one in three thought that it would make no difference. Views were more sceptical

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Table 8.6 Strengthening the United Nations, 2007–2009

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Very important Fairly important Not very important Not at all important Don’t know Total (N )

185

2007

2008

2009

46 38 13 3 – 100 (1003)

46 40 11 3 1 100 (1001)

41 41 11 3 * 100 (1000)

Note ‘Thinking about what Australian foreign policy should be trying to achieve, I am going to read a list of goals, and ask you to tell me how important each one is for Australia. Please say whether you think each issue is very important, fairly important, not very important or not at all important’ Sources Lowy Polls (2007, 2008, 2009)

about whether or not it would increase Australia’s influence in the world; most (53%) thought it would increase it a little more. However, when asked whether the ‘effort and cost’ had been worth it after the UNSC term had finished, 62% took the view that it had been worth it.

Postwar Overseas Aid The provision of aid, as bilateral and multilateral development assistance, has formed a continuous part of Australia’s foreign policy programme in various forms since the mid-1940s. The earliest aid was composed of limited amounts of bilateral assistance to New Guinea in the 1930s.8 However, following the end of the Second World War, more substantial aid contributions were made outside of this bilateral relationship and paid to the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (Davis 2006). In the 1950s, the link between national security considerations and aid priorities was made more explicit and the distribution brought into alignment with Cold War alliances. By way of example, Australia’s aid to New Guinea during the 1950s was strongly influenced by ideas about political development that linked bilateral assistance with the need to secure Australia’s northern borders against possible invasion (Davis 2011: 393–394). The highest profile aid programme in this period was the Colombo Plan, established in 1950 at that year’s Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting. The plan comprised largely bilateral initiatives and was directed at South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, notably New Guinea and

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India. The aid that was provided was diverse and mainly took the form of scholarships, education, staffing, technical cooperation and training assistance. The regional focus was justified both by the needs of the recipient countries and by furthering the national interest. On the latter, it was argued that greater development and prosperity in the region would lead to economic opportunities for Australia. In an environment marked by decolonisation, the 1960s was declared by the United Nations as the ‘decade of development’. It was during this time that the question of Australia’s foreign aid assistance became the subject of public interest, best illustrated by the 1960–1965 Freedom From Hunger Campaign. The campaign was a fundraising event organised by NGOs; this laid the groundwork for the subsequent involvement of NGOs in the delivery of the aid programme. It also helped to establish the idea that a development agency should be administered separately from the foreign affairs department. The central role of NGOs in the delivery of overseas aid was further cemented in 1965 with the founding of the first aid lobby group, the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) (Oakman 2010: 253).9 In this period the two main recipients of overseas aid were Indonesia and New Guinea. Aid to Indonesia had begun under the Colombo Plan but was later coordinated through the Inter-Government Group on Indonesia, a body established in 1967 among the main donor countries. Aid to New Guinea came as part of Australia’s administration of the country and when independence came to be debated as part of decolonisation, the question of the level of aid that should be delivered after independence came to the fore. Table 8.7 shows that for both countries, there were divided views among the public. In the case of Indonesia in 1964 and 1965, just under half wanted to continue aid, but around four in 10 wanted to stop it. Opinion on aid to New Guinea in 1970 and 1971 shows that more than half wanted it to be reduced or stopped, with just 15% wanting it to continue. At least partly as a result of these divided opinions, the aid programme started to come under greater public scrutiny. As Corbett (2017: 21) argues, ‘by the end of the first development decade, Australia’s aid program, while still largely seen as a diplomatic effort in the service of foreign policy objectives, began to emerge as a distinct entity’.10 Further changes in the 1970s included the establishment of the Australian Development Assistance Agency (ADAA) in 1974 as an independent statutory body (Davis 2011: 396). Advocates of the creation of an aid agency separate from the Department of Foreign Affairs believed that the change

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Table 8.7 Aid to Indonesia and New Guinea, 1964–1971 Continue aid to Indonesia

Yes No Undecided Total

Level of aid to New Guinea

1964

1965

47 40 13 – 100

48 38 14 – 100

Continue Reduce Stop No opinion Total

1970

1971

15 41 29 15 – 100

15 50 31 5 – 100

Note (1964–1965): ‘Do you think we should, or should not, continue to help Indonesia with foreign aid?’ (1952–1955): ‘Australia gives New Guinea $100 million a year. After New Guinea is independent, should Australia continue to give $100 million a year—or reduce it—or stop it?’ Sources Australian Public Opinion Polls 1836–1851 (July-September 1965); Australian Gallup Polls, 221, 1971

would allow aid to continue as an important arm of foreign policy, while at the same time encouraging greater professionalisation, effectiveness and innovation (Viviani and Wilenski 1978: 91–92). In making the decision to establish ADAA, the Whitlam Labor government was influenced by such figures as Sir John Crawford, who believed that in order for the aid industry to develop a stronger evaluation and evidence-based culture, the influence of foreign affairs and treasury on development policy formation should be reduced (Corbett 2017: 25). However, ADAA survived only until 1976,11 and with the election of the Fraser government, the ADAA was moved back into the Department of Foreign Affairs and renamed the Australian Development Assistance Bureau (ADAB) (Ingram 1979: 129). Both supporters and opponents of foreign aid used public opinion as part of their arguments. For supporters, the absence of public support made it more imperative that the delivery of aid should be as professional and detached from foreign policy as possible in order to ensure that it continued (Corbett 2017: 23–27). For opponents, the absence of support within the broader community meant that radical changes to the aid programme would not be supported and it should remain within the foreign policy bureaucracy. This argument ascribes importance to public support, insofar as it provides value as political capital for those arguing in favour of aid. It is also an important element when it comes to the administration and provision of Australia’s aid (Davis 2006; Viviani and Wilenski 1978).

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Table 8.8 Support for foreign aid, 1975 and 1978

More assistance, 1975

Level of aid, 1978

Agree Disagree Don’t know Total (N )

Increased Decreased Kept as it is Total (N )

40 54 6 100 (2157)

26 26 48 100 (1993)

Note (1975): ‘Australia should give more assistance to poorer nations than we do at present.’ (1978): ‘Do you think federal government aid to poor countries of the world should be increased or decreased or kept as it is?’ Sources Australian Gallup Polls, December 1975, July 1978

Following these debates about the role of aid and the manner in which it should be delivered, public opinion appeared to have become more favourable to the idea in the late 1970s. Two opinion polls, in 1975 and 1978 respectively, asked respondents about the level of aid to poor countries (Table 8.8). In each case there was moderate support for keeping aid at the current level or for increasing it. In 1975, four in 10 agreed that it should be increased; in 1978 the same figure was 26%, with almost half saying that it should remain at the same level. While the questions differ from those asked earlier—not least in not nominating the countries which would be the recipients of the aid—the survey evidence does suggest a change in opinion towards a greater acceptability of foreign aid. While public opinion formed part of the policy debate about the level and direction of foreign aid, the presence of the Cold War generally muted arguments against it. The national interest (and to some degree economic interest, through the pursuit of increased trade) was cited as the major goal of the aid program, and this was reflected in government policy. This generally reduced public opposition to foreign aid, although the opinion polls suggest that a significant minority of the population wanted to see aid either reduced or halted altogether. As the next section shows, the end of the Cold War in 1990 brought about a reappraisal of the aid programme and its relationship to foreign policy.

Foreign Aid After the Cold War The foreign aid programme was one of the many areas of defence and foreign policy that was subject to a reappraisal following the end of the

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Cold War. Since then three major reviews have been conducted, all named after their chairs, Jackson, Simons and Hollway, respectively. The reviews have focused on the purpose and management of the aid programme, but in addition all have demonstrated a new emphasis on the role of public opinion. Accordingly, several of the reviews have used public opinion polls—either commissioned by the reviews themselves or polls that were publicly available—to shed light on the levels of spending that the public would accept, as well as the purpose of aid. It is now largely accepted that any aid programme must attract a reasonable level of public support and articulate goals that the public find acceptable. Much of the debate in the three reviews has turned on the role that the national interest should play in the delivery of aid. The 1984 review chaired by Robert Jackson argued that aid could serve both the national interest (in terms of delivering ‘strategic and economic benefit to Australia’) and humanitarian needs by improving the lives of people in poor countries (Jackson 1985: 13). This question was taken up again in 1997 in the Simons Report, whose title One Clear Objective, reflected the view that the alleviation of poverty should form the major focus of the aid programme. The government’s response to this report was to argue that the aid programme should be driven by principles not values and that ‘the objective of the Australian overseas aid program will be to advance Australia’s national interest by assisting developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development’.12 The debate over objectives and how to measure the ‘effectiveness’ of the aid programme13 was underpinned by significant changes in public opinion. How domestic and international publics understood global poverty was being transformed by television which was bringing crises such as the Ethiopian famine into houses around the country (Jackson 1985: 13). There was also a greater awareness of the role that wealthy nations could play in alleviating crises, and North-South issues were beginning to appear on political agendas. The result, argues Corbett (2017: 58), was the decision to open the aid programme to public scrutiny through the Jackson Report. This in turn bolstered the position of ADAB when it came to requesting a larger budget from the Treasury.14 Notwithstanding the greater public scrutiny of the aid budget and its priorities, surveys conducted during the 1980s suggest that public opinion was generally opposed to any increases in overseas aid with a plurality of the respondents wanting aid to remain at the current level. Table 8.9 shows that in 1984 15% wanted an increase in spending, but

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Table 8.9 Spending on foreign aid, 1984 and 1987

1984 Far too little Too little About right Too much Far too much Don’t know Total (N )

1987 3 12 36 29 16 5 100 (3012)

Much more More As now Less Much less Don’t know Total (N )

3 7 33 28 28 1 100 (1663)

Note (1984): ‘Do you think we are spending far too much, too much, about the right amount, too little or far too little on foreign aid.’ (1987): ‘Here are some more areas of government spending. Please show whether you would like to see more or less government spending in each area by circling a number after each question. Remember that if you say “more”, it might require a tax increase to pay for it. … foreign aid?’ Sources National Social Science Survey (1984 1987)

three times that number wanted aid reduced; just over one in three wanted spending to remain at the current level. In 1987 opinion had not changed significantly, with 14% opposing an increase in spending, and just over half wanting to spend to remain at the current level. These estimates are very similar to those for 1978 reported in Table 8.8. There would appear to have been relatively few changes in public opinion on foreign aid over the 10 year period. Following the Jackson Report, the next comprehensive evaluation of the aid programme appeared in 1997 with the Simons Report. The main recommendation was to refocus aid on a single objective, poverty reduction, in place of the three goals advanced in the Jackson Report, humanitarian, diplomatic and commercial. In practice this change was largely rhetorical and the government’s focus remained unchanged. Tomar (1997: 12), for example, argues that while the report was very comprehensive it ultimately amounted to ‘a reiteration of current AusAID policy objectives or a rephrasing of the change that is already in process’. This view is shared by Corbett (2017: 94) who argues that emphasising poverty reduction did not actually amount to anything substantially different to the existing development policy. Expenditure on foreign aid gradually declined under the 1996–2007 Howard government and there were no further reviews. The incoming

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Labor government in 2007 promised to reverse this trend and commissioned the third major review into the aid program, the 2011 Hollway review. The review revisited the themes of the Jackson Report and while it did not recommend major reform, suggested improvements in administration as well as increased ‘greater public involvement and transparency’ (Hollway et al. 2011: 3). Aid spending gradually increased (albeit more slowly than promised, due to the global financial crisis) until the election of the Abbott government in 2014. The new government absorbed AusAID, an independent statutory body, into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, formalising a change that had been foreshadowed in a 2006 AusAID white paper (AusAID 2006). The release of the 1997 Simons Report coincided with more extensive opinion polling on foreign aid and that has continued since, with various questions being replicated in successive surveys. AusAID itself commissioned two surveys, conducted in 1998 and 2001, reflecting the emerging importance of aligning aid priorities with public expectations. Since 2006 the Lowy surveys have also periodically examined public support for foreign aid and how it should be allocated.15 Many of the survey questions relate to approval of foreign aid or the preferred level of expenditure. While these questions are valuable—especially when measured longitudinally—they often fail to benchmark the cost of foreign aid against other spending priorities. Foreign aid, unlike other areas such as health or education, is also an area that the average respondent has relatively little knowledge of or direct contact with. Using a straightforward survey question about approval of foreign aid, Table 8.10 shows that a large and stable majority approved of it over the 1994 to 2014 period. The highest level of approval is in 2001, at 85%, and the lowest, 72%, at the beginning of the series in 1994 when a strength option was not available. To the extent that there may have been a change over the period, it is in the strength of approval, with those strongly approving declining from 58% in 2001 to 36% in 2014. Of course, approving of expenditure in a survey question is easy for the respondent since there are no contingent choices, that is, trading off the cost of foreign aid against other social programmes. An attempt to place foreign aid within the context of other government expenditure emerged in the two surveys commissioned by AusAID in 1998 and 2001; these results are shown in the first part of Table 8.11. The survey question asks the respondent to evaluate the level of foreign aid after being told what the government currently spends on defence and

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Table 8.10 Views of foreign aid, 1994–2014 1994 Approve a lot Approve a little Disapprove a little Disapprove a lot Don’t know Total (N )

(72) (19) 9 100 (2011)

1998

2001

2014

52 32 7 16 3 100 (1200)

58 27 5 6 4 100 (1200)

36 39 12 8 5 100 (1204)

Note ‘Overall, would you say that you approve or disapprove of Australia giving foreign aid to poor countries around the world.’ The 1994 survey did not ask strength of opinion Sources AusAID (2001) and ANUpoll on foreign affairs (2014)

Table 8.11 Expenditure on foreign aid, 1998–2017

Spend a Spend a Same as Spend a Spend a Total (N )

lot more little more now little less lot less

1998

2001

13 23 42 8 7 – 100 (1200)

16 24 42 4 4 – 100 (1200)

Not enough About right Too much Don’t know Total (N )

2015

2017

21 41 36 2 – 100 (1200)

22 38 35 5 – 100 (1200)

Note (1998, 2001): ‘While one percent of total government expenditure goes to aid poor countries, by comparison the government spends 8 percent on defence and 38 percent on social security such as pensions. Given that the government spends one percent on aid to poor countries should the government spend…?’ (2015, 2017): ‘Thinking now about the aid the Australian government provides to developing countries. Currently the government provides approximately $3.8 billion dollars in aid to developing countries, or around 0.8% of the budget. Do you think this is too much, about right or not enough? Sources AusAID (2001) and Lowy Polls (2015–2017)

social security as well as foreign aid itself. These results show that opinion was again reasonably stable across the 1998 to 2001 period, with between 36 and 40% wanting to spend more, and between 8 and 15% wanting to spend less. A plurality of respondents opted for continuing the current level of expenditure. The second part of Table 8.11 shows the more recent survey evidence, and again places expenditure on foreign aid within a broader context by

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specifying the amount that is spent, both in dollars and as a proportion of the total government budget. The estimates show once again that the proportion opposing more foreign aid has been constant, at just over one in three of the respondents. And again the largest group want to keep spending at the current level; just one in five want to see an increase. These results, over an extended period, suggest that while the largest group of respondents want to see foreign aid remaining at the current level, there has been a gradual increase in the proportion wanting to see a reduction on foreign aid. While we are unable to test the proposition, it is likely that the impact of the 2007–2008 global financial crisis on Australia has played a role in this change. While these questions on the level of foreign aid are valuable, they do not provide a benchmark against which to set foreign aid against other spending priorities. To place the public’s views about spending on foreign aid in the context of their preferences for expenditure in other areas, Table 8.12 shows survey results from 1987 to 2019, a period spanning three decades (Kelley and Bean 1987). The public’s views on government spending are shown across five major areas: education, health, defence, social welfare and foreign aid. Despite the differing questions and the 32 year timespan, the results show a remarkable degree of similarity. In both surveys, foreign aid comes last as a spending priority, with less than one in five wanting to spend more. In the two surveys, the estimates are within three percentage points of one another. Table 8.12 Government spending priorities, 1987 and 2019 1987

Education Health Defence Social welfare Foreign aid

2019

Too little

Same

Too much

Increase

Same

Decrease

68 57 55 45 17

26 37 27 39 39

6 6 18 16 44

74 81 31 47 17

23 16 47 37 36

3 3 21 16 47

Note (1987): ‘Please show whether you would like to see more or less government spending in each area. Remember that if you say “much more”, it might require a tax increase to pay for it’ (2019): ‘If you were making up the budget for the federal government this year, would you personally increase spending, decrease spending or keep spending about the same for ….’ Don’t know responses are omitted Sources National Social Science Survey panel (1987) and Lowy Poll (2019)

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The public’s preferences for the remaining areas of government expenditure also show a high degree of consistency. Education and health rank as the two top priorities for government spending, with health becoming more important than education in 2019, reflecting the ageing of the population. Defence declines in importance between 1987 and 2019, as a consequence of the end of the Cold War and the changing nature of the potential threats to Australia. The public’s priorities for spending on social welfare are almost identical between the two surveys. These results place foreign aid within a broader context and suggest that while the public is not overwhelmingly opposed to foreign aid, it views foreign aid as very much less of a priority than other mainly domestic areas. Moreover, there is a remarkable degree of consistency in this finding over more than three decades. There are common arguments put forward to dismiss the importance of public opinion when it comes to the formulation of foreign and defence policy. These same arguments are found in debates around the role opinion plays in structuring foreign aid policies and priorities. These include the arguments that the public have insufficient knowledge of foreign aid, the needs of potential recipients or the complex relationship between foreign policy and aid (Milner and Tingley 2013: 390–391). Whatever the objections, the delivery of an aid programme relies strongly on the support of the public, and there has to be transparency both in the goals of an aid programme and how efficiently it is delivered. This realisation has become a much more important consideration in the formulation of post-Cold War aid policy.

Conclusion What role does public opinion play in shaping the form and intensity of Australia’s international engagement? In theory, such engagement should be based on national values, which are themselves expressions of a collective sense of national identity within a population (Rokeach 1969). In practice, however, engagement is a consequence of how political elites choose to draw on the notion of shared national values to mobilise support or opposition for a policy. By examining public opinion towards two areas of postwar international engagement, the UN and foreign aid, it is possible to see how values and elite discussions have interacted to shape the role that the public has played in developing these policies.

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In the early postwar years, when discussions began about how to prevent another world war, elites favoured an international body such as the UN as the best means of ensuring peace, alongside traditional bilateral relationships. The public followed this lead and the opinion poll results show strong support for the UN through to the 1950s. This support even went as far as giving a new international body control over the armed forces. Thereafter, opinions towards the UN have become more divided, as the elites themselves have debated the merits of the body. For example, Australia’s bid for the UNSC seat in 2013–2014 was strongly supported by the Labor government, but met with at best ambivalence from the Liberal opposition and at worst outright opposition. These divisions are also reflected in public opinion. Similarly, on foreign aid the public has been modestly supportive, except when faced with choices about funding foreign aid rather than health or education. Moreover, the opening up of aid policy to greater public scrutiny, the legacy of the Jackson Report, has made foreign aid a greater partisan issue. There are two major findings with regard to the role of public opinion in policies that determine international engagement. First, a majority of the public is modestly supportive of such engagement, except when there is an explicit cost to their support. When they are made aware that support may be at the expense of other programmes or activities, support declines considerably. Second, there is a significant minority— ranging from around one in four to one in three of the population—who oppose any form of international engagement on principle, whether it is involvement with the UN or the provision of foreign aid. Such a large group does not have a veto power on policy, but they present a problem for any government intent on increasing the level of engagement.

Notes 1. The question of whether foreign and defence policy should take such an orientation is at the heart of major debates within international relations. The paradigmatic binary is one in which a realist conceptualisation of stability that encourages a narrow focus on the national interest defined by power is challenged by liberal perspectives that see the sources of such stability as existing outside a state’s borders and achieved through cooperative multilateral initiatives. 2. Other survey evidence supports this conclusion. When asked in 1946 ‘do you believe Russia is just building up protection against being attacked, or is she trying to make herself a ruling power of the world?’ 48 percent

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3.

4.

5.

6. 7.

8. 9.

10.

11.

12.

thought Russia was trying to become a ruling power, 27 percent thought she was protecting herself, 18 percent were uncertain and 7 percent didn’t know. (Australian Public Opinion Polls 365–374, August 1946). For a detailed account of the parliamentary debate, including the various matters over which the opposition disagreed with the government’s perspective on the UN, see Harper and Sissons (1958: 81–89). The five successful occasions are: 1946–1947; 1956–1957; 1973–1974; 1985–1986; and 2013–2014. Australia’s bid for a 1997–1998 seat was not successful. For a comprehensive overview of Australia’s major contributions to the UNSC, both during times of membership and nonmembership (with the exception of the 2013–2014 tenure), see Lee (2012). For a detailed examination of Australia’s response to the ‘Iranian’ or ‘Azerbaijan’ crisis, to which the UNSC responded during Australia’s first tenure, see Waters (1993). For background on the crisis, see Fawcett (2014). The bid was put together by the previous Labor government, but the decision was made and handed down after Howard came into office. In his memoirs, Rudd reflects that this was the first year the bid did not secure bipartisan support, an occurrence he—with some bitterness—attributes to Abbott’s determination to oppose all Labor initiatives ‘irrespective of the national interest’ (Rudd 2018). The name ‘Papua New Guinea’ came with that country’s establishment of independence in 1975. ACFOA was the predecessor of the body now known as the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID). ACFOA served as an interface between the NGOs, the United Nations, and the government. These NGOs included a range of community and religious groups that had been involved in postwar voluntary aid programs, such as the Lions Clubs, YMCA, the Australia-Asian Association of Victoria, and the Australian Council of Churches and Community Aid Abroad (Oakman 2010: 253). This growth in interest in foreign aid as an important element of a country’s foreign policy is also seen internationally, with an awareness that the aid paradigm was one that should be professionalised in its own right. For a discussion of the various initiatives taking place at the UN (including the World Bank and the UNDP), in the U.S. and the UK, see Corbett (2017: 22ff). For a detailed account of the politics behind the delay and establishment of the ADAA, and relations between the ADAA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, see Viviani and Welinski (1978). See https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p; query=Id:%22chamber/hansardr/1997-11-18/0031%22.

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13. Makinda (2015: 57) argues that the term ‘effectiveness’ conveyed different meanings at different points in time: ‘Sometimes it meant a policy that was capable of advancing Australia’s national interest, while at other times it referred to a policy that could lead directly to the alleviation of poverty in the recipient country’. 14. For a detailed discussion of the politics around aid administration and budgets during the early years of the Hawke government, and specifically in terms of responses to the Jackson Report, see Corbett (2017: 58–64). 15. The Lowy surveys are used extensively in the various government reports, such as Hollway et al. (2011).

References AusAID. 2001. Monitoring public opinion towards overseas aid: Wave 2, 2001. Canberra: Australian Agency for International Development. AusAID. 2006. Australian aid: Promoting growth and stability. Canberra: Australian Agency for International Development. Borghans, L., et al. 2009. Gender differences in risk aversion and ambiguity aversion. Journal of the European Economic Association, 7(2–3): 649–658. Castles, S. 2015. International human mobility: Key issues and challenges to social theory. In S. Castles, D. Ozkul, & M. A. Cubas (eds.), Social transformation and migration: National and local experiences in South Korea, Turkey, Mexico and Australia: 3–14. London: Palgrave. Coorey, P. 2008. No chance of UN seat until 2018. Sydney Morning Herald, 3 March. Corbett, J. 2017. Australia’s foreign aid dilemma: Humanitarian aspirations confront democratic legitimacy. Abingdon: Routledge. Davis, T. 2006. Does Australia have an international development assistance policy? National interest and foreign policy making. Oceanic Conference on International Studies, University of Melbourne, 5–7 July. Davis, T. 2011. Foreign aid in Australia’s relationship with the South: Institutional narratives. The Round Table, 100(415): 389–406. Dee, M. 2012. Australia and UN peacekeeping: Steady and unwavering support. In J. Cotton & D. Lee (eds.), Australia and the United Nations. Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 1997. In the national interest. Parliamentary Paper No. 147. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Dunne, T. 2014. Australia as a good international citizen. In D. Baldino, A. Carr, & A. Langlois (eds.), Australian foreign policy: Controversies and debates. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Fawcett, L. 2014. Revisiting the Iranian Crisis of 1946: How much more do we know? Iranian Studies, 47(3): 379–399.

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Firth, S. 2011. Australia in international politics. 3rd ed. Crow’s Nest: Allen & Unwin. Gyngell, A. 2017. Australian foreign policy: Does the public matter, should the community care? Australian Journal of International Affairs, 72(2): 85–91. Gyngell, A., & Wesley, M. 2007. Making Australian foreign policy. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Harper, N., & Sissons, D. 1958. Australia and the United Nations. New York: Manhattan Publishing Company. Hollway, S., et al. 2011. Independent review of aid effectiveness. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Ingram, J. C. 1979. The administration of Australian aid. In R. T. Shand & H. V. Richter (eds.), International aid: Some political, administrative and technical realities. Canberra: ANU Development Studies Centre Monograph No. 16. Jackson, R. G. 1985. Australia’s foreign aid. Australian Outlook, 39(1): 13–18. Jordan, M. 2012. Arms control and disarmament. In J. Cotton & D. Lee (eds.), Australia and the United Nations. Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Kelley, J., & Bean, C. 1987. National Social Science Survey panel, 1987 [computer file]. Canberra: Australian Data Archive, Australian National University. Leaver, R. 2008. Issues in Australian foreign policy. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 54(4): 597–608. Lee, D. 2012. Australia and the Security Council. In J. Cotton & D. Lee (eds.), Australia and the United Nations. Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Lowe, D. 1997. Australia at the United Nations in the 1950s: The paradox of empire. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 51(2): 171–181. Makinda, S. 2015. Between Jakarta and Geneva: Why Abbott needs to view Africa as a great opportunity. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 69(1): 53–68. Milner, H., & Tingley, D. 2013. Public opinion and foreign aid: A review essay. International Interactions, 39(3): 389–401. Oakman, D. 2010. Facing Asia: A history of the Colombo Plan. Canberra: ANU ePress. Rokeach, M. 1969. Beliefs, attitudes and values. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Rudd, K. 2018. The PM Years. Sydney: Macmillan. Stone, J. 1955. Problems of Australian foreign policy: January–June. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 1(1): 1–25. Tomar, R. 1997. The Simons Report: Evaluating Australia’s aid program. Current Issues Brief , No. 36, 1996–97. Canberra: Department of the Parliamentary Library.

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Ungerer, C. 2007. The ‘middle power’ concept in Australian foreign policy. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 53(4): 538–551. Viviani, N., & Wilenski, P. 1978. The Australian Development Assistance Agency: A post-mortem report. Brisbane: Royal Institute of Public Administration. Waters, C. 1993. Australia, the Security Council and the Iranian crisis of 1946: Liberal internationalism in practice. Australian Journal of Political Science, 28(1): 83–97. Waters, C. 2015. A reply to Neville Meaney. History Australia, 12(2): 232–237. Wilkins, T. 2017. Australia and middle power approaches to Asia Pacific regionalism. Australian Journal of Political Science, 52(1): 110–125.

CHAPTER 9

Conclusion

Our examination of Australian public opinion towards defence and foreign policy from the mid-twentieth century to the present day has sought to answer two questions. The first question concerns the changing patterns of public opinion towards defence and foreign affairs and what has influenced them. Second, we aim to understand the conditions which determine whether governments are responsive to public opinion on defence and foreign affairs issues. Our evidence comes from an unrivalled database of several hundred public opinion surveys, conducted over eight decades, which have gauged opinion on a huge array of issues. On the first question—trends in public opinion and its drivers—we can identify three broad periods from the surveys. The first begins with victory in the Second World War in 1945 and comes to an end in the late 1960s. Over these three decades there was a general consensus among the public over most foreign policy and defence issues, including support for military participation in the 1950-53 Korean War and in the 1948-60 Malayan Emergency. There was also a general public acceptance that the prevailing strategy of ‘forward defence’ was the most appropriate means of defending Australia from foreign attack. The evidence to support this interpretation is presented in Chapter 4; in Chapter 8 there is also evidence of broad support for the United Nations during these years as a means of preventing a third world war.

© The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2_9

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The second period starts in the late 1960s and is marked by increasing dissension over the merits of Australia’s role in the Vietnam War, culminating in the withdrawal of troops in 1972. The experience of the Vietnam War, and not least the defeat of the U.S. in that conflict caused a major revision of defence strategy. The emphasis shifted from ‘forward defence’ to ‘the defence of Australia’, as well as towards greater efforts to ensure self-reliance (Cheeseman 1991). At the same time, humanitarian interventions became more important with government publicity and recruiting campaigns promoting the image of a modern defence force focused less on traditional military activities and more on capacity-building and disaster relief. Based on the public opinion evidence we can identify a third period that began with the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War in 1990. With the end to the old binary certainties about who was a friend and who was foe, there was a shift in public opinion towards a greater emphasis on international engagement, human rights and peacekeeping, and an increased concern over the threat of terrorism. The latter was given credence after the 9/11 attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings, as well as from terrorist attacks in Spain, Britain and elsewhere. As we outlined in Chapter 7, there is widespread public fear about becoming the victim of a terrorist attack, regardless of its low probability, due in part to its random nature. At the same time, the government is largely been seen to have handled the terrorist threat well. What is notable about these three distinct periods—where the public has expressed different priorities and concerns—is that support for the alliance with the U.S. has changed relatively little. Chapter 3 demonstrated that the public’s support for the ANZUS alliance is as strong today as it was 70 years ago when the treaty was signed. This comes despite the Trump presidency’s isolationist rhetoric which is countered in the public’s mind by political, military and trade disputes with China. These disputes with China look likely to cement the public even more firmly to the ANZUS alliance. The COVID-19 pandemic provides a complicating mix of factors. The pandemic may further bolster public support for the U.S. in the delicate balance between continuing to trade with China while at the same time relying on the U.S. as the ultimate guarantor of Australia’s security. However, as we discuss in Chapter 3, the recent data shows that positive perceptions of American power and influence have declined, which speaks directly to the value of the alliance. It remains to be seen whether

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the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis further damages these perceptions. Yet despite these unfavourable views, our long-term overview of public opinion suggests that support for the alliance is unlikely to be seriously damaged. This is because we find no evidence that the changing social structure—such as generational turnover or increasing Asian immigration—is having a significant enough effect on public opinion towards the U.S. alliance to change the overall levels of support. To the extent that social structure is an important driver of opinions towards defence and foreign affairs, it appears to occur through the rapid expansion of tertiary education. In the 1960s little more than 3% of the population experienced a university education. By 2001 that had increased to one in four of the population and by 2018 it had increased to just over 40% (McAllister 2011: 59; Norton 2018). Among its many benefits, a tertiary education provides its recipients with greater political knowledge and interest, more critical thinking on political issues, and a reduced likelihood of following partisan cues (Weakleim 2002). In the defence and foreign affairs arena, we saw in Chapter 6 the important role education plays in promoting greater engagement with Asia. Education is also important in shaping opinions towards international cooperation through the UN and the provision of foreign aid (Wood 2017). Aside from other social factors, what other factors drive the changes in public opinion that we observe in the postwar period? One key factor is debate within the political elite. Writing in 1966, V. O. Key characterised the relationship between elites and the public as an echo chamber, so that the electorate ‘behaves about as rationally and responsibly as we should expect, given the clarity of the alternatives presented to it and the character of the information available to it’ (Key 1966: 7). In the early postwar period the elite consensus over defence and foreign affairs and the restricting of election debate to economic policy meant that, for the most part, the public was not exposed to differing elite opinions. During the 1950s and 1960s there were comparatively few elite disputes, even over such issues as links to the Commonwealth. Both parties adopted a pragmatic approach to trade, and when Britain joined the EEC the shift to a greater engagement with Asia was deemed by both parties as the best practical response. Not surprisingly, then, the public either took little interest or if they did followed the prevailing elite consensus. Starting in the late 1960s, partisan divisions over foreign policy issues have increased. The most obvious example is the Vietnam War; Chapter 4 outlined how Labor gradually became detached from Coalition policy to remain committed to the conflict. But partisan divisions were also

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apparent over the Iraq War, as well as with respect to how the government should participate in the UN, as we saw in Chapter 8. As the elites have debated these issues, and as media coverage of foreign and defence policy has reflected a wider range of perspectives, the mass public has become more aware and informed about the choices available to them. While these issues have rarely translated into the electoral arena, the public has nevertheless gained an insight into how each of the parties would approach aspects of defence and foreign policy. Concomitantly, the public has also gained information from the growth of a variety of interest groups which regularly evaluate policy, notably (from 2001) the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and (from 2003) the Lowy Institute. A second key factor driving public opinion is external events. These are mostly but not exclusively unpredicted. The most obvious event is a war which, at least in its initial stages, creates the ‘rally around the flag’ effect first identified by Mueller (1973). However, unless the war is won within a reasonable period of time—or hostilities on the side of a foreign aggressor increase, as was the case with Korea in 1953—then public support gradually ebbs away. As we saw in Chapter 5, this is what occurred with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Public outrage at 9/11 and later the Bali bombings stoked some early support for the U.S.-led ‘War on Terror’. But as the war dragged on without a resolution and the economic costs and the casualties mounted, the public became more sceptical about its justification. Not least, the public viewed the risk from terrorism as greater after the war than before it, undercutting the government’s explanation for participating in the first place. Another example of an unpredicted external event is the COVID-19 pandemic which aside from its major health and economic consequences, will have a negative impact on Australia–China relations. The third consideration for the public is the performance of defence in particular operations. Most notably, defence (and also foreign affairs) performance in the 1999–2000 East Timor crisis was highly regarded by the public, and Chapter 5 illustrates the increase in the public’s approval of defence capabilities that resulted. Other peacekeeping operations, such as in the Solomon Islands, have also been well received, not least because they did not result in any significant casualties and the ADF withdrew in a relatively short period of time. The overall response of government towards terrorism has also been viewed by the public as being highly effective, and apart from isolated incidents involving one or two individuals, there have been no highly organised, coordinated attacks such as the July

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2005 bombings in London. One of the contradictions is that while the public sees defence as performing well, and as we saw in Chapter 2 the public has a high regard for defence, it still considers defence as one of the least favoured areas for spending. Playing into all these factors is the role of information and its availability to the general public. Growing public interest in defence and foreign affairs has been buffeted by greater public access to news and images from abroad, as well as by growing diversity in these news sources. The media plays a role in disseminating elite views, particularly at times where these views have diverged and been subject to political contestation; it provides a point of contact for the public with external events; and it relays to the public the success or otherwise of defence operations. The role of the media as intermediary between the public and elites has been subject to a great deal of debate (Robinson 2011) and the arrival of various types of new media adds an extra layer of complexity to these issues. Since 1945, defence and foreign affairs have grown incrementally in political importance. This has been facilitated by changes in the international environment, and with the end of Cold War the international system has become more complex and uncertain. It has also been caused by changes within society, with the expansion of higher education playing a major role. And the greater frequency with which political elites debate the merits of policies has also played a role. As we outlined in Chapter 1, the traditional view of foreign policy realists has been that public opinion is largely irrelevant, except perhaps in the making of war and peace (Morgenthau 1950). This pessimistic view has been challenged by a recognition that public opinion places an invisible cord around policy, making some goals possible and others not (Keohane and Nye 2001), and by a growing awareness of the complex relationship between public attitudes and elite decision-making (Kaarbo 2015). Advances in the study of public opinion suggest that rather than being ill-informed and unpredictable, as the early studies of public opinion suggested (Stouffer 1955; McCloskey 1964), the public is rational and well able to understand and make a sensible decision, guided by the information available to them, the influence of their social peers, and the cues provided by elites (Kertzer and Zeitzoff 2017). This suggests that the public will play an even greater role in the formulation of defence and foreign policy in the future than it has in the past. Such a role need not necessarily mean that foreign policy should or will take a populist turn.

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To the contrary, if the benchmark of democratic politics is accountability, debate over the nature and purpose of defence and foreign policy will help contribute to a more robust and nuanced sense of how Australia’s outward facing identity aligns with its inward facing values. It is at times where the elite consensus has been challenged and issues have been subjected to elite contestation that the public has engaged most deeply in the politics that surround defence and foreign affairs. In these periods the public has exhibited robust and well-informed opinions.

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Appendix

Overview of Surveys. Two public opinion surveys provide the bulk of the evidence reported in this book. The first is the Australian Election Study, which has been conducted immediately after every federal election since 1987 (Cameron and McAllister 2019; McAllister 2011). While the AES is designed to examine voting in the election as well as longer-term trends in political behaviour, each survey includes a set of foreign and defence policy questions which for the most part have been asked over several successive polls. All but three of the surveys have been funded by the Australian Research Council. The second source is the excellent Lowy Institute Polls which have been conducted annually since 2005. The Lowy Polls contain a very extensive range of questions on all aspects of foreign and defence policy, with a significant portion of the questions being replicated to permit longitudinal analysis. The polls represent the most comprehensive, high quality resource for the study of public opinion towards foreign and defence policy anywhere in the world. The reports of both the AES and the Lowy Polls are available online at https://australianelectionstudy.org/ and https://www.lowyinstitute.org, respectively. In addition, both surveys are committed to immediate public access of the complete unit record files, so the data can be downloaded for use without charge or embargo from the Australian Data Archive at The Australian National University (https://ada.edu.au/). Methodological details for the AES and the Lowy Polls appear below. © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2

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Several other academic surveys are used in the book. The 1967, 1969 and 1979 Australian National Political Attitudes Surveys (ANPAS) were designed to examine political behaviour and voting in the electorate (Aitkin 1982). The three surveys are nationally representative of all voters and use a personal interview method. The ANUpoll is a nationally representative survey conducted by The Australian National University between two to three times a year which began operation in 2008. Several of the surveys have dealt with governance, defence and foreign affairs. The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) was conducted biennially from 2003 to 2011, and then annually from 2012 onwards. The AuSSA surveys routinely field the International Social Science Program (ISSP) modules; in 2006 and again in 2016 the module was the Role of Government and included items on aspects of foreign and defence policy. The data and reports for ANPAS, ANUpoll, AuSSA and ISSP are available from the Australian Data Archive. In addition to academic surveys, we also make extensive use of commercial polls going back to the Second World War. For the most part, these surveys have been sourced from contemporary newspaper accounts, as well as from reports of the survey companies themselves. The oldest continuous opinion poll company and the only national poll until the 1970s was Australian Public Opinion Polls (APOP) (The Gallup Method). The company was founded by Roy Morgan in 1941, following a period in the U.S. when he worked for Dr. George Gallup, who had established the Gallup Poll in 1932. APOP later became the Gallup Poll and later still, Roy Morgan Research, the name it retains today (Goot 2019). Some of the early surveys are available from the Australian Data Archive. In addition to APOP and the Gallup Poll, extensive use is also made of Newspoll surveys. Newspoll was founded in 1985 with most of its surveys being published in The Australian newspaper, which provides the source for the results presented here. In 2015 Newspoll was taken over by Galaxy Research and in 2017 it was acquired by YouGov. Until 2017 the surveys were mainly conducted by telephone; with the transfer of ownership to YouGov it has switched entirely to online methodology (Goot 2019). Many of the early survey results are sourced from McAllister and Makkai (1991) which has an extensive appendix listing the exact question wordings used in the surveys and fieldwork and other methodological details. Reporting of Results. So far as possible, we have followed a standard format in the reporting of the survey results. The number of respondents

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who are interviewed in a survey is obviously important in estimating the relative margin of error for a result. However, where a newspaper report is relied on (especially for the early surveys) this information is often unavailable. When this information is available, it is often in the form of the total number of respondents in the survey, rather than the number who responded to a particular question. When the unit record file has been available, the number of respondents for a particular question or analysis is included. The margin of error for a sample size of around 1000 respondents, the typical size for a commercial survey, is around 3%, assuming a 95% level of confidence. In practice, this means that if 50% of a sample agreed with a proposition, then 95% of the time this result would fall within a range of 47–53%. If the sample size is increased to 2000, the typical size of an academic survey, then the margin of error is reduced to about 2%. In other words, in the example above the range of the result would fall between 48 and 52% in about 95% of cases. In the multiple regression analyses reported in Tables 2.2, 3.10, 6.9, and 7.6 the estimates are from ordinary least squares regression equations, reporting partial coefficients and standardised coefficients, using pairwise deletion of missing values. The Australian Election Study. All the AES studies are national, postelection self-completion surveys. The 1987–2013 surveys were based on samples drawn randomly from the electoral register. The 2016 survey used a split sample method, with half of the sample coming from the electoral register, and half using the Geo-Coded National Address File (G-NAF). The 1993 AES oversampled in some of the smaller states and because of this the sample was weighted down to a national sample of 2388 respondents. The overall response rates have varied, and are listed in Table A.1. For the 2010 to 2019 surveys an online option was available to the respondents to complete the questionnaire. The 1993, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 surveys are weighted to reflect the characteristics of the national electorate. Lowy Institute Poll. The Lowy Polls are national surveys, representative of the adult population aged 18 years and over. All of the surveys until 2018 use a telephone method, using random sampling of fixed and mobile phones. In 2018 part of the sample was collected online, and in 2019 an online probability sample was used, with 11% without internet access completing the questionnaire by telephone. Response rates are not consistently available for the telephone surveys but are typically less than 10% (Table A.2).

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Table A.1 Australian election study voter response rates, 1987–2019

Election year

Total sample

Valid response

Effective response (%)

1987 1990 1993 1996 1998 2001 2004 2007 2010 2013 2016 2019

3061 3606 4950 3000 3502 4000 250 5000 4999 12,200 12,497 5175

1825 2020 3023 1795 1896 2010 1769 1873 2003 3955 2818 2179

62.8 58.0 62.8 61.8 57.7 55.4 44.5 40.2 40.1 33.9 22.5 42.1

The response rate is estimated as: valid responses / (total sample−moved or gone away)

Table A.2 Lowy Institute Polls, 2005–2019

Year

Total sample

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

1000 1007 1003 1001 1003 1001 1002

2012

1005

2013 2014 2015

1002 1150 1200

2016

1202

2017 2018 2019

1200 1200 2130

Fieldwork

Method

5–10 February 19 June–6 July 21 May–2 June 12-27 July 13–25 July 6–21 March 30 March–14 April 26 March–10 April 4–20 March 12–27 February 20 February–8 March 26 February–15 March 1–21 March 5–25 March 12–25 March

Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone Telephone/online Online panel/telephone

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References Aitkin, D. A. 1982. Stability and change in Australian politics. Canberra: ANU Press. Cameron, S., & McAllister, I. 2019. Trends in Australian political behaviour, 1987–2019. Available from https://australianelectionstudy.org/. Goot, M. 2019. Who controls opinion polling in Australia? Available from https://insidestory.org.au/who-controls-opinion-polling-in-australia/. McAllister, I. 2011. The Australian voter: Fifty years of change. Sydney: University of NSW Press. McAllister, I., & Makkai, T. 1991. Changing Australian opinion on defence: Trends, patterns, and explanations. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2(3): 195– 235.

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Index

A Abbott, Tony, 7, 8, 36, 37, 142, 191, 196n7 ADAA. See Australian Development Assistance Agency ADAB. See Australian Development Assistance Bureau AES. See Australian Election Study Age public opinion and, 67, 168. See also Political generations Aid after Cold War, 191–194 overseas, 184–188 Aitkin, Don, vi Almond-Lippman consensus, 4 al-Qaeda, 155, 157 Ananda Marga, 153 Anthony, Doug, 125 ANUpoll, 23, 26, 34, 52, 55, 56, 140, 162, 165, 192, 208 ANZUS alliance/treaty, 8, 10, 19, 20, 43–44, 86, 87, 91, 102, 124, 154, 202

future of, 10, 43–44 joint military facilities and, 61–62 origins of, 43–50 public support for, 50–57 see also MX missile crisis; Nuclear-powered warships APEC. See Asia Pacific Economic Partnership Armed forces society and, 27–31, 153 ASEAN Regional Forum, 133 Asia Australian engagement with, 7, 133–134 Australian shift towards, 125, 126–132 Howard government and, 134–138 Asia Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC), 133 Asylum seekers, 155, 156, 159 AusAID, 191. See also Foreign aid Polling, 192

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021 D. Chubb and I. McAllister, Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7397-2

231

232

INDEX

Australian Development Assistance Agency (ADAA), 187. See also Foreign aid Australian Development Assistance Bureau (ADAB), 187, 189. See also Foreign aid Australian Election Study (AES), vi, 2, 23, 26, 34, 36, 51, 52, 55, 61, 68, 71, 102, 114, 115, 130, 132, 135–137, 139, 143, 156, 158, 162, 163, 165, 169, 207 Australian Federal Police (AFP), 152, 154 Australian Greens, 67 Australian Labor Party, 7, 10, 62, 86, 108, 129, 177 Australian National Opinion Polls, 92 Australian National Political Attitudes Survey (ANPAS), 10, 51, 90, 130, 132, 208 Australian Political Opinion Polls. See Australian Public Opinion Polls (APOP) Australian Public Opinion Polls, 47, 48, 63, 79, 81, 83, 84, 123, 129, 130, 178–181, 187, 196n2. See also Gallup Polls; Gallup Survey Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), 154, 159 Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), 104, 147n16 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA), 23, 166, 167, 208 B Bali bombings, 1, 102, 139, 151–153 Indonesia and, 156–160 Ball, Desmond, 54 Beazley, Kim, 62 Bell, Coral, 20, 44–46, 48, 86, 89, 95n5, 105 Benvenuti, Andrea, 125

Berinsky, Adam, 95, 95n9 Bipartisanship, 57, 62, 67, 69, 72, 87, 103, 105, 179 Bishop, Julie, 8 Blix, Hans, 111 Bougainville, 99, 101, 105 Bush, George W., 111, 115, 155 C Carr, Andrew, 11, 33, 37 Cheeseman, Graeme, 118n3 Chifley, Ben, 126, 127, 129 China, 35, 122, 202 and investment in Australia, 144 attitudes towards, 81, 142–145 Australia relationship with, 142 Chubb, Danielle, 147n17, 170n2 Churchill, Winston, 49, 179 Colombo Plan, 185 Communist threat, 45, 47–49, 86, 94 Connery, David, 107 Conscription, 30–31, 39n4, 89–90 Corbett, Jack, 186, 189, 190 Corby, Schapelle, 140 Cosgrove, Peter, 17 Cotton, James, 118n8, 133 Country-Liberal Party. See Liberal Party COVID-19 pandemic, 32, 35, 38, 202, 204 Crawford, Sir John, 187 Crean, Simon, 12n1, 74n14 Curtin, John, 178 D Dastyari, Sam, 144 Dean, Peter, 33, 37 Defence confidence in, 21–27 security, public trust and, 17–21 spending, 32–38, 194

INDEX

233

see also Armed forces Defence White Papers 1976, 93, 110 1987, 93, 100, 110 2016, 35 Democratic elitism, 4 Downer, Alexander, 183 Doyle, Peter, 124 Dulles, John Foster, 45 Dupont, Alan, 86

Forward defence strategy, 77, 91–93, 94, 99 attitudes towards, 92 Frank Small and Associates Surveys, 30, 32 Fraser, Malcolm, 27, 28, 60, 67, 74n14, 170n3, 187 Free Trade Agreement (Australia-United States), 53

E East Timor, 135 Catholic Church/laity and, 107–108 crisis, 24, 34, 53, 157 Howard government and, 106, 108, 109, 111 peacekeeping in, 99, 105–111 East Timor crisis, 139 Edney, Kingsley, 10 Election campaigns, 88, 89, 126, 134 Essential Poll, 162, 163 European Economic Community (EEC), 123, 127 Australia, Britain and, 122–126 Evans, Gareth, 100, 101, 133, 175, 177, 183 Evatt, H.V., 19, 45, 46, 177–178, 179, 182

G Gallup Polls, 30, 32, 128, 131, 187, 188, 208 Gallup Survey, 49, 85, 88, 90, 92, 93, 106, 123, 124 Garnaut Report, 133 Gelber, Harry, 62 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 127 Goot, Murray, 74n13, 131 Gorton, John, 129 Grey, Lt.-Gen. John, 29 Gyngell, Allan, 176

F Ferguson, Laurie, 118n9 Fiji, 101 Fitzpatrick Report, 133 Foreign aid, 188, 194 Hollway review, 189, 191 Jackson Report, 189–191, 195 Simons Report, 189–191 Foreign policy, 2–5 making of in Australia, 6–8

H Habibie, Pres. B.J., 118n6 Hanson, Pauline, 135 Harper, Norman, 178 Hawke, Bob, 62, 63, 135 government of, 60, 100, 101, 108, 122, 134 Hayden, Bill, 60, 62 Hilton Hotel bombing (Sydney), 152–154 Holsti, Ole, vii Holt, Harold, 129 Hope Royal Commission, 154 Howard, John, 10, 69 government of, 21, 38, 122, 183, 190

234

INDEX

September 11 attacks and, 43, 159–161 see also Asia; East Timor; Iraq War Howson, Peter, 146n Hughes, Colin, 88 Hussein, Saddam, 111

I Immigration, 67, 72, 124, 128, 129 as a source of attitudinal change, 7, 67, 69, 71, 137 attitudes towards, 129, 131 Indonesia, 122, 186, 187 attitudes towards, 138–142 Australia relationship with, 10, 91, 95n, 105–107 see also Bali bombings; East Timor Iraq War, 1, 10, 21, 53, 54, 117, 204 Australian involvement in, 111–115, 155, 183 Howard government and, 106, 109 Israel, 49

J Japan, 44, 48, 127, 134, 135, 146n3 Jemaah Islamiyah, 151, 156–158 Jones, Alan, 116

K Keating, Paul, 108, 134, 135 government of, 101, 108, 122, 138 Keelty, Mick, 116 Keohane, Robert, 3 Key, V.O., 203 Kiribati, 101 Korean War, 49, 77, 117, 201 Australian involvement in, 78–80, 81 nuclear weapons and, 80–82

L Lamare, James, 58 Landers, Rachel, 170n3 Lange, David, 57–60, 64 Latham, Mark, 67, 69, 74n14 Lavelle, Ashley, 87 Lee, David, 73n2 Liberal Party of Australia, 7, 126 Lifecycle, 70, 72. See also Age Lowe, David, 46 Lowy Institute, 2, 9, 204 Polling, vi, 9, 56, 61, 65, 66, 74n8, 140, 141, 143, 144, 158, 159, 161, 184, 185, 191–193, 197n15, 207 Lyons, Joseph, 46

M MacArthur, Gen. Douglas, 80 Mack, Andrew, 59–60, 62, 64 Makinda, Samuel, 197n13 Makkai, Toni, 30, 32, 34, 59, 74n11, 158, 208 Malayan Emergency, 77, 117, 201 Australian involvement in, 78–86 Australian troops in, 82–84 Malaysia, 85 Australian troops in, 85 McAllister, Ian, 9, 30, 32, 34, 59, 74n11, 110, 118n3, 147n17, 158, 208 McDonald, Matt, 9, 11, 18, 20, 155 McDougall, Derek, 10 McEwen, John, 147 Meaney, Neville, 146n6 Media coverage, 87, 88, 91, 109, 111, 157, 178, 183, 204, 205 Menzies, Robert, 45, 93, 126, 132, 178–180 government of, 19, 86, 87, 91–92, 127, 182, 183

INDEX

Merefield, Matt, 155 Merkel, Angela, 142 Miller, Charles, 10, 70, 71 Mueller, John, 102, 204 MX missile crisis, 62–64

N National Social Science Survey, 190, 193 National values/interest, 10, 18, 175–177, 186, 189, 190, 194 Nevins, Joseph, 107 New Caledonia, 101, 118n6 Newspoll, 95n7, 109, 112–115, 208 New Zealand, 57–60. See also ANZUS alliance/treaty Nuclear-powered warships, 57–60 Nuclear weapons, 80, 182, 183 attitudes towards, 80, 81 Nurrungar, 53 Nye, Joseph, 3

O Obama, Barack, 65

P Papua New Guinea, 118n2, 185 Partisanship, 24 public opinion and, 24, 68, 69. See also Lifecycle Peacekeeping and military intervention, 100–105, 183, 202. See also East Timor Peace movement, 9, 39n4, 57, 60–62 Pine Gap, 53, 60 Political generations, 147n9 public opinion and, 23, 67, 131, 137 Political leadership, 69–72. See also Partisanship

235

Powell, Colin, 157 Pyne, Christopher, 74n9 R Ravenhill, John, 9, 133 Rawson, Don, 73n2 Reagan, Ronald, 63 Robert Jackson. See also Foreign aid Roy Morgan Research. See Gallup Polls Rudd, Kevin, 177, 183 Russia, 46–48, 179 S September 11 attacks (2001), 1, 53, 69, 111, 113, 153, 154, 159, 160, 202 Australia and, 156, 159–161 see also Howard, John Sexton, Michael, 95n4 Shultz, George, 62 Simons, Paul report, 189, 191 Sissons, David, 178 Smith, Hugh, 29 Snowden, Edward, 158 Solomon Islands, 99, 105, 204 Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO), 132 Spender, Percy, 19, 43, 46 involvement with ANZUS treaty, 45, 46 Starke, Joseph, 46 Suharto, Pres, 108, 118n4 Sukarno, Pres, 106 Sunstein, Cass, 169 Survey of Defence Issues, 34, 39n7, 52, 55, 56, 103, 104, 110 T Tampa (ship), 155

236

INDEX

Terrorism, 151–152, 170, 202 Australia and, 153–156 government responses to, 163–169 public concerns about, 140, 160–163, 202 see also Bali bombings; September 11 attacks (2001) Thailand, 92 Thomson, Mark, 37 Tiffen, Rodney, 87 Tomar, Ravi, 190 Toohey, Brian, 62 Tow, Bill, 57 Trade, 6, 125 Truman, Harry, 45, 80 Trump, Donald, 12n3, 53, 72, 202 election of, 64–66 Turnbull, Malcolm, 32, 64

U United Kingdom, 123 and Commonwealth relations, 125 Australia relationship with, 123, 127, 132 withdrawal from Suez, 127 United Nations, 39n1, 45, 46, 48–49, 78, 101, 104, 112, 201, 204 founding of, 176–181 Iraq War and, 113–115 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Australia and, 6–8, 182–185, 195

United States, 5, 127–129 crisis relations with, 57–66, 72 trust in, 65, 50–53 see also ANZUS alliance/treaty United States Information Service (USIS), 52 USIS. See United States Information Service (USIS) V Vanuatu, 101 Vietnam War, 1, 4, 20, 31, 51, 77, 81, 85, 117, 142, 202, 203 Australian involvement in, 86–91 legacy of, 91–94 Tet Offensive, 88 W Wallis, Joanne, 101 Walsh, Michael, 67, 71 Ward, Stuart, 122, 125 War on Terror, 152, 155–156, 157, 202 Watt, Alan, 49 Wesley, Michael, 147n176 West New Guinea, 91 White Australia policy, 129–131 White, Hugh, 92, 94 Whitlam, Gough, 57, 89, 187 Williams, George, 159 World Values Study, 23, 25 Wran, Neville, 153