For the last 16 years, Defence White Papers of Australia's Labor and Coalition governments have pointed to dramatic shifts in the strategic balance in Asia, yet pursued modest and incremental changes to Australia’s defence policy and posture dating to the seminal White Paper of 1987. However, the election of President Trump, and increasing assertiveness of China’s military expansion raise significant questions of whether more drastic change is, or should be coming.
Building on internationally renowned earlier studies of Australia's defence policy and the alliance with the United States, this panel presents material from a forthcoming edited volume on the future of Australian defence policy. The panel will present contrasting and challenging perspectives without assuming that all of the presented policy futures are desirable, feasible or even coherent. Instead, we aim by this examination to show up the constraints, opportunities, dependencies and considerations that Australia’s future defence policy will have to work under. This panel will feature papers with appeal to scholars of Asia-Pacific security, by exploring the potential for Middle Power coalitions, for finding new Great and Powerful Friends, and for taking an armed and independent path.