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

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

Taking place via Zoom

This book examines the impact of Australian public opinion towards defence and foreign policy from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. For much of the period covered in this study, the Australian public showed little interest in defence and security policy and possessed limited knowledge about the strategic options available. The principal post-war exception to this pattern is, of course, the Vietnam War, when political divisions over Australia’s support for the U.S.-led action eventually resulted in the withdrawal of troops in 1972.

The period since 2001 has seen a fundamental change both in the public’s views of defence and foreign affairs, and in how these issues are debated by political elites. This has come about as a result of major changes in the strategic environment such as a heightened public awareness of terrorism, party political divisions over Australia’s military commitment to the 2003-11 Iraq War and the increasing overlap of economic and trade considerations with defence and foreign policies, which has increased the public’s interest in these issues.

This book examines these trends, drawing on decades of longitudinal data around public opinion and Australian foreign policy, and provides insights into key foreign policy debates, including Australia’s alliance with the U.S., interactions with Asia and China, and the distinctive challenges posed to Australia by its geographic position.

Dr Danielle Chubb is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University and a founding member of the POLIS group in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University. She is the author (with Ian McAllister) of Australian Public Opinion, Defence and Foreign Policy: Attitudes and Trends Since 1945 (Palgrave 2021) and Contentious Activism and Inter-Korean relations (Columbia University Press 2014), and the editor (with Andrew Yeo) of North Korean Human Rights: Activists and Networks (Cambridge University Press 2018). Her research interests include the interplay of human rights, peace and security norms (particularly on the Korean peninsula), the role that transnational activists play in shaping normative and policy agendas and creating change, and Australian foreign policy and public opinion.


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