The Howard Government has for the past decade loudly proclaimed itself the champion of national security, he declared himself a 'nationalist'; and together with his ministerial team, makes much ado, about governing 'in the national interest'.
Indeed, under Howard, the Coalition government has sought to make 'security' in the national interest. Its defining feature-taking the country to war in Iraq to defend against terrorism; keeping illegal immigrants aggressively at bay; and softening the rule of law to observe and apprehend persons suspected of subversive activities. More than any postwar Prime Minister before him, John Howard has placed national security at the centre of his claim to leadership. In “National Insecurity” we expose the myth of the Howard Government's security-enhancing credentials. Our argument is that while Howard's team has been working assiduously to maintain the symbolism of security (the ceremonial flag-waving, the naval sweeps to the north, the farewelling of the troops) in its actual policy choices, it has been pursuing a remarkably different course, with quite different outcomes. In the five sectors we examine: energy, rural industry; culture, defense, blood; the preferences, decisions and commitments made by Howard and his team do much to disadvantage Australia's interests and diminish our security. We uncover a central paradox at the heart of the Howard Government: a government that vigorously promotes itself as the guardian of national security, but whose actions, choices and commitments in critical policy domains effectively undermine that security and trample the national interest.