Human Security and National Security: The Australian Context

Joseph A. Camilleri, ‘Human Security and National Security: The Australian Context’, in Dennis Altman, Joseph A. Camilleri, Robyn Eckersley and Gerhard Hoffstaedter (eds), Why Human Security Matters: Rethinking Australian foreign policy, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2012, pp. 57-86

This chapter offers a detailed case study of the the scope and limitations of Australia’s treatment of human security, and its impact on declaratory and operational policy over the last twenty years. The analysis focuses on the role of national government in the Keating, Howard and Rudd/Gillard years, thereby offering a useful point of comparison between governments of different political and intellectual complexion. These three periods are especially revealing in the light of Australia’s evolving engagement with Asia, the rapidly developing regional architecture and significant shifts in the international environment.  The chapter finds that despite significant shifts in approaches to human security at a declaratory level, operationally the integration of human security concepts with Australian security policy has been limited by a consistent focus on the security of the state/nation and an ongoing emphasis on actual and potential military threats. It concludes by offering a number of recommendations for Australian policy makers to more effectively incorporate human security principles in governing systems.