SPEECH AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF WORK ON THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE ACADEMY
Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983
Release Date: 18/02/1981
Release Type: Speech
Transcript ID: 5517
Document: Original Transcript (PDF 173.59 KB)
PRIME ' MINISTER
FOR MEDIA WEDNESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY, 1981
SPEECH AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF WORK ON THE
AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE ACADEMY
The proposal for tri-service tertiary education originated
in the 1960s, and in the years that it has taken for the
idea to come to fruition, the world has undergone considerable
changes. It is not just that our strategic perceptions have altered,
but that the strategic environment in which we live has also
changed dramatically. The security, thought to be conferred
by detente, was shattered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
While it would be an exaggeration to suggest that this invasion
was the single cause for the strategic instability in which we
live, that invasion is the clearest recent example of the
Soviet Union's basic rejection of the accepted concept and
necessity of international stability. That rejection is
fraught with consequences for the security of all nations; and
it certainly has clear implications for our attitude to national
and regional defence.
These fundamental changes in Australia's national circumstances
require a number of re-assessments and responses. In the past,
single-service contingents have operated, more or less, as
self-contained tactical forces. But advances in technology,
and radical changes in operational situations and methods have
led to a blurring of the lines which formally separated the
As we develop our defence capability in the light of strategic
changes and advances in technology, we must recognise, more and
more, the need for our armed services to operate jointly, as
the Australian Defence Force. The old and costly single-service
arrangements are no longer appropriate to modern circumstances
and to the course of defence development in this country.
Tomorrow, it will be a year since I announced the Government's
decision to allocate a greater proportion of our resources
to defence. The decision to invest in modern weapons systems
and to increase research and development funds was the beginning
of a long, sustained haul to enhance our defence preparedness. / 2
Our efforts to ' secure the nation's defence, through a
well-developed defence infrastructure, necessarily place a
premium on techiiological capacity, well-trained manpower, and'
an officer corps which is sensitive to the kinds of co-ordinated
tactical responses which a modern defence capacity requires.
We cannot enhance our security, however, without due regard
to the security of our friends and allies. Defence is not simply
a national endeavour. It is a co-operative effort, in a regional
sense as well. Among other things, this has important
implications for the training of our service officers.
our armed forces the Navy, the Army and the Air. Force mnus~ t
be able to operate together as a united Australian Defence Force.
They must also be able to co-ordinate their efforts with those
of our allies. Our service officers' vision must extend beyond
the traditions and daily pre-occupations of the single services.
This is one important reason why we are gathered here today to
mark the commencement of the building of the Australian Defence
Force Academy. The Academy will instil into its members. ful1.
dedication to their parent services. It will foster in our
military cadets loyalty to the national force. But more
fundamentally, it will encourage a basic sense of national
mission and of interdependence between our three services.
There are Very few circumstances in which Australian servicemten
will be committed in the future which will involve only one
. service; which-will not require the active and co-operative
support of elements of the other ' services. The need to establish
an integrated training system for-the three services stems from
a recognition of the need to establish one integrated,
concerted, committed, hard hitting and effective defence force.
The responsibility for national defence and for an independent
national contribution to the security of our allies and friends,
places new and taxing demands on the personnel of our defence
force, and particularly on its leaders. officers of the defEnce
force must be able not only to meet the complex requirements
of their daily. duties, which call increasingly for a high dec ree
of proficiency in a rangje of professional specialisation. But
also, they must be able to take their place in the councils cf
State, and make their contribution to the discussion of
problems and policies along with representatives of other arc-as
of the State service, both Parliamentary and administrative.
There must be an understanding in the defence force of our
history and institutions, our social values, our national
situation and our international circumstances and prospects.
Such requirements demand an education of a high order.
With the co-operation and partnership that we seek from the
University of New South Wales, we can look forward to support.
at the highest levels and in the highest traditions of
university teaching. / 3
I take this opportunity to offer my thanks to the universities,
and other organisations, and to all the people who have
contributed to the development of ADFA to the point we have
reached today. I would particularly like to pay tribute to
the work of Sir Henry Basten, as Chairman, and of the other
members of the ADFA Development Council, many of whom are
with us today. In particular, I want to acknowledge the
contribution of Professor Rupert Myers, without whose continuing
advocacy, there would have been no project.
The planning teams from the Department of Housing and Construction
and the Department of Defence also deserve praise for their
efforts particularly for keeping within the limits of the
cost targets set in 1976.
We now take a major step towards the establishment of a new
institution of real significance to Australia. On occasions
such as this, one naturally looks to the future. I do so today
with great satisfaction that this project is launched at last;:
and with great confidence that we are making the best possible
provision for the leaders of Australia's defence force for
many, many years ahead.
With much pleasure, I now unveil this plaque to mark the
start of work on the Defence Force Academy.