Defence Policy-Making: A Close-up View, 1950-1980: A Personal Memoir

Author/s (editor/s):

Sir Arthur Tange

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 169

Sir Arthur Tange was perhaps the most powerful Secretary of the Australian Defence Department and one of the most powerful of the great 'mandarins' who dominated the Commonwealth Public Service between the 1940s and the 1970s. Tange exerted that influence by virtue of his intellectual capacity, his administrative ability and the sheer force of his personality. The last draft of his memoir was finished about six months before his death on 10 May 2001 at the age of 86. The book is filled with accounts of major policy initiatives and of Tange's views about the individuals who framed them.

Controversies from his time in Defence echo to this day, and it is still easy to identify both staunch admirers and vitriolic critics of Tange in defence and public service circles. Spanning some thirty decades, in which there were a number of pivotal developments in Australia's defence and political history, this memoir includes wry descriptions of Tange's relationships with the various prime ministers and ministers he served during his long tenure in the public service.

Acces the full publication here.

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