Professor Hugh White’s latest book How to Defend Australia has raised some challenging questions. One of them is whether there could be circumstances under which Australia might in future think about getting nuclear weapons. This clearly raises many grave issues - above all strategic and moral issues. In this 2019 John Gee Memorial Lecture, Professor White explores these questions further, in the light of the debate which his book has provoked.
Landing in Borneo in 1945 as part of the Oboe series of operations the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions confronted an operational environment in which infrastructure was scarce. The main arteries of transport and commerce of inland Borneo were the rivers and thus the Australians in both British Borneo and at Balikpapan in Dutch Borneo found themselves conducting what was described by one historian as a ‘unique river war’.