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North of 26 degrees south and the security of Australia: views from The Strategist, Volume 4

By John Coyne and Teagan Westendorf

The 27 essays in the collection demonstrate that Australia’s north—that great sweep of territory from Rockhampton in the east to Onslow in the west, taking in Townsville, Bamaga, Darwin and Broome—is about a whole lot more than even what makes its way into the national debate (borders, quarantine facilities, mining, agricultural and energy projects, and small but key defence facilities).

Between them, the authors of this volume cover proposals for an Indigenous civil defence force to work domestically and in our near region, the opportunities for processing critical minerals and producing rare-earth magnets, a broader way of thinking about and doing nation-building that gets beyond waiting for one big first-mover investor or entrepreneur before anything happens, and, of course, the ways that Australia can better use this huge chunk of the globe’s strategic geography—along with key partners like Japan and the United States.

As thinkers who understand the austere environment of our north, the authors are all distinguished by a sense of opportunity, optimism and even that much-maligned, now neglected word ‘vision’—which history shows is what’s needed to advance the development and prosperity of the north of our continent.