Brian Toohey

has been a journalist for 50 years. He is the author of Secret: The Making of Australia’s Security State.

By this author


News March 12, 2022

Defence spending booms as efficiency dives

By cutting public service jobs then outsourcing to contractors, the cost of defence staffing has doubled. With problems from planning through to delivery, the billions being spent are not giving taxpayers value for money.

News January 22, 2022

The unfettered power of Australia’s new ‘Magnitsky Act’

A new law, modelled on a controversial American act, gives the Foreign Affairs minister extraordinary powers to impose travel bans and financial sanctions on foreigners.

News November 13, 2021

How fear of abandonment informs Australia’s defence strategy

Australia’s defence priorities have oscillated between protecting the country from invasion and joining foreign allies abroad in the hope of future support. Scott Morrison has opted for the latter, following a map drawn up by John Howard.

News August 28, 2021

Australia’s deteriorating role in global peace

Faced with pandemics, global warming, species extinction and a possible war with China, there is understandable anxiety about the future. Perhaps the hardest question is whether it’s futile to push for new peace initiatives.

podcast August 02, 2021

War games and an espionage arms race

Every two years the Australian and US defence forces engage in a massive military exercise called Talisman Sabre. This year, many observers say the focus has been on China.

News July 31, 2021

Spy ships and Pine Gap

As Australia joins America in war games focused on China, the US-backed Pine Gap surveillance base has undergone its fastest ever expansion.

News July 17, 2021

The rise and rise of Australian authoritarianism

As Australia’s security laws become more authoritarian – on the basis of supposed threats from terrorism and China – their lack of oversight threatens our democratic foundations.