The May 21 election has been branded by some commentators as a ‘khaki election’, one in which national security and foreign policy issues will be pivotal in deciding the result. The Coalition government has questioned the ability of the Labor Party to manage increasingly tense relations with China, and its commitment to higher defence spending. But do national security issues sway votes in Australia, and in what circumstances? And how do voters see the relative strengths of the two parties on national security? Richard McGregor, the Lowy Institute’s Senior Fellow for East Asia, chaired this discussion between three experts on the issue.
Brian Loughnane, Federal Director of the Liberal Party for 13 years from 2003, is one of Australia’s most experienced political campaigners. An adviser to federal and state government ministers, he ran four federal campaigns for the Liberal Party. He is also tied into global networks as Deputy Chairman of the International Democrat Union, an alliance of centre-right political parties.
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers and authors on social trends. She has led research at Essential Media and Vox Populi and was a director at Ipsos Australia. She now heads her own research and consultancy firm working with climate and environment NGOs, government and business on climate change strategy and communication. Rebecca was a broadcaster with the ABC and is on the Executive Board of the NSW branch of the Australian Labor Party.
Tony Mitchelmore, the founder of Visibility, a leading strategic communications firm, is a veteran of 12 state and federal elections. He has also advised state and federal political leaders of both major parties on research, messaging and communications.
The event was broadcast on Thursday 5 May 2022.