When it comes to Antarctica there are four key problems Canberra faces. First, Australia overlooks its southern flank in somewhat of an impressive manner. Not only does the continent regularly go missing from government publications—including our Defence and foreign policy white papers, but the region also itself is often relegated to a “pop-out” table or box in any publication. This is despite our rather sizable (at least, by far the largest) territorial sovereign claim to 42 per cent of the continent. 

Why is this the case? Australian policymakers have all but normalised national strategic complacency via the notion of “if it isn’t broke” don’t tinker. It is assumed the existing Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) is willing and able to do all the heavy lifting. Retrospectively, of course, we will be able to pinpoint the transition moment in which we assumed good order and peaceful intentions were international values. Quite simply, Australian policymakers haven’t done enough to cultivate a national sense of agency in any debate over Australia’s Antarctic interests. 

Please click here to read the full “Antarctica adrift: Australia’s southern blind spot” article published at Defence Connect, written by Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct Research Fellow, Dr Elizabeth Buchanan.