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Defence Policy-Making

Defence Policy-Making: A Close-Up View, 1950-1980 - A Personal Memoir OPEN ACCESS

Arthur Tange
edited by Peter Edwards
Volume: 169
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hdjf
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  • Book Info
    Defence Policy-Making
    Book Description:

    Sir Arthur Tange was perhaps the most powerful Secretary of the Australian Defence Department and one of the most powerful of the great 'mandarins' who dominated the Commonwealth Public Service between the 1940s and the 1970s. His strong, and often decisive, influence on both administration and policy was exerted by virtue of his intellectual capacity, his administrative ability and the sheer force of his personality. Controversies from his time in Defence, including those associated with 'the Tange report' and 'the Tange reforms', echo to this day, and it is still easy to identify both staunch admirers and vitriolic critics in defence and public service circles. Tange wrote this account in his last years. It is a memoir - based largely on memory supplemented by limited reference to documentary material - that focuses upon his career after he came to Defence in 1970. It records his own account of his part in those administrative reforms and policy shifts, as well as his involvement-or non-involvement or alleged involvement-in several of the political crises of the 1970s, including the downfall of John Gorton as Prime Minister and the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

    eISBN: 978-1-921313-86-8
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. A career in the Public Service which closed after a decade as Secretary to the Department of Defence started from what might seem an unlikely origin. In 1942, aged 28, I was brought to Canberra from a wartime reserved occupation to work on analysing Australia’s interests in the international economic and financial regulations being proposed for Australia’s responses by the British and American planners who were preparing for a better world system after the war had been won. For a short period I was made responsible to Dr Roland Wilson (later Secretary to the Treasury), but in 1943 the Labor...

  2. Within hours of the announcement on Saturday 2 December 1972 of Labor’s majority in the House of Representatives, I spoke by telephone to my new Minister, Lance Barnard, in Launceston. He said he wanted me to continue in office to assist him. Whitlam arranged with the Governor-General that he and Barnard would share between them all the portfolios as a temporary measure pending the Senate results, which would enable a full caucus to be formed to elect the full Ministry.

    In contrast with the vacuum in policy-making and the politically defensive attention to trivia that had characterised the last months...

  3. Before retirement in 1979 I served my remaining four years in government service under James Killen as Minister and Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister. At the end there was a well-intentioned, but publicly controversial and financially impractical, proposal from Ministers that I accept an extension beyond the compulsory retiring age of 65, which I declined. On retirement, I was able to turn to neglected family affairs, some writing and occasional involvement in seminars, and to take a short-term appointment nominated by the Prime Minister to review the Public Service in Fiji for that Government.

    Killen had held the Navy portfolio...