Date & Time: 
Tuesday 19 November 2019

SEMINAR: The Need for an Australian National Security Strategy – The Implications of Transitions in Energy, Environment and Economic Systems

Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn AO (Retd), Chair of the Institute for Integrated Economic Research (IIER) Australia

[Please register to secure a seat as places are limited.]


Our nation currently lacks a clear understanding of how Australians can plan for, and navigate, the significant transitions in energy, environment and economic systems that will occur in the coming decades while maintaining the stability and security of our society.  There are significant concerns with each of these systems; for example:

  • The topic of energy has become so politicised, both between the major parties and within the Liberal party, that the national interest has been subsumed by both party and personal interests.
  • We are facing a serious economic security challenge; we cannot rely on past economic performance and assume that we will have the resilience to address the economic risks in the decade ahead. 
  • While the interlinking of climate and environment with national security is recognised, it is still seen as a driver that attracts only secondary or tertiary importance.

Although the environment, energy, and the economy are interacting systems they are largely managed as separate, competing, issues as a result of near-term political goals.  We need a National Security Strategy that integrates these and other related systems, such as infrastructure, which are all critical components of national security.  We need a different type of conversation in this country.

In this presentation Air Vice-Marshal Blackburn will:

  • Discuss why climate change is a core national security issue.
  • Discuss the risk of economic stagnation for Australia’s ability to manage the large scale transitions the will occur in the coming decades.
  • Propose an integrated energy security strategy for Australia using the example of Hydrogen as an energy system integrator.
  • Describe his current work with IIER-A on changing the public discourse on energy and security.

The presentation will be followed by a discussion.

About the speaker

John Blackburn is a consultant in the field of Defence and National Security. In 2007 he was appointed an Officer in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AO).

John retired from the Royal Australian Air Force in 2008 as the Deputy Chief of the Air Force following a career as an F/A-18 fighter pilot, test pilot and strategic planner.  John’s senior posts included Commander of the Integrated Area Defence System (IADS) located in Malaysia, commanding a multi-national headquarters established to effect the Five Power Defence Arrangements, and Head of Strategic Policy in the Defence Headquarters.  

Since 2008, John has consulted in the fields of Defence and National Security and has undertaken a number of related studies under the Institute for Integrated Economic Research - Australia, the Kokoda Foundation (now the Institute For Regional Security) and the Sir Richard Williams Foundation. John has had a media presence in his work on Australia’s Fuel security … or rather lack of it.

Visit John's Linkedin Profile



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