First of some occasional pieces for SBS. I'll probably go thinky, for the most part.
The Australian military has been in the field for a long time now, the quiet decline of the post-Vietnam years nearly two generations removed from the RAAFs interdiction in Iraq and Syria, highly politicised naval contributions to border control, more conventional maritime operations in the Middle East and intense and continual special forces deployments across the globe.
Nonetheless, descriptions of new minister Marise Payne taking control of the Defence while the country is at war are breathy and overblown. Australia is not at war and has not mobilised its enormous national resources to make war on any foreign state. But tens of thousands of its war fighters and their machines have been routinely engaged in combat operations since the 9/11 attacks. Thousands more were deployed to East Timor a couple of years before that. Supporting them will indeed constitute a significant part of the responsibility Marise Payne now takes up, but it is by no means the greatest challenge awaiting her.