Former Home Affairs boss Mike Pezzullo warns Australia is not prepared for ‘credible prospect’ of war by 2030

The Nightly
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Former secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo warns of war in Australia.
Former secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo warns of war in Australia. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

Former Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo has warned there is a credible prospect of having to defend Australia during a major war in the Indo-Pacific by 2030.

In a closed room speech to the Williams Foundation, Mr Pezzullo said Australia needed to urgently develop a new ‘war book’ to prepare the nation for potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific, which would increase the likelihood of the country coming under attack.

In the speech obtained by The Australian, he said he believed there was a 10 per cent chance of military conflict in the nation before 2030.

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“We face, before 2030, the credible prospect of having to defend Australia during a major war in the Indo-Pacific,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“Today, we need to contemplate Australia, and the airspace, seas and islands that surround us, as potentially constituting a theatre in a larger Indo-Pacific war.

Former secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo warns of war in Australia.
Former secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo warns of war in Australia. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

“For the sake of discussion, and planning, it would be prudent to rate the chance of war breaking out in the Indo-Pacific in the 2020s at ten per cent, at a minimum.”

Mr Pezzullo called for a modern day ‘war book’ to be created to prepare the country.

The last ‘war book’ for the nation’s civil defence preparedness was created in 1957 in response to the threat of nuclear warfare in the Cold War.

“Today, war could come to our home, and potentially for an extended period,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“As a practical suggestion to focus effort, we should modernise the practice from the 1930s and the 1950s of the preparation of a ‘war book’.”

The former Home Affairs boss was forced to leave his job in November over leaked messages in which he criticised former Coalition ministers.

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