This article explores the construction of security in the contemporary Australian context, arguing that the Australian government has represented, and attempted to construct support for, a statist, exclusionary and militaristic conception or discourse of security. This understanding of security is evident in the government’s representation and response to a range of issues since 2001, including asylum-seekers, terrorism and the war in Iraq. In exploring the processes through which the Australian government has elaborated this discourse and sought to create resonance for it in a domestic context, I argue that there remain important bases not simply for contesting this conception of security, but for acknowledging immanent possibilities for the understanding of security in the Australian context to change in normatively progressive ways. Acknowledging these possibilities is important in identifying the potential for progressive change in Australian security policy, while also shedding light on the role of security in the modern political project
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