Defence Fellows Engagement

Over 30 years ago Lewis Frederickson dedicated himself to lifelong learning, partly as a means to escape a particular type of life.  

“I was a bumpkin from the Whitsundays working on a factory floor,” Frederickson, now the Chief of Air Force Fellow at UNSW Canberra, smiles. “I went to a TAFE College to do Physics and Maths, so I could escape. That got me into the Air Force, but I kept studying outside of work hours, in History and Literature. I achieved a Master’s degree, then a PhD in History, just as a hobby.”  

In the Air Force Frederickson was an air combat officer, part of the non-pilot air crew. He also carried out other roles during three decades, before retiring and...

What happens if the Chief of the Defence Force finds ministerial direction unconscionable, not just disagreeable or unlikable, but morally impossible; so repellent that no matter the supposed benefit, the direction is out of the question? 

Right now, the Defence Act says, ‘…the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary must comply with any directions of the Minister’, meaning the Minister’s orders must be followed. But Lieutenant Commander Richard Adams, inaugural Chief of Navy Fellow at UNSW, believes the wording should be altered.  

“I'm looking for morally better law,” Adams says. “I’m looking for law that recognises the obligation of military people to...

During her career in the Australian Defence Force, beginning in 2003 in the Navy and moving to Air Force in 2014, Wing Commander (Dr) Angeline Lewis has been deployed five times. Her experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan have brought home to her the vital importance of rule of law during post-conflict reconstruction. Just as interesting to the lawyer and Arabic linguist is gender dynamics.  

“I applied for the role of Minister for Defence's Visiting Fellow in Women, Peace and Security out of interest,” Dr Lewis says. “My academic background as well as my military operational experience is primarily in post-conflict reconstruction. I was very interested to explore...

“There has been a strong argument to say that we in the military are so busy doing what we are good at - training and operations - that the ability to reflect upon why we are doing certain things can be a challenge,” says Major Andrew Maher, explaining why his new role of Military Fellow to UNSW exists. 

“But this power of reflection is a strength that comes from academia, so we established this position based around a desire to engage more broadly with academia, in line with the Australian Army’s Ryan Review [around Army’s future doctrine, education and training requirements].” 

Having spent a great deal of his time in active operational roles – including in...