Melbourne: Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday unveiled Australia's first national security strategy with its focus on the Asia-Pacific region, saying the global economic and strategic centre-of-gravity continues to move east. (Agencies)
"It will be an era in which the behaviour of states, not non-state actors, will be the most important driver and shaper of Australia's national security thinking," Gillard told the audience at the Australian National University in Canberra.
"Our principal national security focus will be on our own region, as the global economic and strategic centre-of-gravity continues to move east, bringing great opportunities but also risks and challenges that must be managed," she said.
She said the principal national security focus would now be on the Asia-Pacific region. Gillard said Asia was changing as economic growth produced shifts in the established strategic order.
The Prime Minister said the strategy had identified risks including traditional and familiar risks such as espionage and foreign interference, state-based conflict and coercion.
"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, specifically Iran's nuclear programme and North Korea's continuing missile and nuclear programmes, are serious threats to world peace and regional stability," she said.
Other risks are terrorism and violent extremism and an increasing burden from serious and organised crime, she said.
The strategy which is Australia's first, setting out the biggest security risks and describing the policies, institutions and capabilities that protect the nation, has identified three areas for the federal government to focus on over the next five years: effective partnerships, cyber security and enhanced regional engagement.
Gillard said the government would develop a national security capability plan to complement the defence capability plan.
Gillard said that she hoped this would help end the "silo mentality" that often stopped effective communication between different parts of the federal government as well as state and territory governments, foreign governments and business.
The government would establish by the end of 2013 a new Australian Cyber Security Centre, she said.
"Australia is an attractive target for a range of malicious cyber actors, from politically-motivated hackers and criminal networks to nation states," Gillard said.
"Malicious cyber activity will likely be with us for many decades to come, so we must be prepared for a long, persistent fight," she said.
The focus on enhanced regional engagement reflected the shift in global strategic and economic activity to the region around Australia, she added.
She also commented on the relationship between China and the US, saying that it would "determine the temperature of regional affairs in coming decades" but was optimistic about their ability to manage change in the region.
"The remarkable growth we see in Asia could not have happened without an environment of relative peace and stability," she said.
"Continuing and deepening that climate of relative peace and stability is at the forefront of Australia's national security agenda," she added.
Melbourne: Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday unveiled Australia's first national security strategy with its focus on the Asia-Pacific region, saying the global economic and strategic centre-of-gravity continues to move east.