IODSWe start with a retrospective chat about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the USSR and the corrosive effects of secrecy and coverups.

Australia is thankfully not like the Soviet Union – far from it – but the government management of information about Defence and national security is becoming increasingly paranoid, self-destructive and harmful.

It is now routine for all media requests to be totally ignored by the Department and for Ministers to propagate an entirely false picture of the status of the ADF – and in particular ignore the consequences of trying to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

This goes right to the top – including Ministers and senior military figures – who rather than provide useful information rely instead on cheap appeals to patriotism. This is irrational and harmful.

Thankfully there are some positive examples from the U.S. about how the dissemination of information could, and should, occur.

To listen to the podcast, click here.


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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


  1. Once again a thoroughly informative Podcast, Having been with Defence for around Thirty Six years ( Now thankfully Retired 10 yrs) I am well conversant with the “ On a Need to Know Basis” but this current Secrecy about everything seems to have been creeping in for a while. This is only going to lead people to fill in the blanks with what ever they want, If the Government wants to keep its credibility it needs to start being a lot more open.

    • Thanks. I find the current culture of secrecy to be totally corrosive. Of course operational matters and some technical details have to be protected but the present situation is ridiculous and not at all in the national interest.

  2. Best podcast yet Kym, underlined by today’s atrocity, the sentencing of an ADF war crimes whistleblower, condemned to more than 5 years prison, while the guilty, exposed by irrefutable video evidence, walk among us free, decorated and revered.
    Can feel every member of my family who served Australia in WW1, WW2, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam, turning in their graves at the nation they loved and sacrificed all for, amount to nothing more than a filthy fortress of lies, hypocrisy and censorship.


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