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James Brown on Anzac’s Long Shadow


2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. To mark the anniversary of Australia’s involvement in the conflict that engulfed Europe, James Brown, Military Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy examines the long-reaching effects of Australia’s military engagement.

As a former Australian Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brown argues that commemoration of the conflict has lost its way. The gap between civilian and military life has never been wider, and this presents its own set of problems. As soldiers return from present-day conflicts, resources for their rehabilitation into civilian life are thinner than ever before. The public preponderance for romanticising a hundred year-old conflict, rather than focusing on the needs of the men and women in today’s armed forces has caused a schism that is preventing genuine understanding and reintegration.


We love exploring ideas at the Wheeler Centre, and encouraging others to do the same. That’s why every Thursday lunchtime we hand the microphone over to the great thinkers, dreamers and orators of our time.

With a dazzling range of passionate speakers and unusual topics, our soapbox provides a platform for the eclectic, topical and enlightening stories you won’t hear elsewhere. This is the most memorable lunch break you’ll have all week.

If you’re in need of sustenance of body as well as mind, the MOAT lunch cart will be serving delicious $15 lunchboxes in the performance space from 12.20pm.



James Brown

James Brown is the author of ANZAC’s Long Shadow: the cost of our national obsession. A former Australian Army officer, he commanded a cavalry troop in Southern Iraq, served in Australia’s Baghdad headquarters, and was attached to Special Forces in Afghanistan. Today he is the Military Fellow at... Read more


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