Stephen Smith, Albanese’s defence pick, walks a well-trodden path


Former defence minister Stephen Smith, who has since shifted into cybersecurity, is the PM’s choice to lead a snap review of Australia’s defence capabilities.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Stephen Smith (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Crikey’s abiding memory of Stephen Smith is the hair: a full bouffant of black turning to grey adorning the head of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd defence minister, who was last sighted retreating to his home state of Western Australia, the Labor government a smoking ruin in the rear-vision mirror.

It was a surprise to see the Hair’s head bob up again as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s captain’s pick to run the rule over Defence, alongside the former Chief of the Defence Force, Sir Angus Houston, who received his knighthood as a captain’s call of former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Professor Smith, to give him his full title, was immediately rounded on by the Australian Defence Association’s long-serving executive director Neil James, who labelled him “easily in the worst-five defence ministers of the last seven decades”. Take that, buff-head.

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