Jim Molan

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Jim Molan
Senator for New South Wales
Assumed office
22 December 2017
Preceded by Fiona Nash
Personal details
Born Andrew James Molan
(1950-04-11) 11 April 1950 (age 68)
East Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party
Anne Molan (m. 1972)
Children 4
Alma mater University of New South Wales
University of Queensland
Profession Retired army officer
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1968–2008
Commands Australian Defence College
1st Division
1st Brigade
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

East Timor
Iraq War

Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Distinguished Service Cross
Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)

Andrew James Molan, AO, DSC (born 11 April 1950) is an Australian politician and former major general in the Australian Army. He has been a Senator for New South Wales since December 2017, representing the Liberal Party.

During his military career, Molan was commanding officer of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, commander of the 1st Brigade, commander of the 1st Division and its Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, and commander of the Australian Defence College. In April 2004, he deployed for a year to Iraq to serve as Chief of Operations for the new Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as the Legion of Merit by the U.S. government. He retired from the army in 2008, and later that year released his first book, Running the War in Iraq.

Following his retirement from the army, Molan was appointed by the Abbott Government as a special envoy for Operation Sovereign Borders and was subsequently credited with being an architect of the coalition's Stop the Boats Australian border protection and asylum-seeker policies.[2][3] In 2016, Molan unsuccessfully stood as a Liberal Party candidate for the Senate in New South Wales at the 2016 federal election.[4][3][5] In December 2017, during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, the High Court declared him elected in place of Fiona Nash, who was ineligible to stand.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Molan joined the Australian Army following completion of his schooling in Victoria. On graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1971, he was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland. He is a graduate of the ADF School of Languages where he studied Bahasa Indonesia. He maintains an interest in aviation and holds civil commercial licences and instrument ratings for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD) and is accredited as a Master Project Director (MPD).

Military career[edit]

Molan has had a long and active military career. Regimental postings include the 1st Battalion, Pacific Islands Regiment (Papua New Guinea) as a rifle platoon commander; 9th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment, as adjutant; rifle company second-in-command and rifle company commander in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment;[7] Commander of the Army's mechanised 1st Brigade; and Commander of the 1st Division and its Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.

Molan was the Commander of the Australian Defence College, including the Australian Defence Force Academy; the Australian Command and Staff College; and the Australian Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies.

He served as the Army Attache in Jakarta as a colonel between 1992 and 1994 and for this service he was awarded the Indonesian decoration Bintang Dharma Yudha Nararya in 1995. Between 1998 and 1999, Molan was the Defence Attache in Jakarta as a brigadier and served in East Timor. On 25 March 2000 he was upgraded to an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service in Indonesia and in East Timor.[8]

In April 2004, he deployed for a year to Iraq. He was despatched to serve as the Chief of Operations for the new Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq, which was being planned. However, he initially instead spent some time trying to find a specific role within the headquarters structure,[9] before being allocated responsibility for energy security.[10] He was eventually made Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and served during continuous and intense combat operations. For distinguished command and leadership in this period, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross,[11] and the American Legion of Merit.[12]

After returning from Iraq he served as Defence Materiel Advocate of the Defence Materiel Organisation; and Adviser to the Vice Chief of the Defence Force on Joint Warfighting Lessons and Concepts.[13] Major General Molan retired in July 2008.[14]


In August 2008 Molan released his first book, Running the War in Iraq.[15] The book concentrated on his experience as Chief of Operations in Iraq during 2004–05, and contained some criticism about Australia's capacity to engage in military conflict.[16] In an August 2008 speech, Molan stated that: "Our military competence was far worse than even we thought before East Timor, and people may not realise that the military performance bar has been raised by the nature of current conflict, as illustrated in Iraq and Afghanistan."[17] Writing in a February 2009 article, Molan called for a doubling of the Australian military presence in Afghanistan, from about 1,100 troops to 2,000.[18]

Molan has been associated with the Liberal Party, helping to launch the Liberal opposition party's military-led border protection campaign in the lead up to the 2013 federal election in Brisbane on 25 July 2013.[19] Molan has been an outspoken critic of the Labor's management of defence matters.[20] Stephen Smith, at the time the Minister for Defence, described Molan as 'partisan' and a "Liberal Party activist".[21] In mid-2014 Molan was engaged as an advisor to Minister for Defence David Johnston, but resigned after three weeks. In a subsequent interview Molan implied that his resignation was due to dissatisfaction with Johnston.[22]

Political career[edit]

At the 2016 federal election, Molan was a Liberal party senate candidate for New South Wales but in what former prime minister Tony Abbott called a "tragedy for our country and for our party", Molan failed to be elected.[23]

In November 2017, the High Court of Australia ruled that Nationals Senator Fiona Nash was ineligible to be elected to the Senate due to her dual British Citizenship.[24] On 22 December, the High Court declared Molan duly elected in place of Nash.[6]

In February 2018 it was revealed that Molan shared, on his personal Facebook page in March 2017, anti-Muslim content from far-right political party Britain First.[25][26][27] Molan refused to apologize for his sharing of this material.[28] In response to the Facebook post, Greens MP Adam Bandt accused Molan of war crimes over his actions in Iraq. Bandt later apologized.[29][30]

Published works[edit]

Molan has published his opinion on matters related to his expertise, and gives interviews and speeches to recount his experiences. The following is an incomplete list of his published works, interviews, speeches, opinion pieces and debates:


Articles and opinion pieces[edit]

Speeches, interviews and debates[edit]


Molan is married to Anne and they have three daughters and a son. One of their daughters is Erin Molan, a presenter of the rugby league television program, The Footy Show.[32]

Honours and awards[edit]

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png DSC (Australia) ribbon.png

Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Iraq Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png DFSM with Fed Star.png

Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png PNG Independence Medal.png Order of the Star of Yudha Dharma - 3rd Class (Indonesia).png Us legion of merit officer rib.jpg

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (2000)[8]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (1992)[7]
DSC (Australia) ribbon.png Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) (awarded 2006)[11]
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal with "EAST TIMOR" and "IRAQ 2003" clasps
Iraq Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Iraq Medal
Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 with "PNG" clasp
DFSM with Fed Star.png Defence Force Service Medal with Federation Star (5th clasp)
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal
PNG Independence Medal.png Papua New Guinea Independence Medal (PNG)
Order of the Star of Yudha Dharma - 3rd Class (Indonesia).png Order of the Star of Yudha Dharma 3rd Class (Indonesia) (Bintang Yudha Dharma Nararya) (1995)
Us legion of merit officer rib.jpg Legion of Merit (United States) Officer (2004)


  1. ^ "Maj Gen. (Rtd) (Jim) Andrew James Molan". Who's Who in Australia Online. ConnectWeb. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Wroe, David (6 September 2013). "Abbott adviser handed new paid role as envoy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Koziol, Michael (15 March 2016). "'Stop the boats' architect Jim Molan is planning a new mission - to enter Parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "General Jim Molan ready to fight for Liberal Senate spot". The Australian. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Senate - New South Wales". ABC News. Australia. 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Hoerr, Karl (22 December 2017). "Jim Molan to replace Fiona Nash in Senate, High Court rules". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 22 December 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Australian Government. 26 January 1992. Citation: For service to the Australian Army as Commanding Officer 6th Battalion, RAR 
  8. ^ a b "Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Australian Government. 25 March 2000. Citation: For distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force as the Head of the Australian Defence Staff in Jakarta during the Indonesian and East Timor crisis. 
  9. ^ Molan, 2008, 63–75.
  10. ^ Molan, 2008, 75–83.
  11. ^ a b "Distinguished Service Cross (Australian)". It's an Honour. Australian Government. 26 January 2006. Citation: For distinguished service in command and leadership in action while serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff Civil Military Operations with Multi-National Force – Iraq from April 2004 to April 2005, during Operation CATALYST. 
  12. ^ Devine, Miranda (9 December 2006). "To gloat is to insult many brave Iraqis". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  13. ^ "MAJGEN Jim Molan". Principals. AADI Defence Pty Limited. [dead link]
  14. ^ a b Molan, Jim (4 August 2008). "Australia's war unreadiness". Unleashed. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  15. ^ Molan, Jim (2008). Running the war in Iraq: an Australian general, 300,000 troops, the bloodiest conflict of our time. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-7322-8781-8. 
  16. ^ Molan, Jim (21 July 2008). "Molan speaks about Iraq". The 7.30 Report (Interview: transcript). Interviewed by Kerry O'Brien. Australia: ABC TV. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  17. ^ Sheridan, Greg (14 August 2008). "Anzac spirit but not battle ready". The Australian. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  18. ^ a b Molan, Jim (17 February 2009). "End the pussyfooting in Afghan war". The Australian. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  19. ^ "Tony Abbott to put three-star commander in charge of military-led border protection campaign". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Mike Kelly, Jim Molan Disagree on Asylum Seekers". Canberra Times. 11 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Indonesia could close down people smugglers" (transcript). Lateline. 8 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Elks, Sarah (21 September 2014). "Defence Minister David Johnston 'the reason' Jim Molan quit role". The Australian. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  23. ^ Lewis, Rosie (9 August 2016). "Federal election 2016: Tony Abbott slams Libs' failure over Jim Molan". The Australian. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  24. ^ Loussikian, Kylar (11 December 2017). "High Court stops short in endorsing Jim Molan for Senate". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  25. ^ Senator Jim Molan defends sharing Britain First posts, news.com.au
  26. ^ Why is it so hard for Jim Molan to apologise for sharing Britain First material?, 7 February 2018, smh.com.au
  27. ^ Liberal senator Jim Molan shared anti-Muslim videos from far-right group, 27 March 2017, theguardian.com
  28. ^ Bourke, Latika (2018-02-06). "Why is it so hard for Jim Molan to apologise for sharing Britain First material?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  29. ^ Jim Molan responds to Adam Bandt's apology, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2018-02-08, retrieved 2018-02-28 
  30. ^ Remeikis, Amy; Karp, Paul (2018-02-08). "Jim Molan 'deeply disappointed' by Adam Bandt's apology – politics live". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  31. ^ Goldstone, Richard (17 September 2008). "Justice in Gaza". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2009. 
  32. ^ Doherty, Megan (9 March 2013). "A heart for Canberra and the Raiders". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Raydon Gates
Commander Australian Defence College
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Mark Bonser
Preceded by
Major General Peter Cosgrove
Commander 1st Division
Succeeded by
Major General Mark Evans