'Chinese are spying on us': veteran mandarin Dennis Richardson bows out

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After nearly half a century of service, the defence secretary steps down with insights into superpower relations, the Coalition – and how he likes a fight

Dennis Richardson has called time on his 48-year career as a public servant with a flourish of the calculated plain-speaking for which he is famous in Canberra.

The outgoing head of the defence department, widely regarded as the exemplar of the old-school mandarin, went to the National Press Club and engaged in some bracingly forthright assessments about China.

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