THE drums of war are indeed beating. And it may well be that Australia will again be sending her warriors overseas.
These are “brutal truths”, notwithstanding Canberra’s denigration of our soldiers’ ancient “warrior culture”. After all, is it still not the aim of the army to kill the enemy, and to accept for themselves, as Pericles said “joyfully”, the risk of death?
The problem is too many politicians have for too long seemed determined to damage morale. Thus in 2007, as a result of legislating to centralise prosecutions in Canberra, criminal action was launched by the Director of Military Prosecutions against three soldiers for what seemed no more than the act of returning fire. A judge threw that one out.
With the unwise decision to publish even an edited version of the Brereton Report before any prosecutions were opened and worse, to comment approvingly on it from the Prime Minister down, our veterans lost the presumption of innocence.
Are even more veterans to be driven to suicide? And are the politicians determined to ensure that few will enlist?David Flint
It is fortunate that we have at last a Minister of Defence, Peter Dutton, who has as his mission not the fulfilment of the latest follies dreamt up by the far Left, the neo-Marxists, but the first of Canberra’s obligations, the defence of this Commonwealth.
By overruling the detested decision to strip meritorious unit citations from special forces soldiers, Dutton is in the process of restoring their right to the presumption of innocence.
His next step should be to impose a strict prosecutorial time limit. After all, from those in the media and politics who so lavishly supported the report’s conclusions, the cases are watertight and thus must be almost ready. So any prosecution not begun this year should not proceed. Or as more years go by, are even more veterans to be driven to suicide? And are the politicians determined to ensure that few will enlist?
The Minister should also shred the outrageous contract to redesign France’s nuclear submarine as a conventionally-powered variant to be delivered decades hence. The enemy is unlikely to wait and will be unimpressed by our clinging to old technology.
And while the Prime Minister is to be congratulated for finally standing up to Beijing, more must be done. Going to the World Health Organisation about the origins of the Wuhan virus was, as argued here, a mistake. We should have proposed to President Trump the setting up of an international tribunal of key powers to hear the matter urgently. Any damages unpaid could be taken from assets under the ultimate control of the Chinese Communist Party.
As to war, Beijing would realise the best time to act is while Biden is in office. Once again, take no notice of what Biden reads from his teleprompter. Look at what he has done and not only the many Obama-Biden appeasements but also how Biden Family Inc sold Beijing access and influence into the very heart of Washington.
While Australia’s Defence is now in good hands, Education, constitutionally not a federal responsibility, has become even more of a disaster than it was last week.
Judging politicians by what they do and not what they say, the conclusion must be they really despise the young. Their creature, the curriculum “authority”, proposes changes which will only ensure that despite one of the world’s most expensive education systems, the fall in our students’ international ranking will only accelerate.
But Minister Tudge thinks they’ve done a “good job”. Instead of abolishing the “authority” as respected expert Professor Wiltshire demands, he has run up the white flag claiming its “not realistic” to try to reach Singapore’s standards “this round”.
Despite our never-Trump commentariat, yet again Trump had the answer. Instead of a centralised and inevitably far Left-influenced curriculum, ensure school choice for all through charter schools and vouchers.
And it’s not only in education that the Morrison government and the Labor opposition are giving way to the far Left. It is in failing to maintain and defend the very essence of parliamentary democracy against leftist encroachments.
Notwithstanding the clear provisions of the Constitution and of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987, improper interference with the free performance by two MPs of their duties as members has gone unpunished and worse, unrestrained. (Defamation, incidentally, cannot in itself now constitute a breach of privilege.)
Acting in relation to what the Privileges Committee found in 1955 was a serious breach of privilege against Labor MP Charles Morgan by Raymond Fitzpatrick and Frank Browne, owner and editor of the Bankstown Observer, Prime Minister Robert Menzies said the degree to which the House preserved the freedom of its members to speak and to think was “the measure of its service to democracy”.
On the preservation of the freedom of Nicolle Flint and Craig Kelly to speak, the House has failed dismally to perform that service.
Is it that both MPs are among the most independent and the most willing to exercise what the great Edmund Burke insisted (before the advent of the rigid two-party system) was the very reason we should choose our members, their judgement?
But because of flagrant breaches of privilege allegedly by GetUp!, Ms Flint has decided not to stand again. Craig Kelly may well stand but not as a Liberal.
Despite having more than 80,000 followers, Craig Kelly’s Facebook page has been removed for sharing “misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts”.
But in all cases Mr Kelly repeated no more than eminent scientific opinion. For that he has been “deplatformed”.
Surely in both cases the House should require urgent hearings before the Privileges Committee with Mark Elliot Zuckerberg a potential key witness, at least on screen.