Although Napoleon said that every soldier carries a field-marshal’s baton in his knapsack, great leaders are rare. Since Churchill, the UK has had only Margaret Thatcher. And between Reagan and Trump there has been no great President. Menzies and Howard were great prime ministers, but for reasons argued here, Hawke did not attain that rank. Nor did Curtin, not only for not agreeing to a grand coalition, but especially for failing to stop, much less punish, the unabated treachery against our soldiers, sailors and airmen described by Hal Colebatch in Australia’s Secret War (2013).
As for Tony Abbott, the premature award of a Nobel Peace Prize to Obama demonstrates the wisdom of reserving judgment until Abbott has served a second term — if and when he is recalled from his antipodean Colombey-les-Deux-Églises .
Identifying a great leader is one thing; announcing it risks being proven wrong. But this rarely worries the mainstream media which, the world’s most listened to commentator, Rush Limbaugh, calls the ‘drive-by media’ or as we Australians could say, the ‘hit-and-run’ media. Just remember the ‘inevitable republic’, Brexit and the Trump victory, to say nothing of the recent Australian election.
My accurate predictions on all four encourages me to nominate that decorated soldier, Andrew Hastie MP, as a future great leader. Hastie commanded units in Afghanistan, including the SAS, before contesting the 2015 Canning by-election. The expectation that he’d lose was to be the justification for the coup to replace Abbott with Turnbull. But when victory seemed possible, the coup was brought forward without any regard for the damage this might do to Hastie’s campaign. To help Hastie but to his own disadvantage, Abbott nobly refused to delay the vote until after the by-election.
Currently Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Hastie is one of our most promising MPs, enjoying widespread respect across the nation.
In terms of adherence to sound conservative principles, intelligence, an ability to communicate and above all, courage, Hastie would make the significant and effective leader he has already been in combat. Add to that a rare advantage in politics, he is, as Kennedy was, a handsome man.
Hastie has just caused a stir by his opinion piece warning about the People’s Republic of China. This has been vigorously condemned for two reasons. One, favoured by our PRC lobby, is that this is a benign and loving power. The other is, it’s imprudent to tell the truth because the PRC might punish us economically.
Hastie says that official Western circles believed that economic liberalisation would lead to democratisation. They believed this would keep us safe, he says, just as the French believed their series of steel and concrete fortifications, the Maginot Line, would protect them against the German advance in 1940.
People who have not read what Hastie actually wrote — and probably some who have — condemned Hastie for saying the communists are like the Nazis.
He didn’t. But if he had, it would have been true. Communists, fascists and Nazis all come from the same primeval swamp.
It was naive to have thought the communists would change with economic liberalisation. That they can’t be relied on and have an agenda to control was demonstrated when, in annexing the South China Sea, they untruthfully denied any intention to militarise their installations. The communists have no eternal principles except total control in the long run. They will blow hot and cold as it suits them. Lenin was quite prepared to go into reverse on economic matters if this were necessary; he did so in his 1921 New Economic Policy. Stalin softened the line on religion to help defeat the Nazis after his ally, Hitler, stabbed him in the back.
The introduction of a fascist-style corporate state by Deng Xiaoping was intended to save the regime, not to introduce democracy. The corporations which have grotesquely enriched the communist oligarchs remain the loyal tools of the Communist Party. That is why their acquisition of our resources, including farms and even the port of Darwin, has always been against the national interest. On this, the politicians have been asleep.
Twenty years ago the regime demonstrated that reform was never on the table. They declared the innocuous and profoundly spiritual Falung Gong to be a ‘heresy’ merely because they could not exercise over them the miniscule control they have over, for example, the so-called patriotic churches. When the communists saw that this movement, emphasising truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, attracted up to 70 million practitioners, far more than the Party, they were fearful.
The regime demonstrated it remained in the swamp by then extending to the Falung Gong the practice already applied to those allegedly guilty of a capital crime, organ harvesting. In a system where the conviction rate is over 99.9 per cent, many would obviously be innocent. That is why the brave people of Hong Kong so strongly object to the proposed law to extradite selected accused to the mainland.
After revelatory secretly filmed videos were shown on Foxtel, an important and rigorous report into Beijing’s organ harvesting was recently handed down in London. This was by an independent tribunal chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC who had successfully prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic. The tribunal was satisfied unanimously and beyond reasonable doubt that large numbers of enemies of the state were being medically tested and then killed for their organs. They declared the PRC to be a criminal state.
Australia is fortunate that since settlement we have lived in a world led by a benign power similar in its values, principles and institutions to ours, even speaking the same language. First the United Kingdom, then the United States. That we should, as the China lobby proposes, allow our nation to slip into Beijing’s orbit and become a mere satrapy would do dishonour to the memory of those who built and fought and died for this country.
No great leader would tolerate this and that is the style of leader we need at this time.
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