I started the last post with this: I’ve always maintained that the ALP do not like the ADF. Readers took to me to task and one even abused me as he raced to justify Minister Smith’s latest foray into attacking Defence.
My opinion still stands and has been confirmed by this morning’s article in The Age by MAJGEN John Cantwell.
I spent long hours over many sessions briefing the then minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. It was a painful process. Fitzgibbon was out of his depth. He simply didn’t get it. Not only could he not understand what we were trying to tell him, he didn’t put in the time to try to get across his brief.
He was an auto-electrician in a suit.
But at least Fitzgibbon occasionally expressed a desire to do the right thing by the service personnel who delivered our military capability.
Not so Smith. Reflecting on Smith’s visit to Afghanistan MAJGEN Cantwell recalls;
…the abiding impression I was left with was that he merely tolerated people like me and the troops I commanded. I cast around in my mind for the element that seemed to be missing in his dealings with the men and women of the ADF who I led. Then I had it: respect. Smith had no respect for those who chose to serve in uniform for their country. It was an uncomfortable insight.
He closes with this;
I sense that the judgment I formed in 2010 was on the money. There’s no respect, and it works both ways.