Leaders Unworthy of Such a Sacrifice

digger statueLest we forget indeed — and may we never forget that from a developing nation of less than five million people some 417,000 men and women volunteered to protect our freedom by going to the First World War. Of those, the fittest and best that we had, more than 60,000 were killed in action, many lying yet in unmarked graves.

Another 156,000 were wounded in action and returned home, many as broken men, but proud of what they had done in the service of Australia.

Lest we forget what their sacrifice was for. Among the things for which they fought and died, freedom not only to speak the truth but to expect and demand truth from political leaders who sent them to a foreign war. It seems to this old Bushy that now, more than ever, we need to reaffirm those ideals — ideals enshrined in monuments like the one in my home town of Barellan that bears the names engraved in stone of those locals who gave their very lives’ breath.

The events of recent times demand that we must now speak out in defence of those lofty ideals for which those who were honoured yesterday morning with poppies and bugle fought and died. They defended those ideals in the mud of Flanders and amid the sands of the Middle East but now we see them sullied by professional practitioners of political expediency. To grasp my melancholy words on this morning after Remembrance Day, indulge me to quote this extract from our Constitution. It defines who may stand for parliament and has been very much in the news of late. It reads:

44. Any person who –

(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or

(ii.) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or

(iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or

(iv.) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or

(v.) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

To this old bloke from Barellan, it seems that anyone who cannot understand these simple rules or misinterprets their meaning should not be in parliament on the grounds of mental incapacity alone. Recent and ongoing revelations prove that all major parties have members who were elected after signing false declarations. The rules for nominating could not be more clear. Determining eligibility is, or should be, each candidate’s first and most essential step. The citizenship fiasco now unfolding can at best be seen as negligence; at worst, deception. Is it any wonder so many of us no longer have faith in our government?

The leaders of both the Liberal and Labor parties were initially quick to assure us there was no one — not a soul! — in either of their parties who was at odds with the Constitution. Then, when it turned out their parties are riddled with confirmed and suspect cases, they proclaimed ignorance as their excuse. Incompetence, I suppose, is better than bare-faced dishonesty, although in this instance it is very difficult to tell where the former ends and latter begins.

Is this venal pursuit of power what those names on so many Main Street memorials gave their lives to defend? Their sacrifice deserves better, as do we all.

  • Keith Kennelly

    I guess this is why I am getting the feeling there is so much anger in the community.

    These miserable bastards have betrayed us all.

  • Peter OBrien

    Ron, while I agree with the general thrust of your article, I can’t help but be affronted by your suggestion that our political leaders of the time sent our ANZACs to ‘a foreign war’. That is a meme straight out of the Paul Keating hymn book and just adds to the lexicon of victimology that now debases our public debate. In 1914 Australia was very much a part of the British Empire and WW1 was, whatever you may think of the causes and effects, NOT a ‘foreign war’. That also applies to WW2 Western Desert, RAF Bomber Command, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans.

    • Warty

      I couldn’t agree more Peter. The modern tendency is to look back (and revise) on history from a 21st Century perspective, invariably left wing, though I’m sure Ron Pike is no Green grocer.
      Paul Kelly, though not my favourite The Australian columnist, pointed out on 2GB that this whole citizen issue in a political crisis, not a constitutional one, and of little interest to a good many Australians, perhaps because it is a storm in a teacup over a constitutional provision that seems just a little archaic in the first place. On becoming a parliamentarian one pledges loyalty to the Crown (as we are a constitutional monarchy) and to the country. If any parliamentarian engages in any underhand deals with a Jeremy Corbyn, he or she needs to executed for treasonable behaviour and buried in an unmarked grave: end of story: no need for section 44.

      • Avalon

        I’m an originalist. I believe the only way to change the 1901 meaning of the constitution is to amend it via referendum. The United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada were not foreign then and can’t be now without changing the constitution.

  • MalW

    Lee Rhiannon is reputed to have sworn allegiance to the Soviet Union, which under 44 (i) makes her/it ineligible. Not knowing where your parents were born is a stupid mistake (fixable at that) but it does not necessarily diminish your loyalty to Australia. A person who has spent their life promoting Soviet propaganda against the best interests of Australia, I would have thought, is exactly the sort of person s44 sought to prevent from entering Parliament. Yet Lee continues with her poison without remark.

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