I remember, when I was doing my Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, in History, I had to write on the topic that the wars that have fascinated Australia so much have touched it only marginally and that you cannot look across Australia and say, “This is the mark of war.”
Apart from the bombing raids on Darwin, Wyndham, Broome and a few bombs on Townsville, and the midget submarines entering Sydney Harbour, Australian cities have not be razed, like say, London, Berlin, Dresden, Tokyo, Nanjing or other such cities, so physically, that’s true, but emotionally, it is not.
Almost every war in which this country has been involved, from the Sudan Conflict of 1884 (as a confederation), until the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, has been at the behest of Great Britain or the USA. Australia has been a country that has been unwilling to develop an independent foreign policy.
The Prime Minister at the time of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq was Treasurer under Malcolm Fraser.
The Liberal Party has claimed that it was the party that abolished the White Australia Policy, but is this correct? Well, no. Yes, Harold Holt allowed Japanese War Brides to enter with an exemption from the Dictation Test, and yes, in 1966, the Liberal Party, when it couldn’t get the immigrants it wanted from Europe, decided to allow a small number of Asians (not on a quota system) to immigrate. Gough Whitlam and Al Grassby OFFICIALLY abolished immigration as a criteria for immigration.
After the ceasefire was broken by the North, in Vietnam, Gough Whitlam airlifted some children out of the South, but it was Malcolm Fraser, who had been Army Minister, who decided to accept boat arrivals from Vietnam. John Howard, the man I alluded to above, stopped Malcolm Fraser and asked if we were really going to accept these people, thinking Malcolm Fraser was only being diplomatic, but Malcolm Fraser said, “Yes, we are.”
People have talked of the friction between Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, but Bob Hawke remained a committed Labor man, after his departure from politics, while Malcolm Fraser, following the Tampa Incident, did not vote Liberal from 2001 until his death, in 2015. From where I stand, John Howard was saying what he wanted to say but was prevented from, during his time as Fraser’s treasurer.
Now, after Australian ex-servicemen and women have campaigned to have their interpreters brought over here and given protection visas, only to have an idiot say that some of them may have changed sides. What we need to remember is, it isn’t people smugglers loading them onto leaky boats, but people who served with them and owe their lives, in some cases, to their interpreters, who are begging for them to have visas. You can’t fight a war and tell the public that you will decide who comes here and then ignore the requests of veterans to bring people they depended upon in their service to their country, to give them asylum. That is discrimination, and racism, and not only that, it shows that to the government, and the parliamentary person who holds the defence portfolio (I won’t say minister) doesn’t value not only those who kept them alive but those who serve in the very department you begged for!