Army dumps Hastie over uniform photo, by Nick Butterly. [Post bumped up due to updates.]
Former special forces soldier Andrew Hastie has been sacked from the military after he repeatedly refused orders to remove photos of himself in uniform from election campaign material.
But Mr Hastie, Federal member for Canning, has fired a parting salvo at top brass, saying the military should be proud to see former defence personnel serving on all sides of politics.
In an extraordinary move, the Defence Department confirmed it had “terminated” Mr Hastie’s service in the standby Army reserve after he refused requests to remove imagery of himself in uniform from election banners and flyers.
Now political correctness blights the defence forces — surely they are too important to be inflicted with this nonsense? Apparently not:
He used a few old photos of himself in uniform on billboards and flyers. He toldThe West Australian the issue was a “fiasco” and he had the overwhelming support of his constituents.
Mr Hastie took aim at his former boss, retired army chief and Australian of the Year Lt-Gen. David Morrison. “David Morrison politicised the ADF long before I ever put my mug on a billboard. In fact, he hastened my exit from the army into politics,” Mr Hastie said.
Morrison is also the same PC-warrior who recently told the rest of us how to speak properly: The latest PC directive from a bureaucrat: David Morrison wants Australians to stop saying gender-based terms like ‘guys’.
To get promoted into the senior ranks in the defence forces in all western countries you have to be PC. (Which, incidentally, was well known to Hastie, as he discussed with me while he was still serving in the SAS.) The elites are ensuring that the military stay loyal to them, despite their contempt towards and cultural distance from the bulk of the serving men.
Compare Defence’s sacking of Hastie for accurately representing his past with this bit of PC politicking: Defence participates in the 2015 Sydney Mardi Gras.
Hastie in the SAS in Afghanistan:
“It’s just a hint at, ‘Hey, for the past 13 years, I’ve been serving in uniform’ and my formative experiences as a leader were with the Australian Defence Force,” Mr Hastie told 6PR radio.
“I’m proud of that and I think it’s good to let taxpayers know that their money – a lot of it has gone into my professional development – has been well spent.” Mr Hastie said the ADF had “used a bit of policy to try and push me around, basically”.
“I had to decide whose authority I answered to. It was the people of Canning. As a federal parliamentarian, I don’t take orders from the military.
UPDATE: Federal election 2016: Defence slammed over Andrew Hastie billboard, by Andrew Burrell.
The Defence Department has been branded hypocritical for accusing a Liberal and a Labor candidate of politicising their military uniforms, while allowing officers to march in uniform at the “highly political” Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. …
Defence said Mr Hastie was sacked because its policy was to ensure the Defence Force remained apolitical. Members were not allowed to participate in any “political activity” in uniform.
Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defence Association, accused Defence of applying the policy inconsistently through its decision to allow its officers to march in the Sydney mardi gras in their uniforms since 2013. “This breaches the same convention, which goes back hundreds of years,” Mr James said.
“The mardi gras is a highly political event — all of the floats are bagging the conservative side of politics. We’d be saying the same thing if ADF officers were in uniform at an anti-abortion rally or an Australian Patriots Alliance march. You just can’t allow people to improperly use their ADF status for a political event.”
Mr James said he believed Mr Hastie’s billboard was an unequivocal breach of Defence policy. Mr Hastie said it was simply a photo montage that featured his wife and baby son. “It represents who I am — it’s tasteful and it’s in good judgment,” he said.