You would have to cast your mind back over 30 years to discover a week similar in Federal politics to the one just occurred. A Federal Minister has been smeared by an illegal covert investigation into his private life and been accused of being too close to a communist foreign power. The leaks have been released slowly to the media throughout the weak and calibrated to inflict maximum damage on the Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
You would have to go back to the days of the Whitlam Government to find just a blantant example of the defence/intelligence community meddling in our democracy. So what is this attempt to get rid of Fitzgibbon all about.
Mainstream press sources have suggested that this is all to do with an ongoing feud between the Minister and his department and the military top brass over issues of reform and pay.
Paul Daley in the Age suggests that elements of Defence perceive the whole government to be too close to China. This would fit into a pattern of escalating tension between the Chinese and the U.S. around the world as the financial situation worsens.
Both of these explanations are plausible but is it a conincidence that it is has all happened in the same week Rudd visits the U.S. and we have announced we will be sending more troops to Afghanistan. Perhaps elements in the defence/intelligence community would like to see a different defence minister handle this issue as well. Fitzgibbon has seemed to me to be a little soft on the Afghan war from the start. He openly questioned NATO's polices soon after being elected and loudly complained that Australia was given little or no input into broader war strategies. Recently on a visit to Afghanistan he made it clear he was very upset about not being alllowed "off base" to see the war for himself.
. Lastly - it is disturbing to see this scandal arise at all. Despite the fact this ALP government is slavishly pro-american and pro-business in its right wing agenda - it appears that elements in our establishment still can't abide a non-Liberal led Government. IF we cast our mind back to the 12 years of Liberal rule - nothing like this ever happened despite the politicization of defence through issues such as Children Overboard. The Australian Editorial on Saturday 28th even had the cheek to say that Fitzgibbon would have been sacked under the Howard! Hello - Peter Reith - remember that liar anyone! Its not enough that the ALP has turned into a pale imitation of the Liberals for some in the establishment obviously - imagine what they would be doing if Rudd actually had some left wing policies!