The death of popular Australian politician Don Randall on the 21 July, 2015 triggered a by-election which saw former Special Air Service (SAS) officer Andrew Hastie officially endorsed as a candidate for the federal seat of Canning. After beating six other candidates to win his party’s recommendation, Mr. Hastie discharged from his position within the SAS to pursue his political ambitions.
Mr. Hastie won the recommendation of the Liberal selection committee on Saturday, 15 August, 2015 and was endorsed by the party’s state committee on Thursday, 20 August, 2015. Almost immediately, Mr. Hastie came under fire—the cowardly type, not the real kind that this role-model Australian is used to—from parasitic journalists and grubby politicians.
On the 21 August, 2015, Fairfax Media reported that Mr. Hastie was in the same troop as SAS operators who cut the hand off a Taliban fighter they had killed on an operation in southern Afghanistan. Despite the fact that Mr. Hastie was in a command-and-control position in a coalition aircraft at the time, was actually commanding a separate patrol at the time of the incident, fully assisted with the enquiry once it was underway, and was actually cleared of any wrongdoing, didn’t prevent the slimy media from running this story.
Similarly, in the days immediately after this ‘story’ broke, two West Australian Labor members of parliament (MP) came under intense scrutiny for retweeting jokes referring to Mr. Hastie and the incident. Shadow Environment Minister Chris Tallentire retweeted a comment asking for a “show of hands” on a solar issue and upper house MP Darren West suggested a campaign slogan of “hands off Canning.”
What appears to be spineless attempts at discrediting one of our nation’s finest represents a new low for the media outlets and politicians involved. Mr. Hastie has completed multiple Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) deployments to Afghanistan, deployed to Iraq in the latest fight against the Islamic State, and advised the federal government on Operation Sovereign Borders to stop illegal vessels from reaching Australia.
The man has achieved more greatness at the age of 32 than these sleazy politicians or grubby journalists ever will. As a serving member of the SAS, he has put himself on the line in the most selfless way possible to further Australia’s national interests both domestically and abroad. He was more than willing to sacrifice his own life in the pursuit of an altruistic cause greater than himself, and now he is pursuing a career in politics to serve the people of Western Australia.
Yet even a man of this stature isn’t immune from the lowbrow tactics that go hand in hand with politics. I’m just curious, however, to know if Fairfax Media and the opposition MPs who bandied together actually realise that this story will ultimately help Mr. Hastie gain the popularity that will be necessary for him to be elected. Just because the Geneva Convention Rule 113 states that, “Each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled…Mutilation of dead bodies is prohibited,” doesn’t mean that a vast majority of people don’t support every action that was undertaken by our troops in Afghanistan—this included and regardless of the findings.
The fact of the matter is Western Australia now has a former Special Forces officer with an incredible amount of combat experience running for a federal seat. The Australian political landscape and the politicians who fill it aren’t generally from a military background, let alone from the elite ranks of the SAS. Andrew Hastie has proven himself on the battlefield and is now putting himself out there by running for the federal seat of Canning.
Mr. Hastie has also shown nothing but full support for the troops under his command who were involved in the incident, stating, “I can say with great confidence that those soldiers involved directly with the incident were acting in what they believed to be the appropriate process laid out by Defence.” A large number of politicians and journalists could learn a thing or two about what real integrity is from this man, but I guess they’re too busy trying to discredit him to satisfy their own moral and masculine inferiority complexes.
(Featured image courtesy of mandurahmail.com.au)