Thursday, 21 April 2005
My Fellow Australians, Honourable Members both of the Government and the Loyal Opposition.
Thank you for your support. I especially want to thank those Honourable members of the Opposition who voted against the motion, despite overwhelming political pressure from their party machine.
I also wish to thank those Honourable members who in all conscience could not find it in their hearts to vote against the motion. The fact that Eighty-something percent of Australians disagree with them did not sway them from doing their duty as they saw it, no matter how unpopular, even loathed and reviled, that that may make them at the next election. They showed the courage of their convictions - not that many of them have been convicted (other than for minor breaches of the peace on matters of principle).
In the USA, immediately after the day that will live in Infamy, December the Eighth here in Australia, one terminally misguided US Congresswoman, Republican Representative Jeannette Rankin, had the courage not to vote for a motion stating that the US was in fact at war against Japan. Her country had been attacked most savagely, but her Pacifism remained unshaken, she absolutely refused to recognise that the War existed.
Few would say she showed anything but the most arrant folly, and I cannot disagree with that hypothesis. But I for one say that we need a few arrant Fools like Ms Rankin, and the Honourable members of the Opposition who voted for this motion, to make sure that we do not become what we are fighting against. A few, but not too many - and I'm sure the electorate will thin the herd sufficiently in a few years. For like it or not, and I for one detest the idea, we are at War. War with no quarter.
This motion of No Confidence was not so much a vote about confidence in my Government, it was a vote about our confidence in Australia, confidence in her mores and values, and her ability to fight effectively without descending into barbarism. It was about confidence in our military forces, that the individuals therein would refuse to obey any unlawful order, nor commit acts against International Law. It was about confidence that our police forces would find a new way to work within both the letter and the spirit of the Law at a time when the normal way of doing business would be self-destructive.
And yes, finally, it was about confidence in this Government too, and the appropriateness of the extraordinary measures we've had to adopt.
Too much confidence, over-confidence, and we become arrogant, even tyrannical, with no enormity too outrageous because we think God is on our side. We become indistinguishable from our Enemy.
Too little, and we let Evil prevail because Good men - and women - don't have the confidence to fight against it. We see our own human imperfections magnified, as in a distorting mirror, and thus allow true Evil to prosper unhindered. We would lack moral backbone.
If there's one thing History has shown, it's that Australians have never been short of Courage, no matter what kind. In this vote, we did not fail, no matter which side of the debate we voted for.
I now wish to inform the House about progress in the War we are in.
We have had our setbacks in this War. Four people died because we formerly treated Enemy Combatants as if they were merely Criminals. No longer.
Progress in some areas has neither been as rapid, nor as complete as I would have liked. But this should be obvious, otherwise the NSW and Federal Police forces would have been able to take a well-earned rest by now. I cannot reveal the intricate details of our few minor defeats, lest our Enemy take note and thus take advantage. I can assure the House that the defeats have been few and minor though, and there's ample proof of that for all to see. Had our Enemy been able to do more than act the mischeivous child and set a few quickly-extinguishable fires, or make a few prank calls, he would have done so. He has not, and so far just engages in impotent threat and bluster while running for his life.
But more than counterbalancing these trivial setbacks, for such setbacks are suffered by the Victors in all wars, we have had some very major successes indeed. Our near neighbour to the North endured a far more dangerous attack than the one on ourselves, and from the same Enemy. An attack that could have set the largest Islamic country on Earth against us. This attack has been comprehensively routed, and Australia played its part in that Victory. We were not distracted by what the military calls a "well-planned major diversionary attack" nearer to home.
In this attack, the Enemy has also paid dearly. The Enemy Combatant responsible for the bombing was taken within hours, due to outstanding work by the NSW police. The Enemy ringleader and organiser of the Bushfire network was similarly taken shortly thereafter. He could talk the hind legs off a donkey, but as he's being supplied with plenty of those, his loquacity means that the entire network will be rolled up, and other networks too. More to the point, this diversion gave us ample evidence that there are Enemy Combatants operating in Australia, something we had long suspected but had no proof of.
Many of our successes must remain hidden for now. Again, I cannot reveal the intricate details of them yet, lest our Enemy take note and thus minimise his grievous losses. I can guarantee Historians of a later date will find some fascinating reading in the archives when they're declassified, and our Enemy will realise the magnitude of his folly rather sooner.
I'm sure the House is with me when I say that I'm rather looking forward to that.