Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1169 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
I do not hear anybody standing up and saying that. I believe this is a time for unity-I do not believe it is a time for divisive statements from our Chief Minister.
I do not believe that anybody in their right mind would willingly go to war. The UN has tried to avoid this, over 10 years, with 17 motions. A war was fought by the entire world in 1991. I think that, by hiding under the umbrella of a ministerial statement, to give it some sort of credibility, we do a disservice to democracy, and to those fighting on our behalf in Iraq today.
Mr Speaker, I have one final quote-I note there are many quotes in the Chief Minister's speech. I note also the argument of the Chief Minister that we should not be using the defence that it is not disloyal to be making these statements. I will finish with a quote from John Stuart Mill, the founder of modern liberalism. It says:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
MR HARGREAVES (4.26): I, too, like the Chief Minister, find ugly and offensive any suggestion that I am disloyal to the troops overseas because I oppose this war. I would like people to come up to me and tell me that to my face in a dark alley outside the chamber. If they did so they would see who is getting ugly and offensive.
Mr Speaker, during the Vietnam war I wore a green suit and GP boots. No doubt Mr Pratt did the same. I was thinking just the other day about the position that Mr Pratt has articulated in this place. Whilst we differ and disagree on probably most of the arguments, I acknowledge that Mr Pratt served an enormous amount of time in the uniform of his country and therefore he is quite qualified to speak on how it feels to be a soldier, how it actually feels to be in the front line. He has the right to do that; he has got the medals on his chest to prove it. I have no problem with that, and I pay him that respect, even if I disagree with most of his argument.
I know that Mr Stefaniak has had an enormous amount of experience as, I think, a major in the Army Reserve. He was prepared to do the same thing. But Mr Smyth has no such right. He found after his particular service that it was not suited to him. Shame on you! You have no right to speak on how soldiers might feel about this.
When I walked down the street in the late 1960s and the early 1970s-when people were fighting in Vietnam-people spat on me because I was wearing my army uniform. And you reckon that I do not know how our soldiers might feel. I will walk on broken glass, Mr Smyth, to make sure they do not feel that way. I can tell you that after the Vietnam war the Australian community realised the dastardly thing it had done to our troops and it made up for that big time. There is no way in the world that the community here in Australia is going to treat the troops that have gone to the Gulf war-to this illegal war-the same way they did in the Vietnam one. I do not believe the Australian community is capable of doing that. So any suggestion in fact that anybody in this country who opposes the war is being disloyal to the troops is utter crap and it is offensive.