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Arrogance and disrespect doesn't cut it Minister

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Arrogance and disrespect doesn't cut it Minister

March 11, 2012

The complete breakdown and level of toxicity between the Defence Minister and the men and women who wear the Australian uniform has got to the point where it is now up to the Prime Minister to step in and replace him.

Shadow Defence Minister David Johnston said the Minister clearly never wanted the job in the first place when he was pushed out of his favoured position as Minister for Foreign Affairs by the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

“To make matters worse he has now been denied ‘his job’ by the Prime Minister’s first pick for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr and has been sulking ever since,” Senator Johnston said.

Minister Smith has been exposed by Major General Cantwell as being, cold, aloof and above all, disrespectful of our men and women in the military.

“The men and women who proudly wear the Australian uniform are the best of the best, our very finest people who put the defence of our country above all other considerations. To have a Minister who treats these fine people with complete disregard is to put it bluntly, unacceptable for a Minister for Defence.”

“When Andrew Kirkham QC delivered his report on the ADFA Skype incident he made it very clear that Commandant was exonerated from the allegations that had been directed at him by Minister Smith.” “However, in response to the umpire’s findings, Minister Smith displayed a level of unprecedented petulance and arrogance that was beyond logic.”

“Rather than admit he had over-reacted and was wrong he has point blank refused to admit

any wrong doing on his part or to apologise for his over the top remarks.”

Senator Johnston said that by not having the decency to apologise to Commandant Kafer he had once again demonstrated everything that Major General Cantwell has said about him:

"After 38 years as a soldier and as a commander, I'd learned to read people, quickly and accurately. Reflecting on Smith's visit, the abiding impression I was left with was that he merely tolerated people like me and the troops I commanded. I cast around in my mind for the element that seemed to be missing in his dealings with the men and women of the ADF who I led. Then I had it: respect. Smith had no respect for those who chose to serve in uniform for their country. It was an uncomfortable insight." (SMH 10/3/2012)

“Stephen Smith has been a complete failure as the Minister for Defence and the time has come for the Prime Minister to stand him aside and appoint a Minister who respects the men and women who wear the Australian uniform with pride and dignity,” Senator Johnston said.