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Locke defends Chief of Defence from Aussie attack

29 April 2005

Locke defends Chief of Defence Force from Aussie attack

Green MP Keith Locke has defended the Anzac Day speech given by Chief of Defence Force against an attack by Greg Sheridan, a leading columnist for the Australian newspaper.

"Surely, after 90 years, we can admit that New Zealand was drawn into the Gallipoli debacle because of our nation's 'imperial subservience', as Air Marshal Ferguson puts it," said Mr Locke, the Green Party's Defence Spokesperson.

"Behind Sheridan's insult, that Ferguson's speech was 'politically-correct adolescent pouting', lies a very relevant debate. Sheridan justifies the Anzacs being sent to slaughter in Gallipoli by saying it was in our 'vital national interest' to go with the British.

"There is a sharp contrast between Sheridan's view that we must have a protector (at that time Britain, now America), and Ferguson's view that 'we must shake off the shackles of colonial dependence; we must stand for what we believe in'.

"This doesn't mean we never go to war, and Ferguson rightly praises the Kiwi role in World War II. But it does mean that we don't go to war, as Australia did recently in Iraq, just to please an imperial protector. New Zealand now makes its own decisions and thankfully didn't join the Bush administration's illegal invasion of Iraq.

"The fact that Air Marshall Ferguson felt he could make such a challenging speech symbolizes our maturing nationhood. We can, as the Chief of Defence Force said, take pride in the gallantry of our men, but at the same time admit that 'there was no glory 90 years ago; rather we look back now and see the tragedy of their sacrifice,'" said Mr Locke.


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