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The PM was entitled to blow his top


If our piqued PM can reduce RAAF personnel to tears over a mangled meal order, we’re all in strife, writes Michael Hewitt-Gleeson.

Let me get this straight. The Prime Minister of Australia really apologised to a military flight attendant for demanding that an order be carried out professionally?

I was an RAAF Reserve Officer for five years. The RAAF’s motto, Per Ardua Ad Astra, is Latin for, Through Adversity to the Stars.” I was inspired by that motto. Stars, not tears!

This may be a deeply more serious event than it appears to be on the surface. Could it be a valid indication of the current level of competence of the Australian Defence Force? Let’s hope not.

At a time when the US may ask Australia to send a competent military force to Afghanistan, there is the big question being asked in Canberra: can Australia do it?

When Australians call upon the ADF, we expect a world class response. I would have thought that the elected leader of Australia, while on legitimate taxpayer-funded Commonwealth business and while in the care and security of one of the elite units of the ADF, could reasonably expect orders to be carried out to the letter. Our elected leader the PM should be able to demand world-class professional virtuosity of the ADF and should be able to reprimand without impunity.

With the approach of ANZAC Day, where we celebrate the memory and reputation of the ADF, isn’t this a poignant state of affairs?

Painting Everyman Kev as a petulant, elitist tyrant might work for the tabloids. But the fact that the PM of Australia has to apologise to the defence force is not only embarrassing to the Australian electorate but may also be of deep security concern regarding the professional competence of our soldiers under their current leadership.

With our defence forces fighting and dying in critical struggles overseas, was this recent mid-air stoush really news? The answer provides cause for reflection.

Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson received the world’s first PhD in Lateral Thinking for his discovery of a whole new strategy for selling. In 1979, he and Edward de Bono founded the School of Thinking in New York City. Since that time, he has authored five books and advice on thinking, selling and leadership has been sought by leaders of some of the most prominent organisations in the world, from The United Nations and The White House to IBM, Fujitsu, BMW, Telstra, ANZ and the Australian Sports Commission.

This article was originally published on Hewitt-Gleeson’s blog, www.schoolofthinking.org