Howard downplays terror influence in khaki poll
The September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States changed the way the world viewed national security and the way political parties viewed election campaigns.
Increased security measures at airports, new anti-terrorism legislation and the review of the deployment of troops to Afghanistan were not controversial according to previously classified Cabinet documents from 2001.
Few of the government’s actual discussions and deliberations are revealed in the newspapers, which were made public on Saturday.
But the government and a politically astute prime minister – who writes in his memoir that in 2001 he always maintained a “total focus on rebuilding government political support” – have been grappling with a shift towards a state of mind. dominated by internal security.
Former Prime Minister John Howard admitted there was no doubt that the national security electoral backbone had garnered support from his government, despite its rocky start in 2001.
But Mr Howard believed he would still have been reappointed as Prime Minister without the major change, just by a smaller margin.
Historian Christine Wallace has called the “khaki elections” and military events during Mr. Howard’s election campaign “the most explicit exploitation of a national security lens” in nearly 50 years.
Mr. Howard committed troops to the US military intervention in Afghanistan on October 4, 2001 and called the elections the next day.
He has repeatedly organized campaigns and media events against the backdrop of bases and defense troops.
He was returned to power after winning his third consecutive election against all odds.
When asked if Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his ministers are making the most of his electoral playbook by discussing fears of war with China and border labor policies, Mr. Howard said that “the policy national law is always a matter of national security “.
“I don’t think I made this up,” he said.
“I remember previous campaigns… going back to the 1950s and 1960s (to) what was then called foreign policy, fear of communism dominated elections more than many national issues.”
Mr. Howard’s determination to protect Muslim and Middle Eastern Australians from blame or remedies for attacks, provides further insight into how he has handled defense relations with the United States.
Cabinet documents reveal the National Security Committee agreed to delay a US request for Australian ships to bolster naval escorts across the Straits of Malacca, located between Malaysia and Indonesia, until after the Premier’s proposed visit. minister in Indonesia.
“I am very sensitive to this because our relations with Indonesia have always been difficult and they have become doubly difficult after September 11,” he told reporters upon the release of his cabinet documents.
The then Prime Minister had already made a point of scheduling a stopover in Jakarta on his way home after visiting the United States and the United Kingdom a few months earlier in 2001 to discuss Australia’s military support to an Afghan invasion.
Mr. Howard met with then Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to expressly state that any military intervention in Afghanistan should not be seen as a show of hostility towards Muslim countries.