The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pause for the nameless 40 year old digger who died defending us yesterday

We wake up each day and commute to our jobs in comparative comfort and security. We focus on ourselves, our kids, our families, and making our way. Earning some bread to allow us to make choices as to how we live. Perhaps quickly sparing a thought here or there for some sadness that we might have seen. It tends to be much of the same--day in, day out. Many of us occupy entire lifetimes following this cycle. Our heads hit the pillows at night, and we wake up 7-8 hours later to start the process all over again.

But there are small sections of the community that consciously choose to be different. One of them--a very special Australian--died yesterday. We don't yet know much about him. We don't know his name. We have not seen his face. Indeed, his identity has been deliberately concealed by our government for one and a half decades.

We do know that for the best part of 22 years he started his days in profoundly different circumstances. For many months of many years his pillow was sand, rock, jungle, or snow in some lawless part of the world. On these occasions he opened his eyes first thinking about his family.

This would be rapidly superseded by a defining, galvanizing thought--a personal maxim--that would engulf his will: today I am happy to die; today I am willing to permit my body to be withered by merciless bullets, blades or explosive devices; today I am happy to extinguish my being for my fellow countrymen, most of whom I don't actually know; who will never stare down the darkness with which I must regularly contend; today I am prepared to give myself, completely, to a tribe to which I belong.

A tribe called Australia. To an existence, a view of the world, a principle we call liberty. Or freedom. Delivered by imperfect democracy.

To protect my family, my friends, and my society. To allow them to lead full, often ignorant, lives that I will never be able to appreciate. To assume that what they see around them has always been. To forget that over one hundred thousand Australians have died over the last 100 years battling to safeguard similar aspirations.

Since September 2011 at least 36 volunteer Australians have been killed in combat with terrorists.

The nameless soldier that was gunned down yesterday had spent a remarkable 17 years as a member of the uniquely committed and hazardous Special Air Service Regiment, based in Perth. He had travelled to fight in Afghanistan on seven separate occasions.

This man's life is a tribute to us all. We move forward because of his contributions. He will not be forgotten. He has given his soul so that future generations can rest more safely.

We extend our love and gratitude with humility to his family, comrades, and friends.

If you want to help them, you can do so here.