Zimmermann: PM’s Reckless Apology Puts Australians at Risk

A prominent Chinese official shared a fake image of an Australian Digger threatening to slit the throat of an Afghan child.

A prominent Chinese official shared a fake image of an Australian Digger threatening to slit the throat of an Afghan child.

In a tweet accompanying the fake image, Beijing’s Foreign Industry spokesman said: “Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers, we strongly condemn such acts and call for holding them accountable”.

Where did he get such an idea?

The Prime Minister of Australia has claimed that our defence forces serving in Afghanistan were murdering prisoners and innocent civilians.

Scott Morrison announced that he has apologised to the President of Afghanistan for the contents of a report he hadn’t even read.

The Prime Minister has denied our soldiers the presumption of innocence. He has shown to completely ignore the common-law principle that everyone is innocent until it can be proven otherwise.

As the member for Curtin Celia Hammond stated in a speech to the Federal Parliament on Monday:

“We must avoid at all costs a situation where our defence forces are universally demonised. They are individual men and women who serve and sacrifice for us. Ultimately, it must never be us-versus-them because they are us”.  

Of course, she is absolutely correct. And this is precisely what the Prime Minister has done.

The world was listening and China heard these accusations by Morrison against our Australian defence forces.

It would not be unreasonable to argue that Morrison’s accusations have dramatically empowered our enemies and increased the threat of Islamic terrorism on the Australian soil.

As Sky News presenter Alan Jones points out, “How extraordinary that we approve the unified condemnation of China’s behaviour, but our Prime Minister can’t find courage enough to accept the extent to which his language has defamed thousands of innocent, courageous and heroic Australians whom we sent to Afghanistan to put their lives on the line in our name”.

Alan Jones concludes: “Prime Minister, never mind asking the Chinese to apologise. You should apologise to the nation and the world”.

I wholeheartedly agree with him.  The Prime Minister has defamed the nation and empowered our enemies.

He has also escalated the risk of terrorism by inviting radical Islamists to seek retaliation for the alleged crime of killing innocent Muslims in Afghanistan.

As can be seen, it is now patently clear that Morrison’s ill-conceived remarks against our army personal poses a serious threat to our national security.

Dr Augusto Zimmermann PhD, LLM, LLB is Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth/WA, and Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney campus. He is also President of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA). His latest book, ‘Fundamental Rights in the Age of Covid-19’ (Connor Court, 2020), contains contributions from leading law academics and policy experts in the field. (See here.)

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