(ADF archival photos): Greg Combet (right)- future Defence Minister or PM?

Expert questions Rudd’s leadership

By Sasha Uzunov
Copyright 2008

Former Trade Union boss and current ALP Federal MP Greg Combet should become Australia’s Prime Minister, according to an influential political commentator.

Mr Bruce Haigh, a retired Australian diplomat and expert comments man on international and security issues, said:

“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd can’t change a light bulb; he has about as much comprehension on defence matters as Kim Beazley or Brendan Nelson.”

Mr Haigh said Combet should take over as Defence Minister prior to becoming Prime Minister.

Mr Combet (pronounced COM-BAY) is the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement and served as Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (1999-2007).

Joel Fitzgibbon in the firing line?

Mr Haigh is a long standing critic of current Defence Minister Mr Joel Fitzgibbon.

“The US-Australian military alliance is dead. The financial crash has/will gut the US, it does not have the money or the capacity to assist Australia,” he said.“The world has changed, although it will take some time for the Australian media and politicians to catch up.

“Fitzgibbon and the current crop of senior defence leadership in the same league as Australian bankers.“On Defence, water, infrastructure, Australia is going to do some hard thinking and undertake positive action in the very near future.”

– Combet in political Combat? (Packing heat)

A high ranking ALP source has called nonsense any suggestion that Mr Combet would challenge for the Prime Ministership.“Everyone knows Greg wants to be Defence Minister, that‘s no secret” he said. ‘But Joel is doing a good job and playing it with a straight bat.”

Bruce Haigh is a rarity in the Australian media; as a defence expert he has actually served in uniform. He was called up for National Service as a soldier in 1966 and served with the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, Australian Army. He served on Centurion tanks and M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers.

He has questioned the Defence department’s purchase of the US Army’s Abrams tank. “We have no use for the Abrams tanks and the F35 is a lemon,” he said. “The F22 or nothing.

“The US cannot afford the cost of its adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. The war in Afghanistan is breeding terrorists. Australia cannot affect the outcome.

We need to build up and train our forces for regional undertakings.”


Call for Combet to Head Defence

by Bruce Haigh
5 August, 2008.