SENATOR Jim Molan promised Geelong’s veterans he will not back away from his strident advocacy for their causes at a forum last week.
The former major general in the Australian Army and recently-elected senator for New South Wales (he replaced the ineligible Fiona Nash) has been outspoken on defence and veterans’ issues for many years, and was the guest at an event at the Geelong RSL on Thursday organised by Corangamite federal member Sarah Henderson.
Senator Molan took several questions from the audience following his speech, including one from a veteran about whether the senator was now “toeing the political line” since being elected.
“If you listen to my first speech, I reckon I haven’t backed off from anything I’ve been saying for year after year,” he replied.
He also answered questions about the Coalition’s energy policy, Australian involvement in Afghanistan, the Department of Veterans Affairs not recognising submariners, and the inquiry to the ADF’s use of anti-malarial drugs.
In his address, Senator Molan said Australia had to redefine its relationship with its allies, particularly the United States, which would have implications for defence spending here.
“If we are to move into a new era, we must move on from a reliance, an over-reliance, on other nations.
“The great achievement we have in this nation is that we have kept conflict far from our shores. It is a great achievement, but it is also the greatest challenge we will face in the next 100 years.
“We need to deter people who might want to invade us.”
He said the power of the United States to come to the aid of all their allies had diminished, with the American military previously able to fight two-and-a-half wars simultaneously but now only capable of waging one.
“That must mean something to this country.”