Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:50 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:50 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: The Keelty legacy


Graeme Dobell

12 May 2009 09:22

Paul Cotton responds to my column about outgoing Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty:

Reports reaching me of the AFP in the Solomons lead me now to refer to them as the Australian Foreign Legion.

Armed with heavy automatic weapons they arrive in peaceful villages in borrowed choppers (as well as their own armoured vehicles, they hope to have their own choppers soon). They disembark one by one and secure the area by Rambo-like actions. The villagers giggle under the palm trees at all this play-acting.

The New Zealand police sent to the Solomons are for the most part trained Community Police who move peacefully about their duties building up public confidence in police as they are required to do to rebuild the nation. Likewise the other Pacific Islands police.

We can always learn from the New Zealanders in the Pacific (well, certainly, that is what the Kiwis always tell us). And even more importantly, Australia's responses have to be guided by what the Pacific asks for. For too long, though, the only Australian security response to problems in the Pacific had to come from the military.