Andrew Wilkie

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Andrew Wilkie
MP
Andrew Wilkie 2.jpg
Andrew Wilkie speaking at anti-pulp mill rally in 2007
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Denison
Incumbent
Assumed office
21 August 2010
Preceded by Duncan Kerr
Majority 15.6%
Personal details
Born (1961-11-08) 8 November 1961 (age 53)
Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Independent
Residence Tasmania
Occupation Politician
Profession Soldier, Intelligence officer
Website www.andrewwilkie.org
Military service
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1980–2000
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit Australian Army Intelligence Corps
Andrew Wilkie ran for the Australian Greens in 2007

Andrew Damien Wilkie (born 8 November 1961, Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia) is an Australian politician and independent federal member for Denison. He was formerly an army officer and then intelligence analyst.

In 2003 Wilkie resigned from his position in the Office of National Assessments, an Australian intelligence agency, over concerns that intelligence was being exaggerated for political purposes in making the case for Australia's contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq under the Howard government. [1]

Since then he has been active in Australian politics. He was a Greens candidate for both the federal Division of Bennelong in the 2004 federal election and for the Senate in Tasmania at the 2007 federal election. In 2010 he stood as an independent candidate for the state seat of Denison at the Tasmanian state election, narrowly missing out on the final vacancy. Later in the year, again as an independent candidate, he ran for the federal seat of Denison at the 2010 federal election and won, finishing third on the primary vote but won the seat after the distribution of preferences.[2] Wilkie finished first on the primary vote at the 2013 federal election and increased his margin.

Before politics[edit]

Wilkie trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon[3] and graduated in 1984.[4] He joined the Young Liberals while a cadet. After graduation and being stationed in Brisbane, he became a member of the Liberal Party.[5] His military career spanned 1980–2000 and he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[6] He was seconded to the Office of National Assessments (ONA), an Australian intelligence agency, from 1999 until late 2000.[6][7] After a stint with US defence company Raytheon,[3] Wilkie returned to the ONA shortly after the 11 September attacks.[6][7]

In the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war, the Australian, British and United States governments were asserting that intelligence reports showed that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction.

Wilkie has stated that he increasingly encountered ethical conflict between his duty as an intelligence officer and his respect for the truth.[4] On 11 March 2003, he resigned from the ONA, asserting that while Iraq likely did possess weapons of mass destruction, its program in this area was contained, that international sanctions were having an effect, and therefore an invasion was premature and also reckless in potentially provoking Saddam Hussein to use those weapons and possibly even begin supporting terrorism.[8]

In response to widespread opposition to the war, Wilkie gave extensive television interviews and accepted numerous offers of public speaking engagements.[citation needed] He subsequently gave evidence to official British and Australian inquiries into the government's case for involvement in the Iraq war.[7]

In 2004, Wilkie published Axis of Deceit, an account of the reasons for his decision and its results.[9] He describes his views on the nature of intelligence agencies and the analyst's work, the history of the Iraq war, the untruths of politicians and the attempts to suppress the truth.[citation needed]

Wilkie was a member of the Australian Greens by 2004 and stood unsuccessfully on the Tasmanian Senate ticket in 2007. He resigned from the party in 2008, criticising it for a lack of professionalism.[10]

Political career[edit]

Wilkie stood as the Australian Greens candidate for Bennelong against John Howard in the Australian House of Representatives in the 2004 federal election.[5] He was a supporter of the 'Not happy John!' campaign which ran during the election campaign.[11] Polling 16 per cent of the primary vote, Wilkie achieved the fifth-highest Green vote percentage across the nation. This result was a considerable increase from the Greens' previous (2001) election figure of 5%. Although Wilkie's vote was nowhere near enough to win the seat, there was a swing of 3.18% against John Howard, the sitting Liberal Party member and Prime Minister, who achieved a primary vote of 49.89%, which resulted in the seat being decided on preferences.[12] The seat reverted to a margin of 5% in 2007, but Green votes were amongst the preferences that saw Labor's Maxine McKew defeat Howard.

He was nominated as the Greens' second Tasmanian candidate for the Australian Senate at the 2007 federal election, behind the Greens federal leader, Bob Brown.[13]

Wilkie stood as an independent candidate in the state Division of Denison, based around central Hobart, in the 2010 Tasmanian state election.[14] He won 8.44 per cent of first preference votes,[15] and was beaten by 315 votes by Liberal candidate Elise Archer after distribution of preferences.[16]

Wilkie stood as an independent for the federal Division of Denison, which has the same boundaries as the state division, in the 2010 federal election[17] and won more than 20 per cent of the primary vote. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation declared Wilkie the winner on election night, predicting that Wilkie would be vaulted into second place on Green preferences and ultimately take the seat on Liberal preferences.[18] On the third count, he picked up enough Green preferences to put him in second place, ahead of the Liberal candidate. On the fourth count, more than 79 percent of the Liberal candidate's preferences flowed to Wilkie, allowing him to win the seat with just over 51 per cent of the two-candidate-preferred vote.[2] Reportedly, Wilkie benefited from a lacklustre campaign by Labor's candidate, Jonathan Jackson, the son of former longtime state Labor minister Judy Jackson; Labor lost almost a quarter of its primary vote from 2007, and Labor theoretically tallied a two-party vote of over 65 percent.[19]

Following the election, he declared that he would back the Australian Labor Party minority government, in return for the Gillard government committing A$340 million to the Royal Hobart Hospital and a commitment to reduce problem gambling.[20] In contrast the Coalition offered A$1 billion in funding for the same hospital in their offer to Wilkie, which was perceived by Wilkie as "almost reckless".[21] Wilkie described this as being part of the evidence that Labor would better be able to offer a more stable, competent and ethical government than the Coalition. The agreement to support the government only extended to issues of supply and no confidence motions.[20]

Wilkie was unexpectedly admitted to hospital on 12 November 2010 to have his gallbladder removed.[22][23] This did not interfere with his ability to attend Parliamentary sittings and he was present at the debate on same-sex marriage on 15 November, where he seconded the motion raised by Greens member Adam Bandt.[24]

In April 2011 during push for gambling reform initiated by Wilkie, News Limited media reported allegations by a former Duntroon army cadet that in 1983 Wilkie had forced junior cadets to salute to Adolf Hitler on the 50th anniversary of the latter's rise to power.[25] In response, Wilkie said he had been "involved in bastardisation of teenage army cadets" at Duntroon during the 1980s and apologised for this "inappropriate behaviour" but could not recall the specific incident alleged.[26] With regard to the allegation and its publication, he accused pro-Pokies advocates of running a smear campaign against him.[26]

On 21 January 2012 Wilkie announced that he was withdrawing his support for the Labor Government after it broke the agreement he had signed with Julia Gillard to implement mandatory pre-commitment for all poker machines by 2014. He stated that he would support the government's alternative plan to trial pre-commitment in the ACT and require that pre-commitment technology be installed in all poker machines built from 2013, but that this fell short of what he had been promised in return for supporting the government.[27] Gillard and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin argued that there was not enough support in the House of Representatives for Wilkie's preferred option for it to be passed, and that they had been advised it was technically unfeasible to implement mandatory commitment within the time frame he had specified.[28] In making his announcement, Wilkie stated that he would only support motions of no confidence against the government "in the event of serious misconduct" and would "consider budget measures on their merits".[28]

Wilkie was convincingly reelected in the 2013 federal election, gaining a swing of 15 percent to increase his majority to 65 percent.

In October 2014, Wilkie wrote to the ICC, seeking to prosecute Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the 19 members of his cabinet for crimes against humanity, with particular concerns relating to the treatment of asylum seekers. [29]

Policies[edit]

Wilkie made the removal of poker machines his primary campaign issue in the 2010 Tasmanian state election. He is strongly opposed to the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Wilkie is a supporter of voluntary euthanasia, provided that there are safeguards in place, he is also in favour of same-sex marriage and access to abortion. He is in support of a National Broadband Network and is opposed to WorkChoices.[30]

During Wilkie's maiden speech to Federal Parliament on 30 September 2010, he called for withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan. He said Australia should be more willing to say "no" more often to the United States. He said that there can be no hope for peace in Afghanistan until foreign troops are withdrawn: "No-one should be fooled by the Australian Government's periodic efforts to tinker around the edges with Australia's commitment to Afghanistan" and that "The reality is that the best plan the Australian Government can come up with so far is simply to continue to support whatever the US Government comes up with and that alone is no plan—it's just reinforcing failure."

Wilkie's comments came amid Opposition calls for more support for Australia's troops in Afghanistan. During his speech Wilkie also canvassed his push for legislation to protect whistleblowers, measures to tackle problem gambling and a more humane approach to asylum seekers.[31]

In March 2011 he called Liberal MPs Cory Bernardi and Scott Morrison "a disgrace to high office" calling on Tony Abbott to sack them both and referring to endemic racism in the Liberal party.[32]

Pokies and pre-commitment[edit]

Wilkie campaigned heavily against poker machines (colloquially "pokies") at the 2010 federal election, and immediately began forging ties with independent anti-pokies Senator Nick Xenophon as soon as it was apparent that he was elected.[33] Wilkie claims that problem gamblers in Australia lose $5 billion each year on pokies.[34] In exchange for Wilkie's support, the Labor government gave a commitment to legislate for mandatory "pre-commitment" technology which would require persons using high-bet machines to pre-commit how much they are willing to bet on a machine before they begin play,[35] as well as introducing $1 maximum bet per spin machines which would not require pre-commitment, which Wilkie argues would be safer.[36] The Abbott Coalition opposes the plans, with Abbott saying "it is not Liberal Party policy" and it will be "expensive and ineffective". According to polling, Wilkie's proposals are supported by a clear majority of voters across the spectrum.[37] Wilkie and Xenophon argue that "$12 billion a year is lost on the pokies. 100,000 Australians are problem gamblers and an additional 200,000 are significantly at risk of developing a full-blown addiction", and that the legislation is necessary to "[help] those who sometimes lose up to $1200 an hour on the pokies."[38] The Labor government withdrew their support for Wilkies's plan when their strength in parliament improved through a change of Speaker.[39]

The plan came under sustained attack from clubs, hotels and other businesses which financially benefit from pokies.[40] Xenophon responded by accusing them of misrepresenting plans and creating hype around the issue.[41] Strategy papers erroneously placed on the Clubs Queensland public website seem to indicate that clubs are deliberately and purposefully exaggerating the impact that the pre-commitment reforms will have on their services.[42] The same papers outlined some strategies that the clubs could use to exploit loopholes in the proposed reform.[42]

The NRL have aligned themselves with the campaign in opposing the pre-commitment plans, as have some prominent AFL identities. Commentators from the Nine Network gave planned political arguments without disclosure during commentary of a Semi-Final NRL game, prompting the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to investigate, stating "Channel Nine broadcast political material without adequately identifying it as such during the NRL first preliminary final". One of the accused commentators stated that the remarks were a "directive from up top that it be read by at least somebody". Investigations are predicted to take months.[43][44][45][46] Andrew Demetriou, Chief Executive Officer of the AFL, rejected suggestions that the AFL was joining Clubs Australia in their media campaign despite opposition to the plan by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, and other high-profile club bosses including Jeff Kennett (Hawthorn) and David Smorgon (Bulldogs),[47] and also stated "The fellow from Clubs Australia, I don't even know his name, but please, stop talking on our behalf, just shut up, that'd be a good help".[48] Activist group, GetUp! attempted to counter the anti pre commitment campaign by running political commercials during the NRL grand final[49][50] but subsequently all three major commercial television stations refused to air more of them.[51][52][53]

Personal life[edit]

Wilkie has two daughters and was married, however separated in 2012, with Wilkie citing stress from a hung parliament as the main cause of the breakdown.[54]

Wilkie was formerly married to a fellow Army officer, Simone Wilkie, from 1991-2003.[55]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "PM - Andrew Wilkie discusses WMD doubts". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  2. ^ a b "TAS DIVISION – DENISON". Election 2010 Virtual Tally Room: The official election results. Australian Electoral Commission. 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Wilkie, 2004 p. 2
  4. ^ a b "Club Lunch – Speaker Andrew Wilkie" (PDF). Melbourne Press Club. 31 July 2003. 
  5. ^ a b "Former spy eyes greener pastures". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 December 2003. 
  6. ^ a b c Wilkie, 2004, back cover
  7. ^ a b c "Intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction". Official Committee Hansard, Commonwealth of Australia. 22 August 2003. 
  8. ^ "Lateline - 11/03/2003: Senior intelligence officer resigns over Iraq . Australian Broadcasting Corp". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  9. ^ Wilkie, 2004
  10. ^ Duffy, Conor (26 August 2010). "Who is Andrew Wilkie?". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Archived from the original on 29 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  11. ^ Hudson, Phillip (10 October 2004). "Four in a row for Coalition". The Age (Canberra). Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "House of Representatives Division First Preferences". Virtual Tally Room. Australian Electoral Commission. 9 November 2005. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Greens announce Tasmanian Senate ticket". The Age (Australia). 16 February 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Neales, Sue (20 March 2009). "Wilkie's Denison punt". The Mercury. 
  15. ^ Division of Denison – first preference figures, Tasmanian Electoral Commission
  16. ^ "Tasmanian Electoral Commission". Electoral.tas.gov.au. 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  17. ^ "Voting in the electorate of Denison (tas), 2010 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 10 August 2010. 
  18. ^ Green, Antony (24 August 2010). "Distributing Preferences in Denison". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "Denison - Australia Votes | Federal Election 2013 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  20. ^ a b Rodgers, Emma (2 September 2010). "Wilkie backs Gillard government". ABC News. 
  21. ^ Tim Leslie (3 September 2010). "Abbott's 'reckless' offer pushed Wilkie to Labor". Australia: ABC. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "Wilkie in hospital for gall bladder operation". Adelaidenow.com.au. AAP. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  23. ^ "Wilkie recovering from surgery". Herald Sun. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "House of Representatives debates gay marriage". Australianpolitics.com. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "Wilkie admits bastardising Duntroon cadets". 15 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  26. ^ a b Rule, Andrew (15 April 2011). "Andrew Wilkie caught up in Nazi salute allegation". Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  27. ^ "Wilkie withdraws support over broken pokies deal". ABC News. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Peatling, Stephanie (21 January 2012). "PM unveils compromise deal over pokies reform". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  29. ^ http://www.news.com.au/national/andrew-wilkie-seeks-to-prosecute-abbott-government-over-inhumane-treatment-of-asylum-seekers/story-fncynjr2-1227098266151
  30. ^ "Andrew Wilkie – Independent Candidate for Denison". Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  31. ^ "Wilkie takes stand against Afghan war". Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  32. ^ Kelly, Joe (1 March 2011). "Independent Andrew Wilkie calls on Abbott to 'lance the boil' of racism in his party". The Australian. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  33. ^ "Wilkie, Xenophon team up against pokies: ABC The World Today 26 August 2010". Australia: ABC. 2 October 1980. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  34. ^ "Poker Machines". AndrewWilkie.org. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  35. ^ "Wilkie's Gamble: ABC Four Corners 20 June 2011". Australia: ABC. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  36. ^ Cowboy (4 September 2011). "Andrew Wilkie complains about opposition to his poker machine plans: The International 1 September 2011". International.to. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  37. ^ "Liberal voters support pokies crackdown:". Herald Sun. Australia. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  38. ^ "Its a Big Fat Lie". Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  39. ^ "Wilkie withdraws support over broken pokies deal - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  40. ^ "Wilkie is fearless on pokies says Xenophon: NineMSN 26 September 2011". News.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  41. ^ Editor, State (26 September 2011). "Mr X hits back at pokies 'lies':". AdelaideNow. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  42. ^ a b "Clubs Australia private strategy paper calls for trailer-mounted ATMs to circumvent Federal Government's poker machine reforms". News Ltd. 9 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  43. ^ clubsnsw (23 September 2011). "Channel 9 support campaign against MPC during NRL semi final broadcast". YouTube. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  44. ^ Maiden, Samantha (2 October 2011). "Andrew Wilkie blows the whistle on Channel Nine: Daily Telegraph 2 October 2011". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  45. ^ "Media watchdog to probe NRL commentators". Sydney Morning Herald. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  46. ^ "Channel Nine investigated over pokies comments: ABC 4 October 2011". Australia: ABC. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  47. ^ "AFL boss rejects talk of pokie reform campaign: ABC 26 September 2011". Australia: ABC. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  48. ^ "Shut up, AFL tells pokies campaigners: SMH 26 September 2011". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  49. ^ "GetUp to air pokies ad during grand final: SMH 2 October 2011". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  50. ^ getupaustralia. ""Rob U Blind – Pokies", by GetUp". YouTube. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  51. ^ Willingham, Richard (16 May 2012). "Networks refuse to air anti-pokie ads". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  52. ^ getupaustralia. ""The Pokies People", by GetUp". YouTube. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  53. ^ "Gambling With Lives". The Pokies People. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  54. ^ "Independent Andrew Wilkie says he lost his marriage to Kate Burton because of the stress of the hung parliament". couriermail. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  55. ^ Sullivan, Leanne, ed. (2013). Who's Who in Australia 2013 (XLIX ed.). Melbourne: Crown Content. p. 2405. ISBN 1 74095 190 5. ISSN 0810-8226. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Duncan Kerr
Member for Denison
2010–present
Incumbent