Andrew Hastie (politician)

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Andrew Hastie

Andrew Hastie Orignal.jpg
Hastie in 2018
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Canning
Assumed office
19 September 2015
Preceded byDon Randall
Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security
Assumed office
15 February 2017
DeputyAnthony Byrne
Preceded byMichael Sukkar
Personal details
Born
Andrew William Hastie

(1982-09-30) 30 September 1982 (age 37)
Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)Ruth Hastie
Children2
ResidenceMandurah, Western Australia
Alma materUNSW, ADFA, Duntroon, GWU
ProfessionMember of Parliament (MP)
Websitewww.andrewhastie.com.au
Military service
AllegianceAustralia
Branch/serviceAustralian Army
Years of service2001–2015
RankCaptain
Unit2nd Cavalry Regiment (2007–2009)
Special Air Service Regiment (2010–2015)
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
Military intervention against ISIL

Andrew William Hastie (born 30 September 1982) is an Australian politician who serves as the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. He became the Federal Member for Canning with the Liberal Party in 2015, having served as a troop commander in the Special Air Service Regiment. Known as a conservative[1] he has made controversial[2] statements on Australia's need to "preserve our sovereignty"[3] and defy the "expansionist"[4] Communist Party of China. These views have been condemned as "totally intemperate"[5] and "inflammatory"[6] by Australian corporate leaders, then praised as a matter of "strong public interest"[7] even "necessary, and important"[8] by security analysts Professor Clive Hamilton and Professor Rory Medcalf.[9] His stance led to the Government of China blocking him and his colleague James Paterson from visiting China on a study tour, demanding that they "repent" from their views.[10]

Early life and family[edit]

Hastie's mother Sue was a primary school teacher, particularly to children with special needs. His mother's mother, Rose — to whom, Hastie says in his first speech, he was "very close"[11]— was a nurse throughout her life, caring for Hastie's grandfather, Reginald a war veteran, through to his death.

Andrew Hastie, age 1, with his father Peter, around 1983
Andrew Hastie with his father Peter, in the backyard of their home in Wangaratta, Victoria, circa 1983

His father, Peter has served as a pastor in church communities, early on in rural Wangaratta, Victoria; and later in the inner urban suburb of Ashfield, where he helped launch Australia's first Mandarin-speaking Presbyterian Church.[12][13] His father's father, Willliam "Bill" Hastie, served as an officer with the Royal Australian Air Force and was severely wounded by Japanese gunfire while making an air-sea rescue of two downed Australian airmen, for which he awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.[11]

Education[edit]

When the family moved to the inner west of Sydney, Hastie began his primary education at Ashbury Public School.[14] From year 5 he attended The Scots College[15] in Sydney, completing his Higher School Certificate in 2000. Intending to become a journalist, Hastie began a Bachelor of Arts in History, Politics and Philosophy at the Kensington Campus of University of New South Wales in 2001, and also joined the University of New South Wales Regiment as a part-time reservist. At a tutorial near the end of first year, following 11 September terror attacks Hastie says he listened to other students argue that the United States had “deserved” the attack, which he says he found “bizarre",[16] the event would "shape the next decade of my life."[3]

I was planning on being a foreign correspondent. 9/11 happened and the daughter of my year 2/3 teacher at Ashbury Public School, she died in one of the towers, I think she was 90 floors up. And so that event, apart from the obvious impact it had on Australia, it came very close to me and my life and I had a tradition of service in my family and thought, you know what, this is a big, historical shift, I want to be part of this.[14]

Lieutenant Andrew Hastie at the rear of his ASLAV Type 1, holding a copy of Empire by Scottish historian Niall Ferguson.

Hastie decided to join the Australian Army full-time, but completed his second year at the Kensington Campus in 2002 before transferring to the University of New South Wales at Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra in 2003. He completed his bachelor's degree in 2004 before being invited to do an honours year in 2005, his final thesis examined Charles Bean's official history of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Hastie still regards himself as a student of history[17] and recently wrote the forward to Destined for War[18] a historical survey of global conflicts, beginning with the Peloponnesian War by Graham T. Allison.

Hastie went on to officer training at Royal Military College, Duntroon in 2006.[19] In 2007, Hastie completed the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs's U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program in Washington, D.C.

Military service (2001–2015)[edit]

While at University, Hastie had planned on a part time career in the military, and began officer training with the Australian Army Reserve in 2001 through the University of New South Wales Regiment.[20] However, the events of 9/11 near the end of that year propelled him towards full-time army service, which he began as a Cadet in 2003. His officer training was completed at Duntroon in 2006, and he was presented with his Commission as Lieutenant from Governor General Michael Jeffery in December of that year.[21] His first posting as a young officer was in 2007 with 2nd Cavalry Regiment, the second most senior regiment in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, which he describes as "the last of the old army."[14] At this time the regiment was based with 1st Brigade[22] in Palmerston, Northern Territory[23]. Hastie took command of a cavalry troop in 2008, preparing for deployment in Afghanistan the following year.

Afghanistan, 2009–2010[edit]

MRTF-2 Commanding Officer's Tactical Party, on the edge of the Charmestan, Mirabad Valley, Urozgan Province, Afghanistan.
Andrew Hastie overlooking Chora from his Type I ASLAV.
Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle damaged by Improvised explosive device attack in Tarinkot in December 2009. Its V-shaped undercarriage design and armour meant that no Australian soldier was wounded.

Hastie first deployed to Afghanistan with Mentoring Task Force Two, a 750-strong Australian combined arms battle group, all under the command of Colonel Peter Connolly. The area of operations was across Urozgan Province where "they're tough people and they fight hard."[24] Hastie's role was to command a troop of Australian Light Armoured Vehicles as it helped to provide "cover when the Diggers go out on patrol"[25] by using “close combat to destroy the enemy with precision."[26] The troop's armoured operations began at the very start of the fighting season in May 2009, concluding in February 2010.[27] In an extensive report on the mission, known as Operation Falcon's Talon, Colonel Connolly wrote that the goal of the Australian forces was "...to clear and dominate the valley."[28] Australian forces, including Hastie's, pushed east out of Tarinkot District, up the Mirabad Valley from Charmestan to Khas Urozgan, all in order to extend the influence of the government of Hamid Karzai, who was seeking re-election in November of that year. The patrols were dangerous and at least four Australian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan at this time, mostly from attacks by improvised explosive devices. Hastie reported "we had four strikes in my troop alone”[14] though no deaths or wounding, thanks to effective armour. Despite the attacks, the series of patrol bases were established through the valley system in Urozgan Province by December of that year, and the wider operation was considered, in official reports — at least at this point — to be a success.[28] Hastie himself understood the role he and his men performed was part of a wider attempt to reshape Afghanistan:

Our job pretty much was the stick. The carrot was the mentoring piece, the aid that was delivered through DFAT, also there at the time and other NGOs. And we were the stick that kept the bad guys back.[29]

Special Air Service Regiment entry, 2010–2012[edit]

Insignia of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR)

Hastie successfully applied for entry to the Special Air Service Regiment Selection Course (known simply as "Selection"). The process is designed to identify soldiers with diverse backgrounds and strong character as they are able to “generate unconventional answers to strategic and tactical problems”[30] as needed for a Tier 1 Special forces unit. His cohort featured in the SBS documentary The Search for Warriors[31] where Hastie has been identified as candidate 10. With the other candidates, Hastie was subjected to extreme exercises, a deliberate system in which, according to the Lieutenant Colonel who had oversight of Hastie's Selection, “we will break an individual down.”[32] Exercises included “Lucky Dip”, five days working with teams to move heavy equipment by hand through the bush, with only one meal in that time; and a 150 km five-day solo trek across mountainous terrain, which Hastie recalled in interview:

“I remember on Selection being up on one of the mountains in the Stirling ranges, being asked, “Why do you want to be here?” I said, “Because last time I was in Afghanistan I was driving around getting blown up and I actually want to go after these guys.”[14]

The three-week selection course began in late July 2010[33] and concluded with a three-day extreme interrogation session, involving constant sleep deprivation and starvation.[34] Men in the group lost between 10 and 15 kilograms from exertion and malnutrition. From Hastie's initial cohort of 131 only 26 completed the course.[35] From there Hastie commenced the 18-month Reinforcement Cycle before receiving qualification with the Regiment, based at Campbell Barracks. He was one of 15 in his cohort[24] to be issued “the sandy beret” in May 2012 and was assigned to 1 SAS Squadron. His first overseas deployment was in Port Moresby to support the Papua New Guinea Defence Force as they provide security and stability for the General Election.[36]

Commanding special forces troop in Afghanistan, 2013[edit]

Australia's Special Operations Task Group was partnered with the local Provincial Police Ready Reaction Auxiliary Force which involved training, support and some joint operations.

From February to July 2013, Hastie deployed to Afghanistan as an SASR officer with Special Operations Task Group Rotation XIX. Hastie told journalist Chris Masters his role was now, "to protect the base and take the fight to the enemy."[37] More widely, the mission was to provide force protection as the ADF mentored the nascent Afghan National Security Force. Hastie led his troop in operations against hostile Taliban leadership in southern Afghanistan, commanding B Troop:

This meant targeting and taking out the Taliban leadership, helping to support the building of institutions such as schools, and trying to carve out some space for the new Afghan Government to govern.[38]

As part of Task Force 66 (Special Operations Task Groups IV-XX) Hastie's unit was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for "outstanding service on operations against an unrelenting, cunning and ruthless enemy, in an unforgiving environment."[39]Little is known about Hastie's actual missions, as special forces exist to deliver "clandestine, discreet, strategic effects."[40] However, as research by Chris Masters, Nick McKenzie and Ellen Whinnett has emerged, five events are known, which show both the effectiveness of his unit, and the serious limitations of what he later called "democracy at gunpoint."[41]

1. Joint operation with Wakunish[edit]

Largely, SASR operations were about "going after Taliban commanders and bomb makers"[42]in partnership with local Afghan forces. "Objective Multiple Spoons"[43] was the improbable name given to a high value leader who was on the "Joint Prioritized Effects List." The enemy commander was tracked by Hastie's colleagues using an "array of reconnaissance elements and intelligence platforms"[43] and was located to an exact position using thermal imaging systems. One SASR operator recalled "We watched the heat dissipate from his shit in the cold of night."[43] Hastie's men deployed to make the capture by Bushmasters, along with a Wakunish force element. These were special-forces-like soldiers from the North of Afghanistan, whom Hastie held in high regard. "The Wakunish were disciplined. They were tactically proficient. They were sensitive to the populace..." They encircled the target and attacked at first light, as per their rules of engagement for this context. The entire mission was observed by the commander of all Special Operations Forces for International Security Assistance Force, Brigadeer Bill Dechow, who "watched on as the Wakunish made entry and captured the senior objective without bloodshed." Hastie regarded it as exemplary of the kind of work special forces could achieve, "surgical and sensitive to locals. We even returned the objective's motorbike to the family."[43]

2. Deaths of Toor Jan and Odood[edit]

On 28 February 2013[44] Hastie led a squad of men to support a remote outpost of Afghan National Police in the Deh Rahwod District[43] planning to "supply them with some water, some Red Bull" and build trust with the local commander.[45] While there, the Electronic Warfare Operator received communication intercepts indicating two Taliban fighters, seen at a distance of 1,000 metres, were planning a rocket attack on the post.[45] Hastie had authority to neutralise the threat, communicated the coordinates for the combatants and called in a strike by a US Army Apache helicopter. However, the attack went badly wrong:

I remember looking at the target, and then hearing the guns fire and then the rounds splashing 600m away and thinking, ‘what the heck, that is not at all, that is not the target.[45]

Two boys, Toor Jan, age 7 and his brother Odood, who were collecting firewood had been mistakenly targeted for the two Taliban figures. Chris Masters research shows the subsequent "ADF inquiry would find no fault in Andrew Hastie's actions."[46] While no personnel had done wrong on the Australian side[44] recommendations were made to adjust "target correlation procedures" which refers to the way information had been shared with US partners. Even so, Hastie took responsibility for the action and met with the grieving family.

I said to them, "I'm the commander; I was the guy who made the decision." And I said, "I'm sorry, if I could take it back I would... and the uncle replied in Pashtun through the interpreter. He sort of nodded and gave me a warm sympathetic smile and said, "I forgive you."[45]

For Hastie, the death of the boys was both personally affecting and a turning point in his political outlook:

I just felt sick... It was arrogant to think we could build a mirror image of ourselves in foreign lands. [The boys’ deaths] underscored the gap between our aims and reality. The two boys who perished were bystanders in this larger struggle. I was humbled and chastened by this experience. War is a miserable enterprise. I remember saying to my boss: ‘I didn’t come here to kill kids’.[45]

3. Severed hands[edit]

On 28 April 2013, a major operation began against the senior insurgent commander, Abdul Hai.[43] The attacking force of 120 included "one Commando and two Provincial Response Company platoons"[37] led by Hastie's SASR B Troop, which he helped direct from the air. Several combatants were killed in the ensuing battle.[47] On searching the dead men, one corporal severed the right hands of two "Enemy Killed in Action" using a scalpel. On attempting to do the same to a third EKIA the soldier was stopped by a sergeant who said, “What the f*** are you doing?”[47] On arriving at this part of battle environment, Hastie gave the order to cease the practice and the next day the incident was reported to the CO, triggering a major ADF inquiry.[47] The inquiry heard that there had recently been training on how to collect biometric samples, particularly in managing the aftermath of a suicide bomb event.[37] Hastie later commented that “the guy giving instructions conflated site exploitation of a suicide bomber with that of biometric testing." The SASR corporal who severed the hands later conceded he had made an error of judgement in not first checking with his patrol commander.[47] The inquiry made it clear that the practice, and the fact that some appeared to accept it at the time, "demonstrated a drift in values, or at least a degree of desensitisation."[47]

4. Suicide bomber capture[edit]

Intelligence gathering operations constantly scanned for "chatter" on plans for suicide bombings by the Taliban. To interdict these operations, Hastie was required to work with local forces, however by May 2013 the Wakunish were now working independently,[37] so Australia's forces need to work with the Provincial Response Company[37] with whom they had few shared values. One of the first missions with the PRC was to capture a suicide bomber in Urozgan before he had the opportunity to attack. The operation was conducted in darkness "When they found the suicide bomber they were chasing, a barrel pressed against his temple was used to ease the man awake."[37] Now the enemy was secure, along with his explosive vest, and rockets, the PRC commanders, and their own magistrate, had a stand off with Hastie — insisting that they should execute the captured man.[37] The "person under confinement" was escorted to prison by Hastie and his team.

5. Truck bomb[edit]

Hastie's B Company received intelligence of a Taliban plan to use a truck armed with a bomb to attack their own Forward operating base.[37] The order was given for all personnel to put on armour and helmets if they were moving outside of secure buildings. An airstrike was considered once the exact location of the bomber was found, however, it was decided to neutralise the threat using Hastie's unit, on the ground. The force element was flown in on two Australian Black Hawks[37] the bomber located and killed, and the team extracted. From wheels down to wheels up had taken 22 minutes. There were no force injuries or casualties. For Hastie:

It was the SOTG machine at its most efficient and precise. When we got back and the order was given to all on base that they could take off the body armour and helmets when outside there was a sigh of relief. There was no doubt about that mission. We were protecting the base from attack. We just thought of Aussie diggers, aid workers, DFAT and everyone else supporting us behind the wire. I went to the gym and later enjoyed a deep and peaceful sleep.[37]

Jordan and Afghanistan, 2014–2015[edit]

Hastie deployed in late-2014 and 2015 to an intelligence role[48] in the Middle East-based role countering ISIL[49] as an Operations Officer for Operation Gallant Phoenix[14] a classified defence operation based in Jordan. The operation is said to be collecting intelligence "from commando raids in Syria and Iraq and funnelling it to law enforcement agencies in Europe and Southeast Asia to help stop future attacks."[50]

By mid 2013, Hastie had returned home to Perth. With his time in the SASR he felt he had achieved "the peak of soldiering"[37] but had been frustrated at "the absence of strategy"[37] which could only come from government. "We were hidebound by policy that compromised military principle. We were planning who we took out on the ground before we planned the mission.’[37] Hastie joined the Liberal Party of Australia shortly after his return. He resigned his commission from the ADF in August 2015 after announcing his candidature to run as the Member for Canning in the House of Representatives.[51]

Brereton Inquiry[edit]

In the years after Hastie left his regiment, Australia's Special Forces have come under scrutiny for possible war crimes, led by Major General Justice Paul Brereton. As at February 2020, the inquiry had examined 55 matters, interviewing 338 witnesses under oath.[52] Hastie is reported to be one of these witnesses and has "strongly supported the inquiries into the Afghanistan conduct, urging full transparency with the Australian public.[53] One of the matters concerns the alleged murder of an Afghan farmer, footage of which was aired on Four Corners. When asked, he said he found the killing "morally repugnant."[54]

Political career (2015–present)[edit]

Hastie first ran for a seat in the Australian Federal Parliament in the 2015 Canning by-election and was re-elected in 2016 and 2019.[55]

Election and first Turnbull Government[edit]

The seat of Canning became vacant by the death in office of the Liberal member, Don Randall, triggering the 2015 Canning by-election. Having won the Liberal Party pre-selection process against seven other candidates[24] Hastie launched his campaign in the electorate with strong support from Mathias Cormann and Julie Bishop, however he was quickly inundated with media criticism about the "severed hands"[56] incident and was further "rattled"[57] by strong questioning of his family's religious beliefs.[58] Within days Hastie would give a speech in which he strongly defended the soldiers under his command and his own military service:

I have not lived my life behind a desk pushing paper and talking about the concepts of freedom and democracy. I have acted. I have put my life on the line for this country and for that freedom.[56]

On Saturday 19 September 2015, after a four-week campaign that centred on solving the methamphetamine epidemic, Hastie won 55.26% of votes under the two-party-preferred system, making him the 10th Federal Member for Canning, defeating Labor candidate Matt Keogh. He joined the government of Malcolm Turnbull who had himself become Prime Minister of Australia a week before the by-election. Hastie gave his first speech on 13 October 2015, which centred on his priorities for healthy democracy, stronger community institutions and for defending Australia's sovereignty, "To safeguard our freedom I believe that the first duty of the Australian federal government is to secure our nation."[59] In the first months, when headlines were dominated by the Parramatta shooting and the Paris terror attack and the aftermath of the Sydney hostage crisis, it seemed that Hastie's parliamentary career would be marked by his concern[60] about "radical islamist ideology"[61] arguing in interviews[62] and op eds that:

I have read the Koran in its entirety. In my previous job with the Australian Defence Force, I studied Islamic State propaganda including many of its violent videos and images in an effort to understand their objectives, aims and rationale. I was disturbed by what I saw, but not cowed into inaction.... we should be free to question the roots of Islamic terrorism, especially the brand pushed by Islamic State. It is troubling that we have had young Australians sympathising with the theology and ideology of Islamic State.[63]

Re-election and second Turnbull Government[edit]

Hsu Boon, a pharmacist in Boddington, meeting with Andrew Hastie in 2017.

Hastie stood again for the division of Canning for the 2016 Australian federal election, on Saturday 2 July. He won 56.79% of the votes under the Two-party-preferred vote against Labor opposition candidate Barry Winmar, moving his seat from being "marginal" to "fairly safe" according to the Australian Electoral Commission.[64] He maintained a pattern of conducting regular town hall meetings in 2016, 2017, and (29 in 2017 alone) where, he says, he got the clear message "they want government to continue to provide essential services and keep them safe but otherwise stay out of their lives."[65]

Anthony Byrne, a Labor MP and Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security with its Chair, Andrew Hastie MP.

Hastie was appointed to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in September 2016, and invited to chair the committee from February 2017.[66] It's known the committee receives briefings from Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (Australia), Australian Signals Directorate[67] and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.[68] As such, Hastie and fellow members of the bi-partisan committee are "privy to a lot of information and intelligence briefings that other members of parliament aren't."[69] Through his work with the PJCIS Hastie came to conclude that Australia is "facing an unprecedented threat from espionage and foreign interference, and that current laws are not adequate to deal with this threat.”[70] At this point the source of the foreign interference was unnamed. Following its deliberations, the committee reviewed and amended the Espionage and Foreign Interference Act 2018[71] and Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018[72]

First Morrison Government[edit]

In Parliamentary offices, Andrew Hastie plays with his daughter.

In August 2018, Malcolm Turnbull called for two leadership spills in which Hastie is known to have supported the call for a new leader.[73] Scott Morrison was elected leader of the Liberal Party, becoming Prime Minister of Australia. Hastie maintained his chairmanship of the PJCIS as it took an increasingly serious tone on foreign threats.

National security reforms[edit]

Several major security reforms were introduced to Commonwealth law, via PJCIS review at this time. They include the following:

Assistance and Access Act[edit]

The committee carried the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 through to legislation[74] enabling security agencies to access otherwise encrypted communications by people who intend harm to Australians. Hastie expressed satisfaction on the bill becoming law, as it would enable security agencies to "surgically strike terrorists, spies, drug traffickers and paedophiles."[75]

Security of Critical Infrastructure Act[edit]

Prompted by the sale of the Port of Darwin to interests connected to the Communist Party of China, the Committee made recommendations for the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (Cth) (Act)[76] — placing a national security test to any foreign investment into energy or water assets and, notably, ports.

Espionage and Foreign Interference Act[edit]

In early 2018, the joint committee heard submissions from the intelligence services that indicated Australia was facing an unprecedented threat from espionage and foreign interference. The committee made "60 bipartisan recommendations on the government's separate espionage and foreign interference laws, which include greater protections for journalists."[77]At the time, Hastie made the comment that:

If left unchecked, espionage and foreign interference will significantly impact our long-term security. Australia's political institutions, democratic processes and economic competitiveness are all at risk. These new laws will provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to roll up the networks of foreign agents seeking to undermine Australia's sovereignty.[70]

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme[edit]

The committee also contributed amendments to the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018.[78] At this time, ZTE and Huawei and other "high-risk vendors" were deemed as unsuitable technology partners for the rollout of Australia's 5G network.[79] Overshadowed by the leadership controversy, these security decisions went largely unreported. However, security partners, such as Congressman Mike Gallagher would later see that Australia was both the first Western democracy to be targeted by China and the first to protect itself:

Australia was not only the canary in the coal mine for the expansion of Chinese influence, and just the way that they ruthlessly waged economic and ideological warfare; but was also the leader of the free world, the first country to take massive steps to counter that.[24]

Andrew Hastie uses a loud hailer to voice his support for striking Alcoa workers in the Peel region.

Local issues - supporting refinery workers[edit]

In his constituency work, Hastie surprised some by giving public support to striking Alcoa Australia workers, organised by the Australian Workers' Union. Hastie said, he supported the strikers because, "energy production in Australia is too expensive and it is hurting industry, workers, seniors and families. We have to put Australians first. Otherwise, more jobs will go offshore to other countries. Our smelters and refineries will close down. Energy security is job security."[80]


Re-election and second Morrison Government[edit]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Andrew Hastie MP stand by ANZAC wreaths at a memorial in Mandurah.

In the 2019 Australian federal election, held on 18 May, Hastie ran for re-election and won 61.83% of the two-party-preferred vote against the Australian Labor Party's candidate Mellisa Teede. On entering the 46th Parliament of Australia Hastie, in which Scott Morrison was returned as Prime Minister, Hastie become increasingly involved in lawmaking around matters of national security. He spoke in 45 debates in 2019, above average according to Open Australia,[81] the bulk of them surrounding matters of security or sovereignty. Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security pushed forward the Temporary Exclusion Orders Bill designed to prevent dual-national terrorists from returning to Australia.

Andrew Hastie in his electoral office in Mandurah, with an Australian flag given to him by a friend in the ADF, it had once flown at a army forward operating base

However, the Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2019 were reviewed by the committee and sent back for redrafting.[82] By 2020, Hastie was able to review the suite of legislative changes security as being all of one piece, to strengthen Australia's position in the region and the world:

What we’ve done in Australia over the last three or four years, I call it our pivot... taking action to preserve our digital sovereignty by excluding high-risk vendors from our future 5G network, passing the Espionage and Foreign Interference Laws, stopping the extradition treaty to China, those things were part of the pivot and ultimately, they’re expressions of our sovereignty.[83] 

"Clear Eyes"[edit]

A media release from Andrew Hastie MP and Senator James Paterson.
Hastie and James Paterson confirm they have been blocked from visiting China following their public comments about the Communist Party of China

In August 2019 Hastie wrote an Op-ed column, "We Must See China with Clear Eyes"[3] for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers, where he stated that Communist China — rather than Islamic terrorism, on which he had concentrated in his military career — would be the real security concern of the 21st Century. Moreover, a rising, revisionist, expansionist China would frame "almost every strategic and economic question facing Australia in the coming decades."[3] What brought more attention was his strong criticism of Western democracies and their mistaken belief "that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China" much as the French had believed the Maginot Line would guard them against the German advance in 1940. Hastie wrote:

Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become."[3]

The piece caused "a firestorm"[84] with the Chinese Embassy in Australia denouncing the remarks as reflecting a "Cold War mentality",[85] while Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan, whose state is heavily reliant on China for trade,[86] accused Hastie of "threatening WA jobs with extreme and inflammatory language."[86] An academic at UWA opined that the Western Australian government's existing relationship with China may not be sustainable, saying "there may come a time where this relationship is not possible to be run purely on commercial lines, and I have to say most of the reason for that is the changing behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party."[86] Conversely, Hastie received support from his colleagues Dave Sharma[87] and Peter Dutton.[88] Perhaps more surprisingly, Hastie's views received support from leading progressive figures, such Professor Clive Hamilton, a member of Australian Greens, who said:

I thought Hastie’s remarks were necessary, and important coming from him … carrying the authority of his chairmanship of the PJCIS.[89]

The diplomatic fallout was prompt. Hastie had been invited on a study trip with several colleagues to China with the independent think tank China Matters. However the Chinese embassy announced “that at this time Mr Hastie and Senator Paterson are not welcome" unless they "genuinely repent and redress their mistakes."[90] This snub was part of a wider activity of Overseas censorship of Chinese issues by the Communist Party of China and had the effect of making Australians more aware of CCP attempts to control Australians, with Hastie later saying "That press statement did all the work for us."[24] Hastie's warnings about Chinese abuses of human rights and interference with sovereign nations appeared to be further vindicated when newspapers released 400 pages of Chinese documents[91] on the workings of internment camps in Xinjiang, shortly followed by the apparent defection of a young Chinese spy with information in connection with a Chinese Australian, Nick Zhao[92] who was funded by Chinese interests to run for parliament, and was later found dead in a hotel room. As a further coincidence, in the weeks following publication, authorities in Hong Kong began arresting leaders of the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, a movement Hastie has strongly supported. By raising concerns about foreign interference, the opinion piece has been seen as a "threshold"[93], with other commentators predicting that Hastie's concerns "will dominate the political agenda"[94], having been discussed in the pages of global newspapers such as Haaretz[95] The Times[96] and The New York Times.[97] When interviewed by The Washington Post six months after his op-ed, Hastie said that while he had experienced ridicule, at first, from Australian officials and business leaders for sounding the alarm about China, the "debate has shifted", and the concerns about China intimidating democratic nations are now mainstream.[98]

COVID-19 and political warfare[edit]

While the health impacts of the Coronavirus hit Australia early in 2020, Hastie saw "how vulnerable we are to strategic coercion or supply chain warfare."[99] More than that, it highlighted “serious problems with the Chinese Communist Party. How they deal with truth, the way they mask the outbreak and the way this was not risk mitigated but was allowed to spread across the globe.”[100] Hastie was one of a number of backbenchers who pushed for added restrictions on foreign investment into Australian companies at this time, other supporters included Labor's Anthony Byrne and Kimberley Kitching then coalition MPs Dave Sharma, Tim Wilson, James Paterson, Alex Antic and Amanda Stoker.[101] The rationale was, "Aussie businesses have taken some big hits through the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to protect our most vulnerable from authoritarian states angling for bargains through their business fronts. There won't be a fire sale on our watch." However, Hastie went further, arguing that such purchases are simply part of a wider arsenal of Political warfare currently conducted by the Chinese Communist Party. "Although few will admit it, the Chinese Communist Party seeks to reshape the global order and Australia's position in it through foreign interference, ownership of strategic assets and influence operations. Australian institutions, universities, and assets are now contested; our sovereignty and independence will be diminished if we don’t continue to push back."[102] By late April of 2020 Hastie was arguing that CCP Actions in Australia were actively prosecuting political warfare, using economic and diplomatic channels.

The Chinese government’s done pretty well this week. On Monday they threatened us with economic collusion. On Tuesday they ran a false narrative about Frances Adamson, the Head of DFAT and Ambassador Cheng, and on Wednesday they got a publicity stunt where they could basically parrot talking points at a Commonwealth press conference, no less, than by a former Cyber-spy.[103]

Five Eyes and strategic industry reform[edit]

Hastie has emerged as a contributor to global democracy forums such as the Commission on Advancing a Free World[104] and the Henry Jackson Society and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung; all of whom advocate for the Five Eyes security alliance and who share concerns about China's threats to global democracy. A major paper from the Henry Jackson Society found that Australia currently has a dependence on China across 595 categories of strategically imported goods, and this represents a troubling economic-strategic vulnerability. Alongside other conservative political leaders, including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Canadian MP Peter MacKay and UK MP Bob Seely Hastie gave a formal response to the paper, where he found:

Australia is the Five Eyes nation with the most strategic dependence on China.... for material and goods critical to our resources, construction, agricultural and manufacturing industries. We are also dependent on China for pharmaceuticals, fertilisers and medical supplies. In short, Australia is dangerously exposed.[105]

Hastie used the moment to call for Australia to re-set its strategic-industries.[106] Commentators such as Greg Sheridan took the paper to be a strong prompt for "securing reliable supply chains in critically important strategic industries."[107]

Chinese-Canadian democracy activist, Anastasia Lin, meeting with Andrew Hastie in Canberra, December 2018

Support for Hong Kong democracy movement[edit]

The National People's Congress of China made a resolution in May 2020 which would "set up a new legal framework and enforcement mechanism to ensure national security in Hong Kong."[108] Hastie became one of "nearly 200 global political leaders — including 20 Australians"[109] to decry the move as "comprehensive assault on the city's autonomy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms."[110]

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China was launched on 4 June 2020, supported by senior legislators from eight democratic nations.

Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China[edit]

On 4 June 2020, the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Hastie joined a group of 19 MPs from eight countries and the European Parliament to form the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. The Times reported the alliance aims to:

...change policy in five areas: safeguarding the international rules-based order, upholding human rights, promoting trade fairness, strengthening security and protecting national integrity.[111]

Hastie was invited to co-chair the Australian arm of the alliance with Senator Kimberley Kitching. The global leadership is drawn from across the political spectrum of democratic nations[112] including:

Local issues: development[edit]

While Hastie has opposed dredging and development of the Mandurah Estuary for a 300-berth marina[113] citing the lack of grassroots interest as well as environmental and possible geo-strategic concerns. However, he strongly supports the AUD22 million foreshore development project, allocating AUD7 million in federal funds, towards a new civic square, convention centre, a large-scale adventure play area and an ecotourism hub.[114]

Political views[edit]

US Congressman Mike Gallagher with Andrew Hastie standing with statue of David Stirling, founder of the British SAS, in Western Australia in August 2019

Hastie has been described as a "conservative"[115], a "social conservative"[116] and, at least by the official Chinese government media as "an arch-conservative."[117] Critics see his foreign policy outlook as being "jingoistic"[118] labelling the MP "a notorious hawk."[119] Equally, libertarian and far-right groups such as those associated with Lyndon LaRouche[120] are strong critics of his.[121][122]

Hastie himself has said, "I am not a libertarian, but I am a Liberal, which is to say that I am committed to freedom."[123] This would appear to be confirmed by his decision to join the Atlantic Council — a Classical liberal bi-partisan think tank formed for "defending democratic values."[124] The invitation[124] came via US Congressman Mike Gallagher, a conservative Republican and Tom Tugendhat, a British MP who describes himself as a "community conservative."[125] His outlook, unsurprisingly, has been shaped by his experience of war:

I take my time in Afghanistan, especially in my first deployment, particularly my time with MRTF2 with the 1RAR battle group, as being very formative for me, doing Nation Building and realising the limitations of government to change people and their culture. We built bridges, we built a bazaar where we expected people to trade, we built schools and hospitals, we built all sorts of things, but fundamentally, we didn’t change the way the Afghan people lived. Respecting people’s sovereignty, and people’s freedom to live as they choose is something that I learned over there.

A footbridge in the Mirabad Valley, in Urozgan Province, built by ADF engineers, being patrolled by a member of the Afghan National Army, followed by an Australian soldier from the Mentoring Task Force in February 2010.
Lieutenant Hastie distributing crayons to Afghan children in Oruzghan

This experience seems to have made Hastie sceptical of Neoliberalism, saying, "I am now far more circumspect about the ability of military power to change people and societies, and far more aware of how resilient culture can be."[16] By the same measure, Hastie is diffident towards Neoconservatism, especially in its Laissez-faire tendencies, which he finds unacceptable because, "despite the benefits of globalisation, there are always losers in the transfer of labour and capital offshore. Loss of identity through vocational irrelevance is a real anxiety in communities that prize skilled labour."[126] Hastie's high view of sovereignty and his desire to protect local people and their industries from global forces[127] would places him in the tradition of National liberalism. Recently Ben Pronk and Tim Curtis (both former SAS officers, Pronk had been Hastie's commanding officer) asked Hastie for his vision for Australia. His off the cuff answer was:

I hope to see a country where families are strong. Where we've incentivised families through the policies that we've legislated. I hope to see a strong defence force so that we can weather the challenges that will inevitably come. If you take history as a guide we will face inevitable security challenges. I hope that we are aware of our history, that we haven't cut the mooring that is our civilisation.[14]

This statement contains three threads that are seen in almost all of Hastie's writing and remarks. First, a passion "to defend the rule of law, democracy and the constituent freedoms"[128]. Second, a belief that "Sovereignty, where compromised, must be recovered and protected."[129] Third, that community or local institutions "should define the character and activity of our nation from the ground up."[130]

Democracy[edit]

One ABC profile on Hastie found that "the heart of his worldview is the belief that everyone is equal and has dignity[131] and from here his convictions about democracy emanate. The belief in the inherent value of the individual means the individual must be free when it comes to "thought, worship, speech, association and choice" as Hastie said in his first speech.[132] These freedoms allow our communities to naturally form and "are the fullest expression of self-government."[133] Hastie recently collaborated with the Australian Labor Party's Kimberley Kitching to form the "Parliamentary Friends of Democracy." It comes out of a concern that democratic institutions are "under increasing pressure around the globe." They believe, "Australian parliamentarians have a duty to rise above party to defend the rule of law, democracy and the constituent freedoms that make Australia a special place to live."[134] This view expands on concerns that Hastie has expressed elsewhere, that "our greatest vulnerability lies not in our infrastructure, but in our thinking. That intellectual failure makes us institutionally weak. If we don't understand the challenge ahead for our civil society, in our parliaments, in our universities, in our private enterprises, in our charities — our little platoons — then choices will be made for us. Our sovereignty, our freedoms, will be diminished."[135] In February 2020 it was announced that Hastie had been invited to serve on a panel of western leaders who are concerned for the state of global democracy, the Commission on Advancing a Free World, in association with The Atlantic Council.[136] Their Declaration of Principles for Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace[137] articulates seven statements for protecting democracy across the world, beginning with "the right of all people to live in free and just societies, where fundamental rights are protected under the rule of law."

Freedom of thought - on marriage[edit]

Hastie saw the 2016 Same-sex marriage debate in Australia as a conscience issue.[138] He supported the postal survey because he believed that the institution of marriage, since it existed before the parliament, was an institution that "belongs to the people" so it was right for the people themselves to vote on it.[138] When the "yes vote" was strongly returned, Hastie ensured passage of the bill, but could not vote for it himself.[139] He explained, "We went to the election with it, I was on television saying I would abstain, I've been in dialogue with constituents for the last 18 months and whenever I've talked to them about the issue, I've said I would abstain. My intention is to abstain because to vote yes would go against my conscience, but I want to uphold both the vote in Canning and the national result and abstention is the best way to do that."[140] Most of Hastie's statements through the public debate centred not on marriage, but on how to have the debate. When right wing commentators such as Larry Pickering used homophobic language towards LGBT persons, Hastie immediately condemned the statement, expressing his "dismay" at the degrading language, and pleaded for "higher personal and civic standards"[141]

Freedom of conscience - on military abuses[edit]

Recent reports by Chris Masters and others of prisoner abuse, and even killings, by the Australian Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan have seen Hastie come forward as a strong advocate for transparency. He has "emerged as a champion of the Brereton Inquiry."[142] He strongly supports whistleblowers when it comes to abuse, telling ABC Radio the truth tellers should be respected: "I don't want to go into any specific allegations, but they should be taken seriously and, as I said, we want a free media reporting on all issues."[143]

Freedom of expression[edit]

In one of Hastie's first electoral campaigns, he had a large outdoor poster vandalised. Rather than condemn the culprit, he wrote a Facebook message, "Will Mandurah's Van Gogh please come forward[144] then had a local graffiti artist add even more colour to the piece. However, when a campaign bus was torched, Hastie drew a firm line, calling them, "cowards using Taliban tactics in the dead of night"[145] Hastie encourages debate and dissension, especially in classroom settings.[146]

Freedom of press[edit]

Hastie has actively stood up for journalists at the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald, using Parliamentary privilege to name Chau Chak Wing[147] as a man who co-conspired to bribe a UN official, a man who took the media outlets to court for defamation as they had published the accusations. Hastie explained his actions by saying "...democracy works only if we have a free press that can publish information that serves the public interest."[148] However, current laws have allowed for the Australian Federal Police to raid journalists from the ABC and News Corp Australia for reasons of security.[149] This places a tension between freedom and sovereignty.

Freedom of religion[edit]

Delegates from Australia's Uyghur community, Sadam and Almas, meeting with Andrew Hastie MP (on left) and Senator James Paterson (right) at Parliament House, Canberra, in November 2019.

While an observant Christian[131] Hastie holds to the view that if the law allows him to practice his faith, it must allow all to express their faith, or lack of it. That means, in Australia, that while he personally finds the burka "repugnant as it "defaces the personhood of women"[150] he would be very reluctant to have the state controlling it, as it's an expression of religious belief.[131] This may be informed by his early experience of seeing Chinese people in his own faith community suffering while under totalitarian governments:

I grew up in a Chinese suburb basically, Ashfield is known as Little Shanghai... there was an explosion of Chinese Australians who’d come from the mainland, living under communism and had found faith and were living it out freely… My father baptised a man who went back to China, was handing out Bibles and went to gaol for six months. This is a guy who I sat at a dinner table with as a young guy and got to know personally. So for me, I’ve got a heart for the Chinese people.[12]

Hastie advocates strongly for freedom of religion as a basic human right across the globe, including the right of Uyghurs to practice their faith in China's Xingjian Province, saying "it's our duty to stand up for them, and argue the point, and ask for their freedom."[151] After The New York Times published the Xinjiang papers Hastie expressed deep empathy for those with personal ties to Uighurs facing "systemic persecution and internment".[152] The documents showed how China views the Muslim people of that region as being "infected, as they say, with unhealthy thoughts"[153] forcing millions into the communist government's Xinjiang re-education program. Hastie urged Uyghur people in Australia, and in China, not to give up hope.[152]

Sovereignty[edit]

The Mayor of Mandurah, Rhys Williams, with Andrew Hastie MP, hosting an Australian Citizenship ceremony in March 2020

Sovereignty is an increasingly frequent topic in Hastie's writing and speeches, which he defines as being the ability to "preserve Australia’s strategic freedom of action, the ability to pursue our own interest, economic or otherwise, and also it means resilience."[154]

Hastie argues that Australia's representatives must be the ones making decisions, rather than foreign actors, and so "upholding our political system is the first thing that we must do because that at least preserves our political leadership and their ability to make decisions, un-influence by greater powers.”[155] As such he strongly resists foreign influence on the working of the Australian economy, culture or political system. "My bottom line is Australian sovereignty – I want to protect our way of life, our freedom of action and our political institutions. That's my job as a member of the Commonwealth Parliament. I make no apologies for it."[156]

Economic sovereignty[edit]

Andrew Hastie has been a strong supporter of Minister Angus Taylor and his move to bring in a Strategic Oil Reserve.

Hastie locates the energy debates as sovereignty issue, and in 2018 said, "I have a problem legislating the Paris target because it undermines Australia's 'economic sovereignty'"[157] which meant he could not support the National Energy Guarantee (sometimes called "the NEG"). Later in 2018 he made a speech in the Federation Chamber, saying, "Australian industry and Australian workers must come first. When it comes to energy, we must put the Australian people before Paris."[158] In tension with Free market advocates within the Liberal Party of Australia, Hastie has made statements that appear close to Protectionism, strongly supporting plans of Minister Angus Taylor to build a national strategic oil reserve and of federal plans to "encourage greater manufacturing."[159]

Sovereignty and political warfare[edit]

This has been the main legislative focus for Hastie in recent times. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Hastie explained that, "Democratic countries must take domestic measures to protect against these threats. Australia has led the way in this regard. Authoritarian states use all instruments of state power to pursue their strategic objectives. Seemingly innocent activities like diplomacy, foreign-investment flows into strategic industries and infrastructure acquisitions like the purchase of ports are not so innocuous. Democracies who don't pay attention to these activities – and take measures to guard against them – risk becoming tethered to hyper-modern authoritarian states and losing their sovereignty in the process."[156]

Data sovereignty[edit]

Hastie sees the digital space as being critical to matters of sovereignty, "Sovereignty in the future is having control over your data. As Mike Pompeo has said, 'If you don't control your data, then you're not sovereign.'"[24] Given that companies such as Huawei would be legally required to pass on information carried on their networks to the Chinese government,[160] Hastie was a strong supporter of the Turnbull Government's decision to prevent that company from providing 5G services in Australia. Along with other parliamentarians from the Liberal Party, including Tim Wilson and James Paterson and Labor's Anthony Byrne, he has been active in applying pressure to Australia's partners in the Five Eyes security alliance to do the same. In a public statement he explained how important that security arrangement is, "In a time of growing strategic uncertainty, Australia values that membership more than ever."[161] In private settings, it is known that he has supported Byrne, the Deputy Chair, who used forceful language in discussions with UK leadership in January 2020, asking “How would you feel if the Russians laid down infrastructure in your own networks? That’s how we feel about Huawei.” Hastie is quoted as supporting frank conversation about data sovereignty with western allies, saying "We save our toughest talk for our closest mates. I back my deputy chair.”[162] On 23 May 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans that would "see China's involvement in the UK's 5G network reduced to zero."[163] Stephen Conroy, the former Labor Minister for Communications later said that Anthony Bryne and Hastie had played a pivotal role in the UK's decision[164] which meant that Huawei was no longer providing any 5G infrastructure to any member of the Five Eyes alliance.

Enemies, allies and sovereignty[edit]

In May 2018, Hastie took the "dramatic"[165] step of using parliamentary privilege to name a Chinese-Australian property developer as being a corrupt person acting in the interests of a foreign power, saying, "It is now my duty to inform the House and the Australian people that CC-3 is Chau Chak Wing, the same man who co-conspired to bribe the president of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe, the same man with extensive contacts in the Chinese Communist Party, including the United Front."[166] The information had been given to the MP during meetings in the United States earlier that year.[167] The move was criticised as "causing trouble" both to the government to Australia's relationship with China."[168] Hastie himself believed he was compelled to speak as, "My duty, first and foremost, is to the Australian people and the preservation of the ideals and democratic traditions of our Commonwealth.”[169]

At the Australian–American Memorial in Canberra, Senator John McCain observes a minute's silence alongside Andrew Hastie and other dignitaries.

While the incident gave another example of the parliamentarian's determination to protect Australian institutions from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party[170] his acting in consort with American defence forces and intelligence agencies such as the Department of Justice[171] also provided more proof of his commitment to the U.S.-Australia alliance. At the high level, Hastie believes that this alliance is essential to Australia maintaining its sovereignty saying, “National leaders must affirm and articulate the values that define Western democracies, especially as we seek to build a coalition of like-minded partners to resist authoritarian political warfare.”[172] He led a parliamentary delegation to the United States in early 2017 and afterwards indicated that, for him, the defence alliance holds personal importance

“When we met with House and Senate leaders, and members of the [US] House Intelligence Committee, those committee members really emphasised the importance of the relationship... I was sitting there in front of the Senate Intelligence and Security Committee and the committee minority leader is a senator from Virginia and I said to him, ‘I wouldn't be sitting here if it wasn’t for a medic from Virginia who saved my grandfather’s life on the 31st of March 1945’.”[173]

Community[edit]

Andrew Hastie MP visiting Amana Living Meadow Springs Village, an Anglican age care community in Mandurah.

Hastie's experiences in Afghanistan, especially in seeing how limited the military is in reshaping people's lives, seems to have given him an even higher view of community, culture and local institutions. In an interview about his wartime experiences, he said:

For me, it proved that culture and geography (are) decisive in the formation of societies and political institutions. Building lasting, trusted institutions takes time, generations of stewardship and public virtue.[38]

His son Jonathan holding his hand, Andrew Hastie marches with veterans on Anzac Day in Mandurah.

Looking at Australia, Hastie believes that it is local institutions that provide civic foundations of "accountability, freedom and democracy."[174] He argued in his first speech that the first of these institutions is the family, which "is central to a healthy society"[174] but also extends to sporting clubs, service clubs, churches and local businesses.[174] In one op-ed, Hastie went even further, suggesting that community groups, or "pre-political institutions" are finally more important than governments:

"More powerful than the political levers of government are grassroots volunteer movements and pre-political institutions... Pre-political institutions are the best place for securing our freedoms and so we should take encouragement that democratic governments cannot control them, and are sent packing when they attempt to do so."[175]

The power of community and PTSD[edit]

Hastie reflected on how his grandfather recovered from the trauma of World War II thanks, in part to the power of community, and laments that we may not have that power available to us now, "Just thinking of my grandfather's own experience, he was shot up quite badly in the second world war where civil society was still very strong, community was still very strong, a lot of local clubs and organisations, I think he struggled with PTSD but I think his PTSD was mitigated by those little platoons that we talk about, he was very close to his comrades from the second war, and I'm just not sure if we have in today's society that same sort of cushioning and community support as we had 70 years ago."[4]

Community and environment[edit]

While environmental concern is often seen as a progressive cause, Hastie sets the environment between two concerns - that, as per the Burkean contract - the good things inherited should be passed on to the next generation. And that the environment serves the community, which means they need to make the decisions about it. In a recent controversy about a proposed dredging of an estuary, Hastie said:

"I believe in the sovereignty of local communities to make decisions about how they conserve and develop their environment. The Bindjareb people, the First Australians in my constituency, have long been custodians of the waterways—for many generations back to the present. The Murray Mandurah community also shares this responsibility, and together we are all stewards of the beautiful Peel-Harvey Estuary, a body of water larger than Sydney Harbour, teeming with marine life and brimming with natural beauty. We, therefore, through our local governments, have sovereignty over this natural asset and should have a say about how development takes place. We're not antiprogress, but we are rightly cautious about development, as we are the ones most affected by it."[176]

Personal life[edit]

Hastie met his wife Ruth in the summer of 2007 while he was studying at George Washington University. Their first date was "watching then President George W. Bush walk from the Oval Office across the lawns of the White House to be whisked away in the Marine One helicopter."[33] Some months later, Hastie proposed to Ruth on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. The two were married in 2008 at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Their children were born in Perth in June 2015 and August 2017. The family of four now lives in the City of Mandurah in the Peel region of Western Australia.[177][178]

Andrew Hastie with his wife Ruth and two children, on election night, 18 May 2019

He credits his family for giving him a love for reading, especially "biographies, Shakespeare, psalms"[131] along with history. Favourite historians include Geoffrey Blainey, H. W. Brands, Niall Ferguson, Andrew Roberts and Ronald C. White. He also enjoys 20th century novelists such as Graham Greene, Cormac McCarthy, P. G. Wodehouse and Tom Wolfe.[24]

Fellow parliamentarians recognise Hastie as “a man of deep faith”[179] which he shares with his parents and siblings. While he has been described as a "religious fundamentalist"[180] the faith communities he has been part of are reformed and evangelical churches including Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC, Shenton Park Anglican Church,[181] Crossroads Church in Canberra (a congregation of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), and Peel Presbyterian Church in Mandurah. Having rejected Christian belief in his teens for several years, Hastie has spoken of how only a theistic understanding of the world makes any sense of the death and suffering he has personally witnessed, that if he were "a closed universe atheist, how bleak and senseless those deaths would be".[182]

Honours and awards[edit]

Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png

Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar v2.svg

AUS Meritorious Unit Citation with Federation Star.png

Ribbon of the AASM Australian Active Service Medal with clasp for ICAT
Ribbon of the Afghanistan Medal for Australia Afghanistan Medal Operation SLIPPER
Ribbon of the Australian Service Medal Australian Service Medal with clasp for CT/SR (Counter Terrorism / Special Recovery)[183]
Ribbon of the ADM Australian Defence Medal
NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar v2.svg NATO Medal for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan with clasp ISAF
Meritorious Unit Citation Meritorious Unit Citation with Federation Star Awarded to Task Force 66 in the 2015 Australia Day Honours
Infantry Combat Badge
Army Combat Badge

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Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Don Randall
Member for Canning
2015–present
Incumbent