Home town hero
IT WAS with great pride and a good deal of interest that I read a column penned by former Bundaberg boy and now respected columnist and commentator on Australia's military history, Ross Eastgate OAM.
Ross wrote the column, Mindanao's unsung hero, about a Bundaberg Second World War hero, the late Robert Kerr "Jock” McLaren.
The significance of the column lays with the fact that Australia is now to submit military advisers to the southern Philippines island of Mindanao to take the fight up to Islamic State forces seeking to establish a stronghold in the area.
In the Second World War it was the Japanese Imperial forces with which Australia and its allies were engaged in battle. The story of Jock McLaren is a story of incredible hardship, ingenuity and bravery. Born in Scotland he emigrated to Australia and settled in Bundaberg, where he opened a veterinary practice.
Jock enlisted in 1941 before being captured by the Japanese in 1942 at the fall of Singapore. He escaped and was recaptured only to escape again, this time from the hell hole that was Sandakan.
McLaren joined with American and Philippine guerrillas and in addition to coast watch duties, became involved in land and sea skirmishes with the Japanese. He won promotion in the field and was finally recalled to Australia in 1944. Jock was then attached to Z Special Force, participating in the pre-invasion airborne landing at Balikpapan in Borneo in 1945.
He was awarded a Military Cross and later had a bar attached to the MC. One of the many tales told of McLaren was the removal of his own appendix without anaesthetic and with the use of a mirror and an "ordinary knife”. The operation lasted four-and-a-half hours.
He received US and Philippine decorations for his service. Following the war McLaren returned to Bundaberg to resume his vet practice. In 1956 he took a job on a coffee plantation in PNG and was killed after backing into a tree and being struck by a falling limb.
I fully endorse Ross Eastgate's suggestions that Jock McLaren's heroic example should be acknowledged (eg Taskforce McLaren) by whatever force the ADF sees fit to deploy to Mindanao.
Buy local hypocrisy
SO ANNA Palaszczuk and Labor swept into Bundaberg to prop up Leanne Donaldson's abysmal record and to win Bundaberg back.
If Leanne had been doing her job, Bundaberg wouldn't need to be won back.
The ruling from the regions stunt meant Palaszczuk was only technically here for a day-and-a-half in Bundaberg.
I'm not sure if Bundabergians suffer fools that easily - they know a con trick when they see it.
Especially when you help Labor mates of Utilitas with the biofuels contract - which by the way, still needs to be fully funded.
Again, Labor promising the world but not knowing how to fund it.
They need local architects to design the Mon Repos extension, not Brisbane-based ones.
They need local contractors to scuttle the Tobruk instead of sending it across the border where Girdon Pty Ltd HQ is based.
We know they will receive the bulk of the project money, with the scraps given out to locals.
Just like the dredge tender, but they dredged in the wrong place, costing us more money.
They need local jobs brought to the area not, as stated by Curtis Pitt himself at a recent Chamber of Commerce budget event, the bulk of them already taken by those from the south-east corner. Again, the locals get the scraps.
So much for Labor's Buy Local Procurement Policy - Labor have now proven they are not bringing back Queensland jobs, they will only be bringing jobs for Labor Union mates and their companies so they can fill the coffers up of the AWU and the CFMEU.
Any wonder CFMEU has over $70m in assets and have been giving funds to Get Up to fund lawsuits against any policy in Federal Parliament deemed to push funds away from the biofuels and renewables industries.
No sensible transition for Labor, just extreme green policies which we all pay for.
It would be nice if Labor and the trade unions stood for what they believe, union and union fees to represent union members not union fees to pay fines and political agendas.