Andrew Hastie, Chair Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Encryption bill
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie

Crikey readers were divided on the topic of Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie, whose warnings last week about China’s rise caused a rift in parliament. While some thought that Hastie was simply reflecting Liberal kowtowing to America, others thought that he might have a greater place in the party. Elsewhere, readers continued to react to the shock waves of the Witness K whistleblower trial.

On Andrew Hastie

Philip Howe writes: I think that having a Hastie is much better than not having a Hastie. He has repeatedly made life awkward for some of the nastier members of the Liberal Party. If you think he goes too far or uses extreme language then I suggest you look at the output of Abetz, Dutton, Abbott and many more. I’m glad he’s there and he’ll mature if allowed to.

Mark Hillis writes: Bernard Keane’s article is persuasive. Hastie deserves credit for not fitting neatly into the hard right category that others in his party seem so willing to do. Blinded by dollar signs, uncritical attitudes towards China may serve to reinforce China’s cynical assessment of Western democracies.

Ian Hunt writes: Hastie’s comments are an appalling attempt to line Australia up with the US in its economic dispute with China and its attempt to block China from being the global technological leader.

Robert Smith writes: Morrison may say Liberal Hastie is free to comment as a backbencher, but if it had been a Labor person his attitude would have been different.

On Witness K

Fiona Powell writes: I am quite simply ashamed. Ashamed of our political leaders, ashamed of our “democracy” and ashamed that good people are being penalised for doing the right thing. I have signed petitions, donated money to various campaigns, but nothing seems to work against the tactics available to those who are needlessly pursuing Witness K. I say needlessly because those of us who are interested already know the story and those who aren’t, well they just won’t notice the outcome either way. No wonder some are resorting to public disturbance measures to draw attention to other perversions of what we like to think of as our right to free speech (that isn’t there really). I really am at a loss as to what to do. Maybe though that is just the outcome sought.

Brian Marr writes: I am speechless about what has transpired. I am dumbfounded. I feel helpless. Our inaction is telling of the state of our parliamentary democracy. It is gutless and corrupt. I only hope something good can come out of this. I hope someone establishes a fighting fund, or a whistle-blowers defence group, or a political party that will right this wrong.

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Peter Fray

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