They say a prophet has no honour in his hometown.
This can ring even truer in the major political parties.
It was certainly the case for Senator Jim Molan where the Liberals did what they could to hold him back.
But such was the greatness of the man, who sadly passed away from cancer on Monday, now everyone, friend and foe, is lining up to eulogise him.
Despite being a retired Major General in the Australian army and having commanded Coalition forces (including Americans) in Iraq, Molan was never made Defence Minister and struggled to hold his Senate spot.
Greg Sheridan writes in today’s Australian:
“Jim was constantly denied a winnable seat in the Senate and ended up in parliament through casual vacancies, happenstance and resignations. When offered a giant, the Liberal Party chose pygmies every time.”
Despite having masterminded a humane way of abolishing the evil people smuggling trade to Australia, saving countless lives, a spot could not be found for him on the Morrison front bench.
Australia’s radical left, which included some in the Liberal party, hated Operation Sovereign Borders but they are now silent because the drownings have stopped.
The policy meant illegal immigrants who had destroyed their identity documents and refused generous offers to go home or to a safe country had to be detained longer than any of us would have liked.
But it also meant Australia could maintain an orderly migration program, including provision for refugees who had no hope of paying US$10,000 to a criminal gang for passage on a leaky boat.
The left will never give Molan credit for this. Labor and the Greens honour Molan with the caveat “even though we didn’t always agree”.
But they can’t give a rational reason for disagreeing with the logic of his policy ideas.
Americans look with envy at Australia’s secure borders as five million illegal immigrants, and counting, have crossed their now non-existent southern border since Joe Biden entered the White House.
To the end Molan was a voice crying in the wilderness warning war with China was imminent.
Last year while battling the prostate cancer that would kill him, he wrote a book – Danger on our Doorstep – arguing the best way to deter the Chinese Communist Party was through our own military strength.
“She’ll be right” was not going to cut it anymore as a weak America meant Australia urgently needed to upgrade its defence capability.
“The ADF has never been better for the wars it has fought over the past 80 years but not for the current strategic environment,’’ he said in an interview with his daughter Erin late last year.
“Our Defence Force is a one-shot force — likely to last only a few days in any serious fight.
“It lacks lethality, sustainability and mass.’’
Greg Sheridan is scathing of the Liberals’ failure to listen to Molan.
“He made no significant progress in getting his government to take the remedial action on defence that he thought was necessary. He was intensely frustrated by this. How could a decade of Coalition government result in spectacularly ineffective defence ministers David Johnston, Marise Payne and Linda Reynolds, but leave Molan on the backbench? That was a sign, ultimately, that the Coalition governments were not serious about defence.”
Like a good soldier, you never heard Molan criticise the Liberals.
Sheridan also revealed another side of Molan.
“Jim was my friend and I thought the world of him. He once paid me the great compliment of saying my books on Christianity led him to think hard about his own faith and that he had started praying again.”
May be rest in peace.