If you takethe time to read what pass as newspapers these days, you may havecome across Peter Fitzsimons’ editorials in the Fairfax pressspouting forth on subjects as varied as sport (he’s an ex-Wallaby),religion and God, conservative politicians and any other topic fromwhich he can wring an inner-city socialist slant.
He also singsthe praises of Australia’s fighting men and women in past wars intomes like “Kokoda”, “Tobruk” and “The WhiteMouse”, no doubt profiting handsomely in the process due toAustralia’s seemingly endless appetite to hero worship in these dayswhen the tag “hero” is too often appended to those whochase balls around paddocks.
But lastSunday’s “The Fitz Files” column in The Sun Herald was thetipping point for this little black duck and I have to fill thereadership in on how this person plays both ends of the stick insearch of popularity and mammon.
Readers mayrecall the press having a field day about NSW Parliamentarian RobertBorsak’s elephant hunt in Africa about a year ago. Aspersions werecast about his character and, despite these unjustified slurs, he hasrisen above the heckling to be a most effective politician, who hasalso weighed in on social issues outside of his constituents’interests, but most definitely in the NSW community’s interest eg notselling off power generation infrastructure too cheaply.
WellFitzsimons just brought it up again – what’s up Peter? Shooters andFishers Party getting a little too much traction for your liking?
I have apersonal issue with Mr Fitzsimons as well. When he published his book”Great Australian Sports Champions” in 2006, I eagerlypicked it up at a bookshop and noted the great Australians he haddocumented, people like Sir Walter Lindrum, Sir Donald Bradman, DawnFraser and the like. But imagine my despair when I could not findPercy Pavey MBE, surely the greatest target rifleman Australia hasever produced. I duly emailed PF asking why and received a polite butdismissive and curt response. He wasn’t interested really.
You don’thave to read too many battle records from Australian engagements inWorld War II to know that many very effective, heroic actions werewon by the skill-at-arms of pre-war rifle club members. My father,who served in the Artillery in New Guinea in the 2nd AIF and was amember of Canberra Rifle Club, went on to lose his hearing in thecause of freedom. I also shoot most weekends with Ted Hardy, whoserved as a Tobruk Rat in the Engineers and is pushing 90. His sondrives him out and he shoots service “off a bench” but hey,just being there and shooting targets is damn-near heroic at his age.
It’s a funnything but, when you include “the Yabba” in a list ofsporting greats and omit Percy Pavey, you have gone down the path ofcynical populism and profit-taking at the expense of educating thereading public. By omitting Pavey, he is also socially engineering byputting shooting (which was amazingly popular in the time of Bradmanand Lindrum) out of the current historical record “a la Fitz”.
He also, bynot acknowledging Pavey’s achievements with the .303, subtly issaying that skill with firearms is not a valid skill in the sportingpantheon, when just about every other sporting pursuit was developedas preparation for war (eg javelin, football, the Marathon-born fromwar. Surely learning how to really prepare in a controlled sportingcontext is valid – not according to Fitz.
I have let itride for five years but feel compelled to let you know this, becausehe also unashamedly attacks organised religion, particularlyChristianity, from which our great institutions grew. Were it not forChristianity’s abiding love of fellow man, slavery in Britain wouldnot have been abolished. William Wilberforce, a converted evangelicalChristian relentlessly drove that reform. But Fitzsimons is atChristianity like a dog at a bone on every possible occasion. Ratherthan a “live and let live” philosophy, he aggressivelyshoves his atheistic “beliefs” down his readers’ throats inthe hope that it becomes mainstream. If people like and accept hiswar books they may just accept the “great Aussie writer’s”politically correct spin and slavish endorsement of left-wingagendae, no matter how illogical or ill-conceived, on other topics.
Let’s justsee Fitzsimons do a fair and objective account of the recent WorldLong Range Rifle Shooting Championships just held in Brisbane.
Somehow Ithink I ‘ll be waiting a long time.