Federal Member for Canning Andrew Hastie is unfazed by recent allegations that he failed to follow Australian Defence Force and parliamentary rules saying there had been no ‘blowback’ from constituents.
The ex-SAS soldier was dumped from the standby reserves last week after he refused to comply with an ADF request to remove photographs of him in military uniform from political signage.
It was also reported the ADF was considering asking the next government to change the law to prohibit election campaign material containing military uniforms.
Days later it was revealed he breached parliamentary rules by failing to declare his Mandurah home in the registration of member’s interests within the required four-week timeframe.
Mr Hastie and his wife Ruth bought the home in March but did not attempt to declare the property until May, after parliament had already dissolved, which meant the register could not be updated.
He said he had done everything ‘by the book’ but agreed he needed to be timelier.
“The ruling is 28 working days and we got it on working day 37,” he said.
“It was in between working away from home for six weeks out of 10 and doing a removal for the second time in eight months.
“I take that on the chin – my admin needs to be tighter.”
Mr Hastie was more defiant in his decision not to remove photographs of him in military uniform from his political signage, saying the ADF had no authority over him.
“The fact of the matter is that I resigned from the full-time army last year in August in order to run for the by-election,” he said.
“My transfer was direct to the standby reserves so I never was a reservist and I wasn’t really dumped – it was a bit of a media beat up.
“The standby reserves is just a database of ex-serving members so I wasn’t assigned to a unit, I didn’t parade, I don’t have a uniform and I have no responsibilities whatsoever.
“Defence attempted to exert authority through that mechanism and as a member of the House of Representatives I don’t take orders from the military.”
Mr Hastie said he only received positive reactions from constituents.
“I was with (Assistant Treasurer) Kelly O’Dwyer in Mandurah last week and I had little old ladies come up and say good on you mate and I’ve had people stop at train stations and shake my hand saying good on you,” he said.
He said any attempt by the ADF to ask the government to prohibit military uniforms featuring in campaign material would be ‘silly’.