Macquarie Banker names Hitler as skilled leader
Macquarie Bank director Michael Hawker is alleged to have described Adolf Hitler as a skilled leader when addressing business leaders in Sydney.
Melbourne’s Herald Sun has reported that the banker, a former Australian Rugby Union representative player, had been discussing leadership qualities.
The Herald Sun quoted the Australian Financial Review which published Hawker in an article entiled “Lessons from Adolf” as having said “you have to paint a great picture of your vision for the future if you want people to follow.Hitler painted a great picture … Well, maybe not from another point of view.”
Anton Block, chairman of the Anti-defamation Commission told J-Wire: “Hawker’s choice of words is unfortunate. To be a great leader, one needs to seek consensus. Invoking Adolph Hitler is sure to be divisive.
Hitler had leadership qualities but surely will go down in history as a homicidal murderer.”
The Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, said the comments were “beyond belief, especially coming from a business leader”.
“If Michael Hawker was accurately quoted, his message was that Hitler’s vision of the future inspired people to follow him and marked him as a great leader”, Wertheim said. “Well, the German people followed Hitler’s evil, racist vision alright, and it brought about their utter ruin. Their country was flattened, occupied and divided, and it took their nation generations to recover. They ravaged the rest of Europe in a war and genocide in which 60 million people were killed, the majority of them innocent civilians, and millions more suffered. Vision and leadership are merely illusions if they lack a proper ethical foundation”.
Wertheim suggested that Hawker visit the Jewish Museums in Sydney and Melbourne to obtain a more realistic understanding of the nature of Hitler’s ‘vision’ and leadership. “Michael Hawker might also find it helpful to read a good history book about Nazi Germany and the Second World War”, Wertheim added.
The Herald Sun reported that Macquarie Bank had refused to confirm as to the accuracy of the AFR quote or “address concerns the comments were offensive”.
Federal Labor MP Michael Danby told J-Wire: “I think that he realised he was making a goose of himself. Putting an argument the Nazi paradigm is a surefire way of losing it. We have recently commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Bomber Command. 2,500 members of the command were killed during WWII. Their families will surely not agree with Mr Hawker’s choice of a ‘skilled leader’”.