Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thoughts on the Apology

- Rudd was pretty damned good. He can never entirely escape his inner technocrat; even on this most emotive of occasions, he felt the need to bring up policy reform and procedural objectives and special cabinets. He's no poet, but somehow it worked. I, along with many others, was moved to tears.

- If there was ever any doubt that Rudd's prime ministership would be different from Howard's, it should now be banished. One of the best parts of Rudd's speech was his repudiation of the idea that acknowleding blemishes in our history constitutes a "black armband view" - it is, as Rudd said, "just the truth". Ah yes, truth: I remember the concept. Rudd might not be a raving lefty, but his moral compass is sound.

- Jokes about post-reformation theology: a surprise hit?

- I have little doubt that Dr Brendan Nelson is a good man. Really. He was clearly affected by the notion of taking children away from their parents, by his experiences in indigenous communities, by the emotional presence of dozens of members of the stolen generation. His task today was utterly thankless. But it was also self-inflicted. Had he stood with Malcolm Turnbull, weeks ago, and said unequivocally that he would support an apology offered by the government, he could today have given full voice to the compassionate doctor within. He could've played gracious statesman, transcending partisanship to right an old wrong. But he did not. So he was stuck blending compassion with occasional, strange detours into petrol-sniffing and ANZACs, obvious bones to the dogs of the hard right. And he pleased nobody.

- Watching Nelson squirm as Rudd announced the Bipartisan War Cabinet: solid gold.

- My hero: Tom Calma. I've had the pleasure of meeting him, and it's hard to imagine someone whose decency and intelligence and compassion are more clearly and immediately in evidence. If he weren't so busy healing race relations, and if I weren't a republican, I would suggest him for Governor-General.

- Paul Keating was in his element talking, post-apology, on ABC TV. Eloquent about indigenous disadvantage, generous about Rudd, scathing about John Howard. His view on Howard's non-appearance: it's a disgrace that he wasn't there, but consider the alternatives. To show up in support would've been rank hypocrisy; to show up in protest unthinkable. So his staying away was the best that could've happened. Still, for shame.

- And speaking of shame, the black list of Opposition MPs who didn't show:
- Wilson Tuckey (who nonetheless managed to make it to the Lord's Prayer, directly before)
- Alby Schultz
- Sophie Mirabella
- Don Randall
Add to that Chris Pearce, who remained seated throughout and read a magazine. I'm not saying we should steal their kids, but a keyed car or two wouldn't go astray.


Paull said...

I clicked through from Brypers blog - and I'll be subscribing.

Phenomenal write up :) you hit the right notes balancing the sentimental with some humor.

Now where are my car keys...

Diego Luego said...

The most lamentable part of the day was the hysterical outpouring from Wilson "Ironbar" Tuckey.

In case this miserable creatures history has been forgotten here is a precis:

The 72 year old got his nickname after being convicted assaulting an aboriginal man with a piece of steel wrapped inside a hose-pipe while the man was pinned down. The locals say it was not an isolated case.

Apparently in Carnarvon W.A. this qualifies a man for being elected to multiple terms in Federal Parliament.

He made his family fortune selling grog to the aboriginals when he owned a pub in Carnarvon before he was elected to parliament, so he is the last man to be justified in taking a holier-than-thou stance.

Tor Hershman said...

Jokes about religion, here you go.....

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