New Phase

As much as I attend Sydney Uni (left wing paradise), and receive emails from the Environmental Collective, and take subjects like Contesting Australian Social Policy, and Understanding Australia’s Regions, I found myself a little under prepared for today’s Reconciliation in Parliament. [For the benefit of overseas readers: Today the new Australian Government apologised on behalf of past governments for forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their parents. The previous government spent 10 years refusing to directly apologise, cause they weren’t directly responsible.Info on the reconciliation movement here.]

In all the changes of the last few months, I haven’t really had much time to reflect on just how huge today was, but it hit me when I watched the ABC’s coverage of the apology today. The speech itself was ordinary – Kevin Rudd needs to not repeat himself so much in his speeches – but it was so moving to see Aboriginal people’s responses as they listened in the gallery. I didn’t realise til this point just how much people have been fighting and waiting for past trauma to be seriously acknowledged and understood. It’s really exciting to know that future attempts to improve the living conditions, education and life expectancy will be backed up by more solid (and humanistic) ideals than previous Governments. I am stoked, and I praise God for all the healing that went on today (to borrow the phrasing of many interviewed today). Especially seeing that lots of the initial damage was done in the name of God.

In a more trivial sense, I am curious to see how today – and indeed every aspect of Kevin Rudd’s leadership – will affect life at uni. Since I started uni, everything I have learnt has pretty critical of Howard’s leadership, especially in Social Policy. And even sitting in class hearing it, you could tell that many lecturers were almost bored of repeating their criticisms after having the same leader for so long. I wonder how (or whether!) the Sydney Uni academic will pull the Rudd administration to pieces. In a way, I am sorry that I have already done three years of geography and sociology under Howard. I already didn’t really like his policies. It would have been more interesting to spend the last three years critically analysing a Government that I supported.

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13 thoughts on “New Phase

  1. panich

    I’m glad I don’t do sociology. I would get in punch-ups from exacerbated left-wingers for trying to restore some balance…

    I find that today’s apology was moving, but it opens a Pandora’s box. I understand where Howard was coming from. I understand where Rudd comes from. I side more with Rudd than Howard on this issue.

    It sucks having centrist political views. Liking the defence spending high, liking our Constitutional Monarchy and low tax has conflicting views of hating how the Government refuses to provide a high standard of services and seems intent on selling every good Government business for the private sector to foul up.

    Thus, I will never be happy with any Government that gets elected. At least for the time being I can be happy in the Queen. =)

    Reply
      1. panich

        He’s not so bad. He’s no raving lunatic, or dictator, or well-spoken man from Texas, or some tool with a partisan motive. Neutral, responsible, isn’t going to embarrass the Nation, isn’t elected because of a publicity race or because he spent millions on a campaign and got in because he outspent everyone else.

        I can live with that. I prefer William myself, but they are all good. Do a lot for charities and other causes, and it’s amazing that the whole family and their duties/expenses totalled around 60 pence per person per annum in the UK. Is that value for money or what? And we get it for FREE, unless we want someone other than the Governor-General to carry out acts on their behalf (ie inviting Princess Anne out to inspect the Royal Australian Corps of Signals on their anniversary as she is their Colonel-in-Chief). It’s a great system. And instead of half the Nation thinking that their Head of State is a wanker, because they didn’t vote for them, you have more or less a majority of the Nation happy/apathetic. Works for me.

      2. panich

        You need to examine your history. Cromwell couldn’t find any way other than to give his son power, which was why the Monarchy was restored.

        Cromwell did do good things, but he cannot be thought of as a republican, because he basically instituted his own Monarchy that was subsequently overturned.

      3. panich

        What gives anyone the right to be Head of State?

        Read the Act of Settlement 1700, which is a Statute that is part of Australian law. http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=1565208

        Basically, Parliament says that this family, being descendants of the House of Hanover, are it (provided that they are Protestant). This was chosen to free the Monarchy from being subservient to the Pope.

        The administration of this Statute is divulged to the Westminster Parliament, and any changes to the Act would, in theory, require the consent of every Realm’s Parliament. That’s what gives them the right.

        I dare another family to claim Sovereignty over Australia. They would have no legal claim to do so.

      4. tibbycat

        They’re an anachronism in modern society and they need to go. It’s undemocratic for this elite family to be given the hereditary privilege to be head of state.

        And for that matter, what also needs to go is England’s maintenance of Church and State. I find it absurd that Charles the 3rd will be the head of the Church of England. For that matter, I find it also absurd that Rowan Williams is the Arch-Bishop, but that’s another story.

      5. panich

        Being the head of the C of E has no bearing on Australians as there is no established Church here.

        Let’s think about this democracy here and compare it to nations abroad. How many republics do you see with constant bickering and fighting, coups, people dissatisfied with their elected representatives and how much instability that causes?

        Democracy works best with a balance and a check. Democracy works best without political bias at the head. Democracy works best with stability. I challenge you to find a more stable democracy than we have now anywhere around the world.

        I would also prefer to not have to vote for my head of state. Voting for MPs is annoying enough without having another bloody vote on top of that. I also prefer serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure than the winner of a popularity contest. I like my traditions and institutions. I like still being able to sing God Save the Queen because it is our proclaimed Royal anthem – proclaimed thus by an Australian Governor-General by his own prerogative.

        I like what we have, and I don’t like changing what works perfectly well. I like the idea of not spending up to 2 billion dollars to tinker with something that other nations admire, and that I admire.

      6. tibbycat

        The C of E is the Anglican church. It used to be called the C of E here, but they changed the name to Anglican. Still the same church though. At any rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future the Sydney diocese becomes a new denomination.

        That’s why the proposed model for the republic in 1999 was brilliant. It was a conservative model that kept our stable system of government but made it even more democratic with the president/governor general being selected by two-thirds of our elected representatives instead of just the Prime Minster as is the case now. It was BRILLIANT. You had with it even a stronger system of a checks and balances than what we have now. Pointing out failed republics in other countries is ignoring the strength and conservative nature of the proposed model.
        I agree with you that we don’t want a popularity contest for the head of state (this is the trouble that the republic of the United States of America has with its Legislative branch of government fighting with its Executive branch of government over who runs the country), but the proposed republic model in 1999 was fantastic since it got rid of the anachronistic royal family, but kept and made stronger our stable system of government.

        Actually, the very concept of a monarchy doesn’t appeal to me – the concept of this one family that is treated differently to other citizens is awful. For this reason, I love how Tony Blair made steps to remove some of the hereditary peerage in the House of Lords in the British parliament. He didn’t go far enough – do away with them all I say. I find it offensive and repugnant that certain elite people should have elevated status because of their blood linage.

        Heh, I prefer God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols.

      7. panich

        The removal of the hereditary peerage in the House of Lords was a good thing. I don’t mind removing aspects of perceived nobility from politics.

        Tony Blair wouldn’t have dared go further – the people didn’t give him a mandate to do so. I know it’s hard to believe that people might WANT to have what they have…

        I can understand people wanting to change. Sure, go ahead. Just give me decent roads, rail, hospitals, schools and jobs first. Then you can go play with the Constitution all you want.

        People are always going to be treated differently to one another. If blood-line doesn’t talk, then money always will. If you think differently, you are kidding yourself. Money talks, always has, always will, and it will always be sought by those who don’t have it.

        Moving onto the Church…people wonder why I abstain from Church. Take a look at the Diocese of Sydney and then you have your answer. Although it doesn’t annoy me as much as those pop-sensationalist “wave your hands for Jesus and put a 20 in the bucket and he will reward you” churches around (and you know who I mean), it’s enough to make me sick.

        The state of the Church reeks more than any Monarchy does.

      8. tibbycat

        yada yada yada

        “People are always going to be treated differently to one another. If blood-line doesn’t talk, then money always will. If you think differently, you are kidding yourself. Money talks, always has, always will, and it will always be sought by those who don’t have it.”

        Just because something is a certain way in the world, doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. Since when do the values of the world equal how we should be? Just because the world is classist and obsessed with money, doesn’t mean we should follow suit.

        “Moving onto the Church…people wonder why I abstain from Church. Take a look at the Diocese of Sydney and then you have your answer. Although it doesn’t annoy me as much as those pop-sensationalist “wave your hands for Jesus and put a 20 in the bucket and he will reward you” churches around (and you know who I mean), it’s enough to make me sick.

        The state of the Church reeks more than any Monarchy does.”

        I’m not sure what you mean. I have some issues with the Sydney Anglican diocese (such as their refusal to ordain women for example), but on the overall I respect their evangelical position and attempt to be bible based. What is it that makes you sick specifically?

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