Earlier this week Kim Beazley was dethroned from the leadership of the Labor party by Kevin Rudd. This was a long time coming, and much overdue in my book. I’ve been a long time and very vocal critic of Beazley. He’s tried to be all things to all people and ended up being nothing to no-one. He’s a three time loser, a considerable intellect and once a superior minister, he lacked the natural authority or strength of purpose to carry off the role of leader of the opposition.
His replacement Kevin Rudd is not a man I’ve found it easy to take to. Too often he has appeared to me as supercilious and self-satisfied. He is smart, and knows it, and he looks like a suburban accountant – but as our PM is cut from the same physical cloth that may not be a disadvantage. To use my oft quoted criteria, I doubt I’d want to have a beer with him. So in that is revealed a personal prejudice – he is not my style of man; I would not be his.
He is smart though, and it is that we now count on. He has ideas, plans, both absent for years now on the Australian left. Perhaps he even has a vision, time will tell. His style not be the big confrontation, rather I think he will seek to slowly unpick the government and its policies. The governmeant has been running a program that should have been easily dismantled – it is testament to the incompetence and lack of direction on the left that that never happened – instead the government has flourished, despite all.
Right now I have a growing faith in Rudd, and his deputy Julia Gillard – or perhaps it is just hope. I do believe he is a man of substance. He is ambitious but that is no bad thing – if he carries with him a better future then he justifies it. Right now he is making the right noises. He speaks of compassion, a traditional Australian virtue long lost in the scaremongering rhetoric of John Howard. We need to return to that, need to return to what we have always been.
I wrote the other day of myself, that somewhere along the way I had lost myself, what I meant and what I stood for. Australia has been like that, steered away from what is innate and true. We have to reclaim that just as I have to reclaim it within myself. You cannot go forward when identity is in doubt, when you act contrary to nature.
Today is also David Hicks day. David Hicks is the man held in Guantanamo Bay these last 5 years without being charged with anything. This is a disgrace. It is one reason this government will be damned, and is a blot on our society because it is wrong. Wrong, indisputably wrong.
Our society is built on the rule of law. Central to that is that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Distastefully compliant, the Australian government has waived that central law our society is based on. Effectively they have sacrificed the rights of David Hicks, have given away his life, to get in bed with the American government. That’s an equation that never adds up.
More than that he is an Australian abandoned by his country. Guilty or innocent, any Australian citizen in any part of the world should be extended all the support the Australian society can provide. He is one of ours, he is innocent until proven guilty – and should he be proven guilty then he should be still supported as much as the law allows. Anything less than that is a betrayal. We have betrayed him.
One day John Howard will burn because he has used a human life for political advantage. This must stop.