‘Straya day

It’s Australia Day, and unusual this year for a couple of reasons. In my mind at least Australia Day is always bright and warm, if not hot, there’s cricket on the telly and sausages sizzling on the barbie. The cricket will be on later, but this morning Melbourne woke to pouring rain. It rained on and off for hours, and may well yet again. It’s cool to, very un-Australian.

The other surprise today is Tony Abbott outdoing himself by awarding the queen’s hubbie, Prince Phillip, a Greek born Brit, an Australian knighthood (an anachronism in itself, without this additional nonsense). Truly Abbott is a remarkable man. You couldn’t write satire like this. Tony Abbott is a parody of himself.

Quite aside from the inappropriateness of this award (which, I’m sure, Prince Phillip could easily do without) there’s the abject lack of political judgement. There’s been a lot of conjecture on Twitter this morning, as well as downright ridicule. I wondered aloud whether Abbott might in fact be a republican plant – now what a cunning plan that would be! Or else Abbott has a political death wish.

You don’t need to be of the left to see this latest act by Abbott as being practically ludicrous. It further erodes Abbott’s dwindling credibility and, I reckon, will give the republican movement a kick-along. At a time when he’s struggling to survive it’s not going to do much for Abbott’s polling either.

While this is cause for some startled levity, bad news filtered in late this morning.

Most Australian’s won’t know who Tom Uren was. He died today, aged 93. He was a great man, and great Australian of the old school – honest, hard, decent and resolute. He was a heavyweight boxer who ended up a prisoner on the Burma railway, where he met Weary Dunlop (one of the greatest of Australians). Uren returned from the war and got involved in politics, eventually becoming a  minister in the Whitlam government.

He was a favourite Australian of mine, and my favourite kind of Australian. He had a good innings, a fascinating life, but it’s sad to see him go.

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