Thousands of cheers for the change of Government in Australia! A political commentator on TV this morning expressed the opinion that it was more than anything about getting rid of John Howard and his mob, and there's an element of truth in that. In fact, I was agreeing with my stepson Adam just a little while ago that the collective mood seems to be a huge sigh of relief around the country.
Our erstwhile Foreign Minister was quoted as saying, 'No-one was waiting for us with baseball bats. It was more a kind of ennui, a feeling that it was time for a change.' Oh yes? Then why, after the relief, am I feeling such glee?
Actually I voted Green. Witches care for the natural world! But my second preferences went to Labor. Getting the Howard Government out was indeed a huge priority.
On a vid of a US anti-war protest on MySpace today, I saw a placard saying 'Violence isn't strong. Compassion isn't weak.' I loved it so much, I thought I should use it as a banner or an email signature.
Our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will probably steer us to the centre, when I'd rather go more left – but I do believe he will restore some overdue compassion to Australian politics.
The issue of the pulp mill remains. Although I haven't lived in Tasmania for a long time, I'm keeping in touch with what's going on there. It must be hard for even the most wilfully blind to deny that there was a big protest vote against the mill. And that campaign continues. See these articles: Labor returns as pulp vote hits polls and The Lucky Country?
Today is a day for celebration, a great day for Australia!
Here is a quick-off-the-mark piece by Brisbane poet Stefanie Petrik:
HAVE FAITH, PEOPLE CAN LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES
Standing outside a community center
Deep in the heart of the Gold Coast
My friend and I beamed smiles through
The haze of affluence and indifference
Handing out how to vote cards:
“Socialist Alliance. Vote for a Revolution”.
Nobody got the irony.
The lone Labor supporter, was swamped at the door
By blue wearing oldies in t-shirts stamped
proudly with familiar effigies
Of a country unsure of its identity
Or of what it really wants and needs.
The conservatives, safe in that electorate
played dirty. They knocked down
her sign, repeatedly. They sniped at her with
pack mentality. The minor conservative
parties worked together, knowing that all
the preferences were theirs, anyway.
Then, a homeless man walked up to the My Family First
Christian party, them representing money, not God,
And asked him for a dollar. He was pointed over to
Lone labor woman, while another bouncy woman
Tied blue and white balloons to a shopping trolley
That contained his companion’s worldly possessions.
I sat with my friend, hours later,
tired from standing in the sun
And a car screamed past yelling:
“Die Johnny Howard, you Liberal scum!”
We cheered a little too loudly.
The liberal next to us leant in and said,
“You’re lucky I don’t have my glock”.
In an American accent.
Told him he didn’t scare us, and asked him why
He had a registered weapon in a country with restrictive gun laws.
He was a bounty hunter from the USA
A personal friend of his candidate,
And he worked on promoting the Bush/Cheney campaign, too.
Lying or not, what bounty could he possibly
find in threatening two women on their own?
Apparently, he could even claim
his attack dogs back on tax. How nice for him.
We told him again:
You don’t scare us.
At the end of the day, the last rush of people
Voting after a working class day
The gauntlet of conservatives manned the lip
Of the gate. I joined them.
Don’t risk the economy, vote Liberal.
I said, louder:
People before profits!
Planet before profits!
And later that night, the people of this country
Voted John Howard out, and threw a magnificent party.
Hungover and definitely not scared - Nov 25th 2007