11 thoughts on “Election Day

  1. so did I…
    While it remains to be seen how things pan out, I believe Australia has potentially one of the finest Prime Ministers we have ever had. I believe Rudd is an exceptional person – brilliant, trustworthy, self-sacrifical; all the qualities of a great public leader. And his personal and professional background has given him a keen awareness of matters of social justice and human rights.
    How he copes with the party machine and the ugly realities of politics remains to be seen, but I am heartened.
    Looking at the political struggles in other countries, it reflects pretty well on contemporary Australian politics that the choice we were given – Howard or Rudd – included two men of great personal integrity and commitment to the task. Their ideologies are quite different and I happen to strongly line up more with one than the other, but at least we didn’t have to choose between competing scoundrels for our national leader.

  2. Here’s an interesting observation I made during the election night, most of my Christian friends are actually acutely ignorant of politics…

    I should explain I’m someone in my early twenties, and during election night I was off with some other youth leaders in our church for our final dinner. During the night the election was on TV in the background, and the adults were off in election land, whilst most of the youth leaders were off doing our own thing. A couple of them wanted to know about how voting worked and what the numbers on the screen meant… I had fun exlpaining the proportional voting system in the Senate with a deck of cards (and how a party with 2% of a state vote could end up with a Senate quota).
    Most of them voted on fairly surface things (oh I like his face; I find John Howard annoying to watch, I like JOhn Howard etc).
    But to get back to the point most young people, including Christians find politics an absolute turn off, like watching the sky on a clear day…

    I think Mark Latham said something to that effect in his *wonderful* diaries. Actually after reading Graham Richardson’s book “Whatever it takes” earlier this year I don’t think I’d be celebrating a Labor victory, although I voted for Rudd.

  3. mind you, having made the ‘personal integrity’ and ‘not scoundrel’ comments, I don’t mean to say that everything done by our public figures (of any stripe) is good.
    In our democracy, do political figures ‘lead’ the people, or ‘follow’ the people? Both. I believe some appaling things have been done in Australia and in Australia’s name over the past 11 years such that “our brothers’ blood is crying out from the ground.” I have visited Villawood detention centre in Sydney. I have met and talked with Afghan Hazara asylum seekers. I have listened to the stories of people who have returned from the Iraq bloodbath. I have worked alongside indigenous people who only sometimes find the energy to get on with things in the face of repeated frustration and bloody-mindedness. I have sat in the office of my local federal member on a number of occasions, the most recent of which he literally raised his voice and lectured me for nearly 20 minutes, etc, etc.
    Ugly things have been done by Labor as well.
    Is it better to have ugly things done by public leaders with integrity who pragmnatically believe that the ends justify the means, or is it better to be led by conscienceless individuals who are corrupt? Neither is good, but they are ‘not good’ in different ways.
    I would not resile however from a belief that a respectful, decent, committed public leader can and will lead Australia in the direction of compassion and justice IF the people support him or her in doing it. If the people prefer to be selfish, lazy and careless of others, the politicans have shown the capacity for frightful things. On the other hand, leaders can (Lincoln) “call upon the better angels of our nature” and lead by example – tragically, getting shot for their trouble if necessary.
    I can only hope that the mean (and often violent) spirit demonstrated by some of our ‘good Christian’ leaders of the past 11 years will now be replaced by a more respectful, generous spirit. But we must hold our leaders to account.
    Perhaps I’m headed for disappointment?
    Sorry this is such a long post, Scott.

  4. Gary, lets assume (which I don’t) that long posts are ‘evil’. Then which do I prefer, long posts that are filled with meat and interesting content or like many of mine, that are filled with waffle and round-a-bouts?
    I would suggest that your comments are ‘the better of 2 evils’, or you might say ‘not good in different ways’ 🙂
    Seriously – I love what you have to say no matter how long it takes to say it! See ya

  5. Mr Scott, you are the ultimate blog moderator. I have always appreciated the way you create and maintain a respectful ‘space’ for people to make all kinds of comments…including me!
    And btw shame on you for saying that your posts are waffly and round-a-bout. They most certainly are not.
    gotta go. I have an old old friend sms-ing me constantly today about the existentialist philosopher Martin Buber (one of my heroes btw) and the phone has just beeped again.

  6. So this is what you’ve been so busy with all day, Garry. I should have known 🙂

    Scott – it’s all your fault for having such an interesting blog.


  7. thanks Scott, interesting comments by Jim Reiher…I don’t know that I agree with his comment that about 50% of Australian ‘christians’ are social justice oriented leftys. As one myself, I normally feel distinctly in the minority whether talking with Catholics (who have a strong social justice tradition, but live as conservatively as most Australians) or Protestants (generally right wingers in the majority) or the very few Orthodox believers I know. Perhaps I live in the wrong State.
    on the subject of a ‘christian’ voting bloc (cf: USA), I often feel that perhaps one of Australia’s unique gifts to the world is a healthy dose of agnosticism. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as apathetic agnosticism (Philip Adams argued once that Australia’s largely non-violent experiment with multiculturalism is more the result of apathy than tolerance). However there is a more intellectually honest and engaged agnosticism also, which has a healthy skepticism about religous zealotry and a pretty good bs detector.

  8. Great quote by Adams – I fully agree, us Aussies say we are a laid back mob, that nothing worries us etc etc, but really a lot comes down to plain old apathy! An I too was taken aback by Reiher’s 50% stat!

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