Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sorry it’s Kevin, not Mr Rudd Sir

He’s the bloke next door our new Prime Minister, the everyman, a feat he pulls off with consummate skill. I don’t trust the presentation, but I’m impressed with the apparent results.

Parliament has not met yet, which limits change, but it is still happening in a number of subtle ways. One of the biggest weeping sores in this country is now being confronted head on – Rudd’s government is going to say SORRY to the Australian Aboriginals.

This is something John Howard resisted for years, his predecessor Keating was close but never quite made it. Many Australians are still leery of the apology – “why should we feel guilty for something we didn’t do?” So Rudd has made it clear this comes from his government and not the general population.

I have personally said sorry and done what I can in my limited capacity towards reconciliation.. It is not about any feelings of guilt on my part, simply a recognition that somethin terrible happened in this country and it must be acknowledged. The fact I didn’t do it is irrelevant to the fact that it occurred.

The other concern often raised with the sorry issue is compensation. Rudd repudiates that and stresses compensation is not a federal issue. He says the 1997 of Bringing Them Home - Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families gives ample opportunity for legal claims against the States and various organisations involved.

Rudd’s main concern is to take the sorry issue out of the more important discussions on fixing issues like Aboriginal mortality, health, housing and other factors holding them back. It is difficult to talk further when the discussion starts with “say sorry!”

Reducing Gas prices

Rudd’s government is considering a plan to reopen a mothballed oil refinery in Adelaide's south to introduce greater competition and lower prices to the petrol market.

The South Australian government has selected the heavily polluted site as the best place for its planned desalination plant, the report said. But assistant federal treasurer Chris Bowen, the minister with responsibility for petrol, supports the refinery plan.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel has renewed his demand for crisis meetings with the chiefs of Caltex, Shell, BP and Mobil. He sent a "please explain" to the companies after a jump in prices over the Australia Day holiday weekend, with a gap opening between the pump price in Australia and the Singapore Mogas benchmark.

Again Rudd’s government are gathering the facts and coming up with innovative approaches to issues. My betting is that the gas majors will fall into line well before the Aussie government commissions a refinery. If not I like the idea of the country taking back essential infrastructure.

So Kevin, my BS meter flickers with your brilliant presentation, but while you keep delivering the goods you have my support.


TomCat said...

From another blog I read, Miss Politics, I was under the impression that Howard's government continued highly oppressive policies toward your aboriginal people.

Raising gas prices right before major holidays has been a standard Big Oil tactic in the US for years.

Cartledge said...

One of Howard’s favourite strategies was to chose the most vulnerable group and attack them, sort of a Rovian approach. He tried it on the Northern Territory aboriginals, but the troops etc he sent in actually thought they were supposed to be helping not oppressing. That was his last effort and failed miserably. Rudd, on the other hand, is talking about an inclusive effort rather than a top down.

The gas prices have become particularly political here, but this effort still seems more about posturing than reality.

TomCat said...

Inclusion is, in my opinion, the way to go.

Cart said...

We live in hope….