Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The day before

In the lead up to a Wednesday, 13 February landmark reconciliation speech in the new Australian parliament I was a little pissed off that on the opening day of this historic session we were only being offered televised playground.

In the event, playground – question time – did not occur, instead it was one of the most amazing displays I’ve seen in this country. I missed the first part where:

“With faces painted white and with a digeridoo — an ancient wind instrument — blowing a deep drone in the background, Aborigines of the Ngunnawal tribe called on spirits to welcome newcomers to Parliament in a ceremony held in a hall of the national legislature.”

I did see Ngannawal elder Matilda House deliver a well written welcome and a moving reply from Rudd. The poor opposition leader, Brendan Nelson, was apparently caught unaware and fumbled through a response. I would have fumbled when the Prime Minister invited “the Leader of the Opposition to support my comments”.

It was along the lines of “when did you stop beating your wife?” Still, apparently an historic precedent has been set and future parliaments will be opened with a similar ceremony.

I’m not sure this should be set in concrete, but for now in these early steps, it is monumental. It really does feel like my country is moving forward by recognising the past.


D.K. Raed said...


Cart said...

This part was surprisingly moving. I saw Senator Bob brown, founder of the worlds green movement (in my opinion) and a former Dr of mine looking as stirred up as I was feeling.
I am still living in hope that we are moving toward a positive future.

lindsaylobe said...

I agree with your sentiments. At last we have severed Howards barren luna landscape of more of back to the future.

Hopefully we will now see more meaningful co ordinated progress in heath, education, housing and policing for aborigines by State/ Federal Government agencies working with local aboriginal communities to achieve much needed measurable improved outcomes.

Rudd has the opportunity to make a difference, optimistically to even re-write the history books, I don’t know if he’s got the ticker, time will tell.
Best wishes

abi said...

I think I'd pay money to have seen Mr. Nelson put on the spot like that.

Glad to see you're feeling positive about Australia. I hope us yanks get a chance to feel that way about the US someday.

TomCat said...

Cart, best of good fortune to your new parliament. I envy you.

Cart said...

And Lindsay puts it in perspective, thanks mate.
none of us here really believe what we are seeing or if will go the distance, but it is a great show so far.
abi, Tom, thanks.

lindsaylobe said...

I have posted my impressions as well, with a link to your blog.
best wishes

D.K. Raed said...

Hey Cart, you know you lost your comment thread in the post above this one? Disappeared when you updated, I think.

I saw some of this on LINKTV here yesterday. Quite moving. Very hopeful!

Cart said...

red, the comments are working here, they might have froze up there...

It was a very moving day, with the spoilers being pretty much ignored. If it only words then why do the spoilers reject an apology? Can't figure some people.