My fellow Earthians. The real tragedy of Bob Brown’s wacky speech last week is that he has pretty much left behind forever his credibility as a man concerned first and foremost with saving and preserving the Australian environment, which is exactly what most Greens voters elected him for.
Like a severed finger or a razed old growth forest, credibility doesn’t grow back. And that’s a shame because Australia needs the leader of its environmental party to be un-nutty. The Tassie devils dying of facial tumours need it, the koalas dying of Chlamydia need it, and the 100 year old sea turtles strangled by plastic bags need it.
Urban dwellers and rural dwellers need it too, so that we can all sensibly debate the balance between economic and environmental concerns. So what have we got in Bob Brown? An enviro-cop framing the big Green issues through an obscurist, metaphorical lens of little green men. Excuse the pun, but that approach is just too alienating.
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Most Australians couldn’t give two hoots who runs the Australia Network. It is of no importance to them whether the ABC or SKY News is in charge of the television service this country projects into Asia.
Just the same, the spectacular botching of the tender process during the week has a political impact because it reinforces the impression of government incompetence.
The response of many voters to the scandal will be: “See, I told you. This mob couldn’t raffle a chook in a pub.”
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Julia Gillard has teared up while heaping praise on America as the beacon of hope for humanity and the nation that can do anything it sets its mind on. You can watch the full speech here.
Only the fourth Australian PM to deliver a speech to a joint sitting of the US Congress, Ms Gillard charmed her audience which was bolstered with numerous school children and Congressional aides, drawing 16 sustained rounds of applause in all - two of which lasted into minutes, and six of which were standing ovations.
The delighted response came as the Australian leader repeatedly told US lawmakers that Australia stood with them, through thick and thin, war and peace, boom-time and recession.
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It took his political execution for Kevin Rudd to show some authenticity again. His last press conference as Prime Minister was a harrowing affair. By turns there was pride, shame, shock, gratitude, humility, even a touch of the old arrogance, all against the backdrop of the sudden, swift, and merciless betrayal.
I’m told some journalists who were present in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard were close to tears.
The perception that Rudd was a fake and a phoney who lacked authenticity, was always on for the cameras, and was led by focus groups rather than his own heart and instinct, began as a niggling complaint in his early days in office. By the end the phoniness was one in the long list of electoral liabilities. He smiled like an awkward uncle when the cameras were on, but swore like a sailor when they weren’t. Who, really, the country wondered, was Kevin Rudd?
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The memory should be vivid for many Arts graduates. Sitting in the graduation ceremony, the words of an otherwise inspiring commencement address waft overhead as the mind focuses uncontrollably on an uncertain future. Seated in uncomfortable lecture theatre seats (you won’t miss those, you think) you wait for a certificate cementing your “qualifications”, in the broadest sense of the word.
The guest speaker waxes lyrical about personal journeys, eventually tying their tale into the “unique” position bestowed upon graduates of this (insert institution name) university, and of a duty we inherit to uphold and develop explorations into society and culture. The speaker resolves that in doing so we become model citizens, helping our fellow man realise the importance of life beyond economic measures of success and happiness.
As an early-20s undergraduate with student debt, little corporate experience (pretty sure I walked into an office reception once) working a part-time bar job and only ‘soft skills’ to my name, I was certainly looking forward to economic measures of happiness.
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It went for 90 minutes, six times longer than the time allocated, so if you’re after a full transcript you’ll have to wait until Sunday.
Not since Kruschev banged his shoe on the table has the United Nations played host to a comparable level of madness, as Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi launched a sleep-deprived rant this morning which made Fidel Castro sound succint, Boris Yeltsin look dignified and Kim Jong-Il seem sane.
I’m not suggesting that you subject yourself to the above video in its entirety - it’s only 10 minutes long, no-one has yet bothered to upload the full 80 minutes - but the first couple of minutes are worth a look, as it seems Gadaffi has been mugged by the stationery aisle at Officeworks as he takes to the podium with a mountain of yellow legal paper and pieces of foolscap, and then waves like a sports star at the crowd before delivering his opus magnum.
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Last week, Politico published an analysis of Barack Obama’s language. The words he used most often were “America”, “Health” and “Economy” (Politico included “American” in the count along with “America”). This prompts the obvious question: what are the favourite words of our own Kevin Rudd?
Fortunately, the prime minster’s website publishes transcripts of all Kevin’s public utterances (although this does not include his speeches in parliament). There is a lot there and I had some help assembling over 400 pages of text constituting Kevin Rudd’s speeches from 2009. And above is what it looks like as a word cloud.
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