In Wayne Swan's foray into Republicanism on Australia Day, he has forgotten the original owners, says Tess Lawrence.
WAYNE SWAN: FIFTY SHADES OF BEIGE
POOR WAYNE SWAN, no matter how hard he tries to present himself as a hot vote magnet, still comes across as Fifty Shades of Beige. If there was any sex, it would be the missionary position for sure.
Have you noticed how, every now and again, Wayne acts up in the playpen?
He clearly suffers from political ADHD and somehow there is a degree of pathos and misguided self-awareness in his desperate attempts to cling like plastic foodwrap to a headline; to come over as relevant — even a gamechanger.
In Wayne's fanciful world he identifies not with Paul Kelly, Redgum, Yothu Yindi, or Chad Morgan, the Sheik of Scrubby Creek, but with Bruce Springsteen.
Now I'm not the only female (someone else can speak for chaps) who still gets a shivver down her spine when the Boss sings his own composition 'I'm on fire'.
Especially that bit about waking up in the night with the sheets soaking wet and he's got a freight train running through the middle of his head and only 'you' can cool his desire.
But geez, Wayne has very nearly put me off Brucey.
However, it did the trick last year and was a headline grabber, when the Deputy Prime Minister delivered the John Button lectureat Melbourne's Wheeler Centre.
Now, Wayne has cleverly added to his publicity stockpile with an op ed piece in the Fairfax press where he ponders our relationship with England and invokes cricket's Bodyline series thus:
This summer marks the 80th anniversary of arguably the most significant and nation-defining event in Australia's sporting history: the Bodyline cricket series. Countless books have been devoted to retelling the torrid saga, but it is worth recounting because of the role it played in our national psyche and Australia's story.
Towards the end of his article, so as not to impinge upon the authority of the Prime Minister's absolute Captaincy, the Treasurer and Deputy PM makes a timid and light beige reference to the Republic.
The events on the cricket field during the summer of 1932-33, coinciding as they did with the events of the Great Depression, helped awaken a democratic and egalitarian assertion of Australian national sovereignty that still serves us well on Australia Day 2013.
I believe that reflecting on those events will eventually have another legacy, too, in hastening the approach of an Australian republic, even if it has fallen from the national agenda over the past decade.
While England will always be our most respected cricketing foe, and among our very closest allies and dearest friends, I think our national conversation is sold short when it doesn't include a debate about our relationship with the Crown.
Whilst it is time that Australia weans itself from the Mother Country, Swan refrains from mentioning the past and continuing injustices meted out to our Indigenous brothers and sisters — the original inhabitants of this country.
Surely two matters in particular, need to be immediately sorted.
Where is the Treaty?
Where are the amendments to our Constitution that remains racially and historically prejudiced against the original owners of Australia?
Where in Swan's op ed article is there any mention that Australia was proclaimed Britain's on the basis of the Terra Nullius lie?
Where in Swan's Bodyline metaphors and analogies on the Australian psyche does he discuss these inextricable links with Britain.
Until we right these wrongs, like many others, including former Australian of the Year Mick Dodson, I cannot comprehend Australia Day to be anything other than Invasion Day.
Fine words and sharing handfuls of dirt and even saying 'Sorry' are nothing but political insulation against the inevitable — but where is the politician who is courageous enough to walk the talk?
Is there anyone amongst the Labor Party, the Coalition, the Greens and Independents who is prepared to make a stand? It would seem not.
These are ideas whose Dreamtime came centuries ago with the coming of the white man, wearing pantyhose and a silly hat who thought that the black people before his very eyes were less than sub-human.
Poor fellow our country.
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