The Promised Land

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Rodney E. Lever has a dream — where Gillard and Rudd can start working together to defeat Murdoch and Abbott.


JUST LIKE A LOT of other people, I have my dreams and heroes.

My heroes are people like Nelson Mandela and the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King — who spoke particularly of his own dreams.

My concept of the Promised Land is not of clouds and harps or angels. My dream is of an Australia where people of all shades of politics and religions can work together, forgetting personal principles for the common good.

My dream today is of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard throwing their jealousies and rivalries out the window and then hurling down the gauntlet to Murdoch and Abbott to start talking about what really is best for Australia.

My dream is for all political parties to forget their petty rivalries and their absurd obsessions with budgets and surpluses and realise that Australia is now richer than it has ever been.

We are one of the very few countries in the world at the moment to have AAA ratings under the three most respected credit ratings agencies. We are the 12th largest economy on the planet with one of the smallest populations. We have the fifth highest GDP per capita and the highest media wealth in the world.

The Government has revealed all its plans for even greater material progress. Under Prime Minister Gillard our advancing education models and our industrial prospects are ignored in the gloomy pages of the national newspapers. The accumulation of bitterness which the mad media magnates spit out every day seems intended only to divide and unnerve the country.

None of the opposition parties have revealed anything substantial of their own intentions for the future.

“It’s time,” crowed the Whitlam team in 1972:

Gough, with his combination of charisma and arrogance, brought the country together on a dozen clear issues.

Then, when Murdoch opened his barrage of manufactured panic, Whitlam  accepted the doubtful decision of  a drunken governor-general who, confused by questionable legal advice and without reference to anyone but Malcolm Fraser, dismissed the elected government to prevent what could have turned into a civil war.

Perhaps it’s time again?

Rudd has charisma, too. He is impatient and irritating. He is an egotistical bully. But he led Labor to one landslide victory and that should not be forgotten. Julia Gillard has less arrogance and less charisma; but she has vision and determination and a loyal following of party members, both men and women. Somehow this combination has to be made to work.

Now we have Murdoch, Abbott, Hockey, Bishop, Pyne, Morrison, Brandis – and the rest – parroting their repeated tunes, but actually saying very little about their own intentions in government.

“We will stop the boats,” they sing, as if it was their only offer to the nation.

The simple fact is that “stop the boats,” is nonsense. The only way to stop the boats is to sink them. To protect the borders of a country like Australia would take a navy eight times larger that we have at present, with naval ports all around the nation, in every State.

To do so, we would suffer the risk of expulsion from the United Nations. Such action is one of fundamental conditions in the preamble of its Charter, written at a time of a huge mass movement of people seeking refuge and mercy.

We are, in fact, already in breach of the principles when we call people “asylum seekers,” “people smugglers,” and “illegal immigrants”. These people are, in fact, refugees seeking peace and tolerance from war and torture, no different from the war victims who flooded into Australia in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Today, those people and their descendants are some of the most famous and important contributors to the growth and wealth of  Australia.

Article 35 of the United Nations Charter offers an alternative to the Murdoch-Abbott process. We can appeal to the Security Council (where we have a temporary seat) or to the General Assembly and argue our case. Other countries may very well ridicule Australia. Our complaints cover just a fraction of the numbers of refugees that other countries are taking today.

An Abbott government would become the laughing stock of the planet. We would join North Korea as an international pariah, banished from the realm of common humanity. The horrors of the present system, forced upon Gillard by the Abbott team and the hung parliament, are bad enough. The sooner conditions for these refugees can be hugely improved, the better for our national conscience.

It seems now that we have passed the time when we can brush aside the opinion polls that obsess today’s print media. Their importance is doubtful, but it complicates the issues. The Government must consolidate and regroup and forget petty issues. Either Rudd or Gillard must be prepared to sacrifice personal ambition.

In politics, anything is possible if the issues are important and nothing is more important in Australia at the moment than the programs that Labor has initiated and now needs more time to institute.

It may well be that Kevin 07 may not wish to be Unlucky Kevin 13. And it may well be that Julia does not share that ancient superstition.

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