Editorial by Sean Ockenden.
First in a series examining the shirking of our duties to each other and
leaving them in the hands of "trained experts".
A little while ago a small report appeared in "The Australian", headed
"Senator apologises to clerk". The report was written by Christine
It concerned a Liberal Party whip's clerk named Betty-Ann Daly, who has,
among other tasks to perform, the duty of organising speaking lists for
Senate debates. In this particular case, the list of hopeful speakers
was obviously long and, no-doubt, extremely important (in their own
Along comes Senator Santo Santoro from Queensland, who for some reason
decided that he should be allowed to speak on the chosen subject for the
day (lunch menu and accompanying wine list notwithstanding). Now we all
know that we can't always have our own way, especially if time doesn't
allow it. There are after all only 24 hours in each day. When Ms Daly
informed Senator Santoro (more than likely with extreme grace and
politeness and due deference to his position, seeing as she was
described in the published article as "much loved" and "gracious") the
good Senator proceeded to abuse Ms Daly by calling her a "F---wit" and
saying "I'll do whatever I f---ing like".
My question is this. Who the hell is this clown to think he can treat
someone in this manner?
Ms Daly reported the Senators personal attack to the Government manager
of business in the Senate, Ian Campbell, telling him she had been stood
over and had had abuse screamed at her. Mr Campbell promptly MADE
Senator Santoro give a written apology to Ms Daly. Now this apology
didn't come from the good grace a God gives to someone for knowing when
they are right or wrong, and it almost certainly didn't come from a
sense of shame or humility. Someone had to make this guy give a written
apology for being a first class prat. I have visited the senate website,
and viewed firsthand a (supposedly verbatim) copy of his first speech in
the Senate chambers. You too can view it if you have an amount of time
to wait whilst your nails dry or you suffer from extreme insomnia.
Parliament of Australia: Senate: Senators: First Speeches: Santo Santoro
Personally I don't need to sleep that badly.
What struck me as I was reading this first speech was the way in which
the Senator referred to his working class origins and how humbled he was
to be in the position he then found himself. He also said this :
"Conservatism is not about inertia, nor is it about fear of change. It
is about respect for individual rights and our shared values. It is
about a society of free people-of decent men and women imbued with a
great tradition of tolerance and initiative." Obviously, all these
values go right out the first partly opened window as soon as it comes
time to stamp our feet and decry the inherent injustices of the system.
Now I'm not saying the Senator in question hasn't done anything good for
this glorious country of ours, nor for the state of Queensland of which
he is So Proud to represent.
That's an interesting word, isn't it? REPRESENT. The Merriam-Webster
Online Dictionary defines it as "6 a (1) : to take the place of in some
respect (2) : to act in the place of or for usually by legal right b :
to serve especially in a legislative body by delegated authority usually
resulting from election".
Our politicians are Democratically Elected Representatives. They are
chosen by us, the people who are legally entitled to vote, to be our
voices in what appears to be a governmental system falling apart at the
seams. The hypocrisy and deceit that is currently on display in
Australia, and indeed, around the world is nothing short of astounding.
The President of The United States of America is so caught up with lying
to his constituents about his reasons for waging a war with another
independent nation (an action that can barely be justified), that he
struggles to find the time to do little else (photo opportunities and
fund raising obscene amounts of money to be ensured a second grab
notwithstanding). Unless of course it comes to forcing his own opinions
on what constitutes a legally definable marriage. GWB has decided that
same sex couples just CANNOT be allowed to marry. They can never be 'Man
And Woman' therefore they cannot be allowed the same benefits and
securities of this sacred bonding. He is even going to the trouble of
trying to have the American Constitution amended to include a definition
of a legal marriage between a couple ie: a Man AND a Woman.
Now, along comes Stainless Steel Johnny. Teflon John. Our very own
Prime-Miniature has also decided to jump on the bandwagon and define a
marriage as being a legal union between - you got it - a man and a
woman. Johnny isn't discriminating though. It isn't that he doesn't want
us, here in Gods Own, to live with our own kind in a blissful
relationship. We're allowed to do that, but don't try and have it
legally recognized as a marriage. He won't ever allow that to happen
because GWB has had this great idea of forcing his own personal beliefs
on the people who put him into office in the first place. So along comes
TJ, the man to whom we look for guidance and wisdom. Our representative
on the world stage.
HE decides we need protecting, that the family unit in Australia needs
to be redefined along the same lines that GWB has drafted for the US of
A. BUT, apparently, this is all for our own good. This is being done to
protect us from a little known backward country called Canada (and
others like it), where it is legal for same sex couples to marry.
You can live in Canada with your same sex partner, be legally married
and enjoy all the benefits and tolerance available to a progressive and
forward thinking people. But move to America or Australia and you
immediately become a non-entity. Your lifestyle and freedoms are
instantly cut to shreds because as a society we are incapable of
adjusting to the changing social climate worldwide. Isn't this how wars
are started in the first place? A complete lack of tolerance. A refusal
to allow a population to progress through forward thinking. An inability
to accept that we are not all alike. I did not vote at the last federal
election so that my pseudo-voice could insult whomever it feels like and
I DID NOT vote for someone to make such decisions on my behalf without
first consulting me.
To be continued.....
2004-08-17: First created.