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29 February 2008

The End of the Ice Age - The first 100 days

It looks like Kevin Rudd is keeping his own list of achievements for me (if you don't know what I'm talking about, see Things that make me happy)

Whitlam and Rudd - the first 100 days

For those of you wondering where Kevin Rudd gets his inspiration, and whether he models himself on anyone in particular - let's take a quick trip back in time... the passage below is from one of Whitlam's own speeches - Keynote Address by the Hon E.G. Whitlam AC QC "Thirty Years Later: the Whitlam Government as Modernist Politics", Old Parliament House, Canberra. December 2, 2002, 0930hrs.


"... In 1973, Robert Drewe wrote an article for The Australian on the Whitlam Government's first 100 days. He described himself as a '30-year-old child of Robert Gordon Menzies out of World War II' and he was just on the threshold of his brilliant literary career. Bob Drewe wrote:

You're aware of a certain rare feeling of national self-respect these days. It's not as if we're suddenly a big-shot country … but the fact is that Labor restored some dignity to the conduct of our national affairs at a time when we had all come more or less to expect nothing but ill from political action. Without precedent in the history of British-style governments, it set out to make up for lost time by immediately implementing its campaign promises. Australians blinked as within weeks we recognized China, ended conscription, abolished race as a criterion of our immigration policy, began reform of the health service, supported equal pay for women, abolished British honours, increased arts subsidies, put contraceptives on the medical benefits list, took the tax off Australian wine, moved to stop the slaughter of kangaroos and crocodiles and searched for a new national anthem. Along the way, the Government attempted to make our relationship with America … a bit less one-sided. The End of The Ice Age, is how Russel Ward describes the new era in a current Meanjin article.

In his essay, Robert Drewe put the view that to the extent the new spirit reflected the personality of the Prime Minister, it was 'by using (and being seen to use) the idea of the Australian Government, as he prefers to call it, as a direct and intelligent instrument for the general good.' I believe that idea is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. Furthermore, I am convinced that relevant and contemporary policies, developed on the basis of that idea, creatively mobilising the resources of the Labor Party, the Parliament, the Constitution and the United Nations, will speed the day when the men and women of Australia will proclaim once again: It's Time."


I would like to give a future echo to Bob Drewe's "rare feeling of national self-respect"... now here's Kevin's first 100 days:

First Cut: PM reflects on first 100 days

Rudd releases achievement book


Rat2 said...

For the 20 million people not invited to the Australia 2020 Summit, the online community created a wiki so people across Australia could post, discuss, and vote on the best ideas for the country. It’s totally a grassroots effort. It’s free, can be anonymous, and isn’t being sponsored by any political party, corporation, union, or special interests. It’s just people who want to encourage an online national brainstorming session.

The site is at There are pages for over 20 different issues and even an online petition to get the best ideas heard at the actual Summit.

The more people know about it, the more ideas are submitted, and the better the discussion.

It’s a great way for everyone to participate in the summit.

Wiki Creator

tsunkasarpa said...

re:aboriginality. Having been in community with aboriginal artists and political activists years ago, I found that they have as much to contribute to us as we to them...In fact, much more. I am a spiritual person and found much in the Dreaming, which they shared with me, to complement my own catholic spirituality. I also found that their whole idea of community, even though sometimes blurry around the edges (with alcohol, etc) was very conducive to problem solving and emotional and practical growth as well as producing some good artwork, political agenda and way of living. We banned alcohol, shared many (but not all) of our possessions, shared our own truths with each other, and digested each others ways to see what good could come of blending and sharing them. I propose that any interaction with the aboriginal people should include combing the whole land for experts in land management, especially from those communities that have survived continuously in some way from before we came, and we should undertake a university-based study to understand just what their way of life before was, and how can we learn from it now. All sorts of areas come to mind - such as housing, they way they dealt with sex offenders, how they tended the land and regarded themselves as belonging to it (read also belonging to the Creator Being), especially how they interacted with different tribes, and with invasions from outside. We need to revere their holy places wherever possible, to allow them to access them in the ways they would wish. A study of their holy places and their Dreaming Stories would if put together reveal much about the history of this land, and also of the world, the geological changes as well as people changes. For Christians, the Dreaming also contains stories of The Son of the Father, the White God in the Sky, who helped them in their troubles, and is commemorated in some special holy places. Their Dreaming Stories not only contain stories about their ancestors or to explain how things came to be, but are often psychologically sound and I found them useful to sort out problems in my own life. They also contain data relevant to history and are a complete map of not only an ancient people, but the world. There is a belief that if aboriginal people can attain access to all their MAJOR holy places around Australia, there will be a spiritual change, aboriginal people will once again stand up whole, and this whole land and ALL OF US can start to be healed ... together. Above all, we need to REALISE THAT THEY ARE OUR EQUALS, THAT WHAT WE REPLACED AND DESTROYED WAS NOT PRIMITIVE, JUST DIFFERENT. AND THAT IN SOME WAYS THEIR WAYS ARE ACTUALLY SUPERIOR TO OURS, because more fundamental to life than we do. Our technological advantages are also important, and necessary to survive and achieve in this world, and here in Australia we have a wonderful opportunity to combine the best of both. merril thompson, box 121, po, mowbray. 7248