ABC televised today the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum giving Australia’s Aboriginals citizenship. What at first seemed like it could be a pretty boring affair (despite the comical off-topic ramblings of one elderly veteran from the campaign) gained sparkle with a performance of ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ by Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and Troy Casser-Daly and then went off with a bang with a speech by Kevin Rudd.
In between, John Howard made a statesman-like speech, meaning he didn’t say ‘nyah nyah nyah you stupid Aborigines’, but merely mumbled some meaningless platitudes while bragging about how much money the Libs were throwing at the problem. Howard was not amongst friends, his reception was frosty, he had nothing to offer and he went and sat stiffly through the remainder betraying no emotion other than his now permanent inner dread.
Rudd began talking about the importance of symbolism and it was immediately obvious what he would say. On winning office, the Labor Government would move immediately to make a formal apology to Australia’s Aboriginal people for the many wrongs that have befallen them.
And then some words about symblism being empty without action, partnerships between government and grassroots groups and a plea to Howard that, whoever wins government, they begin to work collectively towards giving Aboriginal people an equal opportunity in this country.
Howard did not give him the thumbs up at that stage.
Postscript: Apparently Kevin Rudd Sucks. Advertising heavily on a web site near you.