As explained on radio abc talkback this morning Australia Day January 26th was quite alot of fun yesterday.
We heard from our ethnic Bolivian amigo about Victoria Park festival in Chippendale for and by the Indigenous community and took off there at lunch time. Sure enough it was breezy and upbeat, Black comedian letting it rip, and lots of stalls and original Australians. There were few flags, mainly the Aboriginal flag as you would expect, as well as my rainbow peace flag over my shoulder.
The comic ("the good looking skinny bloke making your man jealous") said: "The story of the Aussie flag - blue for the ocean we came across, white for the colour of our skin, and red for the colour of our neck." Boom boom. I laughed too.
It was a happy spot, and good turnout,
made better by the knowledge that one brave Liberal Party Mayor David Redmond
stood up to his state party leader, electioneering Peter Debnam, to block divisive anti multiculturalism speech making at a citizenship ceremony in Sutherland which takes in the Cronulla beach area that suffered lots of strife a year back. Redmond said it would breach guidelines for the non partisan day. And he was right and defending the social fabric of his Local Government area to say it. There is hope I thought with a conservative politician taking a stand, like say ex PM Malcolm Fraser for harmony and tolerance. Bravo.
Then onto Bondi Beach for an hour long surf. Not too many flags there of whatever kind there.
Then to Enmore Park within Marrickville Council area on the evening return. Great humour with families and their healthy cheeky brats everywhere. Incredible diversity across the whole coffee coloured range. And to top it off the lead singer of a reconstituted Spy v Spy
was playing hard rock, and really hitting the spot. I saw the Fairfax photographer (looks like he belongs in Apocalypse Now, met him on a council throwout day at his new place) capturing the moment in the mosh area.
The Spy's lead man who was revelling in the community vibe got down in the mosh too, and played one too many encores perhaps. God bless him. 26 years for his band in stops and starts and he felt good and we with him.
The neighbours at home were hosting a barbeque which looked nice and offered a snag but I was stuffed by this stage.
The radio says we are getting more nationalistic, and happy with it, but my feeling is we are getting more Republican as well. We need a a new flag that is unifying, ditch the divisive Union Jack on the southern cross, which is being used by white supremacists, and keep a beady eye on the Ministry of Truth about such things from on high.
By coincidence I took a picture of a car labelled "Ministry of Transport" on the way home I had not seen on the roads before, all official with roof lights etc if needed. Here it is:
The Sunday media eg Ch7 Weekend Sunrise are reporting a Newspoll
(i.e. News Ltd polling which exclusively feeds Sydney's Sunday Telegraph, Melbourne's Herald Sun, Adelaide's Advertiser, Hobart's The Mercury, Darwin's NT something, or perhaps the weekday equivalents tomorrow, all in all about 70% of press coverage in Australia)
- that 45% of us are for a republic,
- 36% against, and
- 19% uncommited.
7 is owned by Kerry Stokes from memory a self made republican, along with federal treasurer Peter Costello and one imagines Kevin Rudd the Opposition Leader.
Lisa Wilkinson the Sunrise show presenter covered the breadth of the audience by noting this was "a slump" in support from some years back, but not too dogmatic about it. In the absence of serious campaigning 45% versus 36% looks pretty good to me, with the comment from a lobby group (Qld based, a critical federal election frontline state) that once Prince Charles is factored in the pro republican vote shoots up 6% again. Even so the Queen looks very robust. Would she step down?
Speaking of Sunrise show, turns out Andrew OKeefe, the other weekend presenter, is an intellectual property lawyer refugee from Allen's law firm usually regarded as top 1 or 2 in Sydney and Australia: p65 SunHerald 28 Jan 07. This writer recalls one of their recruits from ANU (a flaky 1st year student in Torts 1983 but strong performer by late 80ies): "Jim" told me an anecdote about an Allens partner who angrily challenged him "How dare you?" for not twitching (as you do in mild panic to achieve something or other) with adrenalin in resting mode. This was about 1992 when this writer was at Baker & McKenzie in Bridge St in the CBD, also a totally neurotic place. What a mad mad firm Allens must have been/be.
Lastly, the image of the Ministery of Transport car above has an echo in the Naked Eye column of veteran Alex Mitchell in the Fairfax Sydney Sun Herald too:
"Watkins minister for Labor's re-election" notes 844 media mentions of the Deputy Premier for NSW manifisted as Police Minister compared to a mere 145 as Transport Minister, says Mitchell quoting Media Monitors (calling up the question was it leaked govt client confidential info?). The source is interesting and very credible as this hack worked 2 years at MM and knows the government pays a fortune to MM to know how they are travelling and nip any emerging issue in the bud.
(It's also how I got a huge clipping file for the 2000 Olympics, and the S11 protestest of the World Economic Forum in 2000 in Melbourne).
Was that the point of the profile friendly "Ministry of Transport" white sedan pictured above with official looking flasher light assembly on top, driving from Bondi to the City along Oxford st on Australia Day? Tell me it wasn't doing laps for the Minister in anticipation of the article 2 days later by Mitchell. Surely not?