Some will see [the apology] as a launching pad for compensation claims. Some will see it, cynically, as a way of neutralising a troublesome political issue. Others will see it as a powerfully symbolic and loving gesture towards the dispossessed and downtrodden. Yet others will see it as it was perhaps intended, in part, by Kevin Rudd, as a repudiation of his predecessor, a declaration of victory in the culture wars and a revival of the Keating era agenda.It's pretty clear how Miranda feels about it. All she can see are cynical political agendas in all directions:
The Bringing Them Home report which prompted demands for an apology in 1997 was commissioned by Paul Keating in 1995 in the dying days of his divisive government. It was the roadside bomb he planted for his successor, John Howard.Oh, so that's why he did it eh? Lucky he didn't win that 1196 election then, isn't it?
So far its only tangible impact has been to ensure that authorities are so determined not to "steal" another generation, they are reluctant to remove children from life-threatening situations, or if they do remove them, will only place them with "culturally appropriate" carers, no matter how inadequate.But who's fault is that? John Howard had eleven frickin' years to do something about it! And he only even started to make anything like "courageous decisions" when he belatedly realised that his continued inaction was a dangerous political liability.
Too little, too late. Hence the turned backs yesterday.
But what's the old saying? When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail...
Rudd's speech yesterday was embedded with the partisan sentiment that fuels culture wars.Get over it, you dumb bitch. Seriously!
There was the sly dig at John Howard in a "stony and stubborn and deafening silence for more than a decade". There was the homage to Gough Whitlam in his four repetitions of "It's time" and there were echoes of Paul Keating's Redfern speech.
The negative reaction to the nuanced and sensitive reply from the Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, tells you that, far from extinguishing the culture war, Rudd's apology has fanned its flames.
As even Paul Kelly writes today:
In the lobbies, former Howard government ministers said it should have happened long ago. ..And as another Murdoch hack notes:
As today's generation apologises, it must be humble enough to concede the nature of its own dishonourable failure.
Rudd has gone beyond the bare protocols of consulting an Opposition leader.The only time Howard ever did anything like that was when he brought in new gun control laws (after the Port Arthur massacre) and that remains IMHO the only decent thing he ever did.
Yesterday we saw an invitation to join a “war cabinet” on indigenous children and bipartisan support for the Howard government Northern Territory intervention.
At the beginning of the week, there were special briefings on East Timor, last week there was the involvement in the preparations for the apology, and before that an invitation for Nelson to take part in the 2020 ideas summit.
The Culture Wars are over, Miranda. You lost.
Now go and get a real job, please, and do something useful for society before you die.