IT’S been a week of mind-numbing politics, leaving many of us searching for hope and inspiration. While I wait anxiously to see what this new team will come up with, I have toyed with my ideal list of politicians were they all available and at the top of their game. A sort of team of the century.
First it was going to be a cricket eleven with maybe a Clive Palmer as 12th man to carry the drinks but I came up short of numbers. So I have settled on a netball team of seven.
Here it is then, with reasons why they made my list.
Tony Windsor: Don Watson, writing in The Monthly on Windsor’s departure put it in a nutshell: “You were a good politician: good enough to be the measure of what’s missing in modern politics.”
Petro Georgiou: Forgive him his lack of flair. Among much good, he championed decent treatment of asylum seekers, treading fearlessly on party members’ toes for his beliefs, thereby giving many of us belief in justice along the way.
Gough Whitlam: Gave us so much hope. Who could not be inspired by the changes he made? Eliminated military conscription and the death penalty, introduced universal health care, fee-free university education and so much more.
Bob Brown: A politician of unwavering principle who for 16 years fought our fight against environmental vandalism. If in doubt, go and see the Franklin River and give thanks.
Tanya Plibersek: In keeping with the sporting theme, a great player now and her best is yet to come. Articulate, caring, dedicated, super smart. Dismiss Bob Hawke’s recent comments on her leadership suitability. I admire Bob for what he was back then, not what he is today.
Paul Keating: The kind of visionary who made me realise there WAS a better way. He gave us “scumbags”, eloquence and theatre in Parliament and was the catalyst for that great show, Keating the Musical.
Julia Gillard: Incredible strength under constant and cowardly attack. Given more time, she would have been a rare standout in politics.
To borrow from Bob Hawke – “Having said that, let me say this” – if only I could have a team of John Buttons. OK, so what’s your best side?
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September 19, 2013
Cheers, cheers and more cheers to Bob. Exactly my thoughts and I would have to add Penny Wong for all the reasons mentioned in the comments which followed.
Personally, I would have made Julia Gillard the team leader: how did she maintain her calm, poise and strength under those attacks?
It's good to know that more people agree with me. I felt a bit of an outsider with my admiration for her and mostly received blank stares when I pointed out her qualities ...
I must have been speaking to the wrong people, of course! Good on ye Bob, you're a champ (as always).
Hendrika Timmermans, Inverloch
September 19, 2013
Bob, I totally agree with all your choices. To make an eleven I would add:
- John Button – for his honesty, though of course he did decimate the car and clothing and textile industries with his anti-protection ‘plans’.
- Penny Wong – for her clarity of thought and explanations and calmness under fire (if Australia were ever ready for a Chinese lesbian woman with a baby to be PM one day wouldn’t that be something?).
- Sarah Hanson-Young for her humanity, tenacity and outspokenness on asylum seekers.
- Senator Margaret Guilfoyle, who did an outstanding job for her times in the field of child care as Minister for Social Security.
Jenni Deane, Loch
September 14, 2013
I like the premise of Bob Middleton’s article but netball is a girls’ game, so I’ve named an all-women team. Female politicians are invariably set upon by the mob if they look like becoming important so my team is based more on potential than what they actually achieved.
- Julia Gillard – I’ll keep her on as captain. Imagine what she could have done with a unified team working for the common good.
- Bronwyn Bishop – Minister of Defence. She’ll soon stop the shenanigans.
- Carmen Lawrence – Like most of us, she made a serious error of judgement but hers was fatal. Capable and principled, in spite of her lapse.
- Nicola Roxon – Quiet, capable, staunch. I hope she’ll be back one day to take on health or education.
- Joan Kirner – Founder of Landcare, one of the world’s great environmental movements. I’ve conscripted her from the state team to be Environment Minister.
- Amanda Vanstone – A great Aussie sheila and the ideal Minister of Foreign Affairs. The foreigners will be entranced.
- Pauline Hansen – She brought out the worst in all of us: her supporters and her critics. Appoint her Minister for Indigenous Affairs and see if she can sort out the mess. No one else has been able to.
September 15, 2013
Catherine's team is rudderless without the wonderful Natasha Stott Despoja!