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Politics: the drama of our lives

By Lyn Bender - posted Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale¨told by an idiot
Full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

Shakespeare's Macbeth utters this lament upon hearing of the death of his queen, Lady Macbeth. This is the final result of their blind greed and murderous plotting.

In Australia the political sphere has produced a spark in the dark, briefly sizzling on the customarily dull political terrain. We have had a week of political engagement. More suspenseful than the soapie days of our lives, it has been an enactment and intrigue played out before us. What has followed, are the ongoing dissections and reviews, of the events leading up to and resulting in, the deposing of our former leader Julia Gillard and the reinstatement of the leader she deposed: Kevin Rudd.


This is the sequel to the first political play of three years ago : the fall of Kevin Rudd.

It has all the complexity of a Shakespearean or Greek tragedy: ambition, deceit, treachery, tragedy resurrection and ultimately the human flaws in the idealized hero that may prove his undoing.

The media are the Greek chorus who are chanting the tale of triumph and woe to the populace.

The polls decreed that the voters were displeased and the axe fell, but has this answered any of the important questions of our times?

Not the least of which is the one posed over aeons of human existence. What really matters in this brief life, and on this particular part of the earth and time, that we are privileged to inhabit?

The great writers and poets still speak to us and have done so for centuries, unlike the short term political commentaries and slogans distilled from the focus groups and snap surveys.


These are indeed full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I am disappointed. Not because there has been a leadership change. This can be argued as having at least raised the bar on the political contest. Now there is at least a real fight brewing and this is surely in the best interest of democracy.

But for me the expectant excitement has too soon been diluted. I have admired and respected Kevin Rudd for his intelligence and depth, and have held out hope for his commitment to the greatest moral challenges of our time. Firstly the treatment of those arriving on our shores and fleeing war and persecution; and also the global warming, that if unchecked, will bring massive death and destruction to millions.

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About the Author

Lyn Bender is a psychologist in private practice. She is a former manager of Lifeline Melbourne and is working on her first novel.

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