Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi all say that they are totally committed to the defence of the Australian Way of life. But, they differ broadly when they endeavour to explain to us what it is they are defending.
Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have differing versions of the Australian Way, but both also disagree with some of what Hanson, Abbott and Bernardi have to say.
So, how does the average Aussie punter work out what it is we are all supposed to be promoting and defending?
Embarrassingly for more moderate citizens, there seem to be some broad areas of common bias.
The primary one is a strong belief that Australia must be defended from hordes of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as foreign workers and investors who bring with them sharia law and burkas and terrorists. Added to this is a primitive view that gays, lesbians and aborigines represent a threat to 'decent' society.
So, how do we find common ground on what it is in Australian life we should be standing up for as we try to curb the influence of those supposed 'infidels' and, much more formidably, how can we achieve it? Sadly, too many seem to believe that the creation of an atmosphere of fear is a good way to begin.
May I suggest that a good starting point is to go back to the time of the Federation of Australian States in 1901.
Currently, I am writing a book about this historic event. I have entitled it "Dinner with the Founding Fathers". In researching it, I found that two of the eminent Founding Fathers made a huge effort to have a Preamble to the Constitution adopted which set out the values of the Australian people.
Alfred Deakin, who served as Prime Minister three times, was an ardent spiritualist. He teamed up with Bolton Stafford Bird, a Tasmanian MP and Congregational Church Minister, to try to achieve this, but they failed because the delegates to the Constitutional Conventions could not agree on what Australian Values were, mainly because of the hatred that existed between Protestant and Catholic delegates who were miles apart on what was the Christian standpoint.
Further attempts have been made over the past 116 years, including one by John Howard a decade ago, but they got nowhere near gaining unanimity.
So, for the purposes of my book, I decided to reopen the debate by writing my own version of an acceptable Preamble that in my view the Founding Fathers should have adopted.
My most recent draft reads like this,
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