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A federal election hypothetical - no one left to hate

By Don Allan - posted Thursday, 26 July 2007

Recently, Bill Wood, a former ACT Labor Government Minister, said I should write a column about the coming Federal election. Well, here it is.

Hypothetically, if the Federal Coalition loses the coming election, those members of Canberra’s commentariat whose detestation of, and long campaign against, John Howard amounts almost to hate could fall into depression and acquire mental or other problems when deprived of Howard to detest. With this in mind I’d like to suggest that ACT Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, set up a remedial therapy task force whose job will be to counsel those members of the commentariat at risk, in case they start taking to the bottle or harming themselves.

At the same time in a spirit of friendship, perhaps ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope could advise President George Bush before he stands down from the presidency, as he must in January 2009, that he should institute a similar program for members of Washington’s commentariat. And with Tony Blair now gone perhaps he should advise Gordon Brown, Britain’s new prime minister, to do the same in London.


A brief digression. In some political quarters detesting a politician to an extent that amounts to hate is not thought a vice but a virtue.

For the therapy program to work its content will be important. This being politics, no doubt those charged with setting up the program will take the view that the focus should be on how to prevent Kevin Rudd being commented on in the same way as was John Howard.

Thus they will structure the program to counsel the commentariat on what Mr Rudd would want in future opinion pieces; what to talk about at barbeques; and what non journalists should answer when interviewed on television or radio. Counselling would also be made available to selected writers of letters to the editor and callers to talk back radio.

On the other hand, they might think the most important part of the program will be the issuing of a tape which every member of the commentariat must play every day, which has been designed to induce a feeling of euphoria when they hear Mr Rudd say how he intends to re-shape Australia’s political destiny.

Fortunately, and because therapy programs have never been 100 per cent successful, not all the commentariat will experience the euphoric effect and some will only be partially affected. That being the case the unaffected will continue to question Mr Rudd as if questioning Howard, and in doing so will seek answers, not rhetorical, populist statements and platitudes to questions about affordable housing, control of food prices and other such issues.

And no doubt, they will question Mr Rudd about withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq before they have helped complete the job of giving the Iraqi people real democracy; why he won’t allow the troops to remain there to help protect Australia’s interest - oil supplies for example (I mention oil supplies only because, before the election, this was an issue Mr Rudd used as a stick to beat Mr Howard about the head); and question him also about union influence in, and on, his government.


As time goes by hopefully the partially affected will also recover their wits and join the questioning of Mr Rudd and his most senior acolytes about election promises they sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

Some might even suggest this altar had also become the high altar of a new Australian political religion, similar to Britain’s “New Labour”. They might even confer the title “Benign Leader” on Mr Rudd to emphasise that he is being seen as Labor’s new messiah before whom all members of government, including acolytes of previous party leaders, must kneel when he preaches at the high altar.

While this column is hypothetical and not a prediction, it seems to me that, regardless of who is prime minister, democracy today is practiced more in the breach than the observance. It seems to me also that to restore democracy a way must be found that removes party influence and allows people to choose who they want as prime minister. Not that Howard, Rudd, or members of parties are likely to agree with me.

Hope you like it Bill?

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About the Author

Don Allan, politically unaligned, is a teenager in the youth of old age but young in spirit and mind. A disabled age pensioner, he writes a weekly column for The Chronicle, a free community newspaper in Canberra. Don blogs at:

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