Monday, July 12, 2010

Election date firms as ads begin and issues blur

ALP advertisements began appearing on prime time television last night, another signal that Australia is just weeks away from an early election. The ads featured a scraggy photo of Tony Abbot and an appeal not to trust him with Australia's health system.

Add to this Julia Gillard's asylum seeker policy wobble last week and plans to announce almost a replica of the Opposition's climate challenge policy tomorrow, and pundits are backing in an August 28 election.

Julia Gillard got the Prime Minister's job on the back of her reputation of being as Labor's most formidable politician and yet this took a battering last week with the on-again-of-again East Timor refugee processing centre.

Still benefiting from an electoral honeymoon, the Labor part machine is likely to recommend moving ahead quickly before it suffers from any more communication meltdowns.

At the same time, climate change is the last area to be 'tidied up' and it appears Ms Gillard's solution will be to focus on renewable energy, energy efficiencies and consultation with business. This mirrors the Opposition to some degree and removes the 'great big new tax' line from the election. It also portrays Ms Gillard as the new-style consultative Prime Minister.

Cabinet will be asked for its view on election timing tomorrow.


  1. The neat but casually man of undetermined age wandered in. He was neither old or young. Somewhere in the middle was how he was observed by others.
    He looked around with a slightly pouted bottom lip and his hands in his trouser pockets. His jacket was buttoned. He noticed the place was empty, completely empty. He looked down and scuffed a shoe across the floor so as to hear what sort of sound would emerge.
    His call of 'hello' echoed back at him from all walls. Not a long echo, a short one, but clear.
    'Bugger me, doe anyone ever come here?' he asked himself.

  2. The floor, and the walls, were illusionary, figments of long repressed fears. The echo returned, this time as a heart beat and with it, realisation. The walls, the floor dissolved to reveal millions of creatures - human and otherwise - watching, waiting...

  3. he realised his clothes were unsuitable for the newly revealed environment. He shed his jacket. Freedom had come to him. Freedom from the expectations of others, freedom from the demands of others, of the unrealities brought about by the beliefs of others.
    He stepped towards the animals. They looked at him with peace, and no malice. They recognized that, like them, he was a part of nature, of the environment.
    As his mind freed itself from all that had gone before he finally recognized the truth. He was a part of a small collection of life which existed as a mere speck on a grain of sand on the beach of the universe. The amazing serendipity that all the laws of physics and biology had collided to form something sentient.

  4. So used to divvying up reality according to prideful doctrine, it was moments before he realised his thoughts had re-constructed the well-worn veil before his eyes... Then a tiny realisation at the corner of his consciousness, like a tiny pin-prick of light, halted his self-expansive revelry. He waited, senses flaring, and found himself bathed in a gathering light. He wished the veil would leave him as he felt restricted and it dissolved. He realised the people and creatures were more than he had, he could, conceive. There were people, yes, and of every tribe and tongue. As his inner eyes grew accustomed to the light he realised there were millions of them and among them were, yes animals, domesticated and wild. A lion frolicing with a child, an asp cuddled by a young woman, an angelic being watching on. He did not believe what he saw, would not believe. He was smarter than this. Humanity knew better. But an ancient memory arose in his mind. 'The wolf will live with the lamb,the leopard will lie down with the goat,the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.' Somehow he knew he was seeing this prophet's vision now. But fear, shame, damned pride flooded in, the old ache, the great divorce. And he turned to flee, anger soaring...

  5. ... then he was suddenly struck by the culmination of all the conflicting thoughts that had forced their way through his mind. So this was how life was meant to be; peaceful, loving, cooperative and understanding.

    And as he continued to gaze upon the vista laid out before him he realised the source of the conflicting messages and doctrines in his mind. It was fear. The fear which had been instilled in him by the misrepresentation of life and the universe. The fear generated in him by those whose own fears had twisted and distorted their place in the cosmos. Yes the fear they used to control others, to dictate how people should live, to gain and hold and control power, wealth and especially people. Because that was their greatest defence against their own fears.

    Fear, false evidence appearing real. They had created their own false paradigm to construct fear upon. That there was a central power which had created all this and decreed how all must live. Obey or face horrendous consequences!

    The man smiled to himself. yes the veil had been lifted. The conflicting and contradictory dictates of others meant nothing anymore. For he had seen the truth. That the universe was of itself and every element was there in balance, to share the joy. What was real was real, no false idols or manufactured deities.

  6. "You didn't manufacture Me, I manufactured you," said the Deity.

    The man turned to see a human-like figure with eyes of fire and feet of splendid jewel.

    "You are not there, you are a product of my fear. I will not again be daunted by other people's demands."

    "Good," said the Deity. "Dauntedness is never a good look for human kind. Respect, awe, reverence - these are enriching, but bald staggering, terrorising fear is not of my making."

    The man had silently made up his mind not to listen or respond until this phantom disappeared, but the conversation was not going as expected.

    "I'm not listening," the man lied. "You'll say anything to pretend you are different but I know you are just the sum of my imagined fears."

    "Well, no and do you realise you could only imagine you imagined me because I imagined you in the first place? Rather circular, don't you think," said the Deity.

    "Well, I... mmm," said the man.

    "Look, I think you may have missed the point, not surprising as there is quite a lot of minsinformation about. I'm not about fear, perfect love casts out all fear. I am love."

    The man thought for a while, sensing some kind of ancient evolutionary trick trying to lead him down a path in which belief in a higher power was helpful for survival.

    "No, again, you've missed the point," said the Deity, evidently knowing the man's thoughts. "You certainly are biologically hard-wired towards faith and worship but that's not a random evolutionary survival mechanism but a creative strategy of my own for ensuring we could have relationship. How else could I relate to a real physical being if I did not place in their make up a capacity to believe and feel and worship and love?"

    "I still don't believe in you," said the man, arms crossed against his nakedness."The universe is of itself and I am of the universe."

    "Aahhh... and how much of the universe do you understand? Never mind, but think about this. With a real stretch of your vaunted imagination, one might almost conceive, ignoring the obvious problems, that inanimate matter gave way to life. But how does this life give way to personality, emotion, love nobility, intelligence and even your centrepiece of resistance, fear? No, it would be more logical to believe that a Being with those capacities began the process with an end in mind... Don't you agree?"

    "Look I just don't like you, whether you are there or not. And I don't like the way I have been made to feel so that's it, I'm choosing to ignore all of this," said the man, turning his back to the figure of light.

    "And that choice is also reflective of my nature. Where is love with no choice? And if we can choose not to love, fear is never far away. But would you trade the raw wonder of life as you know it for no existence at all or a robotic one?"

    Now this was a serious question, thought the man, half looking back over his shoulder. In his darker moments he had often wondered if he might have preferred never to live at all...

    "Don't answer just yet," said the Deity with a softness unexpected. "You have more to learn. Why not begin by asking yourself a question, If you knew me as pure love, would your unbelief be tested?"

  7. The man paused momentarily, then realisation dawned. The purity of the atmosphere, the beauteous visions and the pure love and peace of the place he was now within had rushed through his mind as if a new element had been inhaled.

    The apparition had been the last vestige of the delusions created by the fear-mongers. It had been the last gasp of unreality.

    He smiled to himself as he realised what he would have looked as the 'conversation' had taken place. The same blank and uncomprehending eyes that he had often observed when coming across the smitten.

    Delusion, inability to recognise reality, and an innate desire to ignore, to disregard that which had been proven empirically to them.

    It had been the last flick of the veil. His eyes were now open and comprehending.

  8. Turning around, the man noticed another man, different but not altogether unlike him.

    "It appears this has been the story of two men not one," the second man said.

    Two stories trying to become one but in the end they drift apart, unable to reconcile.

    The first gazed at the second for a moment, and turned and began to walk away.

    "It was good to travel for a while in the same story with you but I'd say we've reached our logical conclusion," second man said.

    The first stopped, half turned and said, "I'm not sure I would associate logic with your version but, yes, it was ok for a while."

    "I can't really let that 'proved empirically' bit go though," said the second, taking a step or two closer.

    "In reality, you cannot disprove God and I can't prove Him and so we are left to ponder our own stories and, perhaps, reflect on each others."

    The first gave a little groan, shrugged, and continued to walk.

    "Thank you again... I'll be praying for you," said the second.

    "Don't bother," said the first. "I don't need your prayers and I'm sure you have better things to do with your time. Goodbye."

    "I'll be praying anyway. Goodbye."


    This spontaneous and collaborative effort covers some similar territory, poorly,as CS Lewis' The Great Divorce. Might be worth a read. Thanks to Rupert for initiating this discussion.