Wednesday, January 26, 2005
FOOTBALL GUY KICKS AUSTRALIA
Looks like AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou wrote his Australia Day speech (theme: we are bad) before the Asian tsunami, and our subsequent massive donations. Some awkward changes seem to have been made:
Naturally, because Demetriou’s speech was negative, today The Age published it. Happy Australia Day.
We have just come through a terrible time - the tsunami of December 26. But that disaster has brought out the best of us as a nation. We have been, and continue to be, the most generous of nations, giving so much to support the massive task of rebuilding communities ripped apart by a freak of nature. As that renowned philosopher Ron Barassi said: “We have played well above our weight."
This is the Australia I love: instantly reacting to the needs of others. We asked no questions, we reacted immediately, we provided everything we could.
But does this outpouring represent what we really are as a nation? I’m not sure if it does.
Despite our response to the tsunami, we remain the conservative country we have become in recent years. When we, as a country, reflect on where we come from, we look narrowly, inwardly, rather than considering all the influences that have made us the country we are. Notwithstanding the massive support we have given to the tsunami appeal, we are more inclined to self-interest than sharing; more interested in surpluses than what we do with them, more interested in the stockmarket than the state of education and equality of opportunity.
We seem to have lost our sense of adventure, our sense of backing ourselves, our sense of looking towards tomorrow, preferring to worry about today ...
All I can do is hope that the next generation of our leaders - whether Liberal or Labor - will think broadly and challenge their values and our values, rather than building barriers between us and a world in need.