A view from Australia

Leaves on pathAustralia is having an unusual double dissolution election, where every member of both houses of the Federal Parliament is up for re-election. Usually, only half the Senate is contested at a federal election. So, this one could be interesting.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived back in Australia from the USA on Monday, and watched the TV coverage in the lounge at Melbourne airport while waiting for my connection, was the difference in the tone of the campaign being waged here.

After listening to the candidates fighting it out in the presidential primaries in the US, it was refreshing to hear what, by comparison, seemed almost polite conversation, even when opposing politicians were bagging each other.

Hopefully, if we ever get around to becoming a republic, Australia will go with the Constitutional President model, similar to the Irish, and stay well clear of the Executive President model used in the USA.

I suspect the Australian Labor Party will come to regret Kevin Rudd’s parting gift: their leadership election process. From my perspective, the rules of their new leadership process look a lot like the rules of the process the Democrats use to select their presidential candidate. Facing the membership to gather delegates from a round of voting and then dealing with the super delegates – the elected members and the party machine. Bernie Sanders will tell you it’s rigged. Hilary Clinton will tell you it’s the way things are.

Whether it’s rigged or not, it’s ugly, it’s public, and it takes a long time.

In past leaderships spills in the Australian Labor Party all was resolved in the party room. It took a matter of days.

If Labor fails to get up in July we will, no doubt, be treated to the spectacle of another leadership election contest, as they sort out who gets to replace Bill Shorten.

I’ll be tuning out.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic and The New Girlfriend. He has also published colouring books and journals under the Sharing the Journey banner.

Confirmation

An anti-Islamic, political party was launched in a secret location in Australia last night.

I heard one of their spokesmen being interviewed on Radio National this morning.

His answers to the questions posed by the journalist, while highly entertaining, simply confirmed the suspicions I expressed in my previous post: IQ.

BTW: The secret location was not prompted by fears of being attacked by Islamic terrorists but rather fears of being laughed out of town by the wider Australian community.

For your information

In Australia this week we changed the leader of our government.

  • No shots were fired.
  • No money changed hands.
  • There was no fighting in the streets.
  • There were no barrel bombs dropped from helicopters.
  • There were no police in riot gear firing tear gas canisters or rubber bullets.

It was just another peaceful day in paradise.

Middle class crime in the suburbs

Last week I enjoyed reading Cold Granite, Book 1 in the Logan McRae series, by Stuart MacBride, on my daily commute.

A couple of things caught my attention.

The story is set in Aberdeen, Scotland, during December, so it rains on nearly every page. This is not something we have to deal with in Australia, where if it rains during a story, it might be once in the entire book. Australians are used to foul deeds being committed in fine weather. We know a lot more about drought than deluge, despite a few recent skirmishes with floods, hail storms and cyclones. The evidence is more likely to be destroyed by fire than water down here.

burglarThe world of crime depicted by MacBride in Cold Granite is one where the criminals can only be described as social misfits from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.

On reflection, I realised that my Inspector West series is definitely middle class crime. I wonder if I am taking that advice to write about what I know – middle class life in the suburbs – too literally.

How do you like your crime? Do you want your criminals to be socially inept, mentally challenged misfits? Or do you prefer them to be people like you who, for one reason or another, find themselves on the wrong side of the law?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

 

25 April 1915 – birth of the ANZAC spirit

This weekend in Australia we’re remembering.

This year we’re marking the centenary of the landing of the ANZACs at what has come to be known as ANZAC Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on the morning of 25 April 1915.  The 100 years of ANZAC  and Gallipoli and the ANZACs provide a window into how we Australians see our military heritage.

Each year we celebrate ANZAC Day as a national holiday – but not to glorify war. We remember the sacrifices made. We remember that every war is a tragedy.

IMG_2846

Lest we forget.

 

Change of view

Last weekend I travelled to Burra – a two hour road trip from my place – to attend a significant birthday celebration in that restored railway station I wrote about in my last post.
imageI used to say to my wife that I could retire to a place like Burra, and she would always reply that she hoped I’d remember to send her a postcard.

It was pretty obvious my ‘city girl’ had no intention of retiring to a small country town ‘in-the-middle-of-nowhere’ – even if that’s where I’d come from.

If you are not familiar with population density figures for Australia, let me tell you there are lots of places with an ‘in-the-middle-of-nowhere’ feel. Australia is basically an empty continent, despite the fact that twenty-three million plus people live here – mostly in coastal cities.

When I drove into Burra last Saturday I knew something had changed – and it wasn’t Burra.

Maybe it’s all those trips to New York or travel to Europe. Whatever it is, I realised that Burra was no longer on my list of places to live in retirement.

Something has changed in my worldview.

It’s now obvious to me that there is no way I could go back to my small town country roots.

I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not.

I just know that it’s no longer an option.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

 

A story

We all have a story that we use to describe ourselves to ourselves and to each other. If you know my story you know me, right?

You already know my name. If I tell you that I was born in Booleroo Centre, a small town in, what the locals call, the mid-north of South Australia, and spent the first three years of this lifetime living, with my parents and their expanding family, in the school house of a tiny rural hamlet on the edge of the Flinders Ranges, does that tell you anything about who I am?

You can probably come up with a few words that you think describe me; for example, Australian, son of a school teacher, country boy. At times I think of myself as being those things, but am I? Aren’t they just labels that describe experiences or circumstances or relationships?

Consider this. If you watch Leonardo DiCaprio performing as Gatsby or Hoover or whoever, do you know anything about Leonardo at the end of the performance? What you saw was the presentation of a story with someone playing the role of the main character in the story. Someone who didn’t write the script and followed someone else’s directions. Sound anything like your life?

If your story doesn’t really describe who you are, what does it do? It gives you a persona or a role to play in this lifetime, and it gives you a source of questions most of us don’t think to ask. Maybe we don’t want to know the answers.

Question like:

  • Why did I choose those particular parents?

  • Why did I choose to be born in that place within the socio-economic circumstances of those times?

  • Why parents with that particular set of religious or political beliefs?

  • Why did I choose to be on the planet now?

  • Why did I choose this set of circumstances?

  • Why have I chosen the experiences I refer to as my story or my life?

I invite you to explore these questions and any others that come into focus while you’re pondering them.

Peter