Emus, Sport and Julia.

Yesterday while on the Comedy Festival Road Show we hit and critically maimed an Emu.

Our driver and techie Flash Bang (as is his nom de plume) did a great job in doing his best to avoid the poor animal but also not launching us in the air as if we were doing our best to emulate Bernard Fanning in the “My Kinda Scene” film clip.  Basically two Emus ran out of the bush while we were driving along in regional South Australia and decided to make a run for it.  One Emu turned back but unfortunately one kept going and this is the one we hit.  The thud was sickening and Flash Bang brought us to a careful halt alongside the road.

I was in the car with Ben from musical comedy duo Smart Casual and all three of us jumped out to find the poor animal desperately trying to get away with one broken leg.  It was incredibly distressing as the Emu looked like a Muppet being worked by a drunken puppeteer.  The only sensible thing to do was put the animal down but as we looked through the car we discovered we had nothing to use as a weapon.  So we decided to ring the local ranger but then found out we had no coverage.  It is the only time in my life that I have wished I was with Telstra.

Our tour manager Shosh pulled up in the other touring van and saw our dilemma.  She eventually had to drive back to the town we had just left to pick up some phone coverage so she could put in a call for a ranger to come and put this poor animal out of it’s misery.  We were told not to wait around and in the end there was no point.  Any time we made noise we scared the injured bird more, now trying to hide from us in the bush.  By the time we left it was with a feeling of hopelessness that we couldn’t do more.  To be honest I don’t know if I could have done anything.  Maybe if we’d had a gun knowing it was the right thing to do I could have pulled the trigger but I have my doubts.  I’m very much a city guy I think.  When my first thought is that I wish that I had Telstra coverage so I could ring an alpha male to fix this situation I think it comments with disdain on a certain aspect of my character.

Meanwhile in a world of alpha males in two footy codes we seem to have an outbreak of racism.  I know it still occurs intellectually but emotionally I find it all so shocking that people really think they can use the terms they have and be surprised at the outcome.  Even if you were born in a different generation that accepted this language surely you would know deep in your soul that these antiquated terms are no longer acceptable to the greater public.  And the argument that we shouldn’t overreact just because some people use terms that are out of fashion under the guise of “political correctness” is disingenuous in itself.  I’m sure Dipper wouldn’t have liked being referred to as a dumb wog if the tables were turned.  The indigenous culture of Australia has always received short thrift in the general public and sometimes the footy field has been the place where all men can be treated equal.  To bandy terms around with no sense of the damage they can cause is dull and speaks conclusively of someone’s true character.  Maybe they believe they’re not racist but that doesn’t mean they’re not.

The biggest injustice of it all is that Dipper now has to go and do a course with Michael Long educating him to what is correct and what isn’t when it comes to the Aboriginal people.  My argument?  What did Michael Long do wrong to have to spend time with Dipper?  Put him out to pasture, his time in the media is long past and it is time to stop confusing character with being stupidly outspoken.

Speaking of being put out to pasture Kevin Rudd has been dumped and we have our first female Prime Minister, the Fanta pants herself Julia Gillard.  I think she’ll be fantastic, a proven performer in deeds and rhetoric.  I look forward to her placing her stamp on the party I voted for and only hope that she takes full advantage of this to stake Tony Abbott while he sleeps in his coffin during the day.

I’m also hoping she sorts out this debacle with the mining industry.  Rudd’s look for a fight stank of Howard’s actions before elections and while the mining tax would be a good thing I don’t believe the way he went about it was conducive to selling it to the public.  I for one am sick of rich miners telling me they’ll take their bat and ball and go elsewhere if they don’t get their way.  The stance they made in WA made me sick.  I get my neck up when anyone with power and money tells me what is good for me or else so I’m hoping Gillard can do what needs to be done in a way that sees Australia receive the money it deserves while not pushing the prima donnas into a situation where they take it out on their thousands of employees.

A lesson is to be learned from Rudd though.  Don’t flip flop on your policy.  It is better to be liar who sticks to his guns than someone who sees both sides of the argument.  Howard was a proven liar about the children overboard debacle but people still voted for him because he was considered a strong leader.  Beazley bounced back and forth and was perceived as weak.  Election over.  Rudd turned his back on the ETS and suddenly he too was perceived as weak.  To say he lost the public over one case is to simplify the events that transpired to have him on the outer but this was definitely a major stumble.  I know a fair number of people who were going to vote Greens because of this.  That would be the equivalent of telling someone they’re an idiot while punching yourself in the head.  If there is one thing we can rely on it is small “l” liberals willing to take a stand that can sometimes really blow back in our collective faces.

If Rudd had to go for Labour to have any chance of winning the election then I’m glad it was done now, swiftly and decisively and with Gillard ready to take action.  She moved Rudd on with class and strength, exactly what we need in a leader to navigate us through these turbulent times.

In fact she did it so well I think next time I’ll call our Julia when I need to put down an injured animal.

Justin Hamilton

Mount Gambier

24th of June, 2010