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A Flight of Fancy


On December the 17th in 1903, on a windy beach front in North Carolina, Orville and his brother Wilbur conducted four short take offs and landings in the world’s first series of powered flight. The brothers took turns with Orville taking the first flight of a mere 12 seconds and 120 feet and Wilbur piloting the craft for a record-breaking 59 seconds and covering just over 850 feet. Since then man has taken this gift of flight and reworked it over and over till in 1947, Chuck Yeager flew the X-1 at a height of 45,000 feet and officially broke the sound barrier.  And in 1969, man stood on the surface of the moon.  From humble beginnings, man stretched his legs.

Likewise, on January 1st, 1901, Australia entered a new dawn of Federation. No longer would Australia be a clutch of individual states and instead be one whole and diverse country with the view to the Commonwealth of the nation.

Moon landing (Ed von Renouard)

Unlike the vast differences between the craft that took flight at Kitty Hawk and the Apollo 11 craft that landed on the moon, Federation in this country has stayed pretty much the same since its birth. The rules and the laws that bind it have barely changed. At the time of Federation, the divisions were on state lines with fierce rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney. This later took the faces of two major parties and it has been that way since most of us have been born.

Now, for the second time in its history, the Federal Parliament of Australia looks set to be that of minority government. The army of the blue and the army of the red have been spoiled by a handful of Independents members.

In the 1940 Federal election, the ALP managed to secure 1.5 million votes, the United Australia Party secured 1.17 million votes and the Country Party 531,397 votes. Robert Menzies, afraid of the socialist ties in the ALP and with a World War raging, created what was called the Unity Australia Party/Country Coalition and became prime minister with 49.70% of the total votes to the ALPs 50.30%. This later became the Liberal Party, and was a minority government with the aid of two independents. So was the fate of Australia’s first hung parliament.

On August 21st, 2010, the voters of Australia again elected a hung parliament. The Melbourne/Sydney rivalry was now entrenched in party politics between the ALP and its long-standing rival, the Liberal/Liberal National Party of Queensland/National party coalition. But this time, there is no war. And this time, the men who are leading the debate are not the great John Curtin and Robert Menzies and their juggernaut parties, but the Independents themselves.

Adam Bandt, Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott,  and Tony Windsor found themselves in an amazingly powerful position. They literally can decide which major party gets to govern Australia. On the face of it, it all sounds very sinister if not for one clear and present fact. These are all good men. In fact these are Australia’s ‘a few good men’. And like the early astronauts who pioneered the way to the moon, they find themselves burdened with the similar weight of a nations hope.

These few good men have challenged the way things are done in the Federal Parliament. With the voting still going on, these men have shaken the very foundations of our countries politics. They dare to see another way. They dare to take on not one, but two dinosaurs.

Media has mocked a few of these men in the past. It’s always funny to make fun of a man in a hat. But today I heard these men speak and I was deeply moved. All who heard them were moved. Some to my sense of excitement for this country and others by fear of their loss of power in the possible oncoming change.

Even as I write this, I suspect others are taking to their keyboards and the airwaves and in their snide way, are attempting to deride what these men are offering Australia and its future.  It can not be done they explain. That’s not how we do it here they say. Look! He has a hat they cry. Others are not so pessimistic. Others will champion the cause of these men and like myself, attempt to bring a small whisper and a fragile light to the people. The light is the word. And the word is Democracy.

If Orville and Wilbur Wright had listened to the pundits and the experts, they would not have taken flight that day, instead choosing to accept the impossibility of it all. Instead, they listened to themselves. Instead they took the derision and the ridicule. They bore the sling and the arrows of contempt of those who told them they would fail. They ignored the facts and worked on their dream and turned that dream into a reality.

Australia, let us help these few good men in their dream. Let us counter the pessimistic views of the debunkers and let us take Australia into a bright and prosperous future. Let us take this flight of fancy.

For the Commonwealth of all.

A. Ghebranious 2010 All Rights Reserved

  1. am4greens permalink

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