Polls heading south again, eh Julia? Bit of a blow. Good government losing it’s way again, I suppose.
Julia Gillard, and those chiefly responsible for her elevation to the party leadership, could belatedly recover the respect of many Labor voters with a simple transparent acknowledgement of how Kevin Rudd’s removal may have looked to the watching electorate. We’ve heard the rationale, the justification, the theories about the polls, the leaks and the collapse of the Rudd brand. But we also watched the sudden clinical disintegration of a very public partnership, if not indeed a friendship, a hastily rewritten script, and the tearful public humiliation of a respected, if frail, leader. And in our hearts we said: “Something just isn’t right.” The collective numbness was palpable. And so we were left with questions about loyalty, trust, humanity and the folkloric “fair go”. The answers do not lie in more spin.
That, I suspect, is why many ordinary people voted differently.
Given the currency in the Australian media of phrases like “the religious right” with reference to any public expressions of orthodox Christian morality, it’s little surprise that both the ABC and The Age (26/5) would list “religious groups” generally and the Australian Christian Lobby in particular, as natural sources of right-wing audience fodder for Q & A.
However the assumption is simplistic to say the least. No doubt the ranks of the ACL (formal members and the much wider support base) do comprise quite a few people with conservative political leanings. But the association is far from universal. Not least, our current (Labor) Prime Minister is clearly on the public record not only as a thinking, praying and practising Christian, but also as an admirer of self-professed “Christian socialist” and labour leader, Keir Hardie and of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism. The ACL’s own webpage records a recent interview with Mr Rudd, highlighting his faith journey and spiritual practice.
Q & A’s audience may be less “balanced” than intended.