Thursday, 31 January 2008

Silly responses

I foolishly made the remark in a letter to the Advertiser yesterday that most Australians would be happy for a apology to be made to indigenous Australians.
Curiously there were six other letters making a number of alternative replies. One from the erstwhile mayor of Port Augusta assured the PM that he did not have her permission to include her in the apology, at least one other correspondent made a similar response.
Now that's as maybe but they rather miss the point. A Parliamentary response is notp one that is made on behalf of anyone as an individual it is made on behalf of the nation.
In a representative democracy one might ask who should make this apology, there are really only three persons who can actually represent the whole nation. The first is the Queen, the second the Governor General as her representative. They are both (in their roles) embodiments of the nation, but we are pretty confused about this. I think this is the purest option, but pragmatically many would be squeamish about drawing one or both of these two figureheads into this.

The third option, therefore, is the current Head of Government (as opposed to Head of State). Despite the protestations of Mayor Baluch et al, Prime Minister Rudd will not be offering her personal apology at all but the apology of the nation. There are many things an incumbent government will do which individual electors will not wish to be associated with. Too bad! That is the nature of elected government. We knew when we elected Labor that this was part of the agenda.

Personally, although this issue is littered with shades of grey and is not black and white(!); the gentle voice of Lowitja O'Donohue and of Fred Chaney (here) and other Aboriginal people welcoming this move (here for example) is enough to suggest we should do this and get it over and done with.


Joe said...

Nice blog. I like your comment on Ruth G's blog. Also like your pictures of Palestine :)

Anglican Parish of Coromandel Valley said...

Thanks Joe. Andrew, whose funeral I write about this week,lived in Nablus for a while and it was rather life changing for them