Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In which Duckie basks in the glow of Having Been There, even if it was only Canberra

Or, How the Sun Came out at Just the Right Moment, and the Rain held off Just Enough

I went to the IR Meet at the Canberra Racecourse, and what did I see?

-- lots of people, even for Canberra
-- no spare seats, people overflowing the stadium
-- workers with banners
-- babes in arms
-- someone in full academic regalia
-- people dressed up
-- people dressed down
-- young people looking about themselves incredulously, marvelling at being at such an event
-- red balloons, at least 99, which people would pop periodically to add to the cheers
-- grey clouds, but at the very last cry of 'A Battle We Will Win!', the sun burst forth in all its glory
-- lots and lots of crawling traffic (all of us with bicycles smugly zoomed past). Thumbs up to everyone who organised it and those who came, thumbs down to choosing a venue which bottlenecks even on a day with no event and no roadworks
-- a room full of people wanting to make a difference, but not sure how, including me.

After the first few speakers, including Kate Lundy and Jon Stanhope (with a microphone malfunction which made his words disappear at every crucial point), we crossed over to satellite coverage of the Melbourne rally. Boy, it looked amazing. But cold. But amazing. Lots of guest speakers. Cheers and Jeers rom the audience at the appropriate moments. Big cheer for the Catholic Archbishop, even though he had the personality of a boy's school headmaster. Obviously lots of catholic workers in the crowd. Huge cheer for Bob Brown. Sudden eerie silence for Kim Beazley, which warmed up to applause once he'd made his point. A very interesting people-watching morning for me.

Lump-in-throat award goes to two finalists, the James Hardy asbestos victim, and the woman whose husband died in a workplace accident, and who came on stage with the kiddies. All emotional strings pulled. Resolve strengthened. More must be done. I'm an apathetic bird who needs to get with it. I put my name on petitions, mailing lists, donated money.

Then rode back to work in the increasing rain, feeling positive.

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