Firstly, I'd like to say a big juicy and hearty THANK YOU to Brendan Nelson. Kevin Rudd's excellent speech was made ultra-excellent and quite unable to be criticised because Brendan made such a hatchet-job of his own speech. If he'd done the honorable thing and put a red line through his corresponding paragraphs as Kev spoke, and then got up and said 'yeah, me too!', we would have been a tad suspicious. But no, thankfully, he chose to give his own blow-by-blow (I am using this phrase deliberately) historical response, and ended up looking like a fool. I'm sure Big Kev appreciated Brendan's effort. I know I appreciated Kevin's effort.
I took Bumblebee to the Parliament House lawn this morning (that's him, in blue, at the front of the photo). We parked across the lake and walked over Canberra's bridge, and I revelled in the sight of many, many people all walking / riding / heading in the same direction with hope and anticipation in their faces.
We stood in the morning dew with many others and watched the big screens. We cheered, we clapped, we smiled at everyone around us. Crit was there, Hil was there, Zoe was there, and I'm sure many more.
When Brendan started talking, we were prepared to listen openly. As he warmed to his theme, there were the beginnings of frowns and growls. Then Hil suggested to me that we turn our backs to the screen. I was reluctant, because I was determined to be nice today. But when he started banging on about the sexual abuse statistics -- we all know them? Why push them in the crowd's face? -- I couldn't bear it anymore and barked out a loud 'GET YOUR HAND OFF IT, BRENDAN' and turned my back until it was over, although I kept listening. I think every indigenous person there had turned around long before.
Anyhoo, wasn't it great? Laura and Pav and Beth and probably countless others say it better. But Tim made a good point... it was so much better to watch it with others than I imagine it would have been to see or hear it alone. Bumblebee's class watched it on tv. But Bumblebee watched it on-site, and that will stick in his head for a very long time, I hope.
Annoying tourists next. Then Mackay. Stay tuned!