[Another post from the Two Fires Festival , specifically here. I want to promote this more widely when I get a chance.]
Many people find the words of our national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, to be unsatisfactory, for various reasons, such as
• no mention of the First Australians
• too redolent of old British Empire attitudes (the original version was written in 1878).
• the land is to be owned and used, rather than being a wonder we preserve and a provider we care for and pass on
• the antiquated phrasing (and not just “girt”).
[I sent this to The Canberra Times Sunday (24th). Still waiting for a response, though it’s highly apposite to the local Senate race, with Zed Seselja having ousted Gary Humphries from number one on the Liberal Senate ticket, and Simon Sheikh being a vigorous Greens candidate with at least an outside chance.]
“Left wing” and the “most extreme government in Australia”, is how Jeremy Hanson chose to label the ACT’s Labor-Green Government upon winning the local Liberal leadership recently. Clearly he was singing from the current Liberal Party song sheet, which seeks to label the Greens “extremists” at every slight opportunity.
Now that local Liberal Zed Seselja is gunning for the national stage in the Senate, we should put these claims in a little perspective, and examine who is extreme and who reflects “good common-sense values”, to quote Hanson again.
English: ANU School of Music, LLewellyn Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
[Although this is a relatively local issue, it is symptomatic of the venality of the neoliberal dominance of Australia and much of the world. The Vice Chancellor of ANU recently proposed to downgrade the School of Music from top-class performance to vocational training. Published in City News 5 June.]
Defenders of the Australian National University School of Music have come up hard against the utilitarian attitudes of the ANU Council, which refused last week to question the Vice Chancellor’s plan to gut the School. The Council is a politicised body, and Australian politics has itself largely lost interest in excellence.
[This is the first of an occasional series on what we can do to make our presence on Earth tolerable to the rest of the biosphere, and mostly should do anyway, regardless of one’s view of the dangers or possible means of salvation. It will be filed under ‘Solutions’.]
Australia is one of the largest emitters per capita of greenhouse gases. We are also the world’s largest exporter of coal, which is the dirtiest fuel in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. We must therefore be the world’s worst citizens regarding global warming. However we could be rapidly cleaning up our act, and diversifying and improving our economy in the process.