I will never forget the night of the last election, and by the time my dad got to our place, they were already saying Bennelong was too close to call and what a night it was, and my children will always remember that they were allowed to stay up until midnight playing computer games, only we kept making them come and stand in front of the television because this is history and the next day I felt like this great veil of mean-spirited conservatism had lifted from us all.
We drank too much sparkling red, but the hangover was worth it.
We knew, we always knew, that this wouldn’t be a revolutionary government, that things would carry on much as before but we believed that now we would be led by people who, even if they were conservative, would lead with more generous spirits. We believed that the lines in the sand would shift (oh, a metaphor, how did that sneak in?).
That’s why this whole asylum seeker and ringing the Indonesian government and expanding the Christmas Island detention centre is utterly and absolutely depressing. There’s some actions on the Amnesty International website and doing them will make me feel better about myself, but not about much else.
And what I’m also remembering is the day my dad and I had another of our heated discussions, back when Latham let Howard set the agenda on refugees and asylum seekers once again, and I could not believe that Dad could still be a member of the ALP. One of those times when Latham didn’t just say, as he should have done, ‘No, enough is enough’. (It might have been the Tampa, but who knows, I mean there have been so many moments where I’ve thought, ‘Well, it can’t get worse’, but then it has). Surely, I said to Dad this, this is the tipping point, and he gave his old, once-relevant, but to my mind no-longer-so, speech about change from within. He remained loyal to the ALP, and he probably still would.
I feel let down.
(updated to add: as would he)