|Issue No 49||07 April 2000|
In 30 years time our history books will be likely to have written Senator John Herron out of the story of reconciliation, but he gets his shot at immortality as this week's Tool.
Herron is the dithering surgeon who fell into the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, yet lacks the political acumen to have any positive influence on government policy.
Instead he sits back and allows the Prime Minister to play his ugly breed of wedge politics, as he desperately tried to win back the One Nation block vote on a black-bashing platform.
Herron hit the headlines this week when he signed off on an odious argument constructed from within the PM's office that there wasn't a Stolen Generation.
The logic was that there was no Stolen Generation because only one in ten Aborignals were stolen. Under the same logic there was no generation Sent to War to give us the ANZAC tradition.
Why they felt compelled to run this line is unclear: but whether through malevolence or incompetence it has ensured that tensions with indigenous Australia will take center stage as the world's attention focuses on Australia during the 2000 Games.
As Herron and Howard shrug their shoulders and wonder what all the fuss is about, most of us scratch our heads and wonder why it's so hard to say sorry? Why is it necessary to downplay this chapter of our history? Why can't our leaders lead?
The point that the Howard Government continually misses is that we live in a world of symbols that shape our culture and our perception of the outside world. A Government that can't do this is incapable of leading us into the 21st Century.
History will not judge Howard well; Herron will be forgotten altogether and the past injustices to indigenous Australia will be recognized.
It's our shame that it can't happen now; but it will happen.
PS It was good to see our old mate Piers Akerman knocking on the door of the Tool Shed, jumping on the Howard/Herron bandwagon and defending the indefensible; using this shameful exercise of power as an excuse to bash Beazley.
Nominate a Tool!
Interview: Rebuilding from the Rubble
Ramona Mitussis, APHEDA's co-ordinator in East Timor reports on how Australian workers are contributing to rebuilding a nation.
East Timor: UN Poseurs Delay Reconstruction
Returning to the Dili compound where he spent five days under siege, HT Lee finds an aid bureacracy out of control.
Unions: The Last Bank in Minto
"It's a busy branch", Carol Davison insists, watching the crowd gather around the Commonwealth Bank branch at Minto Mall. By the time you read this, the branch will be another empty shopfront, stripped of its fittings, with junk mail starting to accumulate under the front door.
International: Workers of the World Unite
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia's keynote address to the ICFTU Congress in Durban, South Africa this week.
Olympics: Strange Tenants
Rentwatchers lifts the lid on the legacy the 2000 Games will leave on Sydney's tenants.
Politics: The Loneliness Crisis
Lindsay Tanner looks at the politics of the soul that form the backdrop of many of our social ills.
History: Songs of Solidarity
Visiting US labour acadmeic John Lund has found a new way to digest history - he commits workers' struggles to song.
Satire: Seven Launches 'Popstars' Spin-off
On the heels of Popstars comes a new show taking five minor celebrities and turning them into normal people
Review: Keating's Engagement
Whether it's analysis or self-justification, Paul Keating's new book is an engaging read.
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