I migrated to this country in 1966. I probably would never have come here had I not met a lovely Australian girl in Singapore where we were both working at the time and I did so want to marry her. She wouldn’t marry me in Singapore – I think she thought I might want to take her back to England. So when she returned to Australia, I followed her soon after. We did marry and we had children and we were just another family.
After a while I developed a sort of identity crisis so I took off to the UK on my own for a brief holiday. I came back an Australian and in time I took out citizenship.
I barrack for Australia against the Poms in cricket and my second team is whoever is playing against the Poms – yes – even South Africa!!
I consider myself to be a good Australian because I wasn’t born here. I chose to come here and I chose to become an Aussie. The best thing I ever did after my marriage.
I would like to think I was regarded by my peers as somebody who worked hard. I paid my taxes and I put hard earned money into super. I never went on the dole. I am a self funded retiree – I do not get an Australian Government pension. I believe that some of my jobs during my working career helped create other jobs and I spent time helping the manufacturing sector understand why modern technology was something to be investigated rather than shunned.
I have also been something I would not wish on anybody. I was a 24×7 Carer for many years to my first wife who had the misfortune to be told that she suffered from the very rare neurological disease Multiple System Atrophy.
After she passed away I re-married and re-located to Anglesea which is a community to die for and I am here for good as my use by date slowly creeps up on me. At least I hope it is slow!
People who have got to know me, including some of my own family, have tagged me unfairly as being a one-eyed Labour voter, which is actually not true. Oddly enough, when I arrived in Australia in 1966, I was a committed Tory voter and took an interest in local Liberal activities. That was a long time ago and I have learned so much since, not least the amazing words of wisdom that came from my first wife. Today I would describe myself as a swinging socialist who believes incontrovertibly in voting for what is best for Australia AND all Australians rather than what is best for me. This does of course mean that I am more likely to vote Labour than any other party but I don’t always vote Labour. Much to my first wife’s disgust, I did help vote John Gorton into power. Now there was a decent Liberal politician if ever there was one.
Will I vote Labour if an election is called soon? The answer is yes if Tony Abbott and his gang are in charge. And if someone puts a car sticker on the market that states “Don’t blame me – I didn’t vote for Tony” – then I’ll buy one and put it on my car. Should Malcolm Turnbull be leading the Opposition and be able to demonstrate that he has the numbers to survive an Abbott challenge post election, then I will vote Liberal. If John Howard were to return and lead the charge, I’d almost vote for him – there – I’ve said. But only almost.
The Opposition front bench team will go down in history as the team that rewrote the manual on dirty politics. I remember that wonderful skit on the ABC’s 7.30 Report with Brian Doyle interviewing John Clarke where Clarke was pretending to be Malcolm Turnbull and he was repeating in a mantra fashion that the Opposition existed for one reason only – to oppose – at any cost. It’s a pity Malcolm was the Opposition leader at the time because I don’t think he has that attitude.
We have a situation where we have an unpopular Government but that’s not all that unusual, is it? Very few Governments are actually popular. But the simple fact is that Julia Gillard survived the election and was able to negotiate with the Independents and to form Government – something Tony Abbott was not able to do. He should accept that decision and get on with being a responsible Leader of the Opposition and demonstrate to the Australian voting public why he should be considered as the next Prime Minister WHEN the time comes. He’s like a little boy who has kicked his football over the fence and the dog next door sank its teeth into it and ruined it. He isn’t prepared to wait until his next birthday to get another one – he wants another one NOW.