Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

A brownie point for Turnbull

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-12-08

OMG!  I can’t believe I’m writing this!

After watching the season finale on TV of that long-running black comedy "Order in the House", I’ve got to award points to the leader of the Liberal Party over the ALP, for not one, but two things,… three if you count Rudd’s Howardian one-word two-opposite-readings effort.

First, Turnbull’s encomium of Frank Crean was much more down-to-earth, warm and human than Rudd’s, who barely went further than what one would expect to find in an ALP Who’s-Who entry.  Rudd concentrated on Crean being a true Labor man, Turnbull elaborated on the man.

Second, and more significantly, Turnbull’s seasonal greetings went past the expected felicitations, going on to urge that all members meditate on the meaning of the season, and return in 2009 with the "resolve to be a little more civil and less venomous in our discourse".

(Then again, there is no reason why the ALP government and the Opposition can’t be civil to each other – they are both right-wing-dominated parties after all.  One is just farther from the happy medium than the other.)

Rudd’s comments were flat in comparison, and his tone unconvincing.

There was, however, one part of his seasonal message to the House that pricked up my ears, and got me wondering just how inscrutable he is…

In talking about the significance of the season to those "of faith", he then noted that it was also had significance to those "beyond faith".

Sneaky devil!  The "beyond" could be read two ways:

  • Beyond as "further advanced", no longer needing the primitive assurances of religion, which would be accurate; and
  • Beyond as "outside", as in "outside the grace of [deity]"

Consider this as fair warning that we’ll have to deconstruct Rudd’s words in future, look for every possible (and often contradictory) reading just as we did with Howard’s intentional ambiguities, true one way, meant to be interpreted in another.

I hope I’m wrong, but perhaps Howard has already given Rudd his Xmas prezzie – the dog whistle, and Rudd is starting to practice.


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