THE VISION OF THE INLAND RAILWAY IS NOW A TRAGEDY.

EVERALD COMPTON RELATES HIS LONG AND PAINFUL JOURNEY

Soon after John Howard became Prime Minister of Australia in 1996, I met him at Parliament in Canberra to outline my plan to build an Inland Railway.

He agreed that it was a visionary project well worth a try and he gave me the green light to open negotiations with appropriate Ministers in his Cabinet.

I mentioned to him that there was a political downside for his Government. No matter what corridor we chose for the railway, many people would be hurt as we resumed properties & demolished homes as inevitably happens with every infrastructure project anywhere in the world.

We agreed that we must always work on the principle that every effort would be made to avoid unnecessary hardship and that compensation for property and loss of income would be generous.

Sadly, those who have followed him have not adhered to this principle. Continue reading “THE VISION OF THE INLAND RAILWAY IS NOW A TRAGEDY.”

TAMING THE NORTH

I have been a voter since 1952 and, at every election since then, there has been someone, either a Prime Minister or an Opposition Leader or an aspiring MP, who has seriously threatened to develop Northern Australia.

Sadly, I still wait with fervent hope for a leader to appear who will actually do it. For the past sixty years it has simply been an exercise in vote gathering. Continue reading “TAMING THE NORTH”

Four Australian Icons under threat – no longer sacred, certain or permanent.

FLAG, ANZAC DAY, REEF, BUSH

No longer is anything sacred or certain or permanent.
Icons now have fleeting value and we are challenged either to defend them or create new ones that may adequately replace them.
With this in mind, I reckon it is worth our while to spend a moment looking at four of them.

Continue reading “Four Australian Icons under threat – no longer sacred, certain or permanent.”

“Politics by the Book” – join me in debate on the value of politicians to the life of the nation.

It is fast becoming an essential building block of an aspirational political life to write a book about your career at a carefully chosen moment.

By spinning your achievements, or arranging with a famous author to include you in a book, you may convince voters that you are the right person to go the top, or return there, if they will back you right now. Tony Abbott did this successfully with his book Battlelines.

Perhaps, you may just want history to treat you favourably.

So, let me comment on a few of the latest political epistles, some written by MPs, and others by eminent commentators, in the hope that a debate can be generated on the value, if any, of politicians to the life of the nation.
It could help us evaluate where politics should be reformed in the years ahead. Continue reading ““Politics by the Book” – join me in debate on the value of politicians to the life of the nation.”

For whom the bell tolls – The last days of Rudd or Abbott or both.

Saturday will be a time of great personal relief for the vast majority of Australian voters. After the most painful and boring election of a lifetime, we will have made the decision that most of us would prefer not to make.

Is Abbott about to achieve his dream of becoming Australia’s Prime Minister, or will Rudd pull-off what will be recorded as a political miracle? The making of this sad choice will enable us to experience the profound relief we cherish when we get-up after sitting for a long time on a really nasty bit of prickly pear. You feel a hell of a lot better, but you know also that you will have a sore backside for a long time thereafter.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I have never before seen Australians so disgusted with politics, or so disillusioned with the choice that political parties have forced upon us by presenting us with leaders who inspire such little confidence. But, there is not much we can do about it right now, and it is our democratic responsibility to ensure that whoever wins is given a fair go at trying to give positive and sustainable leadership to Australia.

So, let us look for a few moments at the key figures in this eminently forgettable election:

Continue reading “For whom the bell tolls – The last days of Rudd or Abbott or both.”