Classic Ellis: Beazley for GG, 2008

Sunday, 20th January, 10.20 a.m.

Beazley may be the Governor-General this year if he wants to be, the last before the Republic. Faulkner and Swan recommend it, Gillard, ever Kim’s waspish foe (she organised the numbers against him for Crean then Latham then Rudd) says she would ‘prefer a woman’ and an ‘unnamed insider’ reckons Beazley ‘may not want it’.

He’d be ideal, of course, as an overweight, happy role model for adolescents and migrants uncertain of everything. A polio survivor who became a football star. An eager driver of tanks and battleships and fighter-bombers who nonetheless derided the Iraq War from the start. A voracious reader of history, a Civil War buff and Tim Tam addict who kicked obesity by power-walking. A man, most of all, who could speak off the cuff with fervour and humour, better than any Australian but Noel Pearson. Those millions of people who thought his best speeches were his concessions of defeat had never heard any other speech he had given, had heard only sound grabs of some of the middle clauses of some of his rigorously structured and finely reasoned pensées, diversions and admonitions. I remember in particular myself the first spontaneous paragraph of his launch in March 2000 in an Adelaide college of Trevor Wilson’s book on the First World War:

‘Y’know, this has been the worst of centuries; yet it started out pretty well. Think of what we were attempting then. Think of what we had in prospect. Universal suffrage. Universal secular education. Old age pensions. Widows’ pensions. A minimum wage. And then came this War, and after it a dance of death between two ugly ideologies that’s only lately ended, and we’re not even back where we started. It’s 1892, I’d put it, and we have to start all over again.’

How good was that, I thought; and what better Ocker Pontiff could we have? Barry Jones perhaps. Mick Dodson. Geraldine Doogue. Judy Davis. Pray God he finds in his heart sufficient forgiveness for the dwarves who brought him down (I always see him as Aslan slain, and Gillard as the White Witch of Narnia holding high the bloody dagger and laughing) to say yes to the summons of history.

4.20 p.m.

Rudd now says ‘no serving or former politician’ will be made GG and it would be good to have a woman for the first time in that job if one can be found. My heart sinks and my mood goes south and I wonder if we erred, we gravely erred in choosing and upraising and canonising this cool, smooth-talking ingrate.

It’s possible Kim said no I guess and the new rule was invented retrospectively. It’s also possible Gillard who, it is said, chews ground glass and shits test-tubes wants Joan Kirner in the job. But it’s much more likely, I ween, I melancholically ween, that Rudd could not abide a greater orator outshining him on Anzac Days and Australia Days and days of welcome to President Obama and Queen Camilla, and making better speeches to shuffling schoolkids on our country’s good and history’s meaning and what the planet requires in the coming years. Much more likely, I ween, I splenetically ween …

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  1. White Witch of Narnia? Well that makes a change, I suppose. Fancy a woman acting like a politician!

    If we could turn back time, and only see that anyone not being John Howard could have won in 2007, eh Bob?

    Beazley always struck me as Prime Ministerial, but regrettably not as a good opposition leader.

    Water under the bridge . . .

  2. PM Abbott might appoint the happy-warrior, in an early act of gracious, fair-minded generosity that will stun and placate his critics.

    Those days will be blessed.

  3. Well, we did do the nose, and the hat…but she is a witch!

  4. Beazley is a very nice bloke, but a bit of a softie, not suitable to be PM, but an ideal GG.

    Gillard is no witch, takes a woman to see which woman is.

  5. Are you sure that Beazley would never do a Kerr? I am not. In a crisis he might think it is his job to step in. That is what Kerr thought he was doing, though wrongly n my view.

    • Kerr had ticker. Wrong decision but he had ticker

      • And in what respect did Kim lack ticker? When he overcame polio? When he took on, and reorganised the army? When he saved the smashed Labor Party from obliteration? When he made Labor vote AGAINST the Tampa legislation?

        What are you talking about?

        • He blinked on the refugee situation. Probably bad advice. I note Rudd during his knifing wouldn’t condone the race to the bottom.

  6. Of course, Beazley is like a dog with two tails as the US Ambassador.

    One door closes, another opens.

  7. “It’s also possible Gillard who, it is said, chews ground glass and shits test-tubes…”

    It does appear that you and Tony Abbott share a mutual issue with tough, determined women.

    When Beazley cried in Parliament, you practically ran over with Kleenex; when Beazley hopped into a tank you got all sweaty with praise … but when Ms Gillard does the same, you deride and denigrate.

    Please explain?

    • …I was going to ask the same question, Pleb, what’s good for Beazley, is not good for woman like Julia, whom some men liken to a duck, and some women to an emu…

      • No, I said Beazley stayed for the meeting that rolled him as Leader, did the press conference, did the mea culpa, then revealed his brother had died before the meeting and flew home. No tears attended this performance, and no pkaying hookey.

        He did cry for the Stolen Children, the wuss, as Gillard never has.

        Shame on him.

        Good for her.

      • Pet I don’t judge appearances but she has a ducks waddle and the neck and beak of an emu. I think she is a Demu xo

  8. Did you hear Abbott’s subtle criticism of Cantwell. What a prick. Just shows he isn’t even half a man. Fancy this turd leading our great country

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