Friday, 19 March 2010

An Open Letter to Tony Abbott

Who am I kidding? Like he’s going to read this! But perhaps the email will reach him.

I attended an event today where the leader of the Opposition came at the invitation of the local Federal member ‘to personally thank’ community service organisations. And I just sent him the following…

Dear Tony

(presumably via one of your staff!)

I realise it’s unlikely that this will get to you; perhaps it will help to state up front that I expect this won’t be like most of the email you receive.

I was among the crowd at the Nowra School of Arts this afternoon, and have an observation to make about the way you spoke at the event. On the whole, you were gracious, polite, prepared to admit fault – all commendable things. However, there was also the refrain about ‘we delivered $x million dollars so you could have y facility’.

My point is this: is it not possible, just sometimes, to also talk about how money has been expended on somebody other than the audience? I realise that welfare doesn’t go over well, but still, can we not raise the debate above the usual appeal to self-interest and parochialism? If I’m looking for leadership, that’s what I’m looking for – preparedness to do something because it’s right, not because it polls well. I know you can’t look like one of those lefty Labor types (!) … but I’m sure there are still some areas where you can challenge your hearers to be glad somebody else got prioritised: the disabled, or orphaned kids, or the struggling aged poor.

I’d love to see you have a go at it, anyway! And thankyou for reading.

Wouldn’t that be nice?!

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