The eleventh Close The Gap report could have put our politicians in a touch of strife when it was delivered Thursday morning. After a decade of failure to meet targets on improving Indigenous life expectancy, child mortality and school attendance, our Parliament could have appeared completely beaten.
So thank God Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten were able to entirely avoid this mistaken perception, by delivering a pair of killer speeches on reconciliation! Well played, gents! Nothing helps literacy more than a fiery speech on the floor of Parliament about literacy.
Morrison’s speech was touching. It was personal. He expressed a deeply human frustration with these issues. The issue, of course, not being the failure to actually meet the Close The Gap targets, but with the fact he was expected to devote time and attention to the issue. No matter what you think of his politics, you have to admit that he made a fair dinkum effort by bravely reading out a speech.
I mean, it’s frickin’ 2019 already. How much more time do you want the guy to spend on this ‘Close The Gap’ racket?
Shorten’s speech made for a great contrast between the two leaders. While Morrison at times appeared unsure whether he wanted refugees or Aboriginals to receive lower quality healthcare, Shorten was clear sighted in his vision for a better future for Indigenous Australians.
'I watched Bran Nue Dae last night,’ Shorten noted, in a thrilling addition to the national discussion on Closing The Gap.
‘And then I saw Rabbit-Proof Fence was on Stan, so I added it to My List. Call me Bill ‘Mabo’ Shorten.’
Despite knowing he will likely do fuck-all to fix things, at least Shorten thinks the current status quo isn’t the best, and that is kind of a step forward, isn’t it?
We do know one thing for sure. If today was a test of our nation’s political leadership, they passed with flying colors. As long as those colours aren’t yellow, red, and black.
Such was their performance speaking in Parliament, they should be able to get away with ignoring all other Indigenous affairs for the entire next year without too much backlash. At the end of the day, the Indigenous Australians who are incarcerated, suffering, or hungry, should be able to feast on the sublime words of two of Australia’s sharpest intellects.
And if that wasn’t enough, our TV editor thinks that Q&A might touch on the issue for one night. Wow! That should go down well with a green tea and a Tim Tam.
Yum! If thrilling speeches is what we get for failing to meet our goals as a nation, then let’s continue to fail, I say. At least we’ll get a ripping soundbite out of it.
No more to come for a year.