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Bodyline, The Economy And A Republic: Wayne Swan Joins The Dots

The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released an Australia Day article that draws a series of connections between the 1930s Bodyline cricket series, the contemporary economy and a future republic.

SwanSwan remembers Bodyline as typifying Australian resistance to English imperial superiority. He sees Australia defending “fair play” and playing “within both the letter and the spirit of the rules”. Australia’s code, says Swan, is “not a gentleman’s code” but “a democratic code”.

Linking Bodyline with the 1930s Depression, Swan says “Australians didn’t cause that Depression and to a very great extent we were powerless to tackle it..because we lacked full economic sovereignty”.

Swan says Bodyline and the Great Depression “helped awaken a democratic and egalitarian assertion of Australian national sovereignty that still serves us well on Australia Day 2013.”

Despite the fact that the Rudd and Gillard governments have done nothing over the past five years to promote constitutional change, Swan says reflection on Bodyline and the Depression “will eventually” have the legacy of “hastening the approach of an Australian republic”.

Swan’s argument is similar in style to his musings last year on Bruce Springsteen’s opposition to economic privilege. In his John Button Oration, Swan sought to emphasise democratic and egalitarian values at the heart of the Labor government’s value system.

Swan’s article today is an attempt to add to the over-arching story the government has been developing as the federal election draws near.

Text of an article released by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Forged in Fair Play – 80 Years on From Bodyline

It has been another eventful Australian summer, marked by bushfires that have once again tested some of our nation’s most important values: our capacity to stick together in a crisis, help out those who need help, display coolness, competence and courage under pressure.

In a time of transition, with our nation on the cusp of the Asian Century, our values are the most treasured commodities we possess, ones which will always endure. So as we celebrate this Australia Day, it is worth reflecting on the origins and nature of Australia’s national values.

There’s no one source of our national character. It comes from our indigenous heritage, from the struggles of the convicts and early settlers, the Federation period with its conflicts and mateship, and of course our nation’s experiences on the battlefields of war. [Read more…]


Citing Depression, Geoff Gallop, WA Premier, Resigns

The Premier of Western Australia, Geoff Gallop, has announced his resignation, due to depression.

Gallop will resign as Premier and from Parliament. Gallop has been leader of the WA ALP since 1996 and Premier since 2001.

This is the text of the statement from Geoff Gallop.

Geoff Gallop, outgoing Premier of Western AustraliaIt is my difficult duty to inform you today that I am currently being treated for depression.

Living with depression is a very debilitating experience, which affects different people in different ways.

It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so, that I sought expert help last week.

My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable.

However, I cannot be certain how long I will need. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career.

My commitment to politics has always been 100 per cent plus. I now need that time to restore my health and well-being.

Therefore I am announcing today my intention to resign as Premier of Western Australia and Member for Victoria Park in the State Parliament.

It has been an enormous privilege and pleasure to serve this State and witness the wonderful progress that is being made.

I would like to thank the WA public for bestowing on me the immense responsibility and thrill of leading this great State for just under five years; and my colleagues for giving me the honour of leading the WA Labor Party for the best part of 10 years.

I would particularly like to thank the residents of Victoria Park for the support they have given me for nearly 20 years.

In fact, what has made this announcement all the more difficult today is that I love being Premier, I love the work, I love the State and I love its people.

In order to do the job, you need the support of your staff, the Cabinet and your Parliamentary colleagues. They have all been magnificent and I will always cherish the times I have spent with them working on ideas for a better future.

Even though change of the sort I announce today will bring its challenges and will be disruptive in the very short term, I am confident that the Government will continue its excellent work.

The State Parliamentary Labor Party at its earliest possible convenience will decide my successor. In the meantime, Eric Ripper has kindly cancelled his scheduled leave to continue to act as Premier.

I hope you will appreciate the pressure my current condition has placed on my family, who have been a tower of strength and a source of great support.

I now need the space required to start the process of full recovery and for this reason I will not be taking questions nor doing any further media interviews.

I thank you for your co-operation and I wish you all well for the future.