30 August, 2006

Farewell Don Chipp, a great Australian

A great Australian has gone.

I never met him face-to-face but he restored my faith in democracy as a real political force.

Don Chipp was a loyal member of the Liberal Party (Australia's major "conservative" and "pro-big-business" party); he became the Minister (= Secretary) for the Navy and later Customs Minister. Then, when his loyalty was repayed with treachery (nothing new for the Liberal Party) instead of skulking away to lick his wounds he struck back by resigning from the Liberal Party and forming a real alternative party, the Australian Democrats.

Don Chipp had a beneficial influence on Australian politics way beyond the mere number of votes and seats the Australian Democrats have won over the years. He inspired thousands of Australians to become engaged with the political process - no matter how imperfect that process may be - and to follow his example and ...... "Keep the bastards honest!"

Don Chipp will join the gallery of great Australians: Sister Kenny, Simpson and his donkey, "Weary" Dunlop, Henry Lawson, Bill Harney, Albert Namatjira, ....... Thousands of school students will write essays about him.

We are all the poorer for his passing.

No comments: