Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Imagine an Obama with substance. There is such a man in our midst.

From this morning's issue of The Australian. Pearson talks about what is needed for indigenous people to make better lives for themselves. (It's a shame that well off inner-city environmentalists in Queensland have recently betrayed the Aboriginal people Pearson represents and made it even harder for them to achieve this.)
Now let me put this proposition forward. Australia has its own Obama, only a much better one. One who has that final ingredient of being able to carry people with him, even those he skewers with his criticisms. Noel Pearson may not appreciate me saying this. But the Cape York indigenous leader has more than a touch of Obama about him, but with genuine substance.

It struck me one evening recently. When it’s on, the sound of the radio in my kitchen is usually lost to the evening clamour of dinner cooking. Not this time. Not when Pearson’s opening address to the Brisbane Writers Festival played on the ABC’s Radio National. His voice stops you in your tracks. When you listen to Pearson’s conviction and passion, the brain buzzes. He challenges you to think again, to think differently. This is oratory not wasted.

Oh, and Pearson’s 40-minute address, which deserved greater press coverage than it received, was delivered extempore. I know that because I asked Pearson for a copy of his address. It was off the cuff, he told me. No Obama-style teleprompters.

It is hard to convey the power of Pearson without listening to him. So listen. The link is below. Listen to how he describes himself as “completely promiscuous” when it comes to drawing on the three great schools of political philosophy: conservatism, socialism and liberalism.

But he is indignant about that “strange state of affairs” where the “progressive position is regressive”. Listen to how he attacks those who have told people that welfare is their right. “We in Cape York say no. We’ve got a better right than welfare. We have a right to take a real place in the economy, just like everybody else."

You can read the rest of this article here.

You can listen to Pearson's speech here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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