Jesus wept! Julia Gillard’s main media event on Sunday was previewed by the ABC at breakfast time as the announcement of more chaplains for state schools during campaigning in Darwin.

Why isn’t Gillard promising more Asian language teachers, or science teachers, instead of more priests or preachers?

What has happened to the secular values of the Australian constitution?

If Australians wish their children to have a religious education, whether Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or Jeddi, they can enrol them at a religious school, except for the last group of course.

Why in a society struggling to remain scientifically literate, do we need government to spent on priests in public schools?

And why is Labor, and the Coalition, pandering to sects that don’t believe in voting or paying taxes, and whose premises include the exclusion from God’s love (from whichever God) of those who don’t subscribe to their particular set of fairy tales.

How dare Gillard in particular even contemplate men who don’t sleep with women or who treat them with contempt, as being authorities on family values or morality or appropriate persons for advising teenagers.

Why is she funding the exposure of school children to this humbug?

The hypocrisy of Gillard pushing the religion button yesterday might remind many voters of the contemptible insincerity of Kevin Rudd’s posing for interviews beside the priest who-never-talked outside church in Canberra most Sundays as a sort of picture association with sanctity.

It was another example of Labor campaigners imitating the faith based strategies that pervade American business and politics. Rule 1 in the US is to engage in Grand Theft Jesus. The Jesus-roots-for-my-football team, my company, my guns, and my right to blow up and maim huge numbers of innocent people in the wrong countries type of levers because heck, Jesus pulls power and wealth.

Why is a non believer like Gillard doing such stuff?

I never expected to see this in modern Labor, even though my father used to take me to hear Eddie Ward and Herb Evatt talk at campaign meetings as well as to speeches by Bob Menzies, in order to show me aspects of life in Australia in the 50s most schoolkids didn’t get to experience. The wildest political meeting I can remember, the one that began to approach the sense of physical harm you’d get watching Jimmy Sharman’s boxing troupe close enough to cop a flying tooth, was ‘Ming the Merciless’ versus the working class heroes when he choose to make a speech in the Paddington Town Hall.  In a Paddington that was then a picturesque and often brutal slum, that was brave. Those were politically passionate times that have been sterilized out of existence by opinion polling and risk averse party bosses on both sides.

As an old Australian I miss Menzies. He had one characteristic that eludes Gillard and Abbott, in that he was an inclusive political leader. Labor was still uncomfortable with New Australians, or ‘reffos and dagos’ when Menzies was recognising them as hard working and fortuitously harder to organise additions to the national work force.

Unlike Gillard and Abbott, who on analysis are constantly identifying minorities in our society and campaigning against them indirectly if not directly.

Neither are inclusive in their campaigning. They exclude rather than embrace. They have to put a fence around the most basic of gay and lesbian rights, the recognition of love in a loving and faithful relationship. They paternalise indigenous Australians. They press the religion button whenever possible, one that comes with multiple sub texts about Muslims, Buddhists and non-believers. Neither candidate  is worth a cracker in dealing with climate change or ensuring that Australia participates in the race to perfect viable replacement sources of energy to fossil carbon releasing fuels.

Both seems content for Australia to continue to be a client of innovation in other societies, rather than an originator of new technology and processes by which it might thus gain new sources of  national wealth.

They are tired, visionless and heartless, and in the case of matters religious, Gillard is insincere and Abbott is sincerely obsessive.

Is it too much to ask of Gillard and Abbott, that they reaffirm the secular equity of Australian  laws and institutions, and out of respect to the those who want a choice in the type of government we vote for, offer us a Labor that will be an inspiring party of progress and reform, and a Liberal alternative that will  be a government of enlightened and all inclusive conservative values?

That would be a contest to make us think, rather than despair.

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