Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rudd / Gillard for PM?


Maybe its a bit early to call > but the new appointment of Kevin Rudd, supported by Julia Gillard to the key Labor leadership positions could be an exciting time for Australia. Could Rudd and Gillard present the alternative that Australia is hungry for...to move away from the scare mongering/war promoting/US supporting / murderous / rich benefiting / poor losing politics of howard and costello > to a move towards a more justice orientated australia > spurred on by some solid Christian theology? Could Labor finally be returning to its historical roots where it supports the oppressed and marginalised?

Check out also Julia Gillards excellant article in The Age 'Mr Treasurer sadly history passed you by' > a response to the failings of the G20.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/mr-treasurer-sadly-history-passed-you-by/2006/11/30/1164777718030.html

Here is a post from my mate Liam's blog. http://www.greensy.blogspot.com/

It is an excerpt of an interview with Kevin Rudd on Lateline. I heard Rudd speak about this same issue on the Religion report last week. More comments to follow after his words:

TONY JONES: ...You write about Jesus' revulsion at the hypocrisy of the religious and political elites of his time. You seem to be suggesting that if Jesus were alive today, he would feel the same revulsion about Australia?Kevin Rudd: holy man

KEVIN RUDD: What I am saying is that from a social gospel tradition, or a Christian socialist tradition, what you see in the gospel is a strong emphasis on the impoverished, the poor, the dispossessed, the outcast, the oppressed. What we've sought to do, in that tradition of Christianity and politics, is to say that one of the functions of Christians in politics is to speak on their behalf; to speak for those who do not have a voice. Therefore when you look, for example, at global poverty today, who speaks for them? Who speaks for those who are currently suffering all sorts of human rights oppression around the world? Who speaks for the planet itself, which is currently subject to this enormous challenge called global climate change. That's where the contemporary challenge lies with this tradition of social justice, which you see alive in Bonhoeffer's teachings 60 years ago.

TONY JONES: Are you trying to co-opt Jesus for the ALP?

KEVIN RUDD: No, this a fight back on our part, Tony. For the last decade Mr Howard, Mr Costello, Mr Downer, Mr Abbott, at various occasions, have whacked various Christian leaders for daring to come out and say that they'd disagreed with various social policies, or economic policies, of the Howard Government. When, for example, we had church leaders come out and attack the Government's extreme industrial relations laws, Mr Costello laid into them, saying they had no qualifications to do so because they weren't economists. Mr Downer has done the same when leading churchmen have come out and attacked the Government's policies on the war in Iraq. I've got to say, when I heard Mr Howard say in Parliament the other day that there was no such thing as Catholic social teaching on industrial relations, I nearly choked. There is an entire Papal encyclical on the question of industrial relations explicitly in defence of the rights of trade unions. So what I am doing is simply rolling this back in the other direction and saying, "Enough is enough. There is an entirely different tradition of Christianity and politics," which we would call Christian Social Democracy, which needs to be heard, and that's why I'm speaking out.

Kevin Rudd recently spoke at the Bonhoeffer for today conference here in Melbourne. His speech also appeared as an article in the current Monthly magazine.Now contrary to what might be popular belief I am not a die hard Labor voter. Having said that, the more I hear Kevin Rudd speak the more I respect the man.He has been speaking coherently and logically on the need for both a seperation of church and state (secular democracy) and the need for politicians with a Christian conscience to stand up for what they believe in within public debate in Australia.

He has also been calling for people to stop thinking that Christian = Liberal/National Party.

I think that his comments have been a breath of fresh air into the political debate in Australia.