A friend who is a public servant was telling me how, in her department, it feels as if a great weight has been lifted since the change of government. I certaintly feel a great relief to have done with the awful Howard era. So far the signs are promising:
Rudd ratifies Kyoto Protocol in the first official act of his new Government: We now have a high profile portfolio for Climate and Water, as well as one for Environment, and the promise of the issue addressed as all-important.
Jeffrey Sachs, speaking on the 7.30 report: ‘Australia has given me a huge boost of optimism with this wonderful election result and the leadership that the new government is showing. How could anybody be a pessimist when we see what Australia’s doing now on taking on the challenge of climate change’.
Prime Minister’s Literary Award : a thumping big new award for writers. The Arts portfolio is now being handled by a senior cabinet minister, while Sports moves to the outer ministry and a junior minister.
But if I had to nominate a flashpoint when I felt my body jolt upright with exultant anticipation and gushing love of country, it actually came courtesy of the first lady-elect, Therese Rein.
When Kevin Rudd walked on stage to claim his place as Australia’s 26th prime minister, the woman he calls his life partner stood with her hand in his beside him, and shimmied. She leant forward and, with a cheeky glint in her eye, shook her shoulders from side to side and shimmied. And it was glorious.
If ever there was an image to differentiate the old from the new on election night, it was Therese Rein’s shimmy. As surprising as the revelation that I’ve placed a shimmy above Australia electing its first female deputy prime minister and Maxine McKew’s “in heaven no one’s blind” moment might be, the shimmy said it all.
Yeah! It was at that point that I sat up and said ”Oh! I think I am going to like her!”.