Kim Beazley is the Elephant in the Room of Australian politics. As he stumbles, grunts and lurches, his embarrassed Opposition colleagues tippy-toe around him in the forlorn hope that a 57-year-old elephant can turn into a tiger.

This week the Elephant suggested a Good Policy Idea: to introduce a “pledge of Australian values” to be signed by all visitors to the country. Meanwhile, these are among the policies he has not suggested: 

A bold environmental policy that acknowledges the reality of global warming and presents a comprehensive package of measures that require participation from all Australians on the basis that doing nothing could be the most dangerous course of all.

A comprehensive policy on Australia’s role in Iraq that highlights our role in our region as a productive partner, rather than sycophant, in the US alliance.

A logical media/communications policy which fast tracks high-speed broadband, opens up the digital spectrum to all entrants, and maintains diversity of media power by not pandering to the richest, most powerful moguls in the country.

A coherent privatisation policy that is in the public interest and applies to all government assets.

Australia is a vibrant democracy without a vibrant Opposition, and there’s one reason for that unfortunate situation: The Elephant in the Room.

Peter Fray

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