By MAMAMIA ROGUE
Is it just us or is this whole election caper feeling a little… lackluster?
Australian politics has always been missing the grand patriotism and stirring rhetoric of our American friends. And even when compared with our nation’s own recent past – we currently don’t have anyone with the quick turn of phrase or razor sharp wit of Gough Whitlam or Paul Keating.
Can you imagine Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivering a speech to the National Press Club about having a dream?
No. He’d just outline his seven point plan for improved programatic specificity.
Can you see Opposition Leader Tony Abbott asking the assembled voters at the Rooty Hill RSL not to think about what their country can do for them but what they can do for their country?
No again. He’d just reel off another three word slogan.
But you know what? An election campaign is only as much fun as you choose to make it. So we’ve decided to inject a little hypothetical inspiration into Australian politics.
We’ve taken one of the most succinct and powerful speeches of all time, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and used it as a basis for Rudd and Abbott’s next public speeches. For your reference, here is a transcript the original:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
And here is what our pollies would have said:
NB: This is imaginary and created as satire. Under no circumstances whatsoever should it be believed that Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd actually said any of these things or that either man has changed his first name to Abraham.
Abraham Abbott: A while back, our ancestors came to this great country on a boat. But now we are full. And we are busy. Stop the boats.
For now we are engaged in a civil war. The Prime Minister and I are met on a great battlefield today. But unlike our previous battles in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq – this time our enemies are close. In fact, they are already here. And they want to take our jobs, jobs, jobs.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. You see, an election campaign, is much like a sporting match – a boxing spar to be precise.
And so it seems as though it would be the right thing to do if we could commemorate the sacred ground on which we stand, in some way.
(Even though the majority of the gains occurred under the lying and deceitful leadership of the previous Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. And Australians are sick and tired of lies. And of mishandling. And of this shambles of a government.)
But in a larger sense, we cannot do anything to this ground. As, the reckless spending of Rudd, and Gillard before him, has sucked our budget dry. This is why we must cut the red tap. And scrap the taxes. Stop the deficit.
(If you would like to know more about the Coalition’s fiscal policies, they can be found in our pamphlet henceforth.)
The world will little note nor long remember what we say here because I think I can say, it hasn’t got much sex appeal. This also means that I will no longer be answering any questions regarding my days in student politics, or any statements I made pre-2012 on the topics of women, abortion and gay marriage.
(For responses to any other questions you may have, I would refer the press gallery to our pamphlet.)
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to this great task of ending this war.
Of stopping illegal immigrants from reaching our shores.
Of stopping the boats.
Abraham Rudd: Fourscore and seven years – that is to say three less than ninety years, or, if you prefer, eighty-seven years – ago, my ancestors, and the ancestors of this great land, bound by their strong values of liberty, freedom and a lack of constraint, coupled with the value of the equality of man, as an evident complementarity to the value aforementioned, first stepped foot onto this great land.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war. And, on the question of the great election campaign into which we now step, I believe that we must stand together. And standing together rather than rocking around the joint will be both myself and Deputy Prime Minister Albo, as well as all of you – our fellow countrymen and women.
(On the question of fighting this battle, I would say that we must retain the conceptual vision that was envisaged by those great ancestors of mine, and yours; of equal opportunity. Of a fair go.)
We are met on a great battlefield of that war. And we, as a nation, have a battle ahead of us. A battle to fight for the economic and social objectives that I instigated when I was first elected in 2007 (want a t-shirt?), and that I intend to continue to progress towards fulfilling within an appropriate time frame.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we do this. That we to procedurally and commemoratively create a space through which we can appropriately reflect and remember the events that occurred both here, and across this great war. Of course such a commemoration has been discussed at length with my cabinet colleagues as is right and proper in these particular circumstances.
However, creating such a space by the end of the 2013-14 financial year is not a viable option under our current trajectory of intending to return our nation’s budget to surplus 2015-16. This being the case, it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, but obviously, the continuation of this battle against the Coalition who want to cut and cull up to $70 (or is that $50?) billion from our public services is a blow to our movement’s budget.
To combat this, we have proposed a new Civil War Levy, to be paid as a one-off amount by all income-earners in the 2014-15 financial year, with the objective of allowing us to balance the budget as quickly and as efficiently as is viable. After I have concluded my address, Minister Wong will speak to you about our revision of the fiscal outlook of this movement, explaining our new hope to return to surplus by 2025.
But in a larger sense, the consideration of this complex and nuanced issue on a more well-developed plane reveals that it would be unnecessary and undesirable for us, as a nation, to not pay this ground the respect that I believe, and my party believes, that it deserves.
Obviously, this is an objective that I, and Albo, will need to develop a strategy for meeting, in conjunction with the development of our economic relationship with China, which my Government has released a White Paper about already that I can deliver to you in the Chinese dialect of your choosing.
The world will little note nor long remember what we say here. The world may decide that I am not the most prolific orator, or that the words that I speak are insignificant or even perhaps not words at all. But the events that we commemorate here will become synthesised in our national consciousness for the purpose of developing a cultural trajectory for our great nation into the future.
It is rather for us, under this rightfully elected Labor Government, to both remember the events that occurred – the sacrifice, and the hardship, and the triumph, both on these lands and the surrounding lands of the Cherokee people – while simultaneously remaining dedicated to progressively and necessarily remaining committed to the achievement of our economic objectives, continuing the work that I began when I was elected as the leader of the country six years ago and that has been maintained during the turbulent period prior to my restoration.
It is anticipated by Albo, and myself, that, through the application of the appropriate processes, that these primary economics objectives will revitalise our great nation. When they are met in due season.
And now? I’ve gotta zip.
Abraham Abbott: Does this guy ever shut up?
Mamamia apologises to the living descendents of Abraham Lincoln for so barbarically ruining what is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest speeches ever made.