Allan Takes Aim Blog

Politics in the Ashram

Posted on: 7 October 2010


First published The Chronicle Canberra, Tuesday 5 October 

On a few days more than forty a year, A Grump of Gurus known as Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly – if known at all – gather at their Ashram in the South Building on London Circuit where they deliberate seriously about what they think will be good for Canberra’s future. At the end of each day, and sometimes before, they announce the results of their deliberations.

Shy people, and because they dress like other Canberrans, it is hard to recognise them as gurus and so I’d like to suggest that, as an aid to recognition, they should dress using colours to indicate their political philosophy. Male dress: Blue, Green or Red dhotis: Female dress: Saris of the same colours.    

As an alternative in case my suggestion does not meet with their approval, let me suggest the following. Why not dress in the national costume worn by one of Canberra’s diverse communities, using their own heritage as a starting point?

Let me use the leading Gurus as examples. Because I cannot think of a costume that would make him make him look more like a Chief and because he has Yorkshire ancestry and Yorkshire was once a Danish Kingdom, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope could dress as a Viking. If he hasn’t any Viking dress, I feel sure that if he phoned The Raiders asking for a loan of the Viking costume worn by their mascot, they would help out.

On the other hand he might prefer the tribal costume of a Chief of one of America’s First People, because it would be more colourful. However such a choice would be to draw a very long bow even though history says a few Vikings managed to make it to North America.

And what dress could leading Opposition Guru Zed Seselja wear? Of Croatian ancestry, Zed could dress in short pantaloon style trousers with long gaiters, a shirt embroidered in many colours, an equally colourful waistcoat, a broad cummerbund, red leather shoes and a fez style hat; he might even have a dagger in the sash. Mind you, with security being what it is these days he might need to discard the dagger before entering the Ashram to avoid any temptation to use it.

While suggesting a style of dress for the leading male Gurus was relatively easy, it proved less easy picking a suitable dress for leading Greens Guru, Meredith Hunter. Her Welsh first name and Scottish family put me in a bit of a quandary despite my Scottish born daughter being married to a man of Welsh descent. 

Unfortunately, there is no national dress for Scots or Welsh women; they are better known for their temper, a quality I can attest to. Little wonder then that Meredith joined The Greens (also known as the Angry Party) although, as far as I know, she has not yet lost her temper to a degree considered serious enough to get her tossed out of the Ashram. 

But more important, what would the various Gurus been deliberating? No doubt the Chief Minister’s Gurus were deliberating on public art, seeking solutions to health and transport systems or, with lots of affordable homes now said to be available, deliberating on how families who previously couldn’t afford one could now get one? Alternatively they could have been deliberating on how to take the homeless off the street.

At the end of the day the solutions they thought perfect were attacked almost immediately by Opposition Gurus who pointed out what they said were flaws and, in return, offered solutions of their own, which the Chief Guru in turn, said were rubbish.

 As to the Greens, on what had they been deliberating? Had they been deliberating on issues that they say the ACT’s 240,000 voters think most important: euthanasia, preventing Government from investing in arms and fossil fuel companies (a prelude to disbanding the armed forces and closing coal mines perhaps?) and, in the interests of clean air, stopping oil drilling and uranium mining

Perhaps they had also been deliberating on same sex marriages? If they were, because people say that getting married spells trouble, could I suggest they add marriage to the list of things they want banned?

The Chronicle, best for Canberra Community news. Published every Tuesday

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