Gone Gough

It was the memorial for Edward Gough Whitlam in Sydney today, and across the universe. As it was Gough it was also black holed into parallel universes. In seven light years we will interpret the applause data at Tidbinbilla.

I enrolled for a seat in the Sydney Town Hall but like thousands of others I didn’t get in. Instead I stood with Gough’s men and women of Australia and kids, a welcome new constituent, under the plane trees and flowering jacarandas in the square outside. There was a blue sky.

It was more fun out there. We were a pantomime. We booed bastard Skullface all the way from his car to his pew. Ha! I can’t wait until he’s beheaded (metadata risk) and ‘behind us’. We booed small man Howard for making us small but then attending a big man’s funeral.

We hoorayed Julia to her seat among the great reformers.

I’ve been to plenty of union rallies at the Sydney Town Hall and part of me wished I was inside the beast. The music would have been live and even more magnificent than it was in the square. But to hear our crowd singing along to Carmody and Kelly, to mingle with school students from Winmalee High School, to see other adults weeping with me, to be startled by the flyover and the open air aura of Gough made the square a fine place to be.

We were the people that Gough and Labor inspired, helped and loved.

Now that he has a more universal influence it’s not surprising that Gough used it. A few hours after the memorial service ended in Sydney there was an astonishing electrical storm – a lightning symphony – and when I got home there was the grandeur of certain sunset.

We want Gough. Thank you Comrade.


6 thoughts on “Gone Gough

  1. What a day. Every speech was so well crafted and delivered.

    Noel Pearson, a man who I have grown to dislike through some close association delivered a very powerful tribute playing on the now well-worn joke of “What did Whitlam ever do for us?” at one stage.

    The theme was of Gough’s inclusive and egalitarian ethos. Every single benefit he delivered to Australia in his brief time as Prime Minister, every bill and program introduced by the Whitlam Government exemplified the best attributes of people. The contrast to the division, malice, entitlement and lack of compassion that characterises every poisonous bill introduced into parliament buy the current government could not have been starker.

    It was a lecture and a trial for Tony Abbott to endure. Finally Tony Whitlam thanked Mr Abbott for the government’s generosity for the state service; coverage cut to Mr Abbott who smirked for the first time in two hours. He looked ragged with his comb over out of place as his reptilian tongue darted out several times to taste pure love in the air, an unfamiliar scent for him.

    As Jerusalem built to a crescendo, four F/A-18s screeched overhead with exquisite timing in a missing man formation to farewell one of the RAAF’s comrades; the big man far braver than the current commander. It was one of the most moving moments I’ve ever witnessed.

    I walked home to give myself time to contemplate the events of the day and the privilege of living through that exciting period forty years ago. As I neared my destination lighting and thunder rolled over Sydney. Now it’s back to the real world.

      • I was said many times during yesterday’s service that everybody will enjoy Gough’s vast legacy forever. Not if Tony Abbott has his way. My only satisfaction is that I doubt Abbott can unwind Gough’s legacy as fast as he created it. And that’s all the time Abbott will have in which to do it.

        Three years of destruction and insanity we have to endure.

  2. I believe that all the mighty thunder from the heavens yesterday afternoon was just the Gods making room for Gough.

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