Friday, March 11, 2011

Mistress of Reinvention

By the time you swear you're his
shivering & sighing
and he vows his passion is
infinite, undying -
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
Dorothy Parker

"Over the years I have received tender messages from Gillard saying how much she misses me in Canberra... One of them concerned her study tour of the US, sponsored by the American government in 2006 - or to use her moniker - 'a CIA re-education course'... She promised 'to catch up when I'm back from the US and I'll show you my CIA-issued ankle holster'. I never got to see her ankles or her holster, but I will say this: you have to hand it to those guys in Washington... Within the space of 2 years they converted her from a highly cynical critic of all matters American into yet another foreign policy sycophant." (Latham turns on 'brainwashed' Gillard, Christian Kerr, The Australian, 20/8/09)

"Distinguished members of the Senate and the House... You have a true friend down under. From my parents' generation, the defining image of America was the landing at Normandy. Your 'boys of Point-du-Hoc'... risking everything to help free the world. For my own generation, the defining image of America was the landing on the moon. My classmates and I were sent home from school to watch the great moment on television. I'll always remember thinking that day: Americans can do anything. Americans helped free the world of my parents' generation. Americans inspired the world of my own youth. I stand here and I see the same brave and free people today. I believe you can do anything still. There is a reason the world always looks to America. Your great dream - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - inspires us all. Those of you who have spent time with Australians know that we are not given to overstatement. By nature we are laconic speakers and by conviction we are realistic thinkers. In both our countries, real mates talk straight. We mean what we say. You have an ally in Australia. An ally for war and peace. An ally for hardship and prosperity. An ally for 60 years past and Australia is an ally for all the years to come. Geography and history alone could never explain the strength of the commitment between us. Rather, our values are shared and our people are friends. This is the heart of our alliance... The eyes of the world are still upon you. Your city on a hill cannot be hidden. Your brave and free people have made you the masters of recovery and reinvention. As I stand in this cradle of democracy I see a nation that has changed the world and known remarkable days. I firmly believe you are the same people who amazed me when I was a small girl by landing on the moon. On that great day I believed Americans could do anything. I believe that still. You can do anything today." (From the transcript of Julia Gillard's speech to Congress, 10/3/11)

"And while barely a couple of hundred of the 535 elected representatives and senators showed up for Gillard's speech, officials avoided embarrassment - and an echo chamber - by back-filling with staffers and interns and even a few rows of school children in navy blue uniforms. Their welcome was genuinely warm, even if it also reflected the weight of Australia's worldly standing. And when the Prime Minister entered the chamber at 11:05am, they stood and turned towards her, applauding dutifully, some juggling Blackberries and iPhones that would keep them in touch discreetly with matters of state du jour - federal budget cuts and Libyan no-fly zones. They were on their feet again 5 minutes later when Gillard's mostly staccato lines touched on friendship, again after another couple of minutes when she told them they could achieve anything and soon again when she confirmed Australia's betrothal. They rose, too, mid-speech when she condemned Iran's nuclear program. But some American brows appeared to furrow ever so slightly when she offered what might have been construed as gratuitous advice... The PM made her way from the chamber at 11:40, autographing the printed programs of a handful of eager attendees as the crowd beat a hasty retreat, mostly through side exits, and the students made a beeline for Senator McCain." (Congress laps it up as the Prime Minister lays it on thick, Simon Mann, The Age, 11/3/11)

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