Category: Politics

This latest ‘leak’ of a blooper video showing Kevin Rudd swearing repeatedly is interesting on a few levels.

On the one hand, it’s remarkable to think that this kind of internal intellectual property could be so brazenly released. If I was Julia Gillard, I would immediately call upon the Federal Police to investigate the leak. This lapse in security is just not tolerable.

On the other hand, it’s an exercise in cultural analysis to try and work out whether the leak will damage Rudd’s reputation, or in fact, improve his image. Us Aussies seem to like the image of a swearing, drinking, sports-loving larrikin, and in many ways, this video helps show the humanity of a man who has a greater natural affinity with the chess club than the footy club.

Maybe the answer comes in the reality of the inevitable leadership spill. It will be the sitting ALP politicians who decide on this ballot, not the happy little Vegemites who make up the voting public. Perhaps the real aim of the leak was to remind the caucus of the true, behind-the-scenes Rudd, so that they remember the past and don’t repeat history.

But this is nothing new to them. Most ALP politicians seem to hate Rudd, but because they love their job more than anything, they might be happy to swallow this bitter pill.

Interesting times ahead in Australia Federal politics.

Last week I posted a blog on where I lamented the fact that most people now say “thinking of you” instead of “praying for you”. Here’s the link:

The reason I share this with you is that I’ve just heard Prime Minister Julia Gillard speak about the terrifying threat of Cyclone Yasi, where she not only spoke of “thinking” of the people of Far North Queensland, but said that the Australian people were “united in spirit”, another example of a an attempt to rebirth and recommission a typically Christian expression in this time of pain.

I really want my friends in Townsville, my family in Port Douglas, and everyone in Cairns and FNQ to know that God truly answers the prayers of those who speak to him, and that I am speaking to God on their behalf, that he might reduce the power of the storm, protect human life, and through this, show his glory in the way he intends.

In this time of trial for Queensland and Australia there is no better time to seek the mercy of God for the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life.

Australia, get down on your knees!

I do not envy the Prime Minister one bit. As a public, committed Christian he was required to preach a ‘sermon’ at a ‘service’ that invited along everyone but God.

Read my controversial comments in my blog at

The PM’s gap year push for the Australian Defense Force is a good idea. Read an article on my view at and see my media release from earlier today:


9th August, 2007

Gap year is good policy from the PM, says Anglican Youth Leader

“It would be easy to cynically dismiss the Prime Minister’s push for defence force gap year recruits as a quick fix for dwindling numbers of ADF staff. However, Howard has rightly identified the benefits of taking a ‘year off’ to help school-leavers make wise decisions about their future,” said Jodie McNeill, Director of Anglican Youthworks Year 13 Gap Year.

“For the student, it offers a break from thirteen years of study. It provides an opportunity to carefully consider the appropriate career choices, and to make sure that students make wise decisions about tertiary and vocational training,” he said  “Too many people waste their time and money commencing unsuitable courses.

“This also puts an unnecessary stress on our universities and colleges. When students pull out of courses mid-year, they rob others of the opportunity to learn, and deprive the institutions of much-needed income.

“It also places a drain upon the taxpayer. Many of these drop-outs inevitably require income support, especially due to their lack of vocational or higher educational training. Inevitably they tread water for six months, awaiting the beginning of college or university in the following year.

“More positively, when a school-leaver spends a year learning about their own strengths and weaknesses, and evaluating their vocational preferences, it helps them to begin the next year’s study with greater motivation. They study a course they want to complete, not just the course for which they earned enough marks.

“What’s more, they can take the opportunity to travel overseas, and to see how they fit into the world. There is no better way to discover the wealth of Australia than to experience the poverty of other nations.

“Our team of 26 students in the Year 13 Gospel Gap Year has just returned from Kenya, Africa. Their month-long trip has taught them lessons they would never learn in a classroom, and given them insights they could never get from the Discovery Channel.

“Yet, apart from the self-awareness benefits, a gap year allows school leavers to give something back to others. Whether it’s caring for AIDS patients in a slum in Nairobi, or caring for kids in a disability camp in Sydney, a gap year gives an opportunity to serve others. In our Year 13 program, we also teach life-skills such as first-aid, defensive driving and vocational guidance, as well as theology.

“Recruiting people into the ADF through the gap-year front-door is good policy. It allows potential defence force personnel to make sure they are suited to this specialised work by getting a real view of the military world without a long-term commitment. But, it also gives these school-leavers an opportunity to serve—something we need more of in our increasingly materialistic society.”

CONTACT :         Jodie McNeill                 0425 222 338
(Jodie McNeill is Director of the Anglican Youthworks Year 13 Gospel Gap Year)

I also enjoyed an extended interview with John Morrison on the ABC Statewide Drive program at 5:15pm today.

Mike Baird meets Year 13

Mike Baird is the new MP for Manly, following his win in the NSW State Election on Saturday. I’ve known Mike for almost 20 years, from the time when we were both involved in the youth ministry at Christ Church St Ives Anglican, to the present. In fact, Kerryn Baird was one of Mandy’s bridesmaids 15 years ago.

Late last year, Mike generously offered his time (and the board room of HSBC Bank) for the Year 13 students when he talked about being a Christian in the corporate world.

I offer Mike my congratulations and prayers, knowing that parliament is not an easy gig for a Christian. However, I know that Mike is passionate about service, and parliament is a great opportunity to serve his constituents and colleagues as he follows the example of Jesus.