Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 17, 2011

Monday, 16 May 2011 – Lionel Rose laid to rest

A few items in the news gained my attention today, as I also noted there were 156 days to go before my official retirement – as someone would exclaim in an overnight email – Woopeeeee!!!!!!

The state funeral was held in Melbourne today of former boxing champion, Lionel Rose, who died last week, after a long illness  – it was held at the site of many of his triumphs, the old Festival Hall in West Melbourne, and a crowd of 2,000 turned up to pay their respects.    Community leaders have lauded Lionel Rose as a pioneer for Aboriginal achievement, at the former boxer’s state funeral at Melbourne’s Festival Hall.   Aboriginal elder Aunty Joy said Rose – who in 1968 became the first Aboriginal world champion in any sport – had shown indigenous people what was possible. Ms Joy said Rose excelled in the boxing ring at a young age and showed the world the tenacity and integrity of a young Aboriginal man.  “Lionel’s career has been an inspiration for many. “Lionel will be remembered making history and receiving recognition at the tender age of 19. Those momentous times were celebrated with enormous pride. “Lionel also sent a strong message especially to young people around the world to stand up and fight for … your rights and aspire to reach your dream.”
Among the mourners at the funeral are Rose’s long-time trainer Jack Rennie, who attended in a wheelchair, former world champion Johnny Famechon,  Aboriginal fighter Tony Mundine, and my favourite, Jeff Fenech. Rose’s god-daughter Bonnie Anderson sang the Eagles hit Desperado at the service.

Being a keen follower of marathon running, I was also interested [concerned] to learn today of the death of  a former Olympic champion from Beijing [2008] – as the following medias report explains  –   Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru died early on Monday after jumping from a balcony, police said.  John Mbijiwe, the police chief in Kenya’s Central Province, said initial information indicated 24-year-old Wanjiru died after jumping from a balcony at his Rift Valley home, but the death is subject to further investigation.  In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wanjiru became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in the marathon, finishing in an Olympic-record two hours, six minutes, 32 seconds.  Wanjiru has had a history of domestic problems. Last December, he was charged with wounding his security guard with a rifle and threatening to kill his wife and maid. He denied all charges and was released on bail. Wanjiru was the youngest runner to win four major marathons. He finished first in London in 2009 and the 2008 Olympics and won twice in Chicago.  He was forced to pull out of April’s London Marathon because of a right knee injury

While it is not really going to make much difference in the short term to Australia’s political future, it was interesting to note that weekend polls are coming up with the extraordinary result of Julia Gillard’s Labor Party falling well behind  the Coalition in terms of popularity – if an election were held this weekend, Tony Abbott  would be our Prime Minister next Monday!!! For many people, a frightening thought!@!!  But for Julia Gillard, her popularity level as Prime Minister is now lower than that of Kevin Rudd, when he was replaced by his own Party in the middle of last year!  However, there ‘won’t’ be an election this weekend  – that is not due for 2 years, and under present circumstances, there is no way Ms Gillard will call one, she would be crazy to do so!! Nor will the Independents or Greens’ members risk losing their nice cosy little positions of power at this point in time.  That’s why I would prefer to see Tony Abbott give up on his short term ambitions, ,and divert away from his constant  ‘attack’ mode, and concentrate on clearly establishing some good strong policies to give the electorate a feasible alternative to what we currently have!

Susie came home from ‘somewhere’ while Q & A was on tonight, and disappeared to her room. I would have happily  given the show away if she had wanted some conversation!  It was in fact a very interesting program tonight with four of the five panellists quite interesting to listen to  – Bill Shorten [Assistant Federal Treasurer], Eric Abetz [Opposition Senate leader], Judge Felicity Hampel [County Court of Victoria] – quite impressive. Anna Rose [Youth Climate Coy], and John Roskam [Institute of Public Affairs] – not very impressive at all!!  I do like to include brief notes on the show’s guests on those nights I get a chance to watch it, so tonight is no exception.

Bill Shorten – before entering Parliament Bill Shorten was one of Australia’s best-known trade union leaders. As secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union he was a major player in the national industrial relations debate and gained widespread prominence for his role on the scene of the Beaconsfield mine disaster in Tasmania in 2006.

Eric Abetz is a Liberal Senator from Tasmania, Opposition Senate leader and shadow minister for employment and workplace relations.  Renowned as a highly committed warrior for the Liberal Right, a reputation he won many years ago as a student politician, he is a ceaseless critic of progressive causes.  Eric was born in Germany in 1958, the youngest of six children. The family migrated to Australia in 1961.

Judge Felicity Hampel SC was appointed to the County Court of Victoria in 2005. In 1996, she was appointed Queen’s Counsel, converting to Senior Counsel in 2001. Felicity was born in Melbourne in 1955, the third of nine, predominantly female children. She has studied, worked and lived in Melbourne all her life. She was educated at Genazzano convent, and Monash Univeristy

John Roskam has been the executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs, widely regarded as Australia’s foremost free-market think-tank, since 2004. Before joining the IPA he taught political theory at the University of Melbourne.
Anna Rose is co-founder and Chair of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and is a former Environment Minister’s joint Young Environmentalist of the Year. Her passion for social and environmental justice was sparked at the age of 14, when she set up recycling, composting and a school sport called “environmental campaigning” at her school in Newcastle. She became a climate change campaigner after experiencing the drought on her grandparent’s farm in North Western NSW, and connecting the dots to climate change.

The debate and questions covered many a familiar ground but there was one area relating to the ‘chaplaincy’ program in Australian schools which particularly attracted my attention, and on which I made a couple  of comments on Face Book, with a response or two. I briefly look at that in tomorrow’s  entry.

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