I remember a chap called Kim Beazley, Minister for Education in the Whitlam Government. He was swathed in an aura of decency. He was something of a committed Christian, which seemed slightly odd, even back then. But decent? There was never any doubt he was decent, respectable and a "True Believer" - in the Labor Party ethos.
Time passed by, and young Kim turned up in Parliament, and I was prepared to welcome him.
But I remember the "M.V. Tampa" affair. A boat load of 433 refugees, having been rescued by a Norwegian vessel, at sea, were then turned away by the Australian Government (29/8/2001). Kim Beazley Jnr capitulated to the pressure of the Government - frightened of being seen as "soft on border security". Dear me!
Kim went on to lose that election - not just a personal loss, but a loss for the Labor Party.
Why? He had compromised his social values, and disgusted the last of the Labor Party's "true believers". There have been many other things along the way, smaller ones, which I do not remember.
But this week, there has been another ground-breaking capitulation. Kim Beazley has announced this week that he will overturn the "3 mines policy". Oh good, I thought. No more Uranium mining - he's going to close them down. How wrong I was!
He has announced that he will allow (if he ever gets into office - which I now sincerely doubt) open slather on uranium mining in Australia. No artificial limits which the Labor Government (under Bob Hawke) had accepted, under a kind of "grandfather clause", whereby exisiting mines would be allowed, but no new ones. There is no logic to that position, but it is at least understandable - a typical Hawke compromise.
But, now all bets are off. The Uranium mining companies have all received a kick in their share prices. The gloves are off, boys - go for it. All down to Kim Beazley having opened his stupid mouth.
This at a stage when we are all being told that there is something of a problem with international security. The Isrealis, (supposedly a nuclear power) are blowing up their near neighbours. The Americans have been blowing up their distant neighbours in Iraq. Pakistan and India, (both with nuclear capability) are still rattling sabres at each other. The last vestiges of the old Soviet establishment are said to be slowly pilfering off the remains of their nuclear facilities, and selling them on the black market.
Yet everyone is supposed to be worried that North Korea and Iran are developing nuclear weapons - to threaten the world! I do feel threatened - but by the rightwing nutters in Washington, and in Jerusalem - not by North Korea and Iran.
But do I want Australia to add to the mess? Certainly not.
The companies which will mine the Uranium are large multinationals and, in general I do not trust them. And I do not believe that selling lots more Uranium is a good thing, either for the global environment, or for international security.
And I refuse to vote for a pathetic politician who no longer believes in anything.
That's you, Kim Beazley.
You are drowning at sea, as certainly as those people were, who the Captain of the Tampa rescued - and who you rejected from Australia, by supporting Howard.
Where's the Tampa now, Kim?
"We have a great objective - the light on the hill - which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the Labour movement would not be worth fighting for."
J.B. (Ben) Chifley 12 June 1949
What has the Labor Party come to?