Graham Gorrel's Friday On My Mind | OPINION

RIGHT on schedule, my traditional Christmas gift - a new diary - arrived with one of those trendy marketing tags still attached with the message, “2018 - make it better” and on the reverse side, “nothing like putting pen to paper”.

Most of my veteran newspaper colleagues still do that; Mike Pearce, my editor at North London News Group in 1978-79 when the loony left ran the local Haringey Council, including Jeremy Corbyn who a year later became Labour MP for North Islington and is now British Labour’s leader, penned his Christmas message with some observations about political life in Britain these days.

Corbyn, said Pearce, is a more realistic person now and a more sensible and caring one.

In fact, said Pearce, after Corbyn ran current British Prime Minister, Theresa May, to a close election race just a few months back, if an election was held today Corbyn would probably win.

“The Tories are in a mess with a weak PM and packs of dogged party opponents snapping at her heels”. Sound familiar? Very little difference between our Liberal Party and its last two PMs ranked among the weakest to hold top office and the ALP’s Bill Shorten who opinion polls rank much lower than the PM!

Colleague Lawrie Martin, who was among the team of journalists who probed and then uncovered the deceit and corruption of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen Queensland Government, said in his Christmas communique: “We need governments with vision led by people of honesty and dedication to the task. The future is Australia’s to take and it needs to be clasped in strong hands by intelligent people”.

To which the column reminds readers of the salient words by Times Magazine’s managing editor, Ed Murrow: “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves”; our nation needs massive change in the way we run government.

That’s the task ahead; we may as well get started in 2018 before the Canberra swamp gets any bigger and increasingly useless state governments keep raiding the honey pots and major parties keep sending party hacks to the Senate.

Richard Ackland, writing in The Saturday Paper, in the week before Christmas, revealed that Justice Mary Gaudron of the High Court in an address a few days earlier to Labor lawyers said: “The time has come for unions to sever their formal links with the ALP, so that they no longer have any formal or institutional role within the party”.

She added, “there is much of modern life I resent and resist”; however, the veteran judge said the decline and demonisation of trade unions was also on her list.

It was unions though, she said, who were suffering most of the damage from the relationship with the current formal links to the ALP.

Before conservative party supporters say “amen” to that, Gaudron made a pertinent comment that a future Labor Government needed to ensure industrial justice too, otherwise the words “Fair Work” which are littered throughout industrial legislation, “would be the greatest oxymoron of all time”.

Back to today’s beginning; try putting pen to paper in 2018 and tell MPs we want a referendum to abandon state governments (a plebiscite will do - that seems to be the go now) so we plebs can make the decisions they can’t or won’t make.

Remember, too, those earlier words, “the future is Australia’s to take”.

Let’s go for it in 2018!