John Howard told one important truth last week. In an
interview on commercial radio, he said: ‘I’m the Great Satan of Australian
politics in the eyes of a section of the Australian public.’ Howard’s
statement was mainly ignored by Australia’s dwindling stock of employed
The opening was filled by a leading neo-con with a
good snout for political truffle. ‘Hating John Howard has become an industry’,
she announced. As evidence, she threw up new websites like the mega-hit johnhowardlies.com, but quickly moved back to her comfort zone, casting asides at predictable
suspects — refugees, the soy latte set and, new whipping boy on the block,
Children Overboard whistleblower Mike Scrafton.
Leaving these asides aside, here
I sensed another important truth in the making.
Bring these two truths
together and what do you get? Perfect timing for the launch of NewMatilda.com.
If you don’t like what’s happened to our nation and its sense of decency and
possibility under Howard’s watch, and you want better alternatives, we’re here
to move things in your direction.
We’ll deliver a weekly online political
magazine that tells a different story about Australia. We’ll also be a meeting
place for better policy development. We’ll help independent voices change
What does all that really mean? Is this optimism bordering on
delusion? Or just more vapid spin?
From today, the answers to those questions
are largely up to you. NewMatilda.com opens a space for you to read, think, and
start speaking up about your priorities and passions. It’s your democracy — use
it or lose it.
At the risk of cutting the new industry off at its knees,
the first issue of our magazine is not called Hating Satan. Let’s move past that
small mean reference point. Instead, we’re starting with The Dream. Inspired by
Australia’s own Olympian pastry cooks of peace, Roy and HG, and
their winning reminder that ‘at a time when the world is starving for the bread
of hope, the bakery is being manned yet again’.
In this issue, a range of
voices, new and old, come together to look at the state of Australian fair play.
They tell some hard truths … but they also point to some better times ahead.
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