* The merit of discovery has too often been stained with avarice, cruelty, and fanaticism; and the intercourse of nations has produced the communication of disease and prejudice. A singular exception is due to the virtue of our own times and country. The five great voyages, successively undertaken by the command of his present Majesty, were inspired by the pure and generous love of science and of mankind. The same prince, adapting his benefactions to the different stages of society, has founded his school of painting in his capital; and has introduced into the islands of the South Sea the vegetables and animals most useful to human life.
This evening I was delayed on the way home watching a bunch of catatonic Tamils demonstrating rather hoarsely in George St. concerning something or other. Still, I’m a tad relieved it was them rather than the usual mob of extreme leftists and anarchists doing that; moreover, there seemed to be little damage.
From what I can discern, journalists tend to make far too much bother about purported leadership tensions in political parties. Above a certain point, increased titular power brings diminishing returns in terms of influence.
Take my own party, for instance. While I’m not too keen on either of the Hon. Members for Wentworth or Higgins (much preferring the Hon. Member for Bradfield), both men have nonetheless maintained in their public life a certain integrity and dignity which seems ill-served by their respective ambitious acolytes.
Assertions that Mr Costello faces a stark choice between assuming the Liberal Leadership and resigning as an MP strike me as fatuous. The Station of back-bench MP is a fine one which allows for greater detachment from the sharp end of decisions than are requisite to one fully bound by considerations of Cabinet Solidarity while still allowing for the excercise of discernment and advocacy.
As such, so long as he remains capable of doing so (confirmed by the occasional customary bout of support from his electors and pre-selectors), I see no impediment to Mr Costello honourably discharging his duties as Member for Higgins. Should it somehow come to pass that Mr Costello is eventually prevailed upon to be made Leader of the Commonwealth Parliamentary wing of my party, his resistance to flattery shown so far should place him in good stead.
I was saddenned to read that my neighbouring (and, when boundaries allowed, local) MP John Murphy felt constrained by family reasons to resign from his Parliamentary Secretariat. As one who’s personally on the other side of the political fence, I can say that throughout his time as an MP Mr Murphy has consistently acted for his constituents and the wider community in a principled and dignified fashion.
My own dealings with Mr Murphy have largely been through the NSW Right to Life Association (in which I am locally active). Facing enormous pressure, Mr Murphy has stood steadfastly in defence of the vulnerable. As such (and for various other qualities), I salute him and wish both he and his family well for the future.