We sat down to watch the opening of the 2020 Best and Brightest Summit at 8.30 am on Saturday and three and a half hours later we gave up. This is why…
I know that there has to be a bit of a ceremony at these events. But, after watching the ubiquitous aborigines in borrowed vestments and daubs of white paint on their bodies stomping into the main hall ahead of the Prime Minister, I thought to myself “Here we go again”. Circus Maximus was out in full force.
Chairman Rudd thanked the traditional custodians of this land who apparently have to give us permission to hold a Talkfest. Then he did his usual speech about the future lies ahead and we should prepare for it or else. Then more indigenous and part-indigenous speakers performed.
This was followed by a good but extremely long speech by Professor Michael Wesley. You can always tell when a speech is too long because the audience starts wriggling around in an attempt to revive their dormant limbs and such sounds are picked up by the audio equipment.
I can understand why Professor Wesley felt he had to outdo Fidel Castro’s achievements in oratory. This was his moment in the sun, but had the speech been half as long, it would have been very inspiring. In my opinion, as a would-be Demosthenes, one should not take advantage of a captive audience. It only defeats the purpose.
Wesley’s message was that one should not ignore the impact of China and India in this changing world. I very much agree with him on that point. In fact, if we don’t acknowledge the growth of those two huge economies, I suspect that one day we will have call centres in Australia servicing China and India. We will be forced to adopt Chinese or Indian accents so that our customers can relate to us.
I’m being quite serious here.
The Talkfest was divided into ten different categories e.g, Health, Indigenous affairs, Global Warming and even a Productivity group.
I have to confess that we were particularly interested in following the broadcast of the Productivity group since our offspring had been selected to contribute to it. While the introductory speeches were taking place, we searched around for him and finally found him embedded behind a man with the biggest head in history. He had managed to find the only seat in the auditorium out of reach of the camera. In fact, the only reason that we spotted our son is because we recognised his sweater.
We had sat through Julia Gillard’s monotonous introduction full of Ruddisms. A Ruddism is a speech loaded with platitudes and symbolism. A word of advice, Julia. Please don’t say that you don’t intend to talk long when you have no intention of keeping your promise. I guess not keeping your promise goes with the job. Ms Gillard, for the benefit of my “reader” who is not Australian, is a politician.
There were several more introductory speeches and then just as there might be some discussion, the large group of 100 broke up into four small groups. To our disgust, the broadcast ended just when the action was about to begin.
Lunch was to be held in less than one hour and they still had to make their way to different gathering sites. So how much opportunity can there possibly be for real discussion?
The Talkfest is due to finish at 3 pm tomorrow. Let’s hope the politicians manage to curtail their introductions. They should give the delegates a fair go or I may become cynical about the motives for this summit.