Standing up for Canberra


In my recent speech on Uncivil Discourse at Politics In The Pub, I quoted Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Last Saturday morning, at a local community oval, I cheered on the Tuggeranong Bulldogs, as patron, and saw decency, civility and tolerance in spades.

As I stood on the sidelines of the Under 11s game I spoke to parents who praised the work of the wonderful coaches, trainers and umpires in improving their son's self-esteem, confidence, coordination, resilience, determination and trust.

I learnt of one boy who was so frightened of playing his first match that he sat in the car for an hour beforehand, refusing to get out. But thanks to an amazing volunteer he was coaxed to give it a go, and now you can't stop him.

I saw pure love of the game when top of the ladder team Marist volunteered four of its own players to temporarily join the Doggies, who were four players down. And the Marist boys played with all the commitment and conviction of a Tuggeranong Bulldog.

I saw respect, as the boys cheered the winners and congratulated the players of the match.

And last Saturday afternoon, these best of human qualities were writ large, right across the nation, as people rallied behind Adam Goodes.

Last weekend’s display of courage, support and strength by tens of thousands of Australians sent a powerful message that racially motivated vilification is not on.

A message so powerful that Adam Goodes will be playing again tomorrow.