I close my eyes and melt in its embrace, basking in the sweetest balm of forgiveness: that for which one need not even ask.
Always there are walls, Rachael, she persisted. Walls that block our path. Too high, too hard. We stop to rest, to gather strength, and before we know it we have lived whole lives in their shade. In time, we cease to even see them there, casting their long shadows, blocking our path. We cease to yearn for the other side.
There's been much talk recently about a decline in the 'civility' of our public debate. This follows a long period of anxiety about 'values' and disgruntlement about 'spin', and, if I'm reading the tea leaves right, will soon give way to sustained fretting about what our Prime Minister recently called the 'Americanisation' of Australian politics.
I don't think we've put our finger on the precise nature of the problem yet. But we're not jumping at shadows. There is something rotten in the state of Australian democracy, something about which we have good reason to worry.
The problem isn't etiquette, but a rise in lawlessness. There are rules that have long governed the way the democratic game is played, rules that arise from Enlightenment values. These define what is and isn't cricket when it comes to how individuals and institutions engage in our democracy. It is these procedures and values, often unarticulated and widely taken for granted, that are under siege now…