It is pleasing to see that this sort of material is going up on a blog. Nevertheless I'm seeing it on a slightly broader canvas. I was appalled when I heard that Howard is to give such a reception, trading on the event and the media hype.
However I think he is covering himself by saying he is bringing to the reception all the people who did the work of getting the men out, to applaud their work. And he is quite cognizant of what a demanding task they undertook under so much uncertainty about what was likely to work and be safe; and done with enormous strain on their bodies and emotions. We all need to be focused on all this achievement as well as on the survivors, their endurance and their ability to keep their pecker up, knowing quite well, with the best will and action in the world they might not be found or they might not be rescuable. I just don't like Howard using it to aggrandize himself. Better, I'm sure if Howard kept out of it except to send letters of appreciation to all those who planned and executed the rescue and leave it to the ABC to let us meet all or most of these people telling their own stories on, say, Australian Story or Four Corners. Of course there is not much chance of the ABC doing a story as Seven or Nine will have tied up the Beaconsfield two.
So you see, I think the whole thing is tied up with the nature of the rescue and that it went on for two weeks as much as it is about the fantastic endurance of the survivors. I don't think that survival per se is the only focus. This is a let out clause for saying these two survivals are different, apart from who the people are.
He has a crest of a wave here and he is going to ride it, and write off giving other receptions just as he will write off giving State Funerals to other eminent people by articulating some aspect unique of the contribution of Kerry Packer.
So whilst I agree that the whole issue of industrial safety is an absolute must for enquiry and finding ways of helping people of Beaconsfield who lose their source of work if the mine is closed, nevertheless I have voted No 3. It is a mistake to have the reception at all, in and of itself.
Thank you, my friend.