To a humble blogger whose most fervent core belief is that “PRIDE is the root of all evil”, Senator Joyce’s column in the Canberra Times resonates strongly:
Selfless shine above the selfish
Easter, Queensland’s state election is over, Parliament is out, time to relax with the family.
Relaxation is essential but in so many careers our life is like climbing a cliff continually reaching for that next foothold or crevice to pull us further up. If you stop too long you will cramp and fall off and if you have reached your top, well then, it is all downhill from there.
At the triathlon in Mooloolaba last week the general aim of competitors was to do a PB. At work, a career implies aspiration, as the alternative is regret. How many colleagues in the coffee room tell you that they are aspiring to a lesser job on lower pay? Spiritually, have you ever come across someone who told you they actually did find enlightenment but got bored with it in favour of banality?
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Relaxation, like sleep, is an elixir on so many levels. So I am in Forster-Tuncurry ”relaxing”. At church on Sunday the local parishioners asked what I was doing. I told them I was ”relaxing with the family” which can be an oxymoronic juxtaposition. Some of the parishioners were ”relaxing” as well; some had been relaxing for years.
There are a lot of businesses that are very busy here helping people relax. To relax, apparently you have to consume lots of stimulants such as coffee, served at many shops up and down the main street.
You have to be eternally vigilant that you don’t go from purposeless relaxation to exercising as you go for a walk. Just as dangerous is reading the paper in which you may find a philippic written by some column troll and you will be taken back to work to write your rebuttal against this oxygen thief.
Then there are the questions you ponder as you stare at the ocean – what is the right proportionate mix of all these component parts; career goals, physical health, spiritual depth and how does one make sure that it is does not crowd out the most important responsibility to your family. How much is the appropriate amount of guilt you should feel before you are stirred from the slumber of ”there is more that I can do but I really cannot be bothered”.
Senator Judith Adams was a great example of an unselfish determination to serve. While some at Judith’s stage of life would have been content with relaxing, Judith instead took on board the major challenge of federal politics. Judith would have known her fate, but she worked until the end.
Born in Picton, New Zealand, she migrated to Australia and worked as a nurse. Judith began serving in the Senate in 2005 at the age of 62. I started then, too, I was 38. She was pro choice; I was and am pro life. Judith was a regional Lib, I am a regional Nat.
On so many levels we were likely to lock horns, but we didn’t. In 2008, I was honoured to attend the funeral of Judith’s husband, Gordon, a former Royal Flying Doctor pilot. Judith was a very matter-of-fact, practical and driven woman.
Politics is a job where you have the unfortunate experience of working with colleagues who die. Good people. It is the flip side of people like, and I will say it, Craig Thomson. I will say it because some drag the office down while others raise it up. A person can respect their public office while being completely at odds with a lot of what you believe in, but they conduct themselves in such a manner which deserves nothing but respect. Judith was such a person.
My recollection of Judith will be her intense interest in the lives of regional Australians. She committed to the task knowing she was never going to be a senior office holder. The reality is that many of the wider public would probably not even know her name. The strength about Judith was that this was not what was driving her.
She just wanted people to have their lives affected in a way which made things better for them. She didn’t want the fuss and the bother of the laurels. Even when she was going around on her electric wheelchair in Parliament, she always said that this was only temporary and that she was getting better. I have a sneaking suspicion she realised the truth but just didn’t want the attention to distract her from her job for others.
Barnaby is right.