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Some Patter on the Batter and Katter Matters

What troubled times we live in! As if it wasn’t enough to have to contend with climate change, seemingly losing the war in Afghanistan, and not being able to stop the boat people, all of a sudden we have two new issues to contend with. This might be OK for all you ladies that are good at multi-processing, but spare a thought for we dimwitted males that are still struggling “to walk and chew gum” (or that slightly ruder reference to our multiple tasking challenges). The two new issues I want to talk about are the axing of Simon Katich from the Australian cricket side and the announcement by the redoubtable Bob Katter that he wants to establish a new political party.

Well let’s address the most important issue first. I know (from previous polling assisted by the right wing of the NSW Labor Party) this will turn off 99.8675% of my readers, but what were they thinking (or perhaps what were they drinking) when the Australian cricket selectors decided to ditch Simon Katich? Yeah, see, I knew this would turn you off – but thank God Henry is still reading!

Supposedly the selectors ditched Katich because they were worried about the age profile of the team. Katich is 35 and both Ponting and Hussey are 36.

There is a story about a little known Australian cricketer called Donald Bradman who, in 1948, took a team to England which he captained at the youthful age of 40 years. Despite his waning powers, Bradman compiled 11 centuries on the tour, amassing 2,428 runs (average 89.92). His highest score of the tour (187) came against Essex, when Australia compiled a world record of 721 runs in a day. In the Tests, he scored a century at Nottingham, but the performance most like his pre-war exploits came in the Fourth Test at Leeds. England declared on the last morning of the game, setting Australia a world record 404 runs to win in only 345 minutes on a heavily worn wicket. In partnership with Arthur Morris (182), Bradman reeled off 173 not out and the match was won with 15 minutes to spare. The journalist Ray Robinson called the victory “the ‘finest ever’ in its conquest of seemingly insuperable odds”. The team Bradman captained was subsequently called The Invincibles because they never lost a single game for the whole tour.

Maybe in times gone by the pressures on cricketers were not as intense as they are today. So perhaps my previous example is inappropriate. So why don’t we progress to modern times and see what lessons we might learn. Again there is a little insignificant fellow who plies his trade on the Indian sub-continent called Sachin Tendulkar. He has played a mere 166 test matches, scoring over 13,000runs at an average of just over 55. On top of that he has probably been the best one day batsman of all time. Just recently at the tender age of 38 years he became the first batsman to score a double century in a one day international match.

So, Katich is perhaps no Bradman, or even a Tendulkar – but since his return to the Australian side three years ago has averaged more runs than anybody else in the Australian side. Even the Defence Minister came out in his defence. But I suspect that if we were really to get true value Katich should be advising the Minister on defence. Not much gets through the doughty opener! But to ditch him based on his age seems quite inappropriate. As I have said before the issue of age discrimination is becoming more and more important to me. (It just might have something to do with self-interest!) Indeed from my perspective “The Kat” is a mere boy!

But let us now traverse from “The Kat” to the Katter. Now Bobby (I always call him Bobby because he always calls me [shudder] Teddy. {I had a teacher in High School who did that to me. So I always called her missy until she stopped!}

Now Bobby and I would disagree with a lot of things political, but I would have to say he is a fine politician. Anyone who gets re-elected with 70% of the vote has to be in tune with his constituents.

I first came across Bobby in my latter years at High School. Bobby was a contemporary, a bit flashy, a sprinter in athletics and played on the wing for Mount Carmel College as I remember.

Another thing I admire about Bobby is his contribution to the indigenous community. He had on a number of occasions ministerial oversight of indigenous affairs. (The portfolio had changed on a number of occasions but on a few times Bobby was in charge.) There is a conviction amongst many indigenous people that he was perhaps the best Minister they ever had. On one occasion when I met him at the Qantas Club in Townsville he apologised for not being able to talk to me and went and had a discussion with an elderly indigenous lady. I had to admire his compassion.

My favourite recollection about Bobby was one day I was flying from Townsville to Brisbane – can’t remember the year, but sometime in the early eighties. I was sitting down in cattle class and Bobby was sitting up in business class. Once we were up in the air a hostess came down and told me that “Mr. Katter would like you to come up and sit next to him for a while.”

So I obliged and Bobby and I had a chat. I asked him how he was going in politics. He looked at me earnestly and said. “Well I can tell you something I have learned is that it doesn’t pay to appear intelligent in the National Party!”

It was all I could do to contain my mirth!

(But I have had an epiphany myself. I was watching a wildlife documentary recently and to my dismay I found an Abbott’s Booby was a seabird. I had previously thought it was Barnaby Joyce!)

Now Bobby has got some reactionary views on such things as gun laws, trade tariffs, homosexuals, the production of bio-fuels to name a few. Hey but I come from his part of the country and it might surprise the latte drinking set that there are many who think the same.

I suppose, when it comes down to it, I probably couldn’t bring myself to vote for Bobby or his newly-founded party. But nevertheless I really appreciate him. He is colourful, passionate, and (unlike the Prime Minister) quite clear about his beliefs. And as I know him, he is compassionate, a great advocate for indigenous people and for those in his electorate. Say what you want, he is a decent human being and a very effective politician.

But Bobby, I would have to warn you that there are very few like you and I suspect you might be stuck with a political party of one. (plus family and hangers on).

And guess what? Last month his eminence celebrated his 66th birthday. Although many people disagree with him, nobody is suggesting he should quit politics because of his age.

Simon Katich should take up politics!

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  1. 4 Comment(s)

  2.   By Father Robin on Jun 19, 2011 | Reply

    Batter 1

    Katter 1

  3.   By Father Robin on Jun 20, 2011 | Reply

    The frightful thing is that WE create them!

  4.   By Greg Brown on Jun 20, 2011 | Reply

    Two things they say you should never discuss. Politics and Religion. You would be a lot of blogs short though Ted if you took this line.

    I have quite a bit of interest in religion and spirituality because it is all about what makes us what we are. Politics though is sadly not something I have ever had a taste for. The few times I have crossed paths with truly political animals I have discovered that the title animal is fairly accurate. How someone can trod mercilessly on individuals on a daily basis in the interest of the greater good, or at least what they perceive it to be, I have never been able to fathom. From my experience that is exactly what happens and recently there has been a number of harassment cases against public figures that I believe is only the tip of the iceberg. Political figures are generally not nice people, often not real bright but always well groomed and well presented publically. A double standard at best.

    All that said, the current system of populist Government is about as good as there seems to be anywhere. Just a shame that it has created the modern politician and the associated army of hangers-on.

  5.   By Father Robin on Jun 22, 2011 | Reply

    No boundaries allowed.

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