Venerated by some, despised by others, the central character of this poem dominated Australian politics during the post World War 2 era. His deeds, achievements and failures are now well documented in all non-biased histories of that genre. Discerning readers are free to form their own judgments.
“The Australian Government is now in receipt of a request from the Government of South Vietnam for further military assistance.
We have decided ... to provide an infantry battalion for service in South Vietnam!”
- Robert Menzies, Australian Prime Minister, to Parliament, 29th April, 1965.
“This so-called request which had been pressured out of the South Vietnamese
Prime Minister (Phan Huy Quat), by the Australians, did not arrive formally until
the next day. Menzies had lied to the Parliament and to the Australian people.”
- in War for the Asking by Prof. Michael Sexton, 1981.
♪♪ Don't know where things went wrong ...
Might have been when we ... were young and strong! ♪♪
- chorus from the song American Dream by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, 1970.
“Under every stone lurks a politician!”
- Aristophanes, 410 B.C.
“Both politicians and nappies need to be changed often - and for the same reason!”
- Margaret Thatcher
President Johnson and Prime Minister Menzies - 1966
Appeasement wrong, in a pig-iron deal;
Australian sons died, from converted steel.
And yet, ten years on, with the miners’ stance,
You got back in, given a second chance.
Reporters crowding you with the Petrov scene;
Your arrogant face, on the silver screen.
With the fear proposed, we’d be overrun,
You ‘bashed that can’, beat the ‘Commie’ drum.
And those in your wake, who did not resist,
Found their names on the annual Honours List.
Yet, you told us things, that you didn’t mean;
We believed in your ... Australian Dream.
You can own your home, buy a brand-new car!
Full employment, and we’ll all go far!
Although you ruled us like a king supreme,
You fell on your knees to a foreign queen.
Yeah, your smilin’ face on my old TV;
An honest man appeared, for all to see.
Accusations which you later denied;
History books now show that you all lied.
We know lies corrode, rust doesn’t sleep;
Your clones would follow, like a mob of sheep.
Some disciples still believe, it would seem;
Old folk left with a tarnished … Australian Dream.
‘Thirty six faceless men’, had worn the blame; 'Yellow Hordes’ the target, of your next game. Reflection back then, no one saw a sign;
Poker faces mask, what lies behind.
Following blind in any leader’s cause,
Means young men dying, in senseless wars.
Yet, long-haired ‘thinkers’ didn’t fit this mould;
Total rejection, of social control.
Couldn’t find a ‘Red’, under any bed;
Poetic music filled, each rebel’s head.
The youth became members of a different team;
Truth becoming their new ... Australian Dream.
Lifeless bodies returning, one by one;
A soldier’s death, someone else's son.
Then people started adding up the score;
Began swelling streets, to stop your unjust war.
Yet, old men find it hard to see the light;
All rebels stayed ‘black’ and ‘white’ stayed ‘right’.
‘Dinosaur-men’ still believe your lie!
Shut down their minds, close their one good eye.
I often wonder about the hopes you gave;
Have you peaceful sleep, down in your grave?
I sometimes see you on the T.V. screen;
Blurred images of a shattered … Australian Dream.