Out early for a jog on the other side of Barton for a change. The air is crisp and the last of the Autumn leaves can be still be seen hugging the edge of the footpath. I’m surprised when I bump into the arch-Greenie, but otherwise delightful Sarah Hanson-Young who happens to be out jogging in the other direction.
Not having much time for each other’s politics, the conversation is civilised but tense. Asking her what she made of Rudd’s new cabinet, Sarah is terse and evasive, averting her gaze. Moving the conversation to another subject she expresses her disgust at the eyesore that the new development at the Garden City shopping complex in Brisbane has become. I know little about it and didn’t think she had any interest up there. Despite her known propensity for sobbing over anything trite, when her eyes redden and tears start to well up, I suspect that there might be something more than a blot on the landscape giving her cause for anguish. I then remember hearing something about 457 Visas having been hastily issued to a bunch of labourers from New Zealand for the wretched purpose of clearing away all the rubble. Perhaps her distress was due to industry automatically turning to the good old Kiwis when such menial and awfully degrading tasks were on offer, instead of to the huge pool of Iranian and Sri Lankan refugees she has rotting away in Manus Island or waiting in her hell-camps in Indonesia?
Was it a concern for the environment, perhaps, which made Sarah shed her tears so? The complete absence of anything green remaining on the building site now – was that the problem?
An item I saw in the Australian last week comes to mind. The last of the endangered Bulbous-bellied Wombats was recently shot on a building site somewhere by an enthusiastic but ignorant Kiwi, hungry for his lunch. Oops, Mistakes do happen, I thought. Perhaps she was particularly disappointed on hearing that news?
Or was her concern about a shopping complex or the fate of the Bulbous-bellied Wombat itself just a big furphy?
Could it be just a mask for something much deeper: more heart-wrenching? Wasn’t she in fact feeling absolutely gutted over the fact that even a common, run-of-the-mill Muslim refugee from the likes of Bosnia – probably one she even helped settle – could get a top job in the government when she herself is about to be thrown out of office at the next election?
With the sounds of her gentle sobbing receding and the sound of her low-carbon footprints padding away in the distance, the question remains still unanswered.