Lismore. Sunday, 4pm.
I knew I was a different sort of kid. I never felt part of the mob. Other kids would nudge each other and point me out. I’d enter the classroom and everyone would go silent. Someone would cough… another would giggle. The teacher would look at me as if I had spat on the flag or shrugged away the caring caress of a Christian Brother.
On Thursday nights, kids would huddle around the telly, from which strange wobbling sounds would come. They would laugh and sing along to songs about kangaroos in bondage and useless Aboriginal people. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t want to tie me kangaroo down, Sport, or keep me cockatoo cool, Curl. I was in the real world, running around with one fist thrust forward, a bath towel as a cape, wreaking revenge on villains like Lex Luthor, who once drowned children in a dam. Yeah, I was different to the other kids.
You see, I never liked Rolf Harris.
Okay, so now it’s cool not to like Rolfie; he’s a pedophile after all. And who, apart from religious types, government institutions and internet rings, likes pedophiles?
I’m not saying the wobble board creates perversion or personality dodginess. But it just so happens that Rolf inflicted the wobble board on generations of people while he was inflicting his sexual fantasies on kids.
Of course it isn’t the wobble board’s fault. Like it isn’t the fault of that fussily manicured goatee. Or the fault of having a natural talent with a paint brush. Did you know that Rolf twice made the final cut for the Archibald Prize when he was young fella in Perth? And that he did a very popular portrait of the Queen for her 80th which hangs in Buckingham Palace? They had a normal healthy relationship, the Queen and Rolf. Well, she was 80…
No, it’s not the fault of those things; it’s Rolf’s fault.
And just because Rolf Harris AO, CBE has been awarded all sorts of accolades by the Australian government doesn’t mean the government condones preying on the young. No way. Those acclamations are because he moved to England where he made himself a bucketload of money by blowing a didgeridoo, singing songs like Jake the Peg (with his extra leg) and tapping a British Paints can.
The Australian government loves people who make money and contribute bugger all. In fact government itself is modelled on that very concept. You privatise your responsibilities, and set up a future job with that private company to augment your generous government pension when you retire after a few years. Then you have plenty of time to vote an increase to your parliamentary salary and talk smug crap while facilitating environmental and fiscal collapse.
But the government hates people who prey on children.
I heard tearful Tony, devastated by the awful news about Rolf, say that he really cares about young people. That’s why his government is taking money away from childcare organisations and youth allowances and redirecting it into polluting industries and the military.
Some people might say that supporting fossil fuel industries that will compromise life for future adults is child abuse. Some people might say that sending young people to kill innocents in other countries to support those industries is child abuse.
I never liked Rolf Harris. But the hypocrisy surrounding child abuse that comes from a government that puts corporate interests above the future of children makes me want to tie a towel around my neck, fly to Canberra, pick up Lex Abbot and play him like a wobble board till the meanness drops out of him.
Can I do that? Sure can.