My local Member of the House of Representatives since I moved to Sydney is Anthony Albanese, the Federal Member for Grayndler and shadow minister for employment services and training. While support for the Greens is (quite rightly) growing in the area, I'd expect Albanese to be comfortably returned to office once the election actually takes place. I consider him one of the better ALP people in Federal Parliament.
But with all that he has done for his electorate and in federal opposition since being first elected in 1996, there is one moment for which I hold Anthony Albanese in the highest esteem.
It was on the floor of the House on 18 March 2003 during John Howard's major speech, televised live on the commercial networks, in which he gave his "justification" for committing Australian armed forces to join the US in attacking Iraq.
This is the transcript of that moment, from one of the most important speeches ever given by an Australian Prime Minister in Federal Parliament:
Mr HOWARD: This will be difficult. Saddam Hussein is married to his weapons of mass destruction. He will never give them up willingly. Militarism and aggression are the foundations of his regime. If you doubt this, consider his actions against Iraqi Kurds, against the Shiah majority - particularly the Marshland Arabs. Consider the estimated 400,000 combatants and civilians who lost their lives in the war that followed his invasion of Iran...
Mr Albanese: We were on his side, you dope!
The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will excuse himself from the House under the provisions of standing order 304A.
The member for Grayndler then left the chamber.
(Source: Hansard 18 March 2003 - John Howard's speech.)
Anyone willing to call John Howard a dope, and having the justification for doing so, in the middle of a pivotal moment of Australian history has my eternal admiration.