I believe the last attempted murder of an Australian politician was in 1966 when Arthur Calwell the ALP leader was wounded. Peter Kocan was 19 when he was given a life sentence for the attempted assassination. He spent years in penal and psychiatric institutions. His book The Treatment and The Cure shows people can be redeemed and mental illness can be treated, even if it was by the brutal methods of electric shock treatment in vogue at that time. For me his book ranks with One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest as a compelling and disturbing account of prison life.
Politics in western democracies is meant to allow people with different views to be able to discuss and decide how as a society we proceed. Let us hope that murder continues to have no place in our political life.
Murder and violence though seems to be all too common each weekend when (usually) women and children bear the brunt of men who are out of control. As the poster outside the library reminds us there is an undeclared war happening in our suburbs that rages on. Isn’t it time we did something more to bring this to an end?