Fitz: “Do you remember when the Border Force raided your home at dawn and took you both into custody?”
afternoon: “It was horrible. You know I was still in my pajamas and my kids were still in bed. At dawn, 50 people arrived with the police. We were put in a car and they didn’t even allow us to pack or change. I was put in a police car in my pajamas. Horrible. They treated us so badly and inhumanly. We couldn’t even buy a bottle for the baby.”
When I asked Barry Cassidy for his thoughts on the chances of a Morrison government, the most prescient political commentary came from Barry Cassidy.
B.C: “Scott Morrison is . . . a reduced number now. So I think there are fewer voters. Clearly the government has mismanaged the crisis. And the ‘I don’t have a hose, mate’ comment sparked the PM’s failure to take on The whole bigger issue of responsibility. The women’s issue was handled clumsily when it was brought up and didn’t really do anything about the culture of the Houses of Parliament and what he did was too late. And he only half-heartedly accepted climate change .”
Morrison and Frydenberg leave within weeks while Peter Dutton becomes Leader of the Opposition and the Murugapa family goes to #HomeToBilo.
For her part, Kristina Keneally was the only major Labor figure to get a bad result in that election, and when I asked her if she cried seeing the result, she made a poignant point.
KK: “No. I had a glass of whiskey with some very close friends…in terms of overall pain, this loss is nowhere close to what I know. The biggest loss in my life was the stillbirth of my daughter Caroline in 1999 , that was the most defining moment of my life. That was when I felt the burning pain, not this.”
The election results lead to Sussan Ley taking over as deputy leader of the Liberal Party, and I was surprised to find that in her university days, she was wild. “For me,” she said, “it was important to be a punk because I was kind of an outsider at school, from England, with this horrible British accent…and I didn’t feel like I fit in for a long, long time…I had purple Hair, black lipstick, razor blades, safety pins through noses and ears, dog collars with silver studs, everything.”
When I asked Linda Burney to tell us more about her background, she had just become Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “Well, I got off to a very solid start in life. I was born Aboriginal in the country town of Leeton in 1957 to an illegitimate mother and I grew up in nearby Whitton… when I was five , a door-to-door photographer came to my house and took a family portrait, which included all my cousins - my mother’s sister’s children. When the photo appeared in the post, I saw for the first time that they were all blonde Blue eyes and a black kid at the end – that’s me! I think since then I’ve started to understand more about who I am, where I’m from, and I feel a tremendous responsibility and a tremendous resilience to feel whatever Everything I do I represent a lot of people, my people.”
Outside of politics, I interviewed Lieutenant General Peter Francis Leahy, Army chief of staff from 2002 to 2008, and asked him to record the stories he told me privately about the Unknown Soldier. “As you know,” he replied, “it was in the early 1990s and we were on a mission to retrieve the remains of a Digger from a military cemetery in France and bring him back to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Canberra. Along the way, there were many commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Western Front, accompanied by 14 veterans of those battles. So once the Unknown Soldier was on board, the ceremonial party would travel from a place in northern France and Belgium with due dignity and respect to another place.
“The Diggers feel a real connection to him, but I like the way they refer to him. Movie Bernie’s weekend Not there, they called him Bernie. It’s not as mouthy as the Unknown Soldier, and of course it’s a digger’s way of speaking to another digger, not formally. “Come on Bernie,” they’d say, “back to Land Rover.” We’re going to another damn place. ‘”
Fitz: “You established a connection with him yourself?”
PL: “Well, yes. When I was chief of staff of the Army, I would sometimes face tough decisions, and I would often pop up, visit the grave and say, ‘Well, Bernie, what do you think I should do? I’m on the right track Up? Of course, I didn’t expect an answer, but the calm and gravity gave me the space and focus to think clearly.”
And what about you, comedian Julia Morris, and your plans for the future. “I want to fuck Betty White completely. I just want to be Betty White, always be. Where I am now, I don’t have to do as much work as I used to, maybe I can explore more of the work/life they talk about Balance, but what I really want to do is keep going because I love it all.”
Among the Sydney celebrities I spoke to, Bob Rogers, a 96-year-old radio broadcaster, bore the brunt of it.
BR: [After] 73 years of marriage and the love of my life is still with me…One of the first songs I ever loved…was called people who live in the mountainsIt reads: “Someday we’ll build a home on top of a hill, you and me, shiny and new, a cabin for two, and we’ll be happy to be called ‘people who live on the hill’. “Now we live on the best hill in town, one of the best hills in the world, overlooking Balmoral Beach. It’s a great life.
Later this year, treasurer Jim Chalmers mentioned an interesting change in his own life.
Fitz: You and I chatted a few years ago about the benefits of giving up spirits entirely. how’s it going?
Jesse: It’s going well, I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in two years. I’ve read the chapter in your book on alcohol abstinence six or eight times, and it’s been pretty definitive advice for me.
Fitz: do you miss it
Jesse: Not as I thought. I mean, I started drinking in my teens and for the next 25+ years I gave it a good boost. I feel like I’m cramming the normal consumption of my life into a shorter time frame. So for me, it made sense to give it away.
Reverend Fred Niro? I had the pleasure of talking to him about the day he called on God to wash away the carnival parades.
Fitz: “In the spirit of reconciliation, of maturing with age … can you tell me that might be a little mean?”
Federal Republic of Germany: “Yes, probably, and disrupting their lives.”
Fitz: “Well, can you say sorry?”
Federal Republic of Germany: “sorry.”
Goodbye, Pastor Fred. It’s a good break for all.
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