Mungo MacCallum Not Dead

Some journalists took to Twitter today to tell us Mungo MacCallum was dead, but he wasn’t and isn’t.

Still, any excuse to remember one of my favourite Mungo pieces. It appeared in Nation Review on December 27, 1974.

It was a month after Malcolm Fraser had failed to dislodge Bill Snedden from the Liberal leadership. It’s easy to see leadership changes as inevitable in retrospect, but foretelling the future is fraught at the best of times. [Read more...]


June 6, 2014: President Barack Obama Speaks At Normandy On The 70th Anniversary Of D-Day

President Barack Obama and other world leaders have gathered at Normandy in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Like the 75th anniversary of Gallipoli in 1990, this is likely to be the last time that survivors of the largest sea-borne invasion in history will gather to remember the historic turning point that led to the defeat of Hitler and the end of the war in Europe.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is attending the commemoration.

United States President Barack Obama addressed the morning ceremony: “By daybreak, blood soaked the water, and bombs broke the sky. Thousands of paratroopers had dropped into the wrong landing sites; thousands of rounds bit into flesh and sand. Entire companies’ worth of men fell in minutes. … By the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, refought and won — a piece of Europe once again liberated and free. …”

  • Listen to Obama (25m – transcript below)

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  • Watch Obama (25m)

Front page of The Age, June 7, 1944.

Age

Transcript of President Barack Obama’s speech at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

President Hollande; to the people of France; friends; the family; our veterans:

If prayer were made of sound, the skies over England that night would have deafened the world.

Captains paced their decks. Pilots tapped their gauges. Commanders pored over maps, fully aware that for all the months of meticulous planning, everything could go wrong — the winds, the tides, the element of surprise — and above all, the audacious bet that what waited on the other side of the Channel would compel men not to shrink away, but to charge ahead. [Read more...]


Labor MPs And Malcolm Turnbull Pay Tribute To Neville Wran

Members of Parliament have paid tribute to Neville Wran, the former Premier of New South Wales, who died last month.

Following yesterday’s condolence motion in the House of Representatives, 8 Labor MPs and the Liberal Party’s Malcolm Turnbull spoke about Wran in the Federation Chamber.

  • Watch Malcolm Turnbull (20m – transcript below)

Hansard transcript of remarks by Malcolm Turnbull, Liberal member for Wentworth, in the Federation Chamber.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Minister for Communications) (10:28): Neville Wran was my best friend. I certainly never had a better friend than Neville. I was in business with him for over a decade and we spent pretty much every working day together for well over a decade. He always used to say that he knew me before I knew him because he was a university friend of my mother’s. He would regularly assert that he knew me when I was still en ventre ma mere, a legal term he was very fond of. I got to know him when we were two adults, although I was only barely an adult, when I was a young journalist in the press gallery in New South Wales starting in 1975 when Neville was the opposition leader. He was clearly the coming man. He had an urbanity, a wit and eloquence that had no parallel on either side of the house. [Read more...]


Lem Johns, LBJ Bodyguard, Dies; Witness To JFK Assassination, Spattered With Paint In Australia

Lem Johns, the United States Secret Service agent who was spattered with paint during President Lyndon Johnson’s visit to Australia in 1966, has died, at the age of 88.

Johns, with his right hand raised, can be seen in the picture below on the right hand side of Johnson’s limousine. The incident occurred during a demonstration in Melbourne.

LBJ

Johnson’s visit in October 1966 came just one month before the federal election of November 26. The election was conducted amidst vigorous public debate about Australia’s commitment of conscripted troops to the war in Vietnam. [Read more...]


Paul Keating Turns 70

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating turns 70 today.

Keating was 25 when he entered the House of Representatives as the Labor member for Blaxland in October 1969. He was 47 when he became Australia’s 24th prime minister in December 1991. He remained PM until March 1996 when he was defeated by John Howard’s coalition.

Keating

Keating’s first ministerial appointment came in the dying days of the Whitlam government. Following the sacking of Minerals and Energy minister Rex Connor, Keating became Minister for Northern Australia on October 21, 1975, serving for three weeks until the government was dismissed by the Governor-General on November 11. He is the youngest of the eleven surviving ministers of the Whitlam governments. [Read more...]