Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Treasures in Their Own Lunchtimes

I've had a little time to think over the National Trust's need to find 11 new living ornaments for our national mantelpiece. It's an obvious opportunity for bloggers to make nominations of their own, so without further ado, here's my list.

The world of journalism is an obvious place to start. Paddy McGuiness seems an obvious candidate; no doubt he would welcome the chance to be a Living National Treasure in the same spirit that he welcomed his Order of Australia. However, perhaps out of personal favouritism, I'd rather see the honour go to Janet Albrechtsen whose sardonic wit, keen analytical intelligence and creative research make every Wednesday's Oz something to look forward to. With her legal background she'll fit in quite nicely with Willian Deane, Justice Marcus Einfeld and Justice Michael Kirby.

Elsewhere in the media world, Alan Jones and John Laws have both shown themselves to be broadcasters and commentators whose opinions are highly treasured, especially by businesses such as Telstra and the NRMA. Choosing between the two is a little difficult, so we might as well give them each a spot, and toss in David Marr to keep things lively.

Actor George Lazenby is long overdue for recognition for his outstanding work in films. After achieving international prominence in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, George continued to work in film and TV, particularly in Hong-Kong. Through his work in martial arts classics such as Tie jin gang da po zi yang guan (aka Man Called Stoner aka Hong Kong Hitman), Chi l'ha vista morire (aka Who Saw Her Die?) and Bruce Lee's Game of Death George forged valuable cultural ties with our neighbours to the North. Lazenby saw that the future was in Asia, for one Australian at least, long before Paul Keating became Prime Minister.

It seems inevitable that at least one of our eleven new Living National Treasures will be a serving or former politician. Among our Several distinguished candidates present themselves: former Minister for Communications Senator Richard Alston, Wilson Tuckey, Bill Heffernan, Senator Santoro, Bob Katter, Nick Bolkus, Mark Latham, Carmen Lawrence and, of course, Alan Cadman. My pick is former Minister for Defence Peter Reith, although I'm hard put to justify it except on the McGuiness principle.

The existing list features two academic historians; Professor Geoffrey Blainey and the pin-up boy of the black armband crowd, Professor Henry Reynolds. It seems only fair that the autodidactic Keith Windschuttle should be included; in the past twelve months he's done much to revive general interest in Australian history. As a National Treasure he's at least the equal of a Murwillumbah Rembrandt.

Finally, all four members of tribute band Bjorn Again. They're Australian, they sing Abba songs, [they make up the numbers] - what more needs to be said?

Update: after reading The Libertarian National Socialist Green Party by Roop Sandhu, at Troppo Armadillo, I'm tempted to bump Reithy in favour of Senator George Brandis, who seems to covet the Billy Wentworth mantle.

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