21 January 2007

Australian political knights: a disappearing species

The funeral of Sir James Killen, a former Liberal defence minister, has produced several reminders, notably Gough Whitlam's eulogy, of a less adversial political world. Perhaps the occasion produced a softening of old antagonisms, but from the extract I saw on the TV news, Whitlam's tribute looked and sounded genuine enough. Perhaps time does heal all wounds at least for some people.

The records of the occasion include some good photos and video footage, especially a black and white photo by David Sproule on p3 of The Weekend Australian which unfortunately I can't find online. It's similar to one by Paul Harris published in The Age accompanying a piece by David Marr which, while characteristically acerbic for the most part, also acknowledges that the age of the Australian political knights is coming to an end.

BTW the Sproule photo reminds me of the famous David Moore one of a group of migrants arriving in Australia in the 1960s.

AFTERTHOUGHT later on Sunday: for another, less deferential, assessment of Sir James, see this letter from Tuesday's Australian . I shall add VB (vacuous blowhard) to my acronym list.

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