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What we're talking about
- Mark on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' Where's penny Wong now , Brian Taylor got hung drawn and quartered for his poof comment and yet no penny Wong standing up in ... more
- Stephen on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' No you're not a typical Aussie Girl! You're a disgrace and it has nothing to do with your gender either! You are in public ... more
- poppitt on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' If any male pollie mentioned a part of a womans body he would be walked over hot coals. This type of 'talk' is not ... more
- Gazza on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' If all politicians behaved like normal aussies the world would be a better place. Unfortunately this will never happen as ... more
- Willow on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' Would like to know how the people of Tassy, who voted for her, feel now. more
- bushiepete on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' at least we know what we got with this pollie. shes not afraid to speak her mind ..unlike the rest of the fence sitters ... more
- Sinbad on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' Two weeks ago, Brian Taylor gets vilified and lambasted for a throw away insult you would hear numerous times in any ... more
- Judi Pickett on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' Jacqui Lambie stating she's just a normal Aussie Girl? Neil, you need a mini survey on her comments, as I'd say the public, ... more
- mylene on Lambie: 'I'm a normal Aussie girl' The Prime Minister's comments on women, homosexuals and Aborigines make her look like a beginner. Leave offensiveness to the ... more
- Mandi on 'There’s mortars going off now in ... I agree Mylene they have an extremely deranged veiw on this horrific tragedy which is making the situation so much more ... more
- Milton on Epic walk 'changed our lives' Well done guys! more
- mylene on 'There’s mortars going off now in ... Back in the trenches in WWI we all stopped fighting for Xmas dinner and even played a game of soccer with the hun. These ... more
- jgl Melb on 'I don't trust them. Watch your bills' Power companies are slowly overhauling politicians and journalists as the masters of verbal gymnastics more
- Daniel on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' And now you're contributing to the problem Neil. It's not the fact that he just said 'something wrong' it's his mentality. ... more
- Eleanor Steel on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' Get rid of Taylor 3aw doesn't need an idiot big mouth like him!908DPC more
- Richie on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' Hearing Taylor lose his cool tonight on Sports Today when questioned about why some people don't see the apology as being ... more
- Delboy on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' The guy is living in the 80's. You can tell that by the mo. Lost me. more
- bc on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' brian taylor 2m words BIG MOUTH more
- poppitt on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' On 3aw last week you had 'like a girl' I was so pleased, I thought people are realising what they say has meaning. Now this ... more
- Stephen on 'Dumb, stupid, but not homophobic' Yet again political correctness gone mad!! Where does it stop I'm short for example as many are can we start demanding what ... more
You be gentle with me, won't you: Dame Elisabeth Murdoch
Don’t be fooled by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.
You look at those photographs of a dear old lady smiling gently out at you. Don’t be fooled.
Yes she was that, but she was also a character, a stirrer, a great sense of humour. She was even capable of sending herself up, which is not something you expect from a woman who had been a leader of Melbourne society for 50 years.
I have met her many times, but back in 2007 I spent quite some time with her. It was an Order of Australia dinner and she was 98-years-old. I interviewed her on stage and sat with her a dinner, and that is where I saw the character.
Neil Mitchell with Dame Elisabeth Murdoch at the 2007 Order of Australia dinner. (Photo: Order of Australia)
She arrived with only her driver, pushing her in a wheelchair. I shook her hand, she said she was well aware of me and what I had done. I worked as a Murdoch editor for two weeks after the Herald was sold. She knew the radio program, she knew what was going on in the world, and she was edgy about the interview.
She leaned forward to me and whispered confidentially in my ear that she was nervous and said: “You be gentle with me, won’t you.”
Those were exactly the words used by another great person a few years earlier when I interviewed them. They were exactly the words used by a man just before the interview – that was Nelson Mandela.
He had charisma, dignity and humility. So too did Dame Elisabeth. But she also had a streak of the trouble maker about her, a streak of danger, a touch of the unexpected, and that was endearing, entertaining and rare.
I remember too, she was telling us at dinner about her life. Remember, she was nearly 100. She said she got up very early each morning, about 5:00am I think it was, and swam a few laps. Then she made breakfast for her gardener.
Every morning, she made breakfast for the gardener, talked about the garden, went back to bed for a snooze, wrote letters, went to functions and was in bed quite late at night.
I was jealous of the pace and I was sneaky. I asked her about that during the interview.
Anyway, at this dinner, the Order of Australia dinner, she arrived, sat at the table, out of the chair (she had some trouble walking), and immediately ordered a glass of white wine.
That went down pretty quickly. She ordered another – that went down a little more slowly.
She chatted to people around her, dozed off for a few minutes – or rested her eyes, and then said ‘okay let’s do it’.
We got on stage, she kicked off her shoes and charmed the audience. Mesmerised the audience. It was one of the easiest interviews you could ever do, and when it finished, she put her shoes back on, went back to the table, another glass of white wine and off home. After all, she had to be up early to swim laps and cook breakfast for the gardener.
Yes she was a great lady, she had a privileged life, she had money, she did enormous work for charity, and it was genuine. She was a great Victorian, but she was also a great character.
I hope now more people step forward to say just what she was really like, because to me that is the most fascinating part of the story. To me, and she didn’t like this, to me she was a feminist before feminists. A strong woman, an independent woman, a decisive and powerful woman who took a step back for nobody.
There may be a state funeral. There should be some type of garden in tribute to Dame Elisabeth.
LISTEN: Neil Mitchell interviews Dame Elisabeth Murdoch at The Order of Australia Victoria Branch dinner on 7th December, 2007: