- Hird has made correct call: Former legal advisor
- 'No one in the system gets justice'
- Niqab is not a 'symbol of evil'
- Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices
- 'An unsettled China is unsettling for Australia'
- David Davis denies Greg Sassella dispute
- Plan B: 'We have no choice'
- The Leaning Tower of Stupidity
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What we're talking about
- Michelle on Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices Alas, I remember the day when our lovely cleaning ladies, wiped the desks weekly, cleaned the bathrooms properly, spot ... more
- Sarah M on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... Part of me is smiling and part of me is crying. The innocence of a child in stark contrast to the corruption of a country. ... more
- Gazza on Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices @debsWell why are people on the so called minimum wage not lining up to be cleaners?.because $24 ph is insulting for a ... more
- Karen on Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices Let's see = $24 an hour x 4hrs x 5 days = $479, ooops! my maths is not too good.I work 8 hours a day and get slightly less ... more
- LNoolan on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... Naaaa! Lazy bludgers are taking the square in Hong Kong just as they do here. Nasty contagious diease can only bring nasty ... more
- David R on Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices Thats close to the minimum wage factoring in casual rates and night shift loading. more
- michael on Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices Even toilets! What's next?The sewer system? Why not!Maybe then we will send the tourists to have a trip to the red dirt for ... more
- Julie Loncar. on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... This little girl sings a powerful message, not only for China, but for all of the world.The message is about people power. more
- binary-zero on Niqab is not a 'symbol of evil' As I muslim, I've repeatdely said this that Niqaab is not an Islamic thing - It's a cultural thing from Arab/Afghanistan ... more
- John Duff on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... Why don't we leave it to the Children like that to be the world leaders. us adults aren't doing a very good job more
- Debs on Toilet-cleaning ban in CBD offices $24 per hour??? That's not a bad rate. That's more than the minimum wage. I'm sure there are a lot of people working out ... more
- Linda Pettit on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... Lets hope that this songbird reaches the masses and that there is a peaceful acknowledgement that some things in China need ... more
- Edward on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... Well done as it doesn't hurt to let people know how others feel in these times more
- judy wilson on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... just beautiful more
- mylene on 'An unsettled China is unsettling for ... Tony Abbott hasn't mentioned Hong Kong yet. It's obviously not a very important story. :p more
- poppitt on Plan B: 'We have no choice' If you have debt you pay interest. The more debt the more interest. Why is it people do not want to pay the debt? Do they ... more
- Lukew on 'You're responsible': Socialist ... The attack on that poor Muslim woman was appalling and would be roundly detested by most people. However, the Moreland ... more
- brendon on 'Something needs to be done about this' total moron !!!!! more
- Frances on 'You're responsible': Socialist ... HOW ON EARTH WAS SOMEONE LIKE SUE BOLTON EVEN ELECTED INTO BECOMING COUNCILLOR??? MAKING MASSIVE ACCUSATIONS OF PEOPLE ... more
- PJ on 'You're responsible': Socialist ... Four things need to happen to solve the problem:1.The continued expansion and growing influence of ISIS/ISIL needs to be ... 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: