Saturday, November 17, 2007

Charlie's 30th

Good evening ladies and gentlemen - assembled friends and dignatories

I would like to officially welcome you all here to this - the second, and less formal party, celebrating Prime Minster Charles Forsyth's 60th birthday.

First of all, let me say what a wonderful day it was yesterday. The parade from the spaceport to parliament house was a welcome distraction after that interminable 2-hour flight from LA. And the Sydney weather turned on a perfect welcome for myself and Amelia as we made our way through the streets to Charlie's front door.

For those of you who were still awake for the celebrations at midnight - I think you'll join me in singing the praises of the engineers who pulled off that spectacular space-work display around the new moon. A fitting end to a wonderful and inspiring day of celebration, for the wonderful and inspiring man we all know as Charlie.

I am glad to see many of the same faces that were here, at the [?] yaught club - almost exactly 30 years ago - the last time we were all here together - for Charlie's 30th birthday party - feels like only yesterday - and yet... well, what a DAY it's been.

I am also happy to see many new faces. People who were not even born when last we met in this room to celebrate Charlie's birthday.

Who would have thought, 30 years ago, on that Friday evening in 2006, when I joked casually about Charlie's aspirations to start a political revolution in Australia, that only 5 years would pass before the Advance Australia Fair Party was officially launched - with Charlie as their first, and as yet only, leader.

Who would have even dreamed to predict that the party would not only be able to bring about the slow yet complete demise of right-wing politics in Australia - through the Better Education and Nutrition campaign - but that it would, within the space of only 10 years become the unquestionable first party in Australian politics and a model for fast reform to all moderately liberal political parties around the world.

On the long 2-hour flight from LA, Amelia and I were reminiscing about the last 30 years and marveling at how much things had changed. I remember when the only way down to this yaught club was by land road - and parking was just impossible - and while the extra security surrounding tonight's celebrations are one less positive sign of the way things have changed - I think you'll all agree that the new hover-craft loading bay is a much preferable way to come and go.

As you may or may not have read, in the 5th and most recent biography of Charlie's life - "Meeting Charlie" by entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith - some of the most important and influencial times of Charlie's life were packed into a small number of years, shortly after his 30th birthday - and I can't help but look back feel that there was something in the air that night - telling us all to sit up and pay attention. There was a man that was going to chasnge things. There was man that was going to make a difference... well at least I can say that I DID know you when...

Charlie was a great help during this period in my own rise to fame. It always amazed, me over those years, how he found the time, helping me with scripts and production plans, and then later even, flying out to LA on the weekend, just so he could make sure my next film was all going according to plan.

My wife, Amelia, and I - now happily living in LA - were remembering recently how impossible that would have seemed to us 30 years ago. How much the political climate around the world has shifted, mainly due to Charlie and his parties success. How America, seeing the success of the AAF and Charlie's policies, changed direction, socially an politically, and became a place that we are now happy to call home.

To list all of Charlie's many and various political triumphs over the past 30 years would take so long as be tedious. Suffice to say that having made Australia the proud republic it always deserved to be, he has gone onto...

Recent accusations of Positive Discrimination aside - it cannot be denied that Charlie's all women front bench is a collection of some of the best politicians and policy makers that Australia has to offer. Senator Georgina Hibberd, who is here tonight was one of the founding members of AAF and can attest, I am sure, to Charlie's unwavering ability to surround himself with the best and brightest of the bunch.

... breaking John Howard's previous record by being in power more than 15 years...

In 2018, shortly after Oxford University declared the position of Official Keeper of the Truth, and [?]'d Charlie in it. I was given pause to reflect...

.. King Charles [joke about the same name?] sent his best regards and no hard feelings...

... Father of the year... Nobel Prize winner Cooper Forsyth...

... sang his paises then, but how much more now [something about all the nice thing sI would have said - I "did" say - 30 years ago - but, oh how much more there is to say now - kind of thing... just so it doesn't sound like I'm avoiding being nice about him now]

... won't bore you with details of Charlie's more private life as I'm sure you got all the details you need in the recent lift out special in the Women's Day...

... while I say that we were marveling at the way things have changed - it is also amazing how much we are actually all the same... and I suppose that's where I would like to leave you all tonight - with this thought - that despite all of his achievements over the last 30 years, since we were all here for the same purpose the most important thing...

[Originally written March 2006]

1 comment:

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