Sunday, 30 April 2017

Vale Robin Millhouse

I read on the ABC site today of the death of Robin Millhouse, sometime Attorney-General for South Australia and Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia.

The obituary on the ABC site mentions quite a bit about him but doesn't make a few links between the different parts of his principles that tended to go against each other.  Before getting to those it should be noted that he did stick to what he believed in.  After the Liberal Movement (of which he and Steele Hall were founders) morphed into the Australian Democrats, Millhouse stuck with the Democrats whereas most others went back to the Liberals.

The ABC mentions that he was a committed Christian so it wasn't that surprising that my first memory of him was when he led protests against the performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in Adelaide in 1972.  This was during the Dunstan years so it also isn't surprising that a member of the Liberals wasn't well known to me.

However it is unusual to find a person with such a role introducing a bill to legalise prostitution and to champion the nudist beach at Maslin's Beach in South Australia.

With regards to the latter some of my friends used to run with him on weekend mornings using a course that included Maslins.  He was a good runner and would apparently sprint to the start of the unclothed area rip off his shorts and singlet, carry them through the unclothed area and put them on again at the far side!

His running also (indirectly) contributed to the resolution of a question I had developed about why few runners in Sydney ever greeted one another while in Canberra and Adelaide runners were very convivial..  I was in Sydney one weekend in the mid 1980s to run the City to Surf and on the day before did my usual run from Hyde Park through the CBD and over the Harbour Bridge.  On this day just about everyone said "G'day" which was most unusual for that area.  Then I came across Millhouse, running past the Opera House and greeting everyone, and suddenly I twigged: all the greeters were people from interstate.

Straying from the core subject of this post my conclusion got slightly modified in the 1990s when we stayed in Marrickville.  On runs there, everyone greeted me (usually with very thick accents indicating Greek, Russian or Lebanese ancestry).  It was the wealth of the Anglos in central Sydney that was the issue not geography.

Finishing off this side issue, we were in New York in 1997 and I found that running Central Park I also got very little interaction with other runners (nearly all of whom were anglos); from memory 80% of runners totally ignored everyone else; 20% responded to a greeting and 0% initiated an exchange.  That had changed in 2005-06 - everyone greeted one another (apart from the dweets running with earphones playing Kurt Cobain rubbish).  One of the small ways 11 September 2001 changed people in that city.

No comments: