I AM writing on Human Rights Day to pay tribute to one of our most brilliant journalists, a man who cared deeply about people and their right to a decent life, as evidenced in his writing.
It is, of course, Mungo MacCallum, known simply as Mungo. He and Jenny engaged with the local community, the nation and the world from their Ocean Shores home. A home that was the haven for their family. Mungo sadly left them last night after putting down his pen just a few days back.
It is to the family that I say thank you. Thank you for sharing so much of your husband and dad with us.
The brilliant mind, the incisive intellect, the laser-like way he could cut through political humbug. The deep laughter that lit up his face. I mourn the absence of Mungo’s column already. A column I hoped I never featured in on the wrong side. The most poignant words I had said about me were in a video recording Mungo did for The Byron Echo. It still touches me to my core. I feel very privileged as Mungo judged politicians with brutal candour.
At the Twin Towns Services Club in Tweed Heads, Mungo asked me — the emcee — why the attendance of the national press for a backbencher lunch? The backbencher being Paul Keating, in between being Treasurer and Prime Minister.
At a barbecue fundraiser for one of my campaigns, Mungo entertained us with stories of his time in Canberra. He entertained us even more upon departure, backing over the barbecue plate. Jenny drove home.
Melbourne Cup Day at the Ballina RSL during the 2007 Federal Election campaign with Kevin Rudd, myself and team, when Kevin backed the winner.
Mungo’s parting words were sweet. Thank you, good night, after he fired an Aussie salvo at our current Prime Minister.
Thursday, 10 December 2020.