I’m having a special dinner party at my place to celebrate my birthday. It’s a select group. The conversation is assured to be interesting.
Stan Grant is coming. You know Stan? He hosted that current affairs show on Channel 7 back in the 90’s, he even won a Logie for it. He’s now doing WAY more interesting things. Amongst other things he’s the ABC’s International Affairs Analyst, having been a senior international correspondent in Beijing and Hong Kong. He is also Chair of Australian-Indigenous Belonging at Charles Sturt University (my alma mater). Honestly I don’t know whether my first question will be about Australia’s current relationship with China or its Indigenous peoples.
Penny Wong will be there too. She’s currently the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and, so will be able to join in the discussion with Stan about Australia’s relationship with China and the role of the US. She was the first woman to be elected as Australia Labor Party Senate leader, and the first woman to serve as Leader of the Government in the Senate. She’s also the first Asian-born member of an Australian cabinet and the first female openly-LGBTI Australian federal parliamentarian. And she’s from Adelaide too! I want to discuss with her the importance of being able to compromise while still working towards your goals.
Despite the obvious difficulties, Eleanor Roosevelt is also attending. While best known as the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the US President from 1933 until his death in 1945, Eleanor remained active in politics and served as the first Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights. Eleanor was widely respected but was also controversial for her outspokenness. She even occasionally publicly disagreed with her husband’s policies! She once said,
We must, for the most part, rely for much of our information on four main sources: the President of the United States, who is, or should be, the great educator of the people, bringing issues to them and explaining the situation…Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living
She then tempered this with,
Sometimes, of course, the citizen discovers that he cannot rely on getting information from this source, even in matters that vitally concern his future and his welfare.Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living
I will obviously be asking her about her thoughts on the current situation in the US.
Finally, Shonda Rhimes will be joining us. Shonda and I could be twins. We are the same age. Our birthdays are one day apart. (Happy Birthday Shonda!) We had the same love (obsession) with reading as we grew up. We’re from big families (five siblings). We both love writing. We both have somewhat unhealthy relationships with food. She’s also made a few TV series that you might know (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Bridgerton). I’m thinking I’ll ask her who she would get to play us in the Netflix series about this dinner party.
Who’d like to come to dinner at my place?
PS: These people have all written some awesome books (and / or had books written about them). You can check some of them out here:
- On Identity, Stan Grant – I’ve downloaded this on my Kindle and it’s next in line on the reading pile.
- Penny Wong: Passion and Principle, Margaret Simons – I’ve just finished this book and am still thinking about how hard it is to get agreement on critical issues when there are so many opposing views.
- You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, Eleanor Roosevelt – Check out my blog on this book.
- Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes – I really connected with this book during my sabbatical.