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Gibson to tell mystery of Australian Prime Minister

MelGibson.jpgA story a little while ago talked about Mel Gibson considering a Maverick sequel revealed another project he's considering making, one about the former Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt who was presumed dead after disappearing just a year after becoming Prime Minister.

Of the film Mel Gibson said:

"In the 1960s, Harry went for a swim on Cheviot Beach near his pad at Portsea in Victoria and never came back. That's not even half as interesting as the life the man led"

Harold Holt was elected the 17th Prime Minister of Australia and served in office from 1966 to 1967, and then in December of 1967 he disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea and was presumed drowned.

The story from AceShowbiz is certainly fascinating, after some thirty odd years in politics he spent a mere year as Prime Minister and disappeared, an intriguing story indeed.

It would be certainly fair to say that Gibson could easily make this story something interesting. Anybody remember this story or no more about it? How is it viewed in Australia?



Holt's brief tenure was interesting, all right. He took over from Robert Menzies, who'd been in power since 1944, helped break down the White Australia policy, oversaw the introduction of decimal currency (before the UK had done so, I believe), established the Australia Council to look after the arts (a Liberal leader in this country who actually thought the arts were a good thing? Especially in the 1960s? Hard to believe, but apparently true), held the referendum giving Aborigines the vote, and kind of undid that good by increasing our commitment to the Vietnam War and increasing Australia's unthinking support of the US in all that it does (Holt allowed the still-controversial Pine Gap base, an American base on our soil that a lot of people have traditionally thought increased Australia's chances of being attacked during a war, to be built during his time in office) that this country's conservatives continue to insist upon pursuing whether or not it's in Australia's best interests. And of course he fully partook of that other great Australian conservative tradition of whining that the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation was biased against Liberals.

Then, after winning the election at the end of 1966 and giving the Coalition a comfortable lead in same, he proceeded to make a bit of a fool of himself through 1967, and if he hadn't disappeared at the end of that year he would likely have been dumped not long after it. But, of course, he did disappear... most likely through accident, but there's various rumours of it having really been suicide, or that he faked his own death (still not sure how he would've managed that), or that he was really an agent for Communist China and was taken home by a conveniently located Chinese or Russian submarine (this theory has been seriously advanced by at least one British journalist; given uncle Mel's own political leanings, I wonder what he'll make of that).

The great irony of Holt's death by drowning is that there's a swimming pool in the suburb for which he was the local member named after him.


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