Sydney’s most influential people

SMH cover Jan 2011

The (sydney) magazine has an annual feature in which it lists the city’s 100 ‘most influential’ people. As the editor rightly says, it’s a bit of fun and everyone will have their own views about the omissions and travesties in the list. It feeds Sydney gossip. As a notorious shrinking violet, I was amazed to find myself in the list for 2010.

I was listed in the Education section, along with Eric Jamieson (Principal of Plumpton High School), Bob Liscombe (President of the NSW Teachers Federation), Peter Hill (CEO of ACARA) and David Gonski (Chair of the Review of Funding for Schools).

The fact that I was the first person from Education to be awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship (by the ARC) was mentioned in the citation.

The list was announced at a party in the Rocks, at which each of us was given a ‘100’ button to wear. I found myself standing next to Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull. I knew Malcolm had been on the list for the previous year. Seeing that he was wearing a ‘100’ button, I said ‘I didn’t know you were still influential’. (This was meant to be the start of a quip about the protocol for when we handed back our buttons.) Before I had time to explain, he was called up on stage to make an address. The first thing he said was “I’ve just been told I’m passed it”. If looks could kill, Lucy would be assisting the police with their enquiries into my unexpected death. (He is, of course, in the 100 list for the current year too.)

SMH picture p74 crop
Eric Jamieson, Peter Hill, Wal Oliver (lollipop man), PG, Bob Lipscombe. Photo by wilk