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Neat to meet Pete

Shortis and Simpson

Five Palerang OAMs in the same week!

By John Shortis.

MAY THE FOURTH is unofficially known as Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!) and this date in 2018 was a significant day for me and my partner Moya Simpson.

The significance was unrelated to that movie franchise though, instead it was the day when we were presented with our OAMs (Order of Australia Medals) by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Ours was for service to the performing arts as entertainers.

As proud Bungendoreans, we were delighted to be amongst five recipients from our local area, all to be awarded OAMs within the same week.

On the same day, Dr Marjorie Cross, who heads the Bungendore Medical Service, was awarded hers for service to medicine, particularly to doctors in local areas.

On the previous day, David Mac Laren, founder and artistic director of Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, received his for service to the art of woodwork and to the community of Bungendore. And Dr David Coles, cardiologist of Carwoola, was on the list for service to medicine and rowing.

The most impressive part of the day for us, and I’m sure for all, was the fact that the G-G spoke off the top of his head about each of the 150 or so investitures that he presided over that week. Apparently he spends two days going through the biographies of each, then picks out a couple of talking points, and remembers them.

Democracy alive and well

When it came to our turn, we were invested together, our surnames sitting neatly in direct alphabetical order. As Sir Peter attached the medals to our chests, he mentioned a show of Moya’s by name, and the songs I’ve written about every Australian Prime Minister. He then concluded by suggesting a song title – Neat To Meet Pete. As soon as I got home I wrote it, recorded it, and sent it to him via his secretary. It ends…

” And what could be humbler
Than a day at Yarralumla
With us and the elite?
Nice, our day in paradise
And neat to meet Pete
So neat to meet Pete

We think it is a sign of a healthy democracy that we spend our professional lives satirising the establishment, and they award us for it. The whole thing was a memorable experience, and it was so “neat to meet Pete”.

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