The AFI awards last night have got us thinking about enduring Australian stories. You’ve heard about Rabbit-Proof Fence, of course, but there’s an even bigger saga of survival, controversy and political nuance: Bullet-Proof Government. That’s the one about an unimpregnable fence that continues to repel hordes of elites, hacks, academics and Leftists who have conspicuously failed for a decade to find even the smallest chink.

Although it wasn’t up for an AFI award, Bullet-Proof Government has it all: intrigue (the white powder described by the government as a “biological agent” sent to the Indonesian embassy in June last year that turned out to be self-raising flour) … dangerous villains (David Hicks, locked up in one of the world’s most horrible jails for five years without trial with full government support) … bribery to despots (huge illicit Australian payments to Saddam Hussein that slipped under the government’s radar screens) …  a search for identity (Cornelia Rau and others) and heroism (sending the Government’s army into the most brutal war of recent decades without incurring one battlefield casualty).

Forget Kenny and Ten Canoes. The most astonishing story of contemporary Australian life didn’t even get a gong.

Peter Fray

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