Adam Kilgour: Joe Janiak/Maxine McKew

Man of the Year: Joe Janiak, the former Canberra Cabbie, now owner and trainer of $1400 reject horse Takeover Target. Joe proved Takeover Target was no one hit wonder, taking on the world’s best with distinction again this year. Unlike Lawsie, Joe is keeping the dream alive.

Woman of the Year: Maxine McKew, for taking on the tough fight and doing it with style and dignity. Max showed that a positive campaign and hard work does appeal to the electorate.

David Flint: Ian Callinan

My nomination is the Honourable Ian Callinan QC AC, who was a justice of the High Court. As such he demonstrated that he owed no loyalty to the government recommending his appointment. His judgement in Work Choices, where he dissented with Michael Kirby, is a powerful argument against centralism and for the proposition that Australians approved the foundation of our country as an ” indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown and under the Constitution,” and that they have never agreed that this be changed.

The most serious failing in governance in this country is at the state level, and in the federal government trying to do things which are best left to the states. The idea that a single national solution to all issues is always best is fallacious. This is the result of decades of centralism, by federal and state politicians from both sides, and of centralist judges. The states consequently have been reduced to being mere mendicants on the Commonwealth.

His judgement will stand as a beacon to those who wish to restore the principles of good governance to the Australian federation.

First Dog On The Moon: Various

  • Woman of the year: Julia Gillard
  • Man of the year: Julia Gillard
  • V-gina of the year: Maxine McKew’s V-gina
  • Hair of the year: Brendan Nelson’s Hair
  • Greater Stick Nest Rat of the year: Therese Rein
  • Fear of the year: That Howard wouldn’t lose
  • Dear of the year: The nice man from over the road who puts away everyone’s wheelie bins after the garbo has visited.
  • Editor of the year: Mr Jonathan Green – what a lovely fellow, and so handsome!
  • Year of the year: 2007

My mum would have been so proud of Julia it’s a pity she didn’t live to see it. Dad’s quite chuffed as well and he’s still not dead. (He’s a bit worried about the Maxine v-gina jokes though.) We have waited a long time for someone as sparkly as Julia and here she is. She will get a lot more rope than some others might. I am hearing people talking about hope again. For so long the default setting has been cynicism and it may be changing. Maybe. And as for Maxine, total legend.

Guy Rundle: Terry Hicks/Howard’s Hos

Man of the year: Terry Hicks, for courage, persistence and unfailing grace under extraordinary pressure.

Women of the Year: John Howard’s Ladies Auxiliary, Howard’s Hos, for the slices of yellow-cake, the race-card and the herbal jar of xenophobia … or whoever leaked Mr Jackie Kelly’s Islamic cheat sheet.

Richard Farmer: David Penberthy

A newspaper editor who can persuade a government to put relations with its major trading partner in jeopardy over harpooning a few whales is clearly a man of influence. Hence my selection of Sydney Daily Telegraph editor David Penberthy as Crikey’s man of the year. More importantly Mr Penberthy has turned the Tele into the nation’s must-read newspaper. Whatever else people might think of it, the Tele is never dull and that makes it a stand-out in a rather dull press. 

Jeff Sparrow: John Howard

John Howard is the man of this year and every other year: not merely for losing the election so spectacularly and transforming the Liberals from the natural party of government into a bizarre suicide cult, but for doing so in a way that changed Australia’s political past as much as its present and future. The hubris and ideological obsessions with which Howard sent the Liberal Party exiting stage right in 2007 have retrospectively transmuted his eleven year term from a golden age of conservatism into a prolonged period of folly, in much the same way as Jeff Kennett successfully trashed his own political legacy in Victoria. You can see the change in every column in which culture war featherdusters like Gerard Henderson and John Roskam explain why they’re no longer the cocks who crowed so long and loudly during the last decade. The slurs against refugees, the prolonged effort to belittle the injustices suffered by Aborigines, the campaign against Kyoto – all of that has suddenly become just a manifestation of the pluralism, free speech and tolerance to which Australian conservatives were apparently so committed. Of course, you might not remember events like that but there’s still something wonderfully poetic in watching the history warriors struggling to deal with John Howard’s final (and inadvertent) piece of historical revisionism.

Peter Brent: John Howard

For allowing himself to get talked into staying on as PM until the bitter end – probably against his better judgment – and so bursting the mad “Howard is unbeatable” bubble. Had he retired last year, and allowed Peter Costello to take the party to defeat, our national storytellers would still be yodelling his praises. We now know the truth: that he was neither the best politician the country had seen, nor an embodiment of middle Australia. The truth sets us free.

Norman Abjorensen: First Dog On The Moon

It doesn’t quite fit the categories, but First Dog on the Moon is far and away the whatever of 2007. Zany and off the wall in ways similar to Leunig when he first appeared in print and Monty Python’s debut on the airwaves.

Dog’s great contribution was to inject a modicum of sanity into the longest election campaign in, well, the last year or so. A close second is Guy Rundle, Australia’s premier cultural commentator, for having adapted the fragile beauty of the haiku to the utter crassness of party politics.

I nominate as Woman of the Year the fearless and intrepid NSW Coroner Jacqueline Milledge for her pursuit of truth in relation to Diane Brimble’s death on a cruise ship. Close second is the gracious Jessica Rowe, boned but unbowed by the locker room culture that passes for commercial television management.