London: Barry Humphries says he is having a “splendid” isolation, taking up gardening, listening to Bruckner’s ninth symphony and tackling Robert Musil’s three-volume masterpiece The Man Without Qualities.
But putting aside his new pursuits, the man who created monstrous cultural attache Sir Les Patterson has lent his voice to a five-minute video celebrating Australia’s links to Britain, to help officially launch trading negotiations between the UK and Australia.
The feel-good clip – featuring Australia and the UK’s trade ministers and Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, George Brandis – is thought to be the first of its kind in Australia’s diplomatic history, given trade talks often occur against backdrops of caution, rivalry and sometimes even acrimony.
Brandis came up with the idea around the end of May and personally asked Truss to participate on June 1. The Trade Secretary instantly agreed – as did her Australian counterpart Simon Birmingham.