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  1. #1
    Illinois Supreme Court Member optid's Avatar
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    Question Prime Minister eaten by sharks?


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    When I heard somebody make a comment about an Australian prime minister being eaten by sharks, I thought it was one of those "urban legends" or just a joke. But after checking out some reputable sources, it turns out that Prime Minister Harold Holt vanished while going for a swim at a beach in Victoria in 1967. And of all the possibilities mentioned, a shark attack seems like one of the more likely scenarios.

    Here is an article I found in The Guardian, one of the UK's more credible newspapers:
    Police take last look at mystery of missing PM

    Australia to close the book on its vanished leader - and scores of conspiracy theories

    David Fickling in Sydney
    Tuesday August 26, 2003
    The Guardian


    Australian police are expected to reopen the investigation into one of the country's most enduring political mysteries - the disappearance of the prime minister Harold Holt in 1967.

    Holt went missing after going swimming at Cheviot Beach, near his holiday home at Portsea on the coast of Victoria, eight days before Christmas 1967.

    Thousands scoured the coast during the ensuing three-week search, and police consulted clairvoyants and cut open a shark in an attempt to find some trace of him, but not so much as a shred of clothing has ever been found.

    Holt's disappearance has long been seen as Australia's answer to the Kennedy assassination, spawning almost as many conspiracy theories, but the reason for the impending reopening of the investigation is more mundane.

    Under the law at the time of Holt's disappearance on December 17 1967, an inquest could not be held without a body. This rule has now changed, allowing the Victoria state coroner to investigate. Police have handed over a list of 161 suspected drownings and other deaths from 1961-85 in which the bodies were never found; the list includes Holt.

    The case is likely to be reopened early next year by the Victoria coroners. The coronial registrar, Rick Roberts, said: "Technically it's still an open file, and this will be closure for it in a legal sense."

    But the Victoria state police minister, Andre Haermeyer, warned against wasting police money on the case.

    There are many wild theories over what could have happened to Holt. One holds that he swam around a headland to be spirited away by a lover, and lived the rest of his life in the south of France before dying of a heart attack in the early 80s. Another theory had him in exile in Brazil.

    The more unlikely theories put him at the centre of murky cold war geopolitical battles. Holt's brief administration from 1966 to 1967 may have given citizenship to Aborigines and abandoned the racist white Australia policy, but it was also characterised by a stolid conservatism.

    One theory suggested that after dramatically increasing Australian involvement in the Vietnam war, Holt was assassinated by the CIA when he changed his mind on the issue. Most outlandish of all were the claims made by the British author Anthony Grey, who said Holt had been spying for Beijing and was picked up offshore by a Chinese midget submarine.

    Australians were initially incredulous that a man widely held to be a magnificent swimmer could drown on a calm summer's day, off a beach just a short drive from his holiday home.

    Holt had cultivated a heroic public image, which led to one British newspaper dubbing him the "007 prime minister" after printing a photograph of him in a wetsuit. His last words before wading into the water were typically confident: "I know this beach like the back of my hand."

    But the people with him that day said Holt, 59, was no longer the powerhouse he had once been. He suffered from a bad shoulder and had nearly drowned on Cheviot Beach seven months earlier, while snorkelling with friends.


    The waters of the Bass strait are famously treacherous, and on the day of Holt's disappearance younger swimmers had turned back because of the powerful undertow and five-metre (16ft) waves.

    Suspicions of a cover-up were stoked because of government claims that only one other person had been with Holt at the beach when he disappeared, when in fact there were five, including his lover, Marjorie Gillespie, whose presence the government was keen to keep quiet.

    Inspector Lawrence Newell, who led the investigation into Holt's disappearance in 1967, always maintained that accident remained the most likely explanation.

    "I think he fell for his own publicity," he told the Melbourne Age in 1992. "He believed he couldn't drown."
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    ROFL. That can't happen to my beautiful, landlocked country. Even though there's a couple of politicians I'd rather get rid of.






  3. #3
    Africa is offline
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Indeed. Hear about the Georgian president who died of 'leaked gas from a faulty heater' - so was assasinated by the Russians?

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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathos
    'leaked gas from a faulty heater'
    "Oops".






  5. #5
    Illinois Supreme Court Member optid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathos
    Indeed. Hear about the Georgian president who died of 'leaked gas from a faulty heater' - so was assasinated by the Russians?
    Actually it was Georgia's prime minister who died at the hands of either an Iranian heater or a Russian hit squad.
    Fortunately, the Western trained President Mikhail Saakashvili is still with us.

    President Saakashvili

    Quote Originally Posted by mastermal
    That can't happen to my beautiful, landlocked country. Even though there's a couple of politicians I'd rather get rid of.
    Haha, we think alike.

    Maybe some of our Australian friends would send a tourism brochure for Cheviot Beach to the White House...
    "Laura, look at what some Austeralians sent us. That Chevrolet Beach sure looks nice."
    *hears music from "Jaws"*
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  6. #6
    Africa is offline
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    I've never quite got the difference between Presidents and Prime-Ministers - why can't everyone just be happy with a monarchy?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathos
    I've never quite got the difference between Presidents and Prime-Ministers - why can't everyone just be happy with a monarchy?

    Presidents are elected by a vote of the people. PMs are elected by a vote of the legislators (parliament in your case).
    Bye.

  8. #8
    iwpoe is offline
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Oh well, our president almost choked on a pretzle atleast sharks are a kick ass way to die.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossfire
    Presidents are elected by a vote of the people. PMs are elected by a vote of the legislators (parliament in your case).
    I kind of get it, it just seems a bit stupid having two. Surely one man, with the help of his cabinet, can take on both roles?

    But over here, our PM is just the leader of the party that holds the most seats in parliament. I'm not sure there is a vote by the MPs. Maybe there is. And the monarchy isn't elected, so, you know...

    And then we have the Germans, who confuse thing by calling their President a Chancellor.

  10. #10
    Mystik is offline
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    just funny.
    - [.S.T.E.P.H.] AKA Mystik

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    he wasnt eaten by sharks. he was kidnapped by the chinese submarines. duh

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Wow... its mean that that cracks me up...

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  13. #13
    Illinois Supreme Court Member optid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathos
    I kind of get it, it just seems a bit stupid having two. Surely one man, with the help of his cabinet, can take on both roles?
    In a majority of countries the roles of "head of government" and "head of state" are held by different people. The latter is supposed to be the living embodiment of the country. In the UK, that role obviously is held by the queen.
    The head of state is the one who is supposed to preside over ceremonial events and act as the official representative of all the people of a particular country.

    But the relative amount of responsibility and power that a head of state and a head of government have can vary greatly from country to country.
    In Germany, Italy, most European monarchies, and Commonwealth countries (which have a governor general, like Australia and Canada), the head of state is little more than a ceremonial figurehead.
    But France has a very strong head of state who has broad constitutional powers.
    Countries like Portugal, Turkey, and Poland fall somewhere in between. But no two countries have the exact same system in this regard.

    The US president is both head of state AND head of government. One problem, IMHO, is that voters tend to pay too much attention to the presidential candidates as potential heads of state rather than as potential heads of government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathos
    And then we have the Germans, who confuse thing by calling their President a Chancellor.
    Actually, it's their equivalent of prime minister who is the Chancellor, just a translation of the German "Kanzler". In Ireland, BTW, they call the prime minister the Taoiseach.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Prime Minister eaten by sharks?

    Yeah. Crazy things happen here. In the 70s the Govenor General sacked the government,

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