George Negus a guest on Aust Day

GUEST OF HONOUR: George Negus will be the guest at the Ballina Shire Australia Day celebration at Lennox Head on January 26.
GUEST OF HONOUR: George Negus will be the guest at the Ballina Shire Australia Day celebration at Lennox Head on January 26.

HIGHLY respected international journalist George Negus has been chosen as Ballina Shire's official Australia Day guest.

The veteran presenter of 60 Minutes and Foreign Correspondent will give his public address in the new Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre on January 26.

The busy public speaker said his association with Ballina Shire and the Northern Rivers was a long one, extending back to his days growing up in Brisbane.

Licensing laws being what they were, Mr Negus said many a Sunday drive ended up over the border, culminating in a pub lunch with a few beers.

"It made us Brisbanites feel very sophisticated," he recalled.

That love for tropical NSW has blossomed over the years, with the Byron Blues and Roots festival an annual event for the Negus family, and, of course, his country home is based at Bellingen.

Often staying locally with friends, Mr Negus said one of his favourite ocean views was from the Coast Rd at Skennars Head.

Mr Negus helped create Australia's 60 Minutes news show and he anchored Foreign Correspondent for eight years on the ABC. Recently he has appeared as a panellist on Channel Ten's The Project.

But increasingly these days, the veteran journalist of 35 years is reluctant to stick his mug in front of the camera.

"I am trying desperately to do less," he admitted. "I am spending my time writing, talking and travelling internationally."

Despite the rising popularity of infotainment and the fall in demand for serious news, Mr Negus said there remained a "great need" to explain why world events were happening.

And he advised that Australians would need to reinvent themselves to fit in with a rapidly changing world.

"We can be part of the world in a realistic way," he said. "But we must be available and open to change."



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