The Premier’s state government aircraft idled along at an altitude of 6,000m heading North two hours out of Canberra. Joh sat impassively at the controls and pulled levers, adjusted knobs, and talked to his co-pilot, Beryl Young. In the cabin, his press secretary, Allen Callaghan, private secretary, Bill Chadwick, and a security policeman dozed trying to stay away – because it was uncomfortable to fall asleep in the cramped seats.
Then, far to the right, a thin strip of white appeared next to the blue Pacific Ocean and the Premier reached for the cabin microphone as he loved to do. Deliberately imitating commercial airline pilots he began: “This is your captain speaking” – then broke up in much laughter – “We are flying at 20,000 feet, the weather in Brisbane is fine.. and we are now crossing the border to Queensland.” Immediately the plane came awake’ everyone applauded… there were even shouts for joy… there was an incredible air of merriment: as if we had just docked in Australia after an eight month voyage from England, yet we had only been away from Queensland for two days and one night.