Veteran Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby has been recognised as Australian of the Year in the UK. The 58-year-old election guru received the honour on Friday night at a ceremony in Australia House.
While receiving the Australian of the Year in the UK, Crosby said that his award is a realisation that Australians “punch above their weight in London in all sorts of walks of life.”
Crosby, who has also been dubbed the “Wizard of Oz” because of his exemplary work in politics, aided Boris Johnson become mayor of London and was also a force behind former Australian prime minister John Howard’s election victories four times.
“I think there’s a tolerance from the British towards the directness that Australians have, so perhaps you can sometimes get away with saying and doing things a little more directly and a little more forcefully,” Crosby said, The Australian reports.
Before this recognition, Crosby was controversially knighted for his role in masterminding the Conservatives’ return to power in 2015. Talking about this controversy on Friday, Crosby also said he was honoured to be recognised for services to politics but “it’s really for others to make a judgment.”
“Of course you’ll always get your critics, you’ve just got to be confident in your own contribution and satisfied with that and I considered it a great honour,” he said. Crosby was presented the award by Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer, who too defended Crosby for his knighthood.
“The fact is there is an Australian who is front and centre in the firmament of British politics. He has had a huge impact here in the UK. Of course he’s worked as a hired gun for the Conservative Party not for the Labour Party,” said Downer, who was also a former foreign minister in the Howard government.
“At the end of the day he’s the man who crafted a campaign that has led to the existence of the present government in the UK and in that sense he’s a very important person,” Downer added.
Previous Australian of the Year in the UK winners include singer Kylie Minogue, author Clive James and comedian/ actor Barry Humphries. London-based, Australian classical saxophone player Amy Dickson was named 2016 Young Australian Achiever of the Year.