Author: Peter Carey
Australia's two-time Booker Prize winner (in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda and 2001 for True History of the Kelly Gang) spent a quarter-century as a copywriter before moving to New York in 1990 to concentrate on full-time writing. Long exposure to the cynical arts of advertising may have influenced his novels, which are darkly comic, twisted and expressed in language both surprising and polished.
In 1994, the New Zealand-born auteur became the second woman ever to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards (for The Piano, which had won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and would win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar). Gender issues, striking cinematography and narrative ambiguity characterize her films.
Actor: Russell Crowe
Occasional tantrums (including an infamous 2005 assault on a hotel worker) have given the New Zealand-born actor an intimidating reputation. But impulsive charitable donations and incredible talent (three Oscar nominations, one win) suggest warmth beneath the bluster.
Politician: Pauline Hanson
The independent MP sat for just two years (1996-98), but earned a lifetime's notoriety. Her opposition to Asian immigration and Aboriginal welfare programs endeared her to conservative Australians, but riled liberals. A reputation for racism was not helped by her lack of polish (she once asked to have the word xenophobic explained during a television interview), or a histrionic streak (her decision to record a video to be shown in the event of her assassination was widely mocked).
Yachtsman: Peter Blake
The 2001 murder of New Zealand's great yachting hero by Brazilian pirates cut short a life full of achievement. Blake led a record-breaking circumnavigation of the globe in 1994, and then headed Team New Zealand, the first non-U.S. team to win and successfully defend the America's Cup.
Prime Minister: John Howard
His 11-year stint in office (1996-2007) was the longest of any Australian Prime Minister, bar Robert Menzies (1949-66), but he was only the second PM after Stanley Bruce (1923-29) to lose his own seat. Economic liberalism and gun control were popular policies. Others opposition to republicanism and to calls for an apology to Aborigines, the war in Iraq seemed out of step with a changing electorate.
Cricketer: Shane Warne
Australia's larrikin leg spinner was a key part of one of the greatest teams ever. Neither sex scandals nor testing positive for a banned substance dented his popularity. His colorful life was even made into a musical. What other cricketer can boast of that?