Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bill Heffernan

I looked at Bill Heffernan on my list and had no idea who he was. But in the entry draft itself, I found that I had written that he was not so nice to Michael Kirby. For a moment, I couldn't remember who Michael Kirby was. But that amnesia lasted for only a second. I soon remembered he's the gay man who was part of the high court. I can even picture what he looks like. And I'm often not good at remembering faces.

All right. Onto Hefferman....

Hello, Lord Wiki.

Politician Heffernan was born on 3 March 1943. This means we were in Australia for his birthday. What did we do that day?

 I think maybe it's the day we looked for our lost camera.


Heffernan is a 5 in numerology. Those folks are supposed to be about freedom. This website describes the five as: You posses the curiosity of a cat, and you long to experience all of life. You love to be involved in several things at the same time, as long as you are not tied down to any one area. This number probably wouldn't make the best spouse. Well, they might be a great spouse until they go on to find something new.

Heffernan is a Pisces. I picture them as being spiritual people, but I should learn more. There has to be more to them than that. This website says, Pisces are sensitive, humane and often idealistic. People born under this sign react emotionally to everything making them compassionate and sensitive to those around them. My sister and one of her daughters are Pisces. This description fits them quite well. I wonder if it will fit Heffernan.

My sister also shares Heffernan's numerology number. But she does NOT remind me of a 5. She's so much more like a 6.  Extremely family oriented!  Her marriage and her family are the focal point of her life. Although who knows. Maybe this commitment is a way to hide her true feelings. Maybe secretly she wants to join the circus or something. I'm trying to picture my sister on the trapeze......

All right. Back to Heffernan.

He was born in Junee New South Wales. It's south west of Sydney. It's close to Wagga Wagga. Ah! There's a chocolate and licorice factory there. Cool! And their food is organic.  Even more awesome.

Hefferman went to St. Josephs College Hunter Hill. It's a Catholic school located in Sydney. Either his family moved there, or Heffernan did the boarding school thing. I'm guessing it was the latter because next Heffernan went to Wagga Wagga Technical College. There he learned about wool stuff and welding. He returned to his birthplace and became a farmer. I think he still might be a farmer....that along with being a liberal politician.

Lord Wiki talks about his political career. Huffernan was on the Junee Shire council from 1981-1996. That's pretty long. Fifteen years. In the late 1980's and early 1990's he was president of that council. After that, he became president of NWS's Liberal Party.

In 1996, he was appointed to the senate.

Lord Wiki says Heffernan was a friend and supporter of John Howard. Why does that not surprise me.

 I'm TRYING not to be judgmental.

Two years after joining the senate, he became Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet. I have no idea what that means. Maybe I'll find out later. I'm not finding anything easily on Google.

All right. I'm at the Michael Kirby stuff now. Nine days after his birthday in 2002, Heffernan made accusations against Kirby. Ah! I remember this now! Hefferman accused Kirby of doing something.  Sexual, I think? Hefferman turned out to be wrong and Kirby very graciously forgave him.

Heffernan is an asshole.

But maybe through my research I can find the silver lining somewhere.

Lord Wiki says Heffernan made these accusations in senate using something called Parliamentary privileges. I have to read about that now because I don't know what it means.

What I'm getting at is it provides a legal way for politicians to speak freely and not worry about slander. How lovely.

Lord Wiki doesn't go into detail about what Heffernan said. He just mentions misuse of a car.

Interesting.

The accusations caused problems for Heffernan; I guess because evidence didn't back him up. His buddy Howard asked him to resign from being Parliamentary Secretary. On March 19, Heffernan withdrew his claims. He didn't resign from the Senate though; and he was re-elected in 2004.

Mark Latham got into the game. He blamed the situation on John Howard; saying Howard used Heffernan to run dirt campaigns against certain individuals. If that's so....wow! How wicked is that? He gets Hefferman to do his dirty work, then let's him take the fall and asks him to resign. That sounds like an interesting relationship....a lick-the-boots-that-kick-you kind of thing. It reminds a little bit of Jafar and Iago in Aladdin.

In 2006, there was even more drama. He had a public incident with a member of the National Party at the Canberra airport. He told Fiona Nash to blow it out her backside. Some saw this as being workplace harassment. Hefferman was forced to apologize.

That's not all the trouble Heffernan was in during 1996.

He did more dirty work for Howard; tried to get a politician named John Brogden in trouble. He approached another politician named Alex McTaggart and told him he was Howard's right hand man. Hefferman told McTaggart he had dirt on Brogden and tried to manipulate McTaggart into revealing his own Brogden dirt.

Heffernan's adventures continued into 2007. He was accused of stealing the Green Party's how-to-vote cards.

Holy crap! Heffernan said that Julia Gillard shouldn't be a leader because she's deliberately barren. What?! I'm in shock here. I'm not even sure what to say. How does having kids make you a better politician? In some ways, I think it's better NOT to have kids if you're going to go into politics. I think you're pulled too much into two directions. Although if the government did supportive things like providing a year of paid maternity leave, it might be a different story.

I'm not saying mothers shouldn't have careers. I just think that some careers are very involved, and takes intense dedication. Something is probably going to end up getting neglected. It will be either the career or the child. Now if the father (or Lesbian partner) is willing to be the primary parent, than this shouldn't be a problem at all.

What Heffernan says pisses me of though. He says women who remain barren have no idea what life is about. It reminds me of what people some say about homeschooling. There's the idea that homeschoolers are deprived. They're unsocialized and missing out on an essential life experience. Yes, they are missing out on a SPECIFIC life experience, but it does not mean they're deprived. Well, I guess you COULD say they're deprived. But we're all deprived of something. I'm deprived of having five kids. I'm deprived of having a career as a doctor. I'm deprived of watching Grey's Anatomy. I'm deprived of living in Wyoming. We're all missing out on SOMETHING. But that doesn't mean we even WANT that something. And it certainly doesn't mean we don't know what life is about. It can make us feel greatly superior though, to look at others and think of how they're missing out simply because they didn't make the same choices we do.

Like most mothers of only children, I've been given grief about depriving Jack of a sibling. Well, I can turn around to those people and say they're depriving their children of the wonderful experience of being an only child. So there!

Back to Heffernan who I now pretty much despise.

In 2008, he spoke about gene stuff. I don't really understand it. He said, Patents should be for inventions, not for naturally occurring genes. I'm guessing maybe he's against gene therapy?

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki. I think I'm going to go outside with Jack because he says the weather is nice. Then I'll look at some other Bill Heffernan stuff.

I'm back.

I'm going to look at his Parliament website now. There's actually nothing that exciting; just lists his different positions and stuff. I'm not going to name them all. If anyone is in interested, click on the link.

Now I'm going to check and see if he's in Twitter-World.

That's taking a long time to load so I'm going to look at Bill Hefffernan's website at the same time. They have a photograph of him on this site. He looks like someone who is a farmer and member of the Liberal Party. He also looks like someone who would be heavily involved with the Baptist Church. I'm just saying if I was a casting director this would be the role I'd give him.

I can't find him on Twitter. Oh well.

There's another photo of Hefferman to the left of the page. He looks a bit like that actor. I forgot his name, but he stars in Babe.
James Cromwell! Thank you, IMDb! Cromwell is American. I didn't know that. I always figured he was British or something.

I'm going to read Heffernan's maiden speech now. I like reading these things...sometimes.

This speech was done on 10 December 1996. I think at this point I lived in Los Angeles. It was probably a few weeks before I became a film school drop-out.

Heffernan says, The Liberal Party, without fuss or fanfare, and certainly without quotas or tokens, has led the way to deliver more women to parliament. Yeah, let's just hope none of them were barren. We wouldn't want any girls who don't understand what life is about.

I'm getting some childhood information here now. He had six siblings. He has been deprived of living in a small family. Therefore he doesn't know what life is about. He should never be a leader.

He and his wife have four children.

I do like what he says here, although I'm not sure he means it in the way I'd want him to mean it. It is an environment where we have learnt from the ancient skills of our indigenous people and from the recent lessons of land care that man is merely the custodian of the land and that planet survival demands a certain order of our water, land, plants and animals--an order which when respected will provide for man. On the surface, I really can't fault him on what he has said here. It sounds rather lovely. Oh, maybe not. What's that order word mean here? Is it like a food chain thing? He COULD be saying that the world will be okay as long as we remember that humans are superior and more important than the other little creatures.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

He says, I am mindful that the cost to family life of political commitment is both high and well documented. I would not be here without the help of my Sydney foster family, Bill and Trish McPhee, the support of my family and my hardworking wife, Margaret, and my children, Kate, Will, Ted and Harriet--all of whom have had to make considerable sacrifices. I wonder how many female politicians have this support from their spouses and children. Some of them might, and that's great. But if they don't, how do they manage such a career?

I have to say. I like this quote too. Many times I have observed the capacity of all Australians to pull together during times of war and national disaster. Is it too much to ask of the beneficiaries, of such capacity, to pull together in times of peace for social justice and a fair go for every Australian How does such an asshole come up with this stuff? It IS rather lovely.

Here's more insight into his view of women: Rural women often have to contend with droving, drafting and old harvest trucks, yet find the time to do the books, do the washing and ironing, cook the meals, oversee the homework, school excursions and weekend sport, water the garden and look like a lady of leisure for church on Sunday. Our rural women deserve a medal for holding together the spirit of family farming.

So, he IS respectful of women...as long as they fit a certain role. It's like Super Mom; or Super Farm Mom. And there's nothing wrong with being this type of woman. I think they deserve a lot of respect. I personally admire them. But it's not the only valid life choice.

Maybe the guy IS fairly eco-conscious. He says, Population growth is wearing down Mother Earth and swallowing up our farming land and agricultural water resources. Twenty-five per cent of the world's agricultural land is degraded and 25 per cent of the world's wild fisheries are overfished. If the world does not wake up, in 100 years there will be no tropical rainforest. It's funny about the population growth though because earlier in the speech he pretty much boasted about coming from a large family.

He also seems fairly supportive of Indigenous Australians. He says, My tribute also extends to my bush companions, our indigenous people, who live in rural and remote Australia. I share their love of the land and their concern for the loss of their timeless culture. They, like myself, sleep many nights under the stars, understand the value of a campfire and can read Mother Nature, her seasons and warning signals. They, sadly, often live in a mire of low self-esteem, shunned by the passage of time and technology. I can't find fault in anything he has said here.

He talks about the underdeveloped north. He believes Australia should tap into all the resources there. So, you use up the resources in one place and move onto a new place. It might come down to us having to do stuff like that. But can it be done in a way that's not overly destructive? I don't know. If Northern Australia is mined and all that, what would be sacrificed? What would be gained? Would it all balance out? And is it one of those things where there'd be quick fixes that would lead to bigger problems in the future?

All right. Here's his speech about the gene stuff. Oh, he's NOT against gene therapy. Oops. I blundered that one. I think I'm actually in agreement with him here. He doesn't believe genes should be patented. He says, To realize the full promise of this research, raw fundamental data on the human genome, including the human DNA sequence and its variations, should be made freely available to scientists everywhere. Unencumbered access to this information will promote discoveries that will reduce the burden of disease, improve health around the world, and enhance the quality of life for all humankind.

Okay. I'm starting to have mixed feelings about this guy. He's becoming less of an asshole to me. Well, maybe I should say I still feel like he' an asshole. But he's an asshole with some pretty decent ideas. You know who he reminds me of....Mark Latham. Or maybe Ben on Lost! They're awful in some ways, but not so awful in other ways.

It seems he might be involved in this gene stuff for personal reasons. He and his sister are against a certain company, Genetic Technologies Ltd, having sole control of gene testing for certain types of breast cancer. That sister and their other sister both had breast cancer. I've looked into taking these tests; I think when I researched Jane McGrath. The genes run higher in Jewish people, and we've had breast cancer in the family. They're really expensive though. I think it's sad that medical tests cost so much. Does it really entail that much time and resources? Or are people making huge profits from it? I'll admit that the price isn't the only thing stopping me from taking the tests. I guess it's the fear of getting a positive result. What would I do then? The information isn't definite. It's not saying I WILL get cancer. It's saying I MIGHT get cancer. And I could end up with a negative test. But I can't be relieved about that because I still could get cancer. And if I don't get cancer, I could get hit by a truck.

Gene testing is a sticky thing. It sometimes gives us answers that will help us. But then other times it gives us answers that just make us lost and depressed.

See. Yeah. Now I'm reading all this and I'm feeling scared again. And I'm feeling guilty for not getting early Mammograms or something. But then once I feel guilty and consider doing it, I feel like a hypochondriac.

I'm awful with medical stuff.

All right. I'm done with his page. I'm going to look at Google News now.

There's some stuff going on with the Beef Industry. Heffernan's involved. I don't understand it completely. It seems to have something to do with Australian's industry being overshadowed, or taken over by Brazilian meat companies.

Here's an article about Heffernan and Julia Gillard.

One of Gillard's responses to the whole event was, I don't think Australian women need Bill Heffernan or anybody else to give them advice on how to live their lives. "We're pretty good at making our own choices. Amen to that.

Yikes. After all this research, I just realized I had been spelling Heffernan's name wrong. I was spelling it HefferMAN rathe than HefferNAN. Oops. I had to go back and change all those.
Anyway, now I'm going to search the blogging world.....

This blogger reports that Heffernan threatened a security guard when the security guard confiscated his knife. Heffernan later sent a written apology. Heffernan does seem to end up apologizing a lot. I wonder how many of those apologies are actually sincere.

This Canberra Blogger has some strong words for Heffernan and his barren comments. She says, Bill - thinking of women primarily in terms of their child bearing status is no longer acceptable. And Bill, I don't want politicians to parent me, I want them to manage, to lead, and to have some vision for the future. Bill, I think it is time you retired. I like that.

The Voice of Today's Apathetic Youth doesn't like that John Howard and Tony Abbott stand behind Heffernan. She (or they) say I don't know how other people choose their friends, and I don't know how other people might define a 'great bloke', but I don't include people who express bigoted and repulsive views in my circle of friends, and I certainly wouldn't describe someone who expressed them as 'a great bloke' (or woman, depending on who's spouting the crap).

I agree with her on some levels, and on other levels I don't. I have family members who have VERY different religious and political views than I do. They often say things that greatly offend me. They say things that disgust me. They say things that make me wonder sometimes how I can stand being in the same room with them. But the thing is I DO love them. And it's not just love out of obligation. I know that despite our disagreements, there's great good in these people. The person who offends me the most in my family is also one of the most loving, generous, and caring people in my family. We might not see eye to eye on things, but I know he has a huge heart.

Fortunately, I'm not famous and I'm not faced with having to distance myself from family member's wild statements. If I was in that situation, I think there's a RIGHT way to do it. I DON'T think it's enough to say something ambiguous like We all have our own opinions. I love so-and-so, but I don't necessarily agree with him on everything. That's way too vague, and when I read something like that I hear I agree with him, but I don't want to admit directly in public because then I might look bad. I think the right thing to say is something like I love my father. He's a great dad. But I completely disagree with him about the Holocaust being a hoax.

I think you can love someone with crazy views, even publicly love them. But if you don't distance yourself from their VIEWS, than I'm going to assume you share them.

4 comments:

Andrew said...

Asshole is a kind word to use about Heffernan. Btw, he accused Justice Kirby of cruising for under age rent boys in Sydney. He is or was a couple of days ago, in Mexico. I suppose I wouldn't wish any misfortune on him......I suppose.

Dina said...

Andrew,

Yeah. What an asshole.

Although I wouldn't want him bringing illness back to Australia and infecting NICE people.

Fe said...

I can't even THINK about Heffernan without feeling disgust.

It makes you think about the type of ego that many politicians have.

xoxox

Dina said...

Fe,

He's a bully. But yeah. That goes side by side with having a big ego.