Monday, June 29, 2009

Harry Jenkins

Harry Jenkins is another name that is a complete mystery to me.

I'm wondering if I added him to the list in Canberra, the South Coast, or Sydney.

I shall go and talk to Lord Wiki.

Oh! I'm so excited.

I knew who this guy was as soon as I saw his photo on Google. He's the Speaker of the House! I don't know what that is EXACTLY. From what I saw in Parliament, he seems to be the one who gives the MP's permission to speak.

Lord Wiki doesn't say much about the guy. We have a few short paragraphs.

Baby Harry was born 18, August 1952. His birthday is two days before Jack's. I'm not sure if he's a Leo or Cancer. I guess my beloved birthday website will tell me.

He's a Leo.

And he's a 7 like me. The 7 is about learning.

This website says this about the Leo. They are ambitious, courageous, dominant, strong-willed, positive, independent, self-confident there is no such a word as doubt in their vocabularies, and they are self-controlled.

I think I'd really like a 7 Leo.

Jenkins has been the Speaker of the House of Representatives since 2008. He hasn't been in the position for very long. Prior to that he was a member of the House of Representatives.

He's part of the Labor party.

He was born in Melbourne.

He went to Australian National University in Canberra.

Jenkins sounds fairly humble. He is entitled to use the prefix the Honorable in his name, but he prefers not to do it.

That's about it for Lord Wiki and Harry Jenkins.

I want to read a little bit of what Lord Wiki has to say about the job of being Speaker of the House.

There are two houses in Parliament. There's the lower house which is the House of Representatives. I guess the Prime Minister is in that since we saw Kevin Rudd when we visited Parliament. You'd think the Prime Minister would be in the upper house which is the senate. Or maybe he is? Maybe he's in both? I'm so confused.

Anyway, the upper house is bossed around by the President of the Senate.

Okay....so....here's my confession.  When I read the first speeches of MP's, they sometimes refer to Mr. President. Being an ethnocentric American, I at first believed Bush was visiting. I thought the MP's were being polite hosts; acknowledging his visit.

I'm trying to figure out though how this is all divided. Out of the people I have researched, who's in the Senate and who's in the House of Representatives? I never really paid attention. I just thought of them as MP's period.

Lord Wiki says the Speaker of the House is elected with a secret ballot by the House of Representatives.

If I'm reading this right, when a new party is elected into power, an election is also often done for the Speaker of the House. The Opposition party might nominate someone, but Lord Wiki says this is more of a symbolic gesture. It seems the Speaker of the House is usually (or always) a part of the same party as the party in power.

Lord Wiki says the Speaker of the House is supposed to try to be impartial, but they tend to sometimes side with their own party. That's understandable. It's a shame you can't give an objective robot the job. Then there might be true impartiality.

Now I get to learn about my own government. It seems in America, we have a Speaker of the House too. The difference between ours and Australia's is the American one takes part in debates and voting. No, wait. I had to hit another link here. The American one has the RIGHT to debate and vote, but Lord Wiki says they rarely do so.

The Speaker in Australia is not supposed to vote. The exception is when there's a tied vote. Lord Wiki says this is rare.

The Speaker has two deputy speakers. One comes from the opposition party. That's a pretty fair idea. Lord Wiki says it's by convention. I'm not positive what that means. I THINK it means it's a tradition rather than a law written in stone.

Lord Wiki says the Australian Parliament is rowdy. I agree! And that's what makes it so fun to watch. Since this is so; sometimes the Speaker has to play the role of disciplinarian. He may ask an MP to leave for an hour. Sometimes MP's are suspended for 24 hours. I think this happened to members of the Green Party when they didn't kiss the feet of George. W. Bush.

In the past, the Speaker actually had the power to permanently suspend an MP. The last time that happened was in 1920. But that honor has been stripped away. I'm sure it would give the Speaker a huge power trip. I don't like you. You're out of here!

If that still happened, Parliament TV ratings would be super high. Why watch Australian Idol if you could watch that?

There actually has been a female Speaker. This was from 1986 until 1989. I think that was Keating's time? I'm going to add her to my list.

I'm done with Lord Wiki for now. I'm going to....

Oh wait. I missed something here. Jenkin's daddy was also a Speaker of the House. He had the job from 1983-1986. I think those were the Hawke years.

Now I'm going to leave and go to Jenkin's official website. I think he looks like one of my dad's old business associates.

There's a biography page.

He's married. That's about all the personal stuff he has here.

The website lists all of various positions and stuff. I'm not going to list them all.

He has some of his speeches on the site. I'm going to read the speech he did on 8 July 2008. It's a PDF file.

Jenkins refers to the German Philosopher Goethe. He says Goethe was not fond of revolutions because he believed they not only did away with the bad, but they also did away with the good. Jenkins says, The keynote of parliamentary change is evolution rather than revolution. To maintain the relevance of the Parliament to the people it serves will on occasion mean dispensing with tradition to “modernise” the practices. However, care should be exercised not to dispense with much of the good in the process.

I like that. It's like that saying Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Do you guys have that saying or a similar one in Australia?

This website says it originated in Germany in the 16th century, so I'm guessing it's likely to have traveled to both America and Australia.

The speech is a little bit boring to me, but I'm reading it anyway because my Internet keeps freezing. The only thing I can really do, while waiting, is read the PDF file.

Jenkins talks about opening ceremonies.

I guess there's an opening of Parliament in February. That's when we were there! I wonder if we were in Canberra the week of the opening.

 I'm betting it happened earlier.

In 2001, there was an inquiry done to try to change the opening ceremony stuff. There was the idea that the old stuff was a bit outdated. Jenkins said they wanted something more Australian and more modern.

The procedure committee decided that the original custodians of the land should do a welcoming ceremony; and they decided the current Australian of the year should make a little speech.

That sounds quite lovely to me.

I like this line in Jenkin's speech. He says, parliament must be more than a word shop, and there should be more interactivity in the views expressed rather than the delivery of pre- determined positions.

This reminds me of what I was talking about the other day. Was it yesterday? No, I think it was a few days before. Too often we go into discussion with our minds already made up. We refuse to budge; and because we refuse to budge, we really don't listen well. Why listen if you've already made up your mind?

We don't listen. And when we do listen, we often deny, invalidate, and twist other people's words. We do this so the other person's position doesn't shatter our own beliefs.

I read a recent troubling debate about eating disorders. One side believed that environment plays a big role. The relationship between the child and the parents is troubled; sometimes to the point of abuse and sometimes not. The other side believes that it's all genetics. Parents have nothing to do with it...EVER. The environment side, for the most part, recognizes there's a genetic component as well. Some of the zealots on the genetic side refuse to accept there might be environmental factors that play into it all. There were posts in the discussion that inferred the patients, a therapist had dealt with, were likely lying or delusional about what happened between them and their parents. I'm sure SOME patients do lie. I'm sure it happens sometimes. And I'm sure there are close-to-perfect families that develop eating disorders. I just think it's wrong to assume someone is lying because their experience pokes a hole into your preconceived theories.

I did a guest post on another blog, not realizing it was run by some of these genetic zealots. I told my story which does NOT include abuse, by the way. But it does talk about how certain things in my environment partly led to the eating disorder. Most of the responses I got were very kind and encouraging.  These are ones I got from fellow sufferers. They could relate to what I was saying. But a parent then came on and implied I had been lying. Why? Because my story didn't fit in with her preconceived ideas. I poked holes in the beliefs she clung too. Instead of listening and being willing to moderate her viewpoint; it was easier to believe I was making things up or hadn't gotten my facts straight.

We can apply all this to Parliament. When an MP speaks up with an opposing viewpoint, do people listen? And if they do manage to listen; instead of thinking about what they're going to think about next....What if the MP tells a story that pokes holes into the other MP's theories? Will he adjust his viewpoint a little, or will he assume the MP is lying or got his facts mixed up?

Sometimes people DO lie. I know THAT from experience.
Sometimes people do get their facts mixed up.

But when we start to suspect this, I think we need to consider the idea that maybe we WANT them to be lying or getting their facts mixed up.

I've had enough of the speech.

I'm going to go swimming. Then I'll come back and look at other stuff.

Okay. I'm back. Now I'm going to look at his Parliament site. I'm going to read Jenkin's first speech which I didn't see on the other site. I don't think it was there, or maybe I missed it.

The speech was done in April of 1986. He starts by thanking the Deputy Speaker. Did he know at this point that one day he'd be THE Speaker. Was that in his aspirations?

This must have been done right when the female speaker got her job. Jenkins talks about it in the first paragraph. He congratulates her.

He talks about a lot of local stuff.  It's about Scullin, his electoral division in Victoria.

Someone interjects during his speech...someone named Mr. Hollis. I wish I understood what was going on here.

Jenkins says, It is a pity that a member such as Ted Peters should spend his 20 years in this place on the Opposition benches.

Mr. Hollis says, You won't.

Maybe it's saying Jenkins won't be stuck in the opposition? Which team was in power at the time? 1986? I'd think it was Bob Hawke. Was it not? Yeah. It was him. Maybe Hollis was saying that he believed Labor would STAY in power.

Jenkin's wife is named Michele. He has two sons. One is named Emlyn. I've never heard that name before. I wonder where it comes from. This baby name website says it's Welsh. It also says it's very rare. I like it. I like how it sounds; well at least the way I imagine it's pronounced.

The website has American statistics though. The name could be more common in Australia.

There's a second interjection in the speech. This one is from Mr. Gear. He says, A good minister.

I'm looking for conflict, but I think these interjections are more in agreement or support.

Jenkins talks about how Scullin has a high number of immigrants. 38% of the population was born overseas. Jenkins applauds the minister of immigration for announcing a modest increase in annual migrate intake. He says the the migrants have made positive contributions to Australia, and that this decision is based on sound economic assessment of the positive effect of such levels of intake, and it should be welcomed.

I like that kind of attitude in people.

Jenkins doesn't want migrants to be just welcomed to Australia. He wants to provide services that make things easier for them. He wants important information provided in more languages. I do agree with this. I think countries should do what they can to make it easier for people to understand and adjust. But I also believe migrants should eventually learn the established main language. I'm all for being bilingual or multilingual. But I don't really support people who permanently migrate to another country and never put effort into learning the language.

I also think it's very nice for the old timers in the country to learn a little bit of the language of the newcomers. I remember having a Chinese friend in elementary school. She learned English VERY fast. But as she did, she also taught me and some of my friends a few words in Chinese. I greatly enjoyed learning them.

I like what Jenkins says here....just because it's kind of cute. It is a pity that the time allotted for me to speak is so relatively short, especially when one has such an attentive audience.

He should just start a blog. Then he can talk on and on. People can wish for him to shut up, but he can ignore them and keep on going and going.

Ah! The day this speech was done, something awful happened in the Mediterranean. I have to find out what is is. I guess I need to look at the date BEFORE the speech, because it would be a day earlier in the Mediterranean.

Lord Wiki says on the 14th of April, the US bombed Libya. Is Libya in the Mediterranean? I guess it is.

Jenkins says, Such events as those that occurred in the Mediterranean today are very distressing, especially to our young people who live in horror and fear of possible nuclear holocausts as a result of escalating world tension.

The world is a terrifying place sometimes.

Jenkins concludes with a beautiful quote.

Justice and humanity demand interference whenever the weak are being crushed by the strong.

But this sentiment will only bring change when people interfere even when the strong are on THEIR side.

It's fairly easy to speak up when OUR people are being trampled on. But it's much harder to speak up when it's someone from the other "team" is being hurt.

I gave Jack a mini-lecture about something like this today. Jack often likes to fight for fairness. He often says the classic that's not fair! What I told him basically is it's admirable to fight for fairness, but not if you only fight when you're the one being wronged. If you're going to whine that your cousin got more turns then you, you also need to speak up if your cousin doesn't get enough turns.

Peace can come to the Middle East only when more Palestinians protest the death and mistreatment of Jews, and more Jews protest the death and mistreatment of Palestinians.

I'm going to look at Google News now. This article says that recently two MP's were suspended by Jenkins. They were making way too many interjections.

I want to go watch some Parliament videos on YouTube now. That should be fun.

Here's a good video of Jenkins playing Mr. Discipline. One thing that adds to the whole thing is he doesn't refer to people by name. They're referred to by their division. In this video, he's scolding part of the Opposition. I forgot the guy's name, but he was in The Howard Years, I think. Anyway, when Jenkin talks to him, he does so in third person. The Member of North Sydney will.....

I'm trying to understand the conflict here. I think Jenkins wouldn't allow some kind of question. Mr North Sydney is trying to argue that a previous Speaker allowed such questions. It's kind of like what kids say, But Daddy lets me do it!

Jenkins also refers to himself in third person. He doesn't say I. He says The Speaker. Is there a law that states the speaker must speak of himself in third person, or is it just a custom? What if someone broke the world? Would everyone in Parliament gasp in shock?

I'm at the lake house now and trying to imagine if my family did that.

My dad could say:

The grandfather is calling everyone to dinner now.
The middle daughter will be there in a minute. She must first use the toilet.

The oldest grandson would like the father to help him get some food.
The grandmother is going to lower the music. It's too loud.
The youngest granddaughter does not want any chicken. It tastes yucky.


Okay. This video has nothing to do with Jenkins, but it is SO cute. It IS Parliament, so it's not totally off the subject.

This video is FULL of drama. Ah, I might have to disagree with Jenkins at about 1:30 in the video. He asks for a vote and he says the ayes win. I think the no's win. What they're voting for is whether a member should be removed from the House. I'm betting that those in the Opposition are voting for him to stay. Those in the Labor government are wanting him to leave. I'd be impressed if any of them voted the other way.

Okay. Now it gets more fair. They actually do a count. And Jenkins is right. The ayes win. Maybe the no's sounded louder to me because the camera was closer to them.

The Speaker suggests to the Outed Member that he apologize before leaving. Does he do it? Does he not? The suspense is killing me here!

I don't think he does. Jenkins say Well, we'll deal with him when he returns.

Oh, now the Member of Dickson is being naughty. I love the facial expressions of the guy sitting to the right of Gillard.

All right. I think I'm done watching for now.

I'm going to see if Jenkins is on Twitter, and then I quit. There's a lot of Harry Jenkins on Twitter, but I don't think any of these guys are the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

People ARE talking about Jenkins. Ethelmay has a lot to say about him. She says, Harry Jenkins Speaker earned his money today,I want to know how Harry Relaxes and does he speak to POLIES out of Work. LOL LOL LOL.

A day before that she said, Im in Love with Harry Jenkins Speaker of the House OZ.Go GILLARD DPM carve them up like yesterdays corn beef stuart put out again good start.

Ethelmay does NOT like the Liberals. That's for sure. I guess she wouldn't agree with me about Turnbull being sexy.

Oh well.

And I'm done here for now......


TO THE PEOPLE OF IRAN: I stand behind all of you who are seeking freedom. I wish for a day where we can all be truly free and not treated like total crap.

I guess I should say I stand behind EVERYONE in the world who is currently oppressed.

I stand behind those who feel tortured.
I stand behind those who feel trapped.
I stand behind those who feel forgotten.
I stand behind those who feel neglected.

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