Wednesday, June 24, 2009

John Brumby

I added John Brumby to the list while we were in Australia.

I think he's the Premier of Victoria. He was in the news a lot because of the fires. I think. I COULD have the wrong person here.

Let me go see......

Lord Wiki says I'm right.

John Brumby IS the Premier of Victoria.

His last name reminds me of McLeod's Daughters. On various episodes, Claire, Tess, Alex, and Nick had to deal with brumbies. That's what Australians call feral horses.

John Brumby was born on 21 April 1953.

Birthday Website time!

He's a Taurus in astrology.

He and I share the same numerology number. We're both 7's. Cool!

I forgot what a Taurus is like. I'll have to go look it up.

This website says, The Taurean's characteristics are solidity, practicality, extreme determination and strength of will - no one will ever drive them, but they will willingly and loyally follow a leader they trust. They are stable, balanced, conservative good, law-abiding citizens and lovers of peace, possessing all the best qualities of the bourgeoisie. As they have a sense of material values and physical possessions, respect for property and a horror of falling into debt, they will do everything in their power to maintain the security of the status quo and be somewhat hostile to change.

That sounds familiar to me. I think I read it before. I guess I just didn't remember that the description belonged to the Taurus.

Does any of it apply to John Brumby? Who knows......

Baby John was born in Melbourne. He went to Ivanhoe Graduate School. Invanhoe has a cute website. I went on part of their interactive tour.

Later, John went to Melbourne Grammar School. I think someone else I wrote about recently went there too. Who was it?

Ah. Malcolm Fraser. Didn't he dislike the school? I wonder if Brumby had better experiences there.

For Uni, Brumby went to University of Melbourne, and later State Victoria College at Rusden.
He got a degree in Commerce at the first school, and an education degree at the second. I think the Rusden school might be the same one that Rachel Griffiths went to. I'll go check. Hold on.....

Yeah. Well, she went to the Victoria College to get a degree in education. But I'm not sure she went to the Rusden campus. This school though is the one that no longer exists. It's been absorbed into Deakin University.

Brumby became a teacher. He worked at Eaglehawk High School in Bendigo.

How far is Bendigo from Melbourne?

I need to look on Google Maps.

It's two hours north of Melbourne. Is anything interesting there? Should we visit someday?

Well, gold mining is big there. But if I recall correctly, it's also big in Ballarat. And my friend lives in Ballarat, so we'll probably choose that place instead.

Brumby was a teacher in the mid-late 1970's. He was part of the teacher union, and also active in the Labor Party.

In 1983, he was elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Bendigo. He held this position until 1990.

He supported Bob Hawke.

Lord Wiki says Brumby was against the Socialist Left Faction of the Labor Party. I guess he was more to the right?

Brumby became Chief of Staff to the Minister for Resources and Tourism. He held this position in the early 1990's. Then he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council. I had to look that one up because I didn't know what it is.

Lord Wiki says it's part of the Parliament of Victoria.

All this local government stuff makes me dizzy.

I'm trying to figure it all out.

I think that Labor in Victoria was defeated in 1992. It seems around that time, Brumby became the Opposition Leader. The Liberal Premier was Jeff Kennett.

In 1996, Brumby did what Opposition Leaders are probably supposed to do. He opposed something. Kennett's people wanted to relocate the State museum to the Carlton Gardens. For some reason, Brumby didn't want that. He wanted the gardens and the Royal Exhibition Building to become part of the World Heritage listing. Kennett didn't want that.

The building finally got into the listing. Lord Wiki says it's the first building in Australia to get UNESCO World Heritage status.

I'm looking at the UNESCO site to see what other places in Australia are on the list.

They are:

1. Great Barrier Reef
2. Kakadu National Park (I'd love to go there someday!)
3. Willandra Lakes Region (never heard of it)
4. Lord Howe Island Group
5. Tasmanian Wilderness (I went to Cataract Gorge. Does that count?)
6 Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
7. Uluru (it has this other long alternative name, but I'm too lazy to type it all out)
8. Wet tropics of Queensland (well, that's pretty broad)
9. Shark Bay in Western Australia
10. Fraser Island
11. Australian Fossil Mammal Sites
12. Heard and McDonald Islands
13. Macquarie Island
14. Blue Mountains (we've been there!)
15. Purnululu National Park (cute name)
16. Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (Brumby's pet projects)
17. Sydney Opera House

For those of you who are reading this....which places have you visited (if any). Which are your favorites?

Back to Brumby.

In March 1999, he lost his place as Labor leader. Poor guy.

Steve Bracks took his place.

In September of that year, Bracks won the election. Labor was back in power...well, at least in Victoria. In Federal we had Howard...right?

Bracks gave Brumby the positions of Minister of Finance, Assistant Treasurer, and Minister For State and Regional Development. Wow. Brumby must have been a busy guy.

A little time later, Brumby was promoted to Treasurer. He no longer had to be the assistant.

Brumby did good with the budget. There was a surplus. Go Brumby!

In 2004, there was some problems. It has something to do with a rise in the rate of land tax. The Liberal Party and their supporters thought this was going to cause problems for small businesses. Why? I don't know. And I'm too lazy and apathetic to go research it right now.

If I'm reading this correctly, in 2005 Brumby had to decide whether to support road stuff or school, hospital, and public transport. He decided to impose a toll on EastLink in Melbourne. Some people weren't happy with this because when the road was being built, it was promised that there'd be no toll.

I personally probably support the toll. Maybe it will encourage people to drive less and use more public transportation.

On 27 July 2007, a few weeks before we bought plane tickets for our first trip to Australia, Steve Bracks resigned. He said it was for family reasons. A few days later, Brumby became the Premier. This means he's been Premier for less than two years.

In November of that year, Brumby was criticized because he allowed genetically modified canola to grow in Victoria.

In April 2008, there was some gambling stuff. Brumby wanted to break up a poker machine Duopoly. I've never heard of Duopoly before...only Monopoly. I guess in some ways it was an anti-gambling move because Brumby's plan was supported by the Interchurch Gambling Taskforce.

Wow. That's it for Lord Wiki. I guess no one has given my good pal any current information.

I shall have to look elsewhere.

Here's Brumby's official government site.

I think the guy has a lot on his plate. First there were the awful fires. Now there's the Swine Flu. And I'm sure there's other stuff too.

On 2 June, Brumby announced that Victoria is going to hold a Harmony Walk. The purpose of the walk is to show support of multiculturalism.

The walk is on 12 July. Any of you Victorians planning to go? Hey, it will give you something to blog about......

Ah, I think this walk is in response to the racial violence I read about on Andrew's blog.

Brumby says, Attacking a fellow Victorian – be they an international student or a father going to the aid of a stranger in the street is anathema to the values and principles that make our state one of the world’s most successful multicultural communities and must not be tolerated.

Amen to that.

The walk begins at Carlton Gardens. I don't know much about Carlton Gardens, but I'm guessing it's beautiful.

I think the walk is a lovely idea.

On 16 June (that's today for me...as I'm writing this; but actually yesterday Australia time) Brumby announced that the town of Callignee would receive 2.5 million dollars. This money will go to rebuilding stuff that was damaged in the fire. This includes a fire station and community center.

Eighty-three in Callignee houses were destroyed on Black Saturday.

I'm looking at Google Maps because I want to find Callignee.

It's about two hours east of Melbourne.

Here Brumby has a summary of all that his government has done since he's been in power.

A new hospital was opened.  Royal Women's Hospital. The hospital itself says they've been around since 1856. Maybe Brumby and his people just got them a new building?

Okay, the new building is in Parkville. Lord Wiki says that's a suburb in Melbourne.

Brumby and his people launched something called WorkHealth. It's purpose is to fight chronic disease. Do they try to prevent it from happening, or help people who are already chronically ill? Well, here's there website. It seems basically they want to make Victorian workers healthier. I'm sure most of it's about just wanting to help fellow human beings; not see them suffer. But there's also some economic ramifications of having lots of sick workers.

One of the services they provide is health checks. They check your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. There's a small part of me that feels it might be an invasion of privacy. But for the most part, I feel it's a good thing. These are things that probably should be checked regularly, and I know some people are too lazy or scared to go to the doctor.

The website reassures workers that the health checks are: free, confidential, personal, voluntary, and immediate. That sounds good to me.

You know what I hate when people check my vitals and all that. I hate when they don't tell me what's going on. I mean I'm GLAD they don't comment on my weight. Although maybe they should if I'm too thin or way too fat. But anyway, I hate when they check my blood pressure, say a number, and then just write it in a chart. I wish they'd tell me what it means. I wish they'd say the number and say that's healthy, or that's normal, or that's a bit high.

One thing I hate about some doctors and dentists is they talk about your body as if it belongs to THEM and not you.

I had some incident with my OB/GYN. I forgot what it was exactly. But after I had Jack, I caught a glimpse of my chart and saw I had something in my body. I forgot what it was. Polyps? Cysts? I tried asking the doctor about it and he dismissed my questions. He told me they were too small to even worry about. Well, if they were too small he shouldn't be writing about it in his damn chart!

I'm getting angry just thinking about it.

I better take some deep breaths and count to ten.

Okay. I'm better now.

Back to Brumby and his grand projects.

Homes have been provided for almost five hundred men and women who have intellectual disabilities. I guess this is at a place called Kew Cottages. Lord Wiki says it's located in Melbourne. He also says the place was closed in July 2008. I guess Brumby redeveloped it? Or maybe he's working on redeveloping it.

For transportation, Brumby has something called free early bird travel. That sounds very interesting. This website says people can get tickets that allow them to travel free if they get on the train before 7 am. That's pretty awesome. It helps people who need to save money; and it also would probably cut down on some rush hour traffic.

For early child care, Brumby and his people are trying to make parents feel more secure. They can now check the safety records of child care centers online. That's good.

They're also putting in new safety rules to help children with life threatening allergies.

Well, I have a story to tell there. I probably told the story before, but I'm going to say it again. When I first moved to Fort Worth, I worked at this awful preschool. It was even worse than the prestigious snobby preschool. Anyway, one of my students had severe deadly allergies. I'll call him George.

When I got there, George's mom gave me all this information about her son's allergies. There were booklets and videos; enough stuff to scare me to death. George was allergic to dairy, peanuts, and various other things.

Now I had dealt with allergies before. In NYC we had two children with severe allergies. Due to the allergies, nuts were forbidden at the school. For the most part, we felt safe and secure.

At this Fort Worth School, the director would NOT take the allergies seriously. They would not make a rule forbidding these foods that might kill this child. So this child was in danger of coming in contact with the foods. A child with an allergy can die from a tiny taste of the food. Sometimes even TOUCHING the food can be dangerous. We're talking about a three-year-old here. Maybe an older child can take responsibility for his health and avoid the offending foods. This is a tiny child. And worse yet, we all had to eat in this crowded cafeteria. It was ridiculous. The kids were all squished together. It would be so easy for George to come in contact with dairy or peanuts.

I hovered over him; being very overprotective. I almost always had the Epi-Pen with me....terrified that I'd be forced to use it.

Fortunately nothing ever happened in the few months I worked at the school. And I HOPE nothing happened to the child after I left.

I know it's an annoying pain for parents to have to pack lunches that don't include peanut butter. But I think it's MUCH worse for the parent who has to worry, their child might die at school, because someone with sticky peanut butter hands touches him.

Personally I would keep such a child at home. I'd definitely homeschool. But parents in that situation should NOT be forced to homeschool. It's really not hard to make the school a safe environment for that child. I know because I worked at a school that managed to do it

I'll climb off my soapbox now.

I have to feed Jack and I some lunch. I'm very grateful that my child doesn't have life threatening allergies. I have so much compassion for families who have to deal with that.

I'm back.

Brumby started scholarships to attract more teachers to kindergarten and childcare centers. That sounds good.

He offered families a rebate of $2500 to switch to solar hot water. That has economic and environmental benefits.

He doubled the penalty for carrying weapons.

There's tons of stuff here. I'm kind of picking and choosing...seeing what stuff sounds interesting to me.

Here's something..... He legislated to prevent criminals from writing to victims or families of victims. I guess that makes sense. In my idealistic little head, I'm picturing these people writing to apologize. But I guess that rarely happens. They'd probably more likely write to rub salt in the wounds, or ask the victims to help them get lesser sentences. Hey, sorry for raping you. I made a huge mistake. Now can you please help me get parole. Prison is awful.

All right. I'm tired of reading all this, although most of it DOES impress me.

The government site has Brumby's biography. It doesn't say much outside of what Lord Wiki already told me.

He's married to Rosemary McKenzie. The lovely couple has three kids.

Now I'm at his speeches.

Here's one about early childhood reading. I already see things I don't like. He says, Put simply, it is never too early to start reading to babies. According to early childhood specialists, children who know the sounds and names of letters before entering kindergarten are 20 times more likely to read simple words by the end of kindergarten.

Okay fine. But WHY do kids need to be reading by the end of Kindergarten? I mean it's lovely if they do. But what's so bad about learning to read in first grade?

My suspicion is this: Babies that show interest in books and "allow" their parents to read to them have some kind of natural attraction to reading/academics. I read Jack books from the very beginning because he LIKED it. He paid attention. If he didn't, I would have put the book down and played yet another round of peek-a-boo. By about six-eight months Jack loved books so much he'd cry when I'd get to the end of one. I'd have to start back at the beginning. As a very young toddler, he'd sit there with books and turn the pages like he was reading them. He was reading at the age of three. I don't have any magic parenting/teaching skills. This is just simply the child I ended up with.

There are some babies who have no interest in books. I see no point in forcing the child to hear someone read to them. These children will probably be the toddlers who see books as something to chew on. They might also be the children who don't learn to read until they're six or seven. But who really cares? According to one of my friends I was the last child in our kindergarten class to learn to read. I remember her teasing me about it. Well, guess what. I finally learned. I soon became a bookworm. I read very well now. I don't think my life was worsened by the fact that I learned to read at the age of six rather than the age of 3-5.

I don't know why learning has to be a race.

I do think it's great to TRY to read to babies. If they like it....wonderful. If they look dreadfully bored, put down the book and dance around like a monkey. Everyone will be much happier.

Here's one of Brumby's most recent speeches. It was done on Australia's National Day of Mourning--22 February 2009.

I still can't believe we were in Australia during its worse ever natural disaster. I feel kind of guilty. We're going on holiday while people are suffering. Worse yet...we had a really incredibly wonderful time. Well, I guess I can feel good about bringing in tourism dollars. Maybe some of our money went to help the victims.

I like Brumby's words here.

These terrible fires have united us all in grief. They have united us in our response. And they unite us all in the task of rebuilding.

I think bad things happen to good people for two reasons:

1. Bad people CAUSE the bad things to happen to good people
2. Bad things happen so heroes can be made and discovered

Tragedy sometimes brings out the best in us.

Brumby says pretty much what I just said. He says,

But in these, the very worst of times, we have also seen the very best of human nature. So today we recognize and thank our heroic firefighters and emergency service workers . . . . . . for their courage, their sacrifice, their skill - and for giving so much. We thank the millions of Australians - from every state and from every territory - for their extraordinary generosity and support. And the thousands of volunteers who have done so much to support their communities in such tragic and testing times.

Sometimes it takes something horrible like a fire to restore our faith in humanity.

I'm done with this website. I'm going to go look around for other stuff.

Brumby is on Twitter. I think most Australian politicians are there. Ah! I'm already following the guy. I haven't been paying enough attention to Twitter. Although I have done a few updates in the last few days. He's one of those who don't follow back. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I used to think it was very snobby; that if someone started following you, you should follow them back. But too many people on Twitter add people for no other reason than they want followers. I stopped following everyone who follows me.

Brumby is following only ten people. I'm not one of them. RUDE!

No, I'm joking. The only two people he IS following are Kevin Rudd and Gavin Jennings. Then the other eight are organizations.

The guy doesn't update a lot. His last Twitter was about the Harmony Walk. Several days before that, he mentioned the Swine Flu.

I'm looking at my other Twitter people. One of my friends is warning against using Zycam. Yikes!!!!! Crap! Jack was using this stuff. This article says it makes you lose your sense of smell. All right. We won't be buying that anymore. I just asked Jack if he can smell okay and he said yes. I haven't noticed any problems. I hope no damage was done.

Now I'm looking at what Twitter people are saying ABOUT Brumby. SNXY says, this is gg to be my last post on swine flu in victoria, australia. john brumby and team need to FACE THE FACTS. The facts are provided by this article.

A lot of people in Victoria have the Swine Flu. That's a fact. There's too many to test. I don't really get the point of testing people. This may be ignorant of me to say...but I feel it's best for people to stay home in bed and rest. I guess they need statistics. Maybe? And if someone is very ill, they might need emergency medical attention. But wouldn't it be okay for some people to just rest their Swine Flu at home? I feel the more people who go out to get tested, the more chance they'll be out there infecting others.

What if you break your arm and need to go to the emergency room. There's going to be all these Swine Flu folks sneezing at you. That's not good.

Jadpad doesn't like Brumby. She says,
last political 2 cents today: Let's hope Victoria is wise at next state election  and gets rid of John Brumby ,Premier by default. Jadpad seems to be a huge fan of Facebook. She also seems to like Peter Costello.

I think I'm going to read one last article and then go swimming. This has more stuff about the Swine Flu. It says Victorian Tourism has had some problems due to the fires and the world economy. Now there's the Flu to worry about. Although really. Who'd want to go to Victoria in the middle of the winter? I can imagine going if you have family or something....But just to go as a tourist?

Anyway, that's it for now.

I enjoyed reading about Brumby. He seems fairly decent to me.