Saturday, July 4, 2009

Joel Fitzgibbon

This is the last post I write before I go on a short holiday.

The funny thing is by the time I post this I shall be home from the holiday.

I hope we had fun.

I know who Joel Fitzgibbon is because I wrote a description by his name. Defense Minister.   I think though I might have remembered anyway. Maybe? Who knows. It's really not something I can prove or disprove.

Speaking of the list, I'm starting to believe it's all fate. I know some of you don't believe in that stuff;  and you're probably rolling your eyes at me. But it just feels to me that the person I end up getting each morning fits perfectly into my life. It's like the issues they're dealing with are exactly what I need to be reading and thinking about at that particular time. I can't say it works that way every single day; but a lot of times it does.

I don't know.

I believe.

As for Fitzgibbon....

Let's begin.

Baby Joel was born on 16 January 1962. He's too early to be an Aquarius I suppose. He'd be a Capricorn, right?

Birthday Website time!

He's an 8 in numerology like the guy I wrote about yesterday. Who was that? Ah, the architect. Francis Greenway. I can't believe I almost forgot him.

Yesterday was a very weird day for me. Someone found my blog while searching for Germaine Greer. They told me about this Facebook group they have. I looked at it, and one of the administrators was this woman named Fi. I knew of her because she was Facebook friends with my Facebook friend Dave. I had noticed her for some reason. She always looked kind of cool to me; like someone I'd want to be friends with. I'm not sure why I never added her as a friend. Maybe I was shy. Anyway, I thought it was one of those wow-it-sure-is-a-small-world coincidences.

What makes it even stranger is my friend Fe was REALLY on my mind yesterday. I know Fe and Fi aren't the same name. Or are they? Are they pronounced the same? I have no idea. But even if they're not..... I mean the names ARE very much alike. Before the Fi thing happened, I was doing research on Greenway. And there were things in the post that reminded me of our visit with Fe. It's like the universe was saying Hey, we know you'll probably be thinking about Fe all day, but just in case you don't...we're sending you some reminders.

I really should get back to Greenway.

He IS a Capricorn. I forgot what that is exactly, but I'm not caring at the moment.

Oh! Wow. I just saw that Fitzgibbon is NOT the defense minister anymore. He resigned...this month. Interesting.

Let's look at his childhood.

He was born in Bellingen New South Wales. It's about thirty minutes south of Coffs Harbour. Thank you, Google Maps. The town is a bit inland. Well, it's actually closer to the beach than I thought--about twenty minutes.

Google Maps is one of the best toys ever invented.

Daddy Fitzgibbon was in politics. He was the MP for Hunter from 1984 until 1996. Who took over when he left?

His son.

Lord Wiki lists some of Fitzgibbon's pre-political jobs. He did some work with electric stuff. I guess he was a electrician. I don't see any colleges mentioned. Maybe he didn't go? That would be different.

There's confusing information coming from Lord Wiki. On the box off to the side, it says Fitzgibbon became a Member of Parliament in 2006. But then within the text stuff, it says Fitzgibbon was elected to the Opposition Shadow Ministry in October 1998 and was Shadow Minister for Mining, Energy and Forestry in 2003-05.

 Maybe from 2006 until 2008 he was an MP, but not a shadow Ministry MP? Am I getting it right? Totally wrong?

Anyway, Fitzgibbon was shadow this and that for awhile. Then when Kevin Rudd became Leader of the Opposition, he ended up being Shadow Minister For Defense. That is such a cool title. It really does sound so Harry Potter.

The problem with me doing this post is I don't really understand defense stuff.

Lord Wiki says Fitzgibbon was unhappy with a briefing involving a Joint Strike Fighter. What is a Joint Strike Fighter? I don't know. I don't care. But I feel I must go see.

It's a fighting airplane type thing. Anyway, I think Fitzgibbon had concerns. These were addressed, and then he felt better about the whole thing.

It's so depressing reading about all these war planes. Why can't all the countries say we don't want them. Let's fight with water balloons instead. When countries get mad at each other they should use water balloons and snowballs. Farting contests might work. Whoever farts the loudest....their people get to keep the country. If it smells bad enough, the other people will want to leave anyway.

Fitzgibbon was in some incident involving the Australian Federal Police. They did a raid on a journalist named Philip Dorling. Fitzgibbon claims not to have been involved. I guess he was suspected to be involved because Dorling may have got his hands on documents that were meant for Fitzgibbon. Fitzgibbon does not deny that maybe someone in his apartment contacted the police.

Would it be bad if Fitzgibbon was involved? If someone has stolen documents that belong to you, shouldn't you fight that. Maybe?

Okay, now the BIG scandals.

In March controversy began regarding Fitzgibbon's friendship with a Chinese-Australian woman. Some people in the defense department believed this friendship was a security risk. Huh? Why? Anyway, they launched a covert and unauthorized investigation into it all. This MIGHT have included obtaining the woman's bank details.

Fitzgibbon was furious about it all.

I don't think that's why he resigned though.

Lord Wiki says on 4 June he resigned because he held meetings with his brother, head of the health fund, and some defense people. It seems these meetings breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Why? Lord Wiki doesn't say. Lord Wiki is trying to be mysterious.

Well, I'm done with Mr. Mystery for now. I'm going to go to the official website of Joel Fitzgibbon.

I guess he's still the Federal Member for Hunter.

Here's a profile page. Ah, I guess it hasn't been updated. Fitzgibbon is still listed as Defense Minister.

Fitzgibbon has lived his whole life in Cessnock. Is that near where Lord Wiki said he was born? Nope, not at all. They're five hours away from each other. Cessnock is in the Hunter Valley area which explains why Fitzgibbon is the Member for Hunter.

So is Lord Wiki wrong? Or did Fitzgibbon move to Cessnock after being born in Bellingen?

Does it even matter? Probably not.

It seems Fitzgibbon DID go to university, but not right away. First he got an apprenticeship as an automotive electrician. He then spent ten years running his own business. That's pretty cool.

Later in 2004 he returned to school at the University of Newcastle and got a graduate certificate in Business Administration. What's the difference between a degree and certificate?

From what Lord Wiki says, I'm gathering that it's faster and easier to get the certificate.

Prior to all this in 2004, Fitzgibbon also did some university work towards a degree in arts and law.

I personally think it's neat that he didn't do the traditional thing of rushing to university right after high school. I like that he got an apprenticeship, had his own business, and then later went to university. I think that's probably the best way to do things. What do we really know and understand after graduating high school? I think ten years of working and/or exploring the world would give us a better idea of what we want to study.

Fitzgibbon is married. His wife's name is Dianne. They have three kids. They have a Jack like us! They also have a Grace. Grace was the name of one of my Sims. She died recently, but had a nice long life.

Fitzgibbon loves sport. I think that might be a requirement for Australian politicians...probably American ones too.

Here's his Parliament page. I can read his first speech. I like those.

This one was done on 2 May 2006. I'm trying to think of where I was at that time. I think I had recently moved to NYC. I lived on 40th street at second avenue. Apartment 24a. If any of you have a time machine you can now go back and stalk me.

Fitzgibbon begins his speech by talking about his dad; the one he replaced.

He then talks about his mom and his wife.

His three kids were young when he got this Parliament job. Caitlin the oldest was six. The youngest was four. I can imagine it's hard being a politician and having young kids--probably harder when you're the primary caregiver. I'm guessing that role went to the mom. Still, I can imagine Fitzgibbon might have missed out on a lot. It doesn't have to be that way though. My dad had very intensive jobs. I DO remember him being gone a lot, but I also remember him being there a lot. I mean I don't look back at my childhood and teen years thinking my dad was never around.
Maybe it's all about perception. I don't know.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's very hard to be a parent AND have a intense career. But it IS possible.

Fitzgibbon says, Having read a number of first speeches, I note that it is traditional for a new member to make some reference to the history and geography of his electorate, its main industries and areas of employment and, of course, its main attributes. I do not want to spend too much time on this, because I think we should all spend a little less time talking about our individual electorates and more time talking about the regions of which they form a part.

The funny thing is yeah, most MP's make reference to their electorate. Fitzgibbon goes on for paragraphs about it! Actually, I think most of his speech is about Hunter.

I'm going to look at Google News now; try to get some ideas about these recent scandals.

Here's something from ABC; a transcript of a recent show about the scandals.

Fitzgibbon's brother had business meetings with defense officials in Fitzgibbon's office. I guess you're not supposed to do stuff like that.

Fitzgibbon says It is obvious, and it has been obvious over the course of the last few months at least, that I have at least two or three Judases in my midst.

Betrayal is quite complex. If we're the "good" guys and we're betrayed, than betrayal is a bad thing. But if someone is a Judas for the bad people, than it's probably a good thing.

The reporter of the show says Mr Fitzgibbon tendered his resignation as defence minister yesterday after revelations on Wednesday night that his brother who runs a private health insurance company, met an American health company boss in Mr Fitzgibbon's ministerial office.

I'm too ignorant of politics to understand why that isn't Kosher.

Fitzgibbon is asked to name his betrayers. He replies that if he knew who they were he wouldn't feel the need to resign. It's scary to feel you're friends with, or working with, someone you can't trust. It's even worse if you don't know which person is being distrustful. That's where paranoia enters.

Malcolm Turnbull says It says a lot about the culture of the Labor Party that the finger of blame is being pointed not at the minister that did the wrong thing, but at people who the minister says exposed him. He's blaming the whistleblower.

I have to wonder....Would the Liberal party act any differently? I kind of doubt it.

That's the problem when you have two opposing groups. People become extremely hypocritical. It's like election campaigns. If a candidate makes a grammatical error, the opposing party will ridicule him to no end. But if their candidate makes an error, it's excused or glossed over.

I'm avoiding the issue though. I'd say no matter which party it is, it's not right to blame the whistleblower. I was going to say it might depend on how the whistleblowers went about getting their information. Now that I think of though....I'm not sure.

Let's say a woman suspects her husband is cheating on her. She has reason to be suspicious. She asks him several times if he is cheating. He angrily denies it.

She's still suspicious so she sneaks a look at his mobile phone bill. Then she reads his email. Her suspicions are confirmed. What she did is not very ethical. But what were her choices? Should she just wait until her husband came forward? Should she let him continue to lie?

The wife approaches the husband about the cheating. Instead of apologizing, he attacks her for going through his email. If he had been honest, she wouldn't have had to gone through his email.

People do that when they're cornered. They try to deflect the blame.

Did Fitzgibbon do something really bad?  I honestly don't know. This stuff goes over my head.

Did he resign because he feels guilty? Or did he resign because he feels there's no point in him having the job?  He's going to be too busy fighting his Judases?

Here's an editorial about Fitzgibbon.

It says after Fitzgibbon found out he had been investigated he started borrowing his wife's phone. I guess he felt more safe doing things that way.

The editorial asks....was Fitzgibbon the first victim of a new kind of McCarthyism where any official was immediately under suspicion if he had connections with ethnic Chinese people, Australian citizens or not?

What about this Chinese woman made people suspicious?

Okay. The editorial names some of the issues.

She (Helen Liu) knows a lot of high ranking Chinese military officials.

Fitzgibbon rented an apartment from Liu.

She made lots of donations to his campaign.

I think one thing we're all learning from this post is that I do not know a lot about government/business ethics.

I understand some stuff. I understand it's unethical to donate to a campaign and then expect the elected official to vote in a way that will benefit you or your organization. THAT I get. To me, that's fairly basic. It's bribing basically.

I'm less clear about these unethical associations. So, if you're in government you shouldn't be friends with, or do business with, people who are high up in other governments?

I'm also confused about the stuff with Fitzgibbon's brother. He's in health and he met with health officials. Now I can sort of understand if he worked with Australian health officials, but why would it matter if he worked with American ones?

I just don't get it.

I hope some of you explain this to me. I hope to get both sides of the story--those of you who are on Fitzgibbon's side, and those of you on the whistleblower's side.

I'm not too happy with this post. It's making me feel dumb. It's eroding my fragile self-esteem.

I'm going to stop reading the news.

I think I'll look on YouTube and watch some fun videos. Maybe I can find some parliament stuff.

Here's a video about the China connection thing. It looks like a YouTube user put it together. I'm trying to understand their angle. The title of the video is How Close is Too Close To China. Attack on Joel Fitzgibbon. It's subtitled in Chinese. I'm wondering if a Chinese person made it--trying to blow the whistle on anti-Chinese racism.

I guess I should watch the whole thing before making a judgment.

It's pretty much a montage of news clips. It's emphasized that this Chinese woman is AUSTRALIAN. She's an Australian citizen. On one hand, being Australian doesn't exclude you from being a security risk. Any Australian whether white, black, yellow, or turquoise could be a security risk to the country.

On the other hand, there COULD be something racist or xenophobic about the whole thing.

Here's a video of Fitzgibbon being interviewed by ABC about his resigning.

He's asked why he resigned. He said he did it because he felt the attacks on him were hurting the government.

So is that the true story? Is Fitzgibbon an innocent man who resigned to be noble? Or is he a guilty man trying to look noble?

I truly do not know.

Ah, they ask him a good question. How much was the resignation his idea, and how much of it came from advisers?

He said it was entirely his decision. But he does say if he hadn't resigned and the attacks continue, eventually Rudd would have to sack him. Fitzgibbon says he didn't want to put Rudd into that decision.

Fitzgibbon says he didn't know about a meeting held in his office until he saw some transcripts. I'm guessing maybe that was the meeting that involved his brother.

Okay, I'm gaining a little understanding now. Maybe.

I guess the accusation is that brother Fitzgibbon and the American health company might have gained advantage from their connection to Fitzgibbon. Fitzgibbon says this is not the case. It was more like they were trying to learn from each other.

I think I'm getting this. It's kind of like someone being friends with someone who is a CEO of a corporation. If the CEO gives his friend insider trading information, THAT is bad. It's illegal. But if the CEO gives his friend friendly advice on starting up a company, that's not bad or unethical.

Am I getting this at all?

The problem seems to be that the meeting was held in Fitzgibbon's office. If I was Fitzgibbon, I'd be pretty angry with my brother. He's be getting a very small present for his next birthday. I guess the big question is did the meeting really take place without Fitzgibbon's knowledge.

Fitzgibbon talks about being guilty until proven innocent. He says this is the reason why he's resigning. I understand that. But what if every innocent person resigned from government when they were accused of something? What would happen to a country? I mean I DO understand that all the accusations and fighting can cause problems. But it wouldn't be good if everyone walked away once things became difficult.

Fitzgibbon says he believes the people betraying him are those that are close to him. I think that might give better insight into why he quit. It's really hard to work if you can't trust the people who you're working with. However, then the question is if you're innocent do you need to worry about people betraying you? I mean you DO have to worry because some people lie and plant false evidence. But then that goes beyond betrayal. That's something much worse.

Fitzgibbon says there were people who didn't like him because he was making aggressive reforms. He talks about being unpopular saying that Paul Keating said if you don't have enemies, you're not achieving much. I think that's true. If we don't have people who dislike us, or oppose us, is it because we're so good or is it because we're too careful?

I'm looking at Twitter now. Dilekk says, Anyone know what people thought joel fitzgibbon was up to, when he failed to declare gifts, n his relation wif Ms Liu?? For assignment.

Well, that brings me new insight. Did he really fail to declare gifts? Because with THAT, I do understand why and how it's wrong. I think anyone in government should have to declare gifts--at least within a certain minimum. I mean I don't think you need to declare a pack of gum......

Thank you, Dilekk for pointing that out. And I'm sorry you lost your wallet. That sucks.

Here's an article about it...not the wallet, but the declaring gifts. Liu bought Fitzgibbon a suit and paid for him to stay in a hotel. Yeah. I do think stuff like that should be declared. I guess it depends on what her influence is in terms of government and business. Could the gifts have influenced any of Fitzgibbon's decisions? Maybe. Maybe not. Still. I think being upfront and honest is the best policy in all of this.

Fitzgibbon is trying to paint himself as an innocent man persecuted and then noble enough to step down to protect his government.

I'm not sure if that's the story I would paint.

I can't say Fitzgibbon is a BAD man. He might be good for the most part. I just have a feeling that the suspicions of his betrayers were probably somewhat warranted.


  1. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it most probably is a duck. Good call on your part.

  2. Andrew,

    Probably...but not for sure.

    We can never really be certain about anything.

  3. I remember reading a newspaper article last year that Fitzgibbon would be the first minister to resign because insiders of the Labor Party didn't like him and were determined to get rid of him. The thing with the Labor Party is it is broken into three fractions the Right (Rudd) the Left (Gillard) and the Centre and they fight within the party for control and the article stated that the Left was out to get Fitzgibbon. But I would suppose that if you didn't do anything wrong than you would have nothing to worry about.

  4. Matt,

    That kind of helps to explain things--the different factions. There could be people out to get each other.

    I'm not sure if those who do nothing wrong have nothing to worry about. The innocent could still get themselves in trouble.

    I think maybe it's a combination of factors. I do think Fitzgibbon is guilty. But maybe if there weren't these party factions, it would have been least within the Labor Party. Someone on the outside (Liberal Party) might have dug something up eventually.