Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anna Bligh

I think Anna Bligh is the Premier of Queensland.

I might be wrong though.

Let me go check.

I'm right!

I'm so proud of myself. I'm going to give myself a gold star for today.

Anna Bligh has been the Premier of Queensland since 13 September 2007.

Let's rewind ourselves back to her earlier years.

Baby Anna was born on 14 July 1960. Two days after her seventh birthday, my husband was born in South Korea.

I'm not sure where little Anna was born. Lord Wiki says she grew up on the Gold Coast.

Oh wait. Here's her birthplace. It's written in a little box off to the side. Warwick Queensland. That's about two hours south-west of Brisbane, and two hours west of The Gold Coast.

My new favorite toy is Street View on Google Maps. I'm addicted to it. It's like a really cheap way to travel. Right now I'm looking at Dragon Street in Warwick. This is so fun.

I'm not sure when Bligh moved to the Gold Coast. Lord Wiki doesn't say.

Her parents separated when she was thirteen. That was probably tough on her.

Blighwent to Catholic schools. Lord Wiki said she considered being a nun. She had an aunt that became a nun. I guess that inspired her.

But guess what. The Catholic Church does not look fondly upon divorced people. Bligh and her divorced mother were estranged from the church. The nun plans flew out the window.

Bligh went to the University of Queensland for a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

Bligh believes her introduction to politics occurred when she witnessed a protest during her first year at University. The first protest she participated in herself was against the vice-chancellor of the university. He was doing some type of administrative reconstructing. I guess Bligh didn't agree with what he had planned.

Bligh then got herself involved with the pro-choice movement. It seems she had really distanced herself from the Catholic Church. I'm guessing also that she's a Labor Premier, and not Liberal. I'm sure there are so pro-choice Liberal people, but I think that usually goes with Labor. Right?

Bligh became vice-president of the student union. There's some confusing stuff here. I'm struggling to understand. I think basically what Lord Wiki is saying is that people she worked with in the student union later appeared in her government life.

It seems Bligh was trying to oust the leaders in the student union. I may not be getting this right. It was Bligh against David Barbagallo. Paul Lucas was on Barbagallo's team. Lucas later became Bligh's deputy Premier. Bligh had Rod Welford and Anne Warner on her team. They both became politician people too.

Before officially joining the government, Bligh did all kinds of work with various organizations.

In 1987 she became secretary of the Labor Party in Fairfield. There's a Fairfield near Brisbane. I guess that's what Lord Wiki is talking about. Okay. Yeah. He says it's a suburb in Brisbane.

In 1995, Bligh was elected to Parliament via the seat of South Brisbane. I'm guessing this was the Queensland Parliament, or was it Federal?

I'm pretty sure it was local. That's what I'm going to assume.

In 1998, she was promoted to a Ministerial position. She became Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care and Disability Services.

In 2001, she became the first female Education Minister. Well, at least in Queensland. There may have been other female Education Ministers elsewhere.

In 2004, she added the Arts Ministry to her workload.

In 2005, the Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer retired. This caused a whole cabinet reshuffle. Bligh got promoted to Deputy Premier. She also became Minister for Finance, State Development, Trade and Innovation. Wow. She was moving up in the world.

By 2006, she became Treasurer as well.

The Premier before Bligh was a guy named Peter Beattie. He was Labor too. I'm really surprised that both Bligh and Beattie are Labor people. I thought Queensland was very conservative...an equivalent to one of my country's red states. Oh well. I guess I'm wrong sometimes.

Are there any states in Australia with a Liberal Premier? I know Mike Rann in South Australia is Labor. Rees is Labor. What about Tasmania? Let me check....

David Bartlett. He's Labor.

Western Australia?

Ah! There's our Liberal. I'm so surprised. I would picture Western Australia as having the Labor Premier, and Queensland as having the Liberal one.

This has all boggled my mind.

The Northern Territory doesn't have a Premier, does it?

No. Lord Wiki say what they have is chief minister. Right now, the guy with that job is Labor.

Oh, and I forgot Brumby in Victoria. He's Labor, right? Yeah. Lord Wiki says I'm correct. I was pretty sure about that, but I just wanted to confirm it. Sad that I wrote a whole post on the guy, right?

Anyway, back to Beattie. He announced his retirement, and endorsed Bligh as his replacement.

Here's something interesting. There have been other female premiers in Australia. But Bligh is unique because she's the first who was elected. The other two were put in office without an election. They were quick replacements for men who had resigned. Once elections were done, they were replaced by men.

Lord Wiki wants to me to know though that there have been elected female heads of government....just not Premiers. There have been elected Chief Ministers of the ACT and Northern Territory.

Oh, I forgot to check who heads the ACT now. It's Jon Stanhope. He's Labor. So Western Australia has the only Liberal leader.

All right. Lord Wiki has some personal stuff.

Bligh is going to be a contestant on Celebrity Masterchef Australia. I watched one little bit from the show. I thought the judges were so bitchy. They had such an attitude about this one chef's meal. They gave her major grief. Then they ate it, and were pleased. Wouldn't it be better to start out with a positive attitude? If the food is awful, THEN bring out the bitchiness.

Tim would probably say I'm like the judges though. I admit I do have a negative attitude sometimes when I'm not sure about something. He always brings up the time he bought me high speed internet as a gift. I don't really remember. But I guess I bitched about it. We don't need this!
And now. Yes, Tim. I'm grateful for it. You win. Okay? Happy now?

Bligh is married. Her husband is a public servant. They have two sons.

Oh! This is cool. Some genealogy experts figured out that Bligh is the great-great-great granddaughter of William Bligh. He was the fourth governor of New South Wales, and also one of the main characters in The Bounty story. That was the ship that was overthrown. Bligh was the captain. I should add William Bligh to my list. He might already be on there. I do get double names sometimes. One of my fears is that one day I'm going to end up writing about someone I've already written about. I'll spend hours on the post, and then think....wait. This all sounds very familiar.

Well, I'm done with Lord Wiki. Where should we go next?

Well, here's Bligh's official government page.

Wait. Tim has a flight at 12:30. It's almost 10:00, and he hasn't left the house yet. Maybe I should go check to make sure he's awake. Or maybe he meant he has to leave the house at 12:30?

Okay. I'm back. Tim was awake and ready to go. That's a relief.

Back to Bligh.

Her government page has a little bio.

She didn't become the first elected Premier until March 2009. In February 2007, she had been like those other past premiers...simply replacing a male retired Premier.

She went to Miami State High School. Was that named after Miami Florida? I wonder where the name Miami originated from. There's also a Miami school in Ohio.

Bligh did her last six months of school at Nowra State High School. That's in New South Wales. Ah. So, she didn't spend all her life in Queensland. Nowra is about thirty minutes south of Kiama. I'm playing on Google Map Street View again. Nowra has a Berry Street. We have a Berry Street in Fort Worth. We drive on it to get to the zoo.

Bligh has a journal. Maybe I'll read some of that.

She says there's a new bridge. It's called Kurilpa Bridge. Lord Wiki says it's in Brisbane. It's for walkers and cyclists. That's cool. Bligh says the bridge will change colors for special days. It will be pink for breast cancer month. That's going on now, right? Or does America and Australia have different breast cancer months?

On 10 December, there's going to be a big party celebrating the 150th birthday of Queensland. The celebration will be held at the Botanic Gardens.

Bligh has an entry on school testing. She wants scores to improve. Oh. I'm so sick of politicians and their obsession with school test scores. Was there so much emphasis on testing when they were in schools?

Bligh assures people that taxpayers won't have to pay anything for her appearance on MasterChef. In fact, she gets a small payment for being on the show. Bligh says she'll donate that money to a local charity. That's good.

I'm reading some of her old journal entries now. There's one I like from August Bligh says the Queensland government is working to decriminalize surrogate mothers. I guess it has been illegal. They plan to only legalize altruistic surrogacy. That would be like someone getting pregnant for her friend or sister. It seems like it will still be illegal to do it for a fee.

Bligh says the law will cover homosexual couples wanting to have children. Good.

She has a bunch of speeches on the site. The only one that I'm interested in reading is the one she did on Sorry Day.

Bligh says, Again it struck me that the pain being acknowledged today is not ancient history – it is a raw and ever present reality for so many Queenslanders who live in our neighbourhoods and whom we represent as part of our electorates.

People often say, don't dwell on the past. The thing is, I don't think people would dwell on the past if there wasn't still shit in the present. If life for current Indigenous Australians was equal to that of non-indigenous Australians, I really don't think they'd care so much about the past.

In my own life, I've had strenuous relationships with certain people. I had so much anger at them....for past and present stuff. Lately though, I've been getting along very well with these people. I'm not sure if it's because I've become more tolerant, or they've changed in a way that is pleasing to me. It's probably a combination of both.

Anyway, because we're getting along so well now, I rarely think about negative things from the past. I actually have sit there sometimes and think. Wait. Why was I so mad at them before? Sometimes I can dredge up some negative stuff, but I don't feel anger about it.

So I really think people only dwell on the past when they're still being hurt in the present.

Of course, it can be a bit circular. People are angry about the past. Those they're angry with get defensive. There might be some guilt. This causes anger and fights to continue.

So reconciliation really takes BOTH groups making an effort. The white folks need to apologize, but if the Indigenous Australians refuse to accept the apology (and some have) that's going to be a hindrance. Although I think most people haven't rejected the apology. I think it's more about feeling the apology is a start, but not enough.

Ah. This is interesting. Queensland did it's own formal apology way before. They gave an apology to their stolen children in 1999.

Bligh says.....And importantly Mr Speaker – a future where all Australians, whatever their origin, put to rest the pain of yesterday and work together to create a tomorrow of equality, respect and mutual responsibility.

What comes first, putting the pain of the past to rest or having the happy equal tomorrow? It's like the chicken and egg thing. Can the pain be put to rest with just an apology...even though life is so incredibly unequal for Indigenous Australians? But can things become equal if people are so distrustful and angry with each other?

I say we're all up a creek without a paddle. I think it's POSSIBLE for things to get better, but I think it's going to take a LOT of work. I say we here....not because I've forgotten I'm not Australian. But as you all know, my country has it's own similar issues.

Anyway, I think I'm going to quit early today. I want to get my stuff done, so Jack and I can go visit his grandma.