Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gloria Joan Lile Child

Gloria Joan Lile Child.

That's a long name.

I added her to the list on a June morning. I must have come across her name while researching someone else. Now I can't remember who she is. I shall go and find out.....

Well, Lord Wiki's report on her is awfully short. This might be a quick post. Well, maybe not. I might find treasures elsewhere.

Anyway, Lord Wiki says she's known as Joan Child. I'm not sure why I had her long full name listed.

Child is known as being the first and (so far only) female Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I almost forget to add the word female in the sentence above. That would have been a pretty big oops.

Baby Joan (or Gloria?) was born 3 August 1921. She's a few years older than what my grandparents would be. Lord Wiki doesn't have a date of death. I guess she's still alive. How old is she?

About eighty-eight.

That's not too old.

She came from the Labor Party. In 1974, she was elected to the seat of Henty which deals with the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The seat is usually conservative. Now it's gone. Child was the last person in the seat.

Lord Wiki says Henty is named after the first European settlers in Victoria. I wonder if any of their descendants are still around.

At first, Child had the Henty seat for a short time. 1974-1975. She then lost to a Liberal. But in 1980 she got back in again. She had it until 1990.

Child became Speaker of the House in 1986. Lord Wiki says she was an unanimous nominee from the Labor Party, and the Liberal accepted her. She ended up being liked by both sides.

Lord Wiki says she had a difficult time with the role though. She felt Parliament was a bit too rowdy. The stress of the job effected her health. She resigned in 1989.

Here's something a little bit interesting. Child was Speaker when Parliament moved from the OLD Parliament House to the new one. There was some debate over whether the old speaker's chair should move to the new building. Child said no to that. So it didn't move. It's interesting that the decision was left up to her. Or maybe the decision was dependent on other people as well.

The National Archives of Australia has a large photo of Child. She looks very nice. I mean I know you can't go on looks. People sometimes look nice, and they're far from it. Some people though act exactly the way their appearance makes you expect them to act.

Child just has such a happy smile in that picture. It's like her eyes are twinkling. She looks like someone who has a great sense of humor.

The archive site says it may have been difficult for a woman to control a room full of men. This is especially true because some of those men were probably sexist, and not interested in taking orders from a woman. For men it seems like a challenging job too. I think it would be even harder for a women. We're often not taking seriously. And this was over twenty years ago. Hopefully, things would be at least a LITTLE easier on a female Speaker today. When will there be another women speaker? I hope it's not too soon because I like Jenkins.

I'm looking at Google News Archives now. Here's an article about Child from the 31 December 1985 issue of The Age.

Before she was a Speaker and politician, she was a cleaning lady. That's interesting.

She likes detective fiction. I've never been much into that.

Like Greg Page of the Wiggles, she's an Elvis fan.

Child has five sons. In 1985, they were between the ages of twenty-nine and thirty-nine. Now they'd be in their fifties and sixties. They'd be close to my parent's age.

The article says she doesn't like discussing her age.

Why are people ashamed of their age?

I have to admit for the first time (in a long time) I felt some dismay about being older. It came from reading Twilight. Reading the books made me want to have that youthful beauty again. It's depressing. I look at photos of myself in my late teens and early twenties. I was beautiful, but I never really appreciated it back then. I was too self-conscious. I should stop dwelling on not appreciating my physical self in the past though. When I'm fifty, I'll look back at photos of myself at thirty-six and wish I had appreciated THAT time of youth. It's all about perspective.

What helps me though is to remind myself that all the young beauties I get jealous of will also get older. Vampires not included....of course.

It also helps me to look at beautiful woman who are in their fifties and older. I think they're just as beautiful as woman in their twenties. It's just a different type of beauty. For example, lately I've been watching Ruth Cracknell in Mother and Son. I think she's VERY lovely.

The article describes in great detail what Child is wearing. She has blue eyeshadow. I wear blue eye shadow sometimes. I like it. I find though that if I wear blue eyeshadow I can't wear any lipstick. It makes me look like a clown.

Child wore a vest knitted by her sister. That's nice. I bet her sister was excited to see herself mentioned in the article.

Child has short chunky hands with lots of rings. I love these details.

She likes cricket, but doesn't care who wins. She just likes to watch the game. That's cool.

She gardens. In the time of this article, she lived in Melbourne. The article says her house was in a lower class suburb.

Her carpets range from beige to brown.

This article is very entertaining.

Child does patchwork stuff. I guess that would be like quilting?

Her father was a postmaster. He was conservative and didn't like the Labor Party. That's like my family. We're very mixed. Tim and I are on the left, along with my younger sister and her husband. My mom and other brother-in-law are very much on the right...especially my brother-in-law. My dad is in the middle. We have many INTERESTING conversations. Often they're quite loud and animated.

Child says it was her older siblings that inspired her to join the Labor party. They were more on the left. I wonder about her mother.

Child is asked about her favorite politician....the one she admires the most. She names Keating.

She was left a widow when her kids were young. She had to raise five boys by herself. That must have been challenging. She went on the widow's pension, but that wasn't enough money. She tried working full time, but it was too hard to do that, and give her children the mothering they needed. That's when she started cleaning houses. That's a job that can be done part time.

She likes to cook. I wish I was better at it. Fortunately, Tim loves it, and is very good at it. So we do get home cooked meals sometimes.

This other article, in The Age, is about Child stepping into the Speaker job. It's from 12 February 1986.

They say that when she first stepped into the Speakers seat, she sounded a little nervous. Being a Speaker kind of reminds me of being a teacher. There's probably some element of classroom management to it.

Oh this is funny. I just read further, and Child herself shared my teacher analogy. One of the Members of Parliament brought her flowers. Child joked that next time maybe he'd bring her an apple.

There was some interesting controversy. In Parliament, a Member for the National Party made some negative remarks regarding something Child has said earlier in The Age. She had said, You won't get an independent Speaker because there is no such animal.

Child also said (I'm not sure if in the article, or later in the Speaker's chair) We all have allegiance to a political party. Being impartial and unfair is another thing.
That's not really true. There ARE independents in Australian Parliament. I also don't think anyone can be truly impartial. We all have our opinions. We all have a tendency to take sides. But I do think we can STRIVE for fairness.

Child told the Members of the Opposition that she felt they were treated unfairly. She assured them that she'd be more fair. Wow. That's a pretty bold statement against the last Speaker. Who was he?

Ah. It was Harry Jenkin's daddy. Yeah. He had been a Speaker too. Was he really unfair?

The article goes back to the school analogy again. It says...Mrs. Child seemed prepared to allow them the sort of latitude that good teachers allow schoolboys on their first day back after the long vacation.

Interesting that the word vacation is used instead of holiday. I thought vacation was more of an American term.

Anyway, I think I shall quit here.

I really like using the old newspapers on Google. I need to utilize those more often.

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