Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nathan Rees

I think Nathan Rees is the Premier of New South Wales.

I could have him confused with someone else though.

Well, Lord Wiki says I'm right. He's the Premier. He took that job in September 2008. That was inbetween our first and second trips to Australia.

Baby Nathan was born 12 February 1968. His fortieth birthday was the day before Sorry Day.

He was born in west Sydney.

Mommy Rees was a long-time member of the Labor Party. What about Daddy Rees? Was he not into politics? Maybe he belonged to a different political party?

He went to Northmead High School.

When he finished school, Rees did a horticulture apprenticeship, and did that type of work for the Parramatta Council.

After that, Rees went to the University of Sydney for a degree in English Literature. He supported himself by being a garbage collector. Wow. That's some very humble beginnings. I'm impressed. It's a nice contrast from politicians like George W. Bush.

I guess he stayed with the Parramatta Council. Lord Wiki says Rees became secretary of the Municipal and Shire Employees Union. Well, at least I THINK it was part of the council. I may be confused.

Rees is a runner and cyclist. That's like Tim. Tim likes those things. He does races and all that.

In 1995, Rees began working as an adviser to the Deputy Premier of New South Wales.  Andrew Refshauge. His mother had worked for the guy. I'm supposing that connection helped Rees get the job, but I'm sure he was also very qualified.

After working for Refshauge, Rees worked for other Ministers. One of the Ministers was a guy named Milton Orkopoulos. Rees working for this guy caused some grief because Orkopoulos was later charged for pedophilia. Yikes.

Now Rees had stopped working for Orkopoulos before the horrific discoveries were made, but he was later accused of knowing about it all. Was he innocent regarding the information, or did he choose willful ignorance?

I guess enough people had faith in Rees, and didn't blame him for his associations. He was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in March 2007. The media talked about Rees as being a contender for Premier. Rees denied that he was a candidate, but a few months later he had the job.

Lord Wiki has some personal information.

Rees met his wife when he was fourteen. Wow. That's pretty young.

He's Roman Catholic.

He and his wife married pretty recently. January 2009. They had the wedding in New York City. I guess before that, his wife was his partner. I wonder if that would be tolerated so well in America. I get this feeling that America expects their leaders to be in a traditional marriage. I could be wrong about that though.

Well, here's a blog about unmarried American governors. It's from 2005. The blogger says at that time there were three unmarried governors.

I think in both America AND Australia, there's a pressure to be married and have least within some circles. But I do feel Australia is a little more progressive in that regards.

Rees did end up getting married though. Did that choice result from societal pressure?

Anyway, I'm done with Lord Wiki. I shall go look at other sites now.

Here's an interesting article from SMH. A fellow state-level Labor MP (Paul McLeay) said Rees was like someone with Tourettes. Wow. Of course people within the Tourettes community were offended.

Why did McLeay say this? He felt Rees did too much commenting on Twitter and Facebook. The Premier of South Australia (Mike Rann) was accused of the same thing. I don't think those accusations though came from politicians. It came from regular voter people who had signed up to be his follower. I loved Rann's reply. He reminded them that it was not a requirement to follow him.

I think some people just want something to complain about. I admittedly do poke fun sometimes at people who very frequently update Twitter. But if it truly annoyed me, I could just stop following them. That's a little hard when you're actually friends with someone. They might notice you've deserted them. But I really don't think frequent updates are a huge grievance in the scheme of things.

The article calls McLeay disgruntled. Apparently he said this nasty thing out of jealousy. The article says, The eternal political bridesmaid, bitter at not being made a minister, yesterday insisted his comments were meant as a compliment to Mr Rudd and Mr Rees.

Eternal political bridesmaid....I like that. It's a less offensive analogy than the Tourettes one. Well, at least I think so.

It's funny that McLeay tried to spin it as a compliment. I'm not sure I've ever encountered that. I usually encounter the...

I was just joking!

I didn't mean anything by it. 

You're too sensitive. 

You have no sense of humor.

Here's an interview with Rees on Lateline.

The interview was done the day he became Premier.

There's talk of the Labor Party being fractured. Does that refer to the whole Labor party, or just the New South Wales one?

Rees explains how he wants to begin to fix things. He says, And the first part of the process for me is to make sure that my door is open to, to everyone in the caucus, left, right and in between. And they all know that they've got accessibility to me and a capacity to walk into my office, with an appointment, obviously.

That's very welcoming. But it does sound like the kind of promise someone makes in the beginning, then takes it back later. I wonder if Rees today is as open as he had wanted to be.

A lot of the article is about people I don't know about. I'm too lazy to really dig into it. I feel I've been somewhat lazy lately with my posts. Oh well. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it's about me doing this blog more for myself, and not feeling obligated to research things that don't interest me. Or maybe it's the opposite. Maybe I'm finally realizing that I may get more people reading if my posts aren't ten pages long.

Towards the end of the interview, Rees talks about avoiding spin and being a straightforward politician. If that means that, on occasions, a few feathers are ruffled because of that directness, well, I'm sorry, but we'll get decisions made as well and get cracking on the job.

Honesty and directness seems to be the fad in politics....or at least the PROMISE to be honest and direct. It's the whole Yes, I'm a politician, but I'm not like the typical politician.

What I'd like to see is someone who comes onboard and says I'm a politician. For the most part, I've taken this path to satisfy my ego. I'll probably end up being dishonest and say things that will make you want to vote for me. Therefore I warn you to take all that I say with a grain of salt.

I'm looking at Rees' Twitter Page now. I haven't been to Twitter in a LONG time. I'm a Facebook girl now.

Rees has done 310 tweets. I don't think that's excessive at all. It looks like he does about one tweet a day, although maybe he went through a period where he did a lot of them.

I can't find that found Twitter Analysis tool that I used to use. I wonder if it's gone.

His tweet from 18 September says he will be apologizing to forgotten children. I need to read more about this.

Here's an article about it in the SMH. The apology was done at the Royal Botanical Gardens. I love that place.

The apology was for children who received unloving and abusive institutionalized care from the state.

The apology included an announcement that the government is pledging nine million dollars towards better counseling and support for caregivers. Maybe they hope to make some of these people less abusive?

The article says that within the last century 200,000 children were taken from their homes. Some of those children were abused. When are we going to get this right? There are children who are taken from fairly decent families....sometimes for ridiculous reasons. Then other children are HORRIBLY abused by their parents, and no one comes to rescue them.

Tim and I talked about this the other night. You know, there's that tragic story that's been in the news lately. Little and starved to death by her parents. The child protection authorities really fucked up there.

Yeah. I'm sure there are positive stories, and we hear less about them. There are probably children who have been rescued from truly abusive homes and given to wonderful foster families. I'm sure SOMETIMES the system works.

Another recent controversy that Rees has been dealing with regards another pedophile. I don't understand all the details, but basically Rees helped get a pedophile evicted from his home. Oy. Yikes. That's complicated. The guy didn't just watch some child porn from his computer. He actually kidnapped and sexually assaulted three kids.

This happened in the past though. Apparently, he hasn't done anything bad for twenty-two years.

I don't know. A part of me thinks we should strive for rehabilitation and forgiveness. But would I want that guy near my child? Would I want them near my nieces and nephew? No.

Although in these days, parents rarely let their kids roam around free. Would having this guy as a neighbor truly be that much of a threat? I don't think it would matter in my neighborhood. It's not like Jack goes off playing outside on his own. But maybe in this New South Wales neighborhood, kids do play more freely.

It would definitely have been a threat during my own childhood. We spent most of our time outside without adult supervision.

Having an ex-convict as a teacher, babysitter, coach, tutor, camp counselor, etc. would definitely be dangerous. But neighbor? I don't know.....

Did any of you see that movie Little Children? It deals with all those pedophile issues. I saw part of it. I thought it was very sad and thought-provoking.

Anyway, that's it for me for now. I have another project I want to work on.


  1. We call ourselves in Victoria, Mexicans. Down south you know.

    I know little about Rees and you have told me a bit more about him.

    Not sure if you will get this, but Union hack, NSW catholic right of Labor Party bovver boi who's time in the limelight will be brief. I don't think there are too many people who I have seen on tv who I like less.

  2. Andrew,

    Well, I had to a term or two....but I think I get what you're saying.

  3. Oops. I meant to say "I had to GOOGLE a term or two".

  4. The NSW Labor government is a complete and utter joke. They are always aware of things yet do nothing. Carenne Special School is yet another example of this, covering up child abuse of disabled students, stealing, etc just because the local MPs Labor mate works there.

    Drop by sometime

  5. Julie Brown,

    It sounds really awful. I'm looking at your blog right now.