Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Colin Barnett

I'm going to guess that Colin Barnett is the Premier of Western Australia. It just surprises me that I haven't gotten to that yet. So I'm thinking maybe today is the day.

Let's go see....

Yes. Lord Wiki says I'm right. I'm thinking I probably recognized the name on a subconscious level as well.

Barnett has been the Premier of Western Australia since September 2008. Currently, he's the only Premier of Australia from the Liberal Party. Although I forgot the political persuasion of the Chief Ministers of the Territories.

Let me go check that out.....

Lord Wiki says Paul Henderson from the Northern Territory is Labor.

John Stanhope from the ACT is Labor as well.

Anyway, let's start talking about Barnett.

Baby Colin was born on 15 July 1950. Tim was born one day after his seventeenth birthday.
He (Colin, not Tim) was born in a western suburb of Perth called Nedlands. Tim was born in South Korea.

Barnett attended Nedlands Primary School, and Hollywood Senior High School. I don't see a website for the latter, so it might no longer exist. I'm not sure.

For his university studies, Barnett studied geology at the University of Western Australia. That's a very interesting major. I wonder if he had a passion for rocks and science....or was it about the prospect of making money through mining?

Well, whichever it was....it seems the interest didn't hold for long. Barnett later switched to a major in Economics. He obtained a degree in that, and then went on to get a masters degree.

In 1973, Barnett became a cadet research officer for the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This is in Canberra, so he had to move out east.

Yikes a statistics website. This might be too much fun.

I'll try not to stay too long. Let's just see if there's anything very exciting.

Right now, as I write this, the population of Australia is estimated to be at 22,076, 542. That's about two million less people than Texas has. This a pretty funny when you compare the physical size of Texas and Australia.

The state with the largest population growth this year is Western Australia. I remember hearing that before actually. Tasmania's population is growing the slowest.

On this page, it looks like female smoking has greatly decreased since the late 1980's. Male smoking has decreased as well, but I think female smoking decreased more. It seems the highest amount of smoking occurs in the ages of twenty-five to thirty-four range.

The website says that one in five people who smoke daily started their habit before the age of fifteen. That's pretty sad.

About 2.4% of Australians are morbidly obese. We're not talking a little chubby here..... This is some serious stuff.

There's a correlations between financial situation and smoking/obesity. The lower the socio-economic group, the more likely it is that someone is going to be obese and/or smoke. Alcohol consumption is different though. If I'm reading this right, those in the lowest socioeconomic group are LESS likely to drink.

I'm probably NOT reading it right. If someone wants to go check for me, I'd deeply appreciate that.

I should get back to Barnett....

Eventually, he was promoted to senior research officer at the statistics place. Then he moved back to Perth.

In Perth, he became an economics professor at the Western Australian Institute of Technology.

In 1981, Barnett became part of the Confederation of Western Australia Industry. It looks like it was a trade union. Although the link right there is to the Confederation of West Australian Industry. It might not be the right/same thing. Anyway, for the organization that Barnett WAS a part of....he was the first editor of their publication called Western Australia Economic Review.

Barnett soon became their chief economist. Then he became the Executive Director of the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce.

In 1990, Barnett got himself into the Western Australia Legislative Assembly. His seat was Cottlesloe. That sounds familar. I think maybe I've done a post on someone else who had that seat. Maybe it was Curtin?

No. Lord Wiki lists all the people who have had that seat. I haven't written about any of them. Maybe someone had a seat that SOUNDED like Cottesloe.

Cottesloe has been around since 1950, and has always been Liberal.

Once Barnett had the seat, he was pushed to the front bench of the opposition. So I guess the Premier at the time was Labor.

Yes. Lord Wiki says it was Carmen Lawrence, the first female Premier of a state in Australia.

Barnett became Deputy Leader of the Opposition in 1992. Then in 1993, a Liberal guy became Premier. Under him, Barnett had the Ministries of Resources Development and Industry, Tourism, and Education. Oh! And he remained Deputy Leader. I was wondering about that. I thought maybe he had been a bit demoted.

The Liberal guy (Richard Court) was Premier until 2001. Then a Labor guy named Geoff Gallop became Premier. By this time, Barnett had become Leader of the Opposition.

In 2005, there was some kind of canal issue. Barnett wanted to construct a canal that would bring water from The Kimberley in the north down to Perth. This would end up being very expensive (billions of dollars) and would probably not be easy on the environment. John Howard refused to give Federal money to the project. And then there were mistakes in the costing document. It was a bit of a mess....probably embarrassing for Barnett. He ended up resigning as Liberal Leader. He went to the backbench and declared he'd be retiring from politics. Well, we know that decision turned itself around at some point.

The retirement declaration happened in November 2007. About nine months later, Barnett was back as Opposition Leader again. The previous guy retired, and Barnett was re-elected. One thing led to another, and by September 2008, Barnett was Premier of Australia.

Lord Wiki lists some controversial things about Barnett. In 2005, he decided to try and recriminalize homosexuality for people under the age of eighteen. The good news is the community (or most of it) shot that plan down.

I'm looking at what Lord Wiki has to say about current Western Australia gay/lesbian legislation. It looks pretty good...especially the adoption stuff. Well, it has the happy green check marks in the box, instead of the ugly mean red X's. They have same-sex joint couple joint petition. I don't know what that is, but I think it's a good thing. The only other place in Australia that has it is the ACT. And both places, plus Tasmania, have same-sex stepparent adoption.

Okay, I'm reading the details now....instead of the chart. In Western Australia and the ACT, gay and lesbian couples can adopt a child. In New South Wales, a gay couple can't adopt a child. But a single gay parent can do so.

If you're gay or lesbian living in South Australia and you want to adopt a child....it's probably best to move to a different state.

It's interesting that Barnett has an anti-gay Liberal Premier, yet it has these nice adoption laws.

Jack often reminds me that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. We also shouldn't judge a state by its Premier, I suppose.

Recently in October, Barnett tried to do something with Cannabis Laws. I don't really understand what Lord Wiki is saying here. He wanted to repeal the 2003 Cannabis Control Act. I don't know what that is. Well, I guess I should to find out.

Well, I'm having trouble finding information I can understand.

Maybe I'll check Google News.

No luck there either.....

Maybe I'm having bad Karma with Google today.

Oh wait. I should have just read down a little bit. I think Lord Wiki explains it right here. He says the new legislation gives police the right to search and seize property without any suspicion or belief that a crime has been committed. What's really scary is another member of the Western Australia Liberal Party (Peter Abetz) defended the policy by pointing to how it worked well in Nazi Germany.

I'd really like to find more information about this. Let me keep trying. I hate relying on Lord Wiki's word alone.

This newspaper/website has an article about Abetz and his Germany thing. They say what Lord Wiki said. Abetz used Nazi Germany's story as support for the search and seizure laws.

And I finally found an article about the drug act. I had to use Google News Archive instead of just Google News. That's strange. The article I'm looking at is from October 2009. It's not that long ago!

It's pretty much saying that Western Australia is trying to become very strict when it comes to drug use.

Barnett says, Cannabis is not a harmless or soft drug. Research continues to show that cannabis can lead to a host of health and mental health problems including schizophrenia, and can be a gateway to harder drugs.
I was going to say the schizophrenia stuff is bullshit, but I looked it up, and it seems there really might be a link. This schizophrenia website has some information about it. What I'm getting is that if you have some certain genes, using certain drugs will greatly increase your chance of getting schizophrenia. If you don't have those certain genes, you're probably safe. The problem is many people have these genes and don't realize it.

I'm sure there are probably other websites/studies out there that say smoking pot is fine. I don't know. My personal experience....

Well, my ex-boyfriend smoked pot on a fairly regular basis. Years after we broke up, he sent me some letters that led me to believe he had become a paranoid schizophrenic. I know one piece of anecdotal evidence doesn't prove anything. But it does make me wonder.

I personally prefer to avoid all recreation drugs...including alcohol. Do I agree with Barnett, that drug laws should become more strict? Definitely not. I think frequent use of recreational drugs is unhealthy. But occasional? I'm sure it's probably fine for the most part. It's like having a Sundae every so often is not going to make someone obese. It really all comes down to moderation and knowing your own personal risk factors.

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