Friday, December 18, 2009

Jim Bacon

It seems very likely that Jim Bacon is going to be a Premier. How could I imagine otherwise?

Maybe he'll be the Premier of Western Australia. I haven't written about that guy yet.

No. Lord Wiki says he was a Premier of Tasmania. Then I probably mentioned him yesterday. Did I? How could I forget by this morning? That's just sad.

There's a part of me that wants to be done with the Premiers. On the other hand, I kind of like it. Most of them have been pretty interesting. And it also helps me learn about all the different states.

Anyway, Bacon was a Labor Premier from 1998 to 2004.

Baby James was born in Melbourne on May 15 1950. By the way, I'm torn about how to write the dates. A part of me feels I should do it the Australian way, and another part of me feels I should do it the American way. Maybe I'll just go back and forth with that.

Daddy Bacon was a doctor. He sadly died when Jim Bacon was twelve. I guess then Bacon became the child of a single mother...although she might have remarried at some point. I don't know.

For school, Bacon went to Scott College. That's in Melbourne. He still hadn't moved to the state in which he'd become Premier.

For University, Bacon went to Monash. Lord Wiki says he didn't graduate though.

It seems Bacon was a communist in those days...or at least supported communism. Lord Wiki says he was a Maoist student leader. I guess there was some kind of club?

Bacon then left Melbourne. He didn't go to Tasmania. He went to Western Australia. There he became part of the Builders Labourers Foundation. This is a trade union that no longer exists, well except in Queensland. Queensland still has it. Lord Wiki says corruption is what made it end in the other states.

Anyway, the trade union sent Bacon to Tasmania. Finally, he gets there! And once he was there, he soon became Secretary of the Tasmanian Trade and Labour Council. This organization is also called Unions Tasmania, and here's their website.

In Tasmania, Bacon met his wife. Her name was Honey Hogan, and she became Honey Bacon. That's cute. Do people eat honey bacon? I know there's honey baked ham.

Well, I just found a recipe for honey bacon. As a vegetarian, it's highly irresponsible of me to provide that link. But here's another one. Vosges Chocolate has chocolate bars with bacon in them.

I don't miss bacon much because surprisingly Morningstar provides a fairly decent vegetarian version. The ingredient list is a bit daunting. But if I close my eyes, refuse to read, and just problem.

Lord Wiki says Honey Bacon became croupier. What does that mean? It sounds like she had a bad cough.

Oh. It's a casino worker. I'm surprised I've never heard that term before. My parents do some casino gambling.

Anyway, Honey Bacon worked in Australia's first legal casino. This was Wrest Point Hotel Casino. It opened in 1973. Lord Wiki says at the time, Tasmania didn't get many tourists. People didn't know about the state's natural beauty and all that. A group called Federal Hotels hoped that having a casino would drive in the tourists.

Okay. Now we get to the political stuff.

Bacon joined the Labor Party. I don't know when that was. But in 1996, he became a Member of the House of Assembly. I'm guessing that's Tasmanian Parliament. Well, here's their website. In 1997, Bacon became Leader of the Labor Party. Liberal Tony Rundle was Premier at the time. Then in 1998, Bacon became Premier.

Lord Wiki says Bacon was very successful as Premier. The economy did well. People liked him. He helped increase tourism.

Oh! He had added an extra ferry that went from Sydney to Tasmania. It didn't do well though, and they got rid of it in 2006. We may have used it if it had still been around. We considered taking the ferry to Tasmania. We imagined it might be cheaper to do that than fly. But we looked at the prices, and I don't think we were that impressed. I can't remember if it was more expensive than flying...or if the savings were just not worth it. It's probably environmentally better to go on the ferry. I'll give it that. But then we would have had to fly or drive to Melbourne to catch the ferry.

I think it's kind of hard to live in Tasmania. It's not always easy to get off that island...or to get on it. We almost didn't go because the flights looked pretty expensive. But what we ended up doing is using two different airlines. We flew Virgin one way, and Jetstar the other. For some reason, that saved us a lot of money.

Back to Bacon....he wiped out a major debt that Tasmania had. That's cool. The huge increase in tourism might have helped.

I wonder if Tasmania gets more national or international tourists.

This Tourism Tasmania site has some statistics about that. I have to download PDF files......

From March 2008 to 2009, there were 755,000 interstate visitors. They stayed an average of 7.9 nights. Most of them flew over.

There were 147,400 international visitors. Tim, Jack, and I made up three of those. And there were over thirty thousand other American tourists who came to Tasmania in that March to March time frame.

In February 2004, Bacon found out he had lung cancer. He announced he would be taking four weeks off so he could explore treatment options. Sadly, the news wasn't good. There wasn't much they could do for Bacon. He decided to resign as Premier so he could spend his remaining days with his family. That's so sad. I hate cancer.

Paul Lennon became the new Premier. I do remember his name from yesterday.

Bacon died just four months after being diagnosed. That's so scary to imagine. You can be fine (or IMAGINE you're fine) one day. Then a short time later you're diagnosed with a fatal disease that will kill you in a few months.

Bacon did smoke. He wasn't one of those I-got-lung-cancer-and-never-smoked people. Maybe that fact inspired some people to quit...hopefully.

This medical website says that ninety percent of lung cancer is caused by tobacco use. That's a pretty high percentage.

A person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day has a twenty five times more chance of getting lung cancer than a nonsmoker. A pipe and cigar smoker has a five times more likely chance. So I guess if you're going to smoke....better to use a pipe or cigar.

At the end of Lord Wiki's entry, he fills me in on some family information he hadn't mentioned before. First, Bacon had four sisters. Second, he had another woman in his life. She had two of his sons. Lord Wiki calls it a defacto relationship. That means they lived together, but were not married. Okay..... Lord Wiki says the relationship happened for twenty years. When did it happen??? I'm confused. It sounds like he met Honey in the 1970's. Twenty years before that, he would have been a baby. Maybe the twenty year part is a mistake.

I'm going to eat brunch with Jack. Then I'll do some more exploring.

I'm back.

The Tasmanian Government has a Jim Bacon Foundation. It helps people who have cancer. Some of the things they've done is to try to make things more comfortable for people at the hospital. They've done this by buying recliner chairs for patients, and also refrigerators so patients could store their own food. Well, that's good. Maybe then they don't have to eat hospital food all the time.

The website provides an online guide for patients and those taking care of them. They have a great list of ways that family and friends can help out. The list would also be great for relatives and friends of people with a new baby. I remember wishing I had more help when Jack was born! Everyone wanted to hold the new that way. The thing is Jack just wanted to eat all day, and my boobs were the ones with the food. It was hard to breastfeed without stress because there was SO much other stuff to know, like laundry and dishes.

I guess with cancer, there's sadly no new baby to hold. Well, I guess there could be. And that would be even more incredibly sad. Anyway, with cancer, people might deal with another family/friend issue....that's the fair weather friend one. That's probably too harsh a term for the situation. It's probably more a matter of people being scared. They don't know what to say, or how to they kind of disappear. Hopefully that doesn't happen too often. And when my sister had her brain injury, I don't really remember anyone doing that. I remember the opposite. Most people were eager to be there for us.

This article, from June 2009, says that Honey Bacon is going to get into politics. The article says in 2006, they talked about either one of them going into politics. I guess they weren't sure who should do it at first.

Honey Bacon is going to try to get the seat of Pembroke. I wonder if the election has happened yet.

Yeah. It looks like it did. And Lord Wiki says Bacon didn't win. A Liberal named Vanessa Goodwin won. Oh well. Bacon didn't run for the Labor Party. She went the independent route.

Here's an ABC transcript about Bacon's death. They said Bacon was.... widely credited with leading Tasmania out of a long period of stagnation, transforming one of Australia's weakest economies. That's something to be proud of.

And here's another ABC transcript. This one is about the original diagnosis.

Bacon took a break from being a Premier ten days after the diagnosis. Then he went to seek treatment. It would be so hard for ANY family to deal with such news. But I can imagine there'd be added on stress for a government official. You have to deal with the media. That in itself would probably be a huge pain. Then again. I'm sure there's even worse situations. How about people who are unable to afford treatment? I guess in Australia that's less of an issue.

Bacon took full blame for his cancer. He's the one who took up the smoking. He did use his situation as a warning to teenagers who wanted to start smoking. I really don't understand WHY people begin smoking these days. I don't get it. I mean I know in the past people didn't realize it was bad for them. But what's the excuse today? Not only is it bad for our health, but it makes people smell TERRIBLE. I say if you're going to use a life-threatening drug, choose one that doesn't make you smell so bad.

This here is sad. Bacon said, The choice is basically between trying to continue on with my work, or spend the hopefully many years I have left enjoying life with my darling Honey, my family, and all of my mates – all of whom I have neglected badly over the last 30 years that I have been so obsessed with work.
I assumed he stopped working because he thought he had only a few months left to live. But it sounds like he had more hope than that, and wanted to make a huge life change. Although maybe he was just trying to SOUND positive. He might have known it was unlikely that he'd live many years.

The transcript said his illness symptoms appeared only a few weeks before he was diagnosed.

He leaves the interview sounding hopeful. You know, look, I've loved every minute of it. No regrets. I'm deeply sorry I couldn’t go on longer, but that's life, and life for us now is going to be very happy, and we're going to give it heaps, and I am certain that you will have me around for a bit longer, but not in public life and not in politics.

I wish he had lived a longer time.

Oh well. Sometimes life has tragedy....a little too often for my taste.


  1. Well I'm going to just ask it here instead of looking it up. What is a Premier? must be a member of parliament or something?

    all these names are starting to sound the same. I'm terrible at names. I thought you were going to talk about Kevin Bacon (seriously - they're all the same to me). You should try watching a movie with me. I get everyone confused (C helps me keep the characters and plot line straight. mostly the characters).

  2. I love your tangents (bacon and sausage, breastfeeding, gay politics) very fun.
    I've never tried vegetarian sausage before. sounds kinda weird - plus I'm scared of soy (and isn't that what all those meat products are usually replaced with? soy?)

  3. HappyOrganist,

    I hate to admit this, but all these names are confusing me as well. I think I've done too many Premiers at once. I really can't keep any of them straight.

    A Premier is the head of the state...kind of like our governors. Although it's confusing because they have governors as well.

    Their governors are more honorary though. I mean it's more of an honorary title. The Premiers have more responsibility.

    I hope I'm saying all that right.

    Soy can be scary...or too much of it, at least. That's one thing that worried me when I tried the vegan thing.

    I eat a little bit of it...but not too much. I don't eat meat substitutes on a daily basis.

    I don't eat the sausage....I've never liked real sausage. Tim and Jack eat it though. Tim says it tastes like the real stuff.

    I like the fake bacon...although I rarely eat it. The thing I eat most is the chicken nuggets. Those are really good. I can't say if they taste like real chicken or not. It's been so long since I've had the real thing. How would I know?

    Are you allergic to soy, or are you just concerned about it in general?

    It's one of those very controversial foods. Some say it's good for you. Some say it's horrible for you.

    As for movies...once my cousin, sister, and I watched a horror mystery. At the end, they revealed the killer. Not one of us knew who it was. We were so confused!

  4. I had to read this to see if you picked up on his wife's name. You did. We on the northern island knew little about Bacon until he became ill, and so his wife's name was an amusing revelation. I think Bacon was an honourable bloke.

  5. no, this is the woman I was infatuated with hated soy - so I stay the heck away from it ;D

  6. HappyOrganist,

    That's probably a good enough reason
    : )

  7. Andrew,

    Sorry. I missed your comment yesterday. Well, I didn't miss it. I forgot to respond. I guess I was sidetracked by soy.

    I never heard of Australia referred to as the Northern Island. That's cute....just like Honey Bacon's name.

    Sadly, months from now...all I'll probably remember from this post is that his wife's name was Honey Bacon, and he died of lung cancer. I end up remembering so little. It's depressing.