Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Michelle Landry

Today I'm going to be writing about a Member of Parliament. Michelle Landry.

Why out of all the Members of Parliament did I choose to write about Michelle Landry? The answer is complicated and wacky, but I will say it involved using Random.org.  I think maybe I'm too dependent on that website.

So...let's see what Lord Wiki has to say about Landry.

Not much! I'm going to guess she's backbencher.

Landry was born October 15, 1962. She's ten years older than me.

Her birthplace was Rockhampton.

Rockhamptom was mentioned in my research yesterday of Busby Marou. Though I'm not sure if I talked about it in my blogpost. Maybe? I was unsure of how Rockhampton was part of their story. Were Busby and Marou born there? Did they grow up there?  Just end up meeting each other there?

I'm remembering something from QuizUp. I think maybe Rockhampton is the beef capitol of Australia. Or something like that.

Yep. Lord Wiki confirms that.

Anyway, Landry is a member of the Liberal-National Party. She joined Parliament in September 2013—a little over a year ago.

She represents the Division of Capricornia. Does that include Rockhamptom?

Lord Wiki says yes. Rockhamptom is the center of the Division of Capricornia.  Also included in the political area is Yeppoon, and some lower bits of Mackay.

Frank Forde, the Prime Minster of eight days, was the Member for Capricornia from 1922-1946. He might not have been Prime Minister for a long time, but he had a long run in Capricornia.

Here's something else. Capricornia turned Liberal only recently. From 1998-2013, the MP representative was Kirsten Livermore from the Labor Party.

Before Michelle Landry got into politics, she had a book business. Maybe a bookstore? Or she might have been selling books out of her home. Maybe a mail order thing?

Then in 2010, she tried to get into Parliament. But she lost the election. She tried again in 2013 and won.

Here's a video of Landry's inaugural speech.

She starts by talking about the moon-landing. Her father set up a TV in his shop so people who couldn't afford television could be part of the historical event. That was very thoughtful of him. And a good way to bring in more customers.

So far, her big thing seems to be community spirit and small time businesses.

Now she's talking about Menzies and a speech he did. I think he was a role-model for Landry.

Menzies spoke out for the everyday workers—I think the ones that Sesame Street referred to as The People in Your Neighbourhood.

Tim was trying to think of things and places he could photograph. My idea was that he should photograph the people who we see frequently working around where we live in Fort Worth— the guy who scoops our ice-cream, the people who help us at the grocery store, the people working at the library, the mailman, the guys who pick up our garbage and recycling, the gardeners in the neighborhood, etc.

Landry says Capricornia had political dormancy...I guess up until she came along.  I hardly know what that means. I wonder why she makes that accusation, and whether or not it has any merit.

Ah! I just found a transcript of the speech. It's faster to just read it. Though there's something about actually listening to it. I think you get a better sense of the spirit of the whole thing.

For example, I could read the speech and imagine Landry as being very cheerful and charismatic. But watching the video, I see she's not. She's very serious, and seems nervous.

And just as I say that...Landry smiles. Laughs a little.

The camera shows her father sometimes, sitting in the public area. He looks so serious, almost sad. Maybe he's just emotional about seeing his daughter becoming an MP.

Now she's talking about her parents, and how they were small town business owners. Then she makes a variety of historical and pop culture references: JFK, death of Menzies, decimal currency, Vietnam, Beatles, Abba, and other stuff.

The business they owned was called Lucky Daniels.

I Googled and there's a real estate page saying Lucky Daniels in Rockhampton is now for sale.  It's a news agency. I'm guessing that's the one her parents owned.  The website says the store has had the same owners for the last twenty years. That wouldn't be Landry's parents, because they owned it in the 1960's. Twenty years from then, would be the 1980's. So at some point, they left the business.

Wow. Landry's mother was busy! She took care of the children—got them ready for school.  She helped her husband at Lucky Daniels, went home and got dinner ready. After dinner, she worked the nights shift at a hospital.

When did she sleep?

Reading that...it makes me feel lazy.

I like what Landry says here. Mum and Dad, you taught me that hard work and good manners can take you to places of which you never dreamed.

I like that she says "can" and not "will". There's no guarantee that working hard and being polite will get you far in life. But it CAN. And maybe (probably) those attributes increase your chances of being successful.

Landry talks about how preference should be given to local workers over fly-in and fly-out workers. I agree with that.

She talks about how political divisiveness is causing problems in Capricornia. When and where is that NOT the case? Seriously.

She talks about the thing I learned from QuizUp. Beef is big business in the area. Landry, though, makes sure to also mention other industries such as crocodile farms, tropical fruit, and cane sugar.

Now the speech is providing me with some personal information.

Landry has two daughters—Jessica and Kirsten. They're both grown-up and married. And Landry has two brothers.

Next in the speech, Landry thanks a lot of people in the community. I think she does a good job of mentioning a lot of people in a variety of industries.

Maybe I'll pick out some of things she says and copies them here...kind of highlights from her speech.

1. I recognise our unique Aboriginal culture and those who preserve and teach the history, heritage, traditions, Dreamtime culture and language of our Indigenous people. I like how she goes beyond recognizing the original custodians of the land, and all that. It takes work to continue a culture, especially in a world that's changing so fast.

2. I recognise the people who work night shift—in services, emergency services, small business and mines and industry. While we sleep, they keep our economy rolling. I recognise people at the heart of our transport industries, from bus drivers to cabbies and the long-haul freight and livestock truckies that keep us moving and deliver our products. I recognise those who work in the blazing sun—in the farm paddocks, on construction sites and in outdoor jobs.

I love all that! This is the kind of stuff we should be saying at our Thanksgiving table.

3. I want to also recognise the contribution of people like our police officers, teachers, nurses and others who do not earn the big wages of the resources sector but who go out with their families to live in these areas. They enrich and contribute to our country towns and help others in our communities. It might seem surprising, but I also recognise our regional media—the newspapers, local radio and TV that chronicle our daily history. 

I wonder why it's surprising. Our politicians known for being anti-media? Maybe Michelle Landry personally?

4. I salute our region's vast and diverse multicultural groups—people who come from far-off places; people who introduce us to new and vibrant cultures, festivals and foods and who contribute enormously to the fabric that makes up our local economy.

That's lovely.

And Landry goes on and on. If you don't see your favorite community members in my blog post, it's not because Landry forgot them. It's just I didn't want to cut and paste too much of her speech.

Well...never mind. I've thought of some people she neglected. She did leave out artists. And that's unfortunate. There's no mention of writers, musicians, actors, comedians, painters, sculptors, architects, photographers, etc. They might not be the backbone of the community, but I think often they're the icing on the cake. Or if we want to stick with the body metaphor, how about they're the eyebrows of the community. You might not need your eyebrows, but you're gonna look pretty ugly without them.

Who made that pretty necklace you're wearing, Michelle Landry? Yes, you appreciate the hardworking shopkeeper who sold it to you. But how about the person who designed it?

Anyway....

Landry ends up speech by talking about a headless floppy rooster carcass.  Interesting way to conclude things.

I've been reading most of the speech, but I decided I needed to actually hear and see this conclusion.

The other MP's laugh about the dead bird. That's a bit heartless.

No respect for artists here and no respect for the chooks.

Ah! I'm glad I actually watched this. Landry loses the last page of her speech. That wasn't in the transcript.  The other MP's laugh at that too.  In this case, I actually think there's some comedy there.

I don't really understand the comedic value of a dead rooster. Although isn't there a plastic dead chicken you can buy? It's a gag thing?

Lord Wiki says I'm right. It's not plastic. It's rubber. And it's not headless.

But maybe there's something inherently funny about dead chickens.

INTERESTING....Lord Wiki says the rubber dead chicken is a metaphor for speechmaking. So maybe it does fit well with a speech conclusion. Though I don't think that was Landry's aim. The chicken was actually part of a story which illustrated her promise to listen to her constitutes.

Landry doesn't find the last page of her speech. She manages without it.

After the speech, Landry gets hugs from a few people. That's sweet.

I just realized something. You know who else Landry forgot to mention. Politicians! Maybe she felt doing so would be arrogant. But they ARE part of the community as well.

I suppose maybe her aim was to acknowledge the people who are not showered with wealth and fame.  They get enough of life's riches already. But the thing is, not all actors, writers, sport's stars, politicians, musicians, etc. get rich and famous.  Most of them struggle, get paid hardly anything, and if they're lucky enough to have fame, it's from the local community only.

I was just googling and had a brief return glance at Landry's speech. I saw that the Lucky Daniels news agency also had caskets.

Is that like in funeral caskets, or something else?

Here's an article about Michelle Landry's parents.

Wait....

I just looked at the speech again. She actually doesn't mention it as being a news agency. She just says caskets. How did I miss that before?

Maybe the casket shop turned into a news shop eventually? Or maybe there's two Lucky Daniels in Rockhampton.

Back to the article....

Her parents are named Gloria and William Martin. So Martin is Landry's maiden name.

They were both shocked by her decision to go into politics.  But then the article says that Mrs. Martin says that her daughter always loved politics. So why would they be surprised about her pursuing that career?

The article says, The couple raised their family in Rockhampton and ran Lucky Daniels Casket Agency where Michelle would serve customers, only reaching over the counter because she stood on a box provided by her father.

Serving customers? Customers?  Is that the term you'd used for the bereaved. I don't think so. I'm thinking casket means something else.

I just looked the word up in a dictionary. Besides being a coffin, a casket can also be... a small chest or box for jewelry or other valuable things. That makes more sense to me.

It's strange otherwise. It's like these people are mourning their loved ones. But don't worry. Mr. Martin has brought in a black and white TV, so even though Uncle Harry is no longer with us...we can watch the moon landing! 

The article says that Landry grew up in the Rockhamptom suburb of Wandal.

I'm looking at it all on Google Maps. Wandal is towards the west. I see the Lucky Daniels News and Casket Agency.  So I'm concluding now that there's one Lucky Daniels, and not one that's a news agency and another that's casket agency.

I wonder...who's Daniel?

And were Mr. and Mrs. Martin the first people to own the shop? Or did they buy it from someone else?

Anyway, the shop is to the east of Wandal.  It's near the Fitzroy River.

Michelle Landry has her own website.  The sliding images on the home page bother me. But that's not her fault. My vision is so sensitive lately. I get nauseated a lot.

Her about page gives me some information I haven't encountered yet.

Landry worked for the National Australian Bank for 22 years.

At another point in her life, she worked as a medical lab assistant.

Her parents ran the Lucky Daniels shop for 21 years.

You know...earlier when I was Googling, I saw something about caskets and lotteries. I kind of ignored it, because I couldn't find much about it. But now it says here that Landry helped write out casket tickets. That kind of sounds like it might be a lottery thing.

Landry is involved with a number of organizations. One of them is The Heart Foundation. Her daughter had a heart defect and had open heart surgery when she was five-years-old.  I imagine that's terrifying.

This page of her site has a variety of news type things involving Landry.

The most recent is from the end of August; and it's about her being unhappy with protesters who she sees as disrupting important military exercises.  She says, These people need to do a bit of navel gazing. Look at recent news events: beheadings in the Middle East, young Australians acting as foreign fighters for terrorists overseas, innocent people being killed and starved in Iraq and Syria and innocent Australians killed when flight MH17 was shot down by a military weapon. “While Australians are dealing with some serious global issues, these Capricorn peace protesters want to dress up in flowery clothing and chain themselves to our airport fence. They really should take a reality check.

What she says is rude, but at this point I pretty much agree with her. Peace is the ultimate wish, but our world doesn't often work in that direction. Sometimes you have to fight back...hopefully with the goal of protecting yourself, and not with the goal of displaying your strength.

That being said, she might be a bit nasty in her stereotyping. Were all the protestors really wearing flower clothing? And are they all ignorant? I think a lot of times protesters are. They join the bandwagon because it's fun. They need a way to fill up their afternoon. But I think there are other protestors who are educated about current events, understand the situation, and still believe peace is attainable.

I think this might be the website of the peace group in Rockhampton that's doing the protesting.

They want to end the US alliance.

The only thing I'm wondering is whether Australia would be in less danger from the whole ISIS thing if they didn't have US military there. Did The US presence partly lead to Australians getting involved?

I have no idea. I'm pretty ignorant about the whole thing.

Tim talks about how one conflict leads to another. It never ends. You fight one battle, and maybe you win. But that just leads to more battles.

Is it best to pack up the weapons, go home, and sing while sitting around in sewing circles?

There's evil in the world. Is it best to fight against it or ignore it?

I believe there have been times in history where it would have better to sing songs of peace and resist war. But then what if that was the world's response to Germany and Japan during World War II?

I just read more of the article and towards the end, Landry really annoys me.  She talks about how having these military operations aren't just important because they might protect Australia, and other people in the world. The military stuff also brings money into the community. I hate when people argue on that point. If something is good and/or needed; AND it has economic benefits for the community, that's wonderful. But if something is controversial and maybe not good, I think saying it will bring in money is a horrible argument.

Not that I'm saying this military stuff is bad. But for people who think it's bad, I don't think reminding them that it will make money is helpful.

I'm against factory farms. If someone reminded me that factory farms employ a lot of people and bring money into the community, that wouldn't win me over.

There are other interesting articles on Landry's website—stuff about diabetes, cancer, MRI's, etc. But this post is getting long, and each one will probably prompt me to write way too much. So I'm going to head to the next section of her site.

Michelle Landry has a YouTube page, with a bunch of little short videos. I shall watch a few.

Her most recent video was uploaded two weeks ago. It's about her trip to Clermont.

Where's Clermont?

Looking at Google Maps....

It's four hours north and west of Rockhampton. I don't think it would be part of Capricornia.

Lord Wiki says it's part of the electoral district of Gregory. Their MP is also from the Liberal-National Party.

There's a coal line there. Or there's going to be a coal mine. That's what Landry is talking about in her video.

I'm confused. She says something in the beginning that makes it sound like Clermont IS part of her electorate.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding things.

No!  It turns out I just read the wrong thing.

I was looking at the STATE electorate. Oops.

So yes. Clermont is part of Capricornia.

In the video, Landry talks about how she wants locals getting the jobs that the mine creates.

She talks about landowners—the farmers, who worry that a coal transport train is going to cause problems. Landry says she is working towards making things okay.  I think she's trying to make things decent for everyone, but that's not always going to happen. Unfortunately.

Landry mentions people she talked to on her journey. She's eager to celebrate and honor everyday types of people—like a 90-year-old shop owner.  That's really cool.

I think I'm getting a bit tired, so I don't think I'll watch any more of the videos.

I enjoyed spending some time with Michelle Landry. I thought I was over being interested in Australian politics...or at least Australian politicians.  Writing this post has made me change my mind a little. Politicians are interesting people sometimes. I may not agree with all of their opinions. They might not be from a party I support. But despite that, I still often find things to like about them.