Sunday, December 14, 2008

Simon Crean (Thanks to the son of Magikquilter)

Simon Crean.

I've seen his name while doing research, but now I can't remember anything about him.

I'm afraid all this stuff is going to just slip out of my head. I have this fear that all of you expect me to be smart. I'm going to go to Australia and you're going to expect me to know so much. My mind will go blank and the only thing I'll be able to say is Uh, Australia. You have kangaroos. Right?

Well, hopefully THAT won't happen. Hopefully, I'll at least remember the koala and platypus as well.

Simon Crean will be celebrating his birthday when we're in Australia. February 26. I wonder what we'll end up doing that day.

He was born in 1949--seven days after my dad was born.

Birthday website time! He's a Pisces and his numerology number is 6. I think this would be a spiritual family-oriented person.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I believe in astrology or numerology. Sometimes, things fit so well and it makes me believe. On the other hand, I read signs and numbers that do not fit my birthday and I relate to those too.

Also, in a spiritual sense it makes little sense to me. It makes the after/between life seem so damn bureaucratic. Do they divide us by personalities and life plans; then that determines what day and time we'll be born? Uh, sorry you need to wait a day. You're too shy to be a Leo.

I do sometimes believe though--and at the very least, I think it's fun.


Crean is part of the Labor party. According to Lord Wiki, he's currently the Minister of Trade. That job started for him on December 3, 2007. We were in Australia on that day! It was our second day there.

He was the leader of the opposition from 2001-2003. He had the job after Beazley and before Latham. I like Beazley. I don't like Latham. How will I feel about Crean?

Crean was born in Melbourne. Like most Americans, I pronounce the name of that place all wrong. I know how it should be pronounced, but my mouth doesn't want to go that way. It wants to say it in that awful American way. MelBURN. I mean I CAN say it the right way, but I feel weird when I do it. It's hard to explain.

Crean comes from a family of political people. Both his dad and his brother were members of the Labor party.

Crean went to Middle Park Central School. I'm aware that I have a lot of interest in school for someone homeschools their child. I'm attracted to schools. And in some ways, I do regret that Jack doesn't go to school. It's not because I think schools are better or necessary. It's just the whole school thing is kind of cute. I like the idea of picking Jack up from school--seeing him with his cute little backpack and lunchbox. How was school today, Sweetie? Do you have any homework?

I can't find much about the school, but I'm assuming it was in the suburb of Melbourne called Middle Park. This description of Middle Park makes it seem like a perfect little place--like the type of idealistic land that Walt Disney would dream up. Everyone knows your name...and your dog's name. But it's not in an intrusive stalker like way. Awesome.

Crean went to Melbourne High School. Their website is very green--not as in an environmental. It's just very BRIGHT green. I'm wondering if I have the right school because the principal has all these references to America. He went to college at Oklahoma State. His wife works for NASA. His daughter attends the University of Florida. What?

Okay. Wrong school. That was in Melbourne Florida. OOPS. And duh. On the first page, it mentions no child left behind. I missed that on the first glance.

The Australian Melbourne High is much more classy--well, at least their website is. The school is located near Melbourne's CBD and sounds very prestigious. This page says the school is a castle on the hill type thing. I like things that remind me of Harry Potter. I'm looking at the classes they offer to see if there's anything unusual--by unusual I mean something that we don't usually have here.

The foreign language offerings look different. When I went to high school, we usually had a choice between French and Spanish--sometimes maybe Latin too? At this Melbourne school they have French, German, Japanese, and Indonesian. It makes a lot of sense geographically speaking.

I have a question for any Australians who are reading. What languages did you take in high school? Are you good with those languages? America as a reputation for being horrible with foreign languages. Is Australia much better? A little better? Not better?

Actually, I'd love to hear from people from other countries as well. Did any of you have a really positive foreign language experience?

For college/uni, Crean went to Monash University. Lord Wiki says it's the largest college in Australia. It's known for biomedicine.

Peter Costello went there. Did I write that when I did an entry on him? I don't remember that. Although the school does sound familiar to me. Maybe that's why. I'm confused.

It has a huge list of political alumni.

Peter Carey and Nick Cave are alumni as well.

When Crean went, he got himself a degree in economics. It seems around this time(or right after) Crean was involved with trade unions.

In 1977, Crean's dad retired from politics leaving a seat vacant. The choice was between young Crean and Clyde Holding. Crean lost.

Crean continued doing the trade union thing, and in 1985 he became president of the ACTU (Australian Counsel of Trade Unions). This led him to working with Bob Hawke and that, it seems, led him into politics.

The ACTU website has a poll about paid maternity leave. 509 people (including me) voted for it. 82 people voted that they were strongly against is. I try to respect other people's opinions, but this is one of the many circumstances where I'm failing.

Like Kim Beazley, Crean has had a lot of roles in government: Minister for Science and Technology, Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, and Minister for Employment Education and Training. With his ACTU involvement, the latter seems the most fitting to me. Oh! And his current role is fitting too....minister of TRADE....TRADE unions. It fits!

Crean was against the war in Iraq. Good!

Prior to the 2004 election, Crean was asked to step down because Labor people felt they were losing to Howard. Then I guess that's when Latham jumped in. And yeah. Latham didn't do to well either.

It seems though that Crean wasn't popular among the Labor Party. I'm not sure exactly why.

I'm going to leave Lord Wiki now. Maybe I'll find something exciting.

Now I'm on the Parliament of Australia website. In the photo, Crean reminds me of a game show host--someone who slaps you on the back for congratulations. Or he could pass for a high school coach.

I love how this website has all these first speeches. His was done in May 1990--a few weeks before my sister was hit by a drunk driver. It was also the day that Jim Henson died. Well, Henson died on the 16th, but that would be the 17th in Australia. That was not a very joyful month for me.

In his speech, Crean says Australia's trade union is known around the world as the leading trade union. Is that really true?

He has his own website. It gives a good brief description of what a Minister of Trade does. He says, As Minister for Trade, I am responsible for national trade policy that will generate the largest economic gains for Australia and provide the community with more, higher paying and higher skilled jobs through the expansion of exports.

We bought some Australian exports at our grocery store--some kind of cereal made in New South Wales.

I forgot to mention this before, but he's in the Hotham seat in the House of Representatives. Actually, I didn't forget. The whole thing confuses me a bit and I was trying to avoid it

Here's something Lord Wiki missed. Crean didn't just major in economics. He also majored in law. He says he played a part in reconstructing Australia's wool industry and dealt with drought stuff.

He's been married twenty-five years and has two daughters.

He likes the Kangaroo football team. He seems to be really into that. He has links to it on his website. It's the only non-government link he has.

Well, I've been looking for something unique and interesting about this guy. I think I found it. There was a musical about him! I though it was a joke at first, but now I'm thinking it's real. Yes, it looks like it's for real. It played in 2003 at the Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst. That's not too far from where we'll be staying.

This website has Crean's resignation speech. I think it's gracious--what I get from it is that he's saying he wishes he could be leader.  He understands he's been rejected, but it's more important to him that a Labor leader beats Howard.

An article in The Age gives me a little insight into why he was rejected. It seems he didn't act enough like a leader. The article said he used a consensus approach. Maybe he was too wishy-washy?

Crean is involved with something called Doha. It's related to world trade somehow. I'm talking to Lord Wiki about it. He says its purpose is to lower trade barriers and make it easier for countries to trade. I really don't understand it enough to know if I'm for or against it.

Crean might be in the United States right now! This article says he was here on Wednesday. Is that Australia Wednesday or USA Wednesday? Did he go back already? I don't think I could ever handle having a job where I had to take quick international trips. I don't know how people handle that.

Oh. I didn't realize this. Crean's dad died just about a week ago. The guy lived a long life, but it's still sad.

I just found what I've been sort of looking for--something to help me understand where Crean stands on the whole fair trade vs. free trade issue. Here's an article/interview about it. The interview is from 2000 so it's a bit outdated.

Crean says, Fair Trade as they propose is code for Protectionism.

What is protectionism? Lord Wiki says it's restricting trade between countries. I can' t say I'm against a little restriction. I mean I think there should be trading, but I also think certain things (such as people!) need to be protected. I also think with the carbon emission issues, it's better to buy locally and be as self-sustaining as possible.

Here's a little more on the Fair Trade thing. This is also from 2000. Crean warns about restrictions, If we're putting up restrictions on other people's exports, don't you think they're going to do that to us. I say if Australia was treating their workers unfairly, they SHOULD be restricted.

I'm totally not on Crean's side here. I like what this guy says.....Doug Cameron. I find it absolutely bewildering that the Labor Party can have as a core value fairness, can put fairness in every policy in the agenda except on trade.

I agree.

I didn't want to end this on a sour note, so I found this. Crean does support paid maternity leave for woman. Good! He wants to exempt small businesses though. At first, that annoyed me, but it makes sense. It would be hard for a small business to afford that. But at least Australian mothers have a year of unpaid maternity leave. It's so horribly embarrassing, sad, and pathetic that the United States does not.

Now I'm in a pissed off crappy mood. If anyone tells me America is the best country to live in, I will slap them across the face. Okay, not really because I'm not a violent person. But I will IMAGINE myself doing so.

A country can NOT be great if they treat their families like shit. Do you hear me, Craig R. Smith?


  1. Dina, thanks for the link to Craig Smith's article. I am glad I didn't read this before Thanksgiving. I may have recited some of the article around our Thanksgiving table.

  2. Dad,

    There's always next Thanksgiving!! You'll have your chance then ; )

  3. Dad,

    Wait. You're the one who first showed me the editorial in the first place! But you said that Jay Leno wrote it.

    I heard it first from you!

    I guess you just forgot about it. Unfortunate. It would have added a certain something to our Thanksgiving dinner.

    You forgot to do that. And the rest of us forgot to have the whip cream fight.

  4. Simon Crean's father Frank died just a couple of weeks ago, in fact. He was a Treasurer of the Federal government in the mid-70s.

    I also went to Melbourne High School... the choice at that time (80s) in learning languages was French, German, or Japanese. It's still relatively common for high school students in Australia to learn at least one language other than English.

  5. Daniel,

    What language did you learn? Are you fluent in it?

    I think in most American high schools, a foreign language is required. But most Americans don't become fluent in the language.

  6. Dina - to be honest I am so amazed how you have the time to do all this research. OMG you probably know more than 99% of Australians about these guys.

    In high school I only did compulsory language (French I think) and though I did alright I never continued it.

    Most students don't.My son is 15yrs and he only had to do the basics for a minimum compulsory component in years 7 / 8 A Catholic College - High school).

    I digress .. politics is not my thing but I am interested if you watched Macleods daughters season 9 ... I'd better not say anything that might be a spoiler.

    I want to vent about something and I was checking.

  7. Trish,

    We never got past season 2 of McLeod's Daughters. But I watched ahead via YouTube.

    I know who dies.
    I know who pretends to die.
    I know who dies but ends up not being really dead.
    I know who ends up finding out his dad is not his dad.

    The last I heard of season 8 is that a certain main character died. Anything else crazy happen???

  8. I learnt German, but like Trish, didn't continue it, and have rarely used it at all, and it's mostly faded from my memory, so I'm far from fluent.

  9. Hi Dina,
    I always liked Simon Crean but he had a lot of problems in the labour party at the time, he was trying to restructure the organisation of the party and had a lot of resistance from within the party as well as trying to fight the Liberal Party. I learned French and German at school but unfortunatly wasn't very good at either so never went on with them, but i always say i can speak 2 lanuages English and Strine (Australian English) but i work with people who can speak 3 or 4 languages.

  10. Daniel: I think I'm the same way with Spanish. If I think long and hard enough, I can remember some words and phases. But it's not like I can actually put my Spanish to any real use.

    Matt: Maybe English and Stine is enough ; ). I think it's hard to be a politician because you face conflict from the opposing parties, but also within the party. I think it goes the same with us regular people. I like to imagine that I'd get alone with people who share the same general politics and philosophies. But it doesn't work that way.