Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Morris Iemma...NOT Morris Lemma

The name Morris Iemma sounds familiar to me, but I have no idea who it is. Besides, all these names should sound at least VAGUELY familiar. I added them to the list at one point. This is not the first time I'm encountering them.

Anyway, I'm excited to find out who this guy is.

Well, this is a timely post. Iemma was the Premier of New South Wales....the one before Nathan Rees. And now Nathan Rees is no longer Premier.

Anyway, I probably encountered Iemma on the day I did research on Rees.

Lord Wiki says that baby Morris was born on 21 July 1961, in Sydney. His parents were immigrants from Italy. Morris was their only child. Daddy Iemma was a communist. He did work with machines. Mommy Morris did work with clothing.

Iemma attended a Sydney government school that no longer exists....Narwee High School.

He joined the Labor Party when he was sixteen.

He obtained an economics degree from the University of Sydney.

He obtained a law degree from the University of Technology.

In 1997, Iemma married someone named Santina Raiti. What ethnicity does that name come from? Indian? Sri Lanken? This website says Santina is an Italian name. She could be part Italian, but not necessarily so. My sister has a Greek name, and we're not Greek.

I just looked on Google though. I'm seeing Italian Facebook people with the last name Raiti. So maybe it's Italian, and not Indian.

There's a place in Nicaragua called Raiti.

There's an Indian food called Raita....a at the end, instead of i. Maybe that's why I'm getting an Indian feeling.

I'm probably spending too much time on ethnicity. Sometimes it fascinates me.

Anyway, the lovely couple has four children.

Iemma is part of the right-wing faction of the Labor Party. Rees was in this too....I think? Well, Lord Wiki doesn't list him as one of them. He does list Kenneally. My friend mentioned this to me on Facebook this morning...the fact that the new NSW Premier is American, AND she once flirted with the prospect of joining the Republican Party. I knew the American part, but I didn't know the Republican thing. My friend didn't like that she had connections to the Republican Party. I wasn't sure if she had changed political views, or was just trying to find the right fit all these years.

How much on the right is the right-wing faction of the Labor Party? Are they closer in line to the left-wing faction of the Labor Party, or closer in line to the Liberal Party?

What if you took the more left-wing people in the Liberal Party. How would they compare to the right-wing faction of the Labor party?

In the beginning of his career, Iemma worked as an adviser to a Labor Senator. Graham Richardson. Richardson was a Minister in the Hawke and Keating Ministry, so Iemma probably had some interaction with all that.

In 1991, Iemma joined the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. That was the same year that I graduated from high school. He joined via the seat of Hurstville. That seat is no longer there. Iemma was the last to sit in it.

He got elected into the seat using the slogan, a local who listens. That's cute. I wonder if it was true. Did he really listen?

Once Hurstville was abolished, lemma got the seat for Lakemba. He had that until 2008. That seat has always been Labor, and it still is Labor. The guy in it now is Robert Furolo.

Lemma got some Ministry jobs...within New South Wales, not Federal. I know you guys probably already know that. But I forget sometimes. I'm kind of emphasizing this to myself.

His first Ministries were Public Works and Services, and Minister assisting the Premier on Citizenship. He added Minister of Sports and Recreation to that. Then those three ministries ended, and he did Ministry of Health from 2003-2005. How many Ministries are there in New South Wales?

Here's the New South Wales Legislative Assembly Website, and they have a list of all the Ministers. They have a nice balance of males and females. If I counted right, there's twenty-two ministers. Seven are female. Well, maybe that's not too great. That's a ratio of about one to three. Better if it were closer to half and half. is better than less than seven.

In 2005, the Premier of New South Wales (Bob Carr) announced he was retiring. lemma decided to give it a go. There was one other Labor guy trying to get the job, but he later dropped out. So, lemma became leader. He was Premier of New South Wales the first time we came to Sydney. I didn't know that back then. By the time we returned, Nathan Rees was the Premier.

Lord Wiki says that during Iemma's Premier days, there were problems with transport, health care, and water supply. Newspapers said stuff about Iemma being more interested in spin control than policy development. That probably describes about 97% of all politicians.

In February 2006, Iemma attracted some controversy by saying some very inappropriate words when he believed no one was hearing him. Oops. He hadn't realized the cameras were on. Despite this embarrassment, Iemma did okay in the opinion polls. He was reelected in 2007.

In November 2007, he lifted a ban on genetically modified canola products. I know there's a lot of controversy regarding genetically modified food. It does sound a little scary, and I don't feel completely secure about it. On the other hand, some people are scared of anything that isn't 100% natural. They see natural as all good, and artificial as all bad. Poison Ivy is all natural. I wouldn't feel that great rubbing that all over my body. And as I learned in my science education class, everything artificial IS natural. Why? Human are animals. If any other animal creates something, we call it natural. So if humans create something, and we're animals...why should that not be considered natural as well?

Anyway, Stephen Moore's blog has an interesting entry in support of GMO. The brilliant guy says, Agriculture is, and always has been, about genetically modifying organisms. Trial and error, with a touch of experience, a spot of good luck, and time (decades? centuries even?) allowed farmers to produce better, more useful plants and animals.
And if you look at the comments, Stephen and I talk about the whole natural thing. He had the same ideas as my science professor. I love that viewpoint. I think I just like reminding people that they're animals. When Jack asks me what my favorite animal is, I usually say human. We're fascinating creatures. Although the evil aspect of us depresses me sometimes.

For those interested, my other favorite animals are lizards, beetles, dragonflies, and cartilaginous fishes. I used to love the nonhuman apes, but they kind of creep me out these days. Those guys eat their shit and vomit way too often.

Back to Iemma. There was some cabinet reshuffle thing that lemma proposed. If I'm reading this right, the shuffling led to lemma being rejected....or at least feeling rejected. So he resigned.

In May 2009, lemma had some major health problems. He got viral meningitis. Scary! I think that's one of my big fears. The illness made him lose feeling in his leg. He's undergoing therapy for that.

Meningitis always reminds me of Zelda from Pet Semetary. Did she have viral, or bacterial? Oh! Here's a whole blog post about someone's fear of Zelda. The poor dear saw the movie when she was nine or ten. Yikes. It reminds of me seeing The Exorcist when I was six. I was already fifteen or sixteen when I saw Pet Semetary. And even at that age, I was a bit traumatized.

This article says that when Princess Mary came to visit, she mispronounced Morris Lemma's name. I'm confused. The article says she pronounced it as Morris Lemma. How did she pronounce it wrong?

Speaking of pronouncing things.....I can USUALLY understand the Australian accent. But sometimes I get confused. The other day I was watching a news report about the recent Liberal fiasco. I kept hearing the name Hawking. I sat there wondering, who the hell is this Hawking guy? When did he get into the picture? Finally, I realized they were saying HOCKEY.

Wait. Lord Wiki has the pronouncian for Iemma. I'm not good at reading these codes, but it LOOKS like it might be pronounced as Jemma. I don't know if I've ever heard of a L being pronounced as a J. Would that be an Italian thing?

Ah, and the l is lowercase. I'm going to have to go through my blog and change all that.

No. Wait. I'm so dumb. It's NOT a lowercase l. It's an uppercase I.

I got to go back and change everything again. But I'll keep the name wrong around this area so you can see my original mistake. Otherwise, I won't be making much sense.

This is getting very confusing.

Here is Morris Iemma's MySpace page. He has only sixteen friends, probably because people are searching there for Morris Lemma.

Here's an SMH article about Iemma quitting politics. Iemma says he wants to focus on being a father and husband. I hope he means that.  When my husband said it; it seemed to end up being code for  I want to watch a lot of TV, go out with my friends, play video games, and pursue interests that have nothing to do with my family.

The article says, Mr Iemma said he tendered his resignation in the best interests of the party rather than go to a vote on his leadership because he did not believe that would be good for Labor. That could be code for he knew he wouldn't win, so why try? Bow out graciously.

This is random, but there was a link to another article on the SMH page. Meredith Baxter from Family Ties has just come out of the closet. That's a bit late for coming out of the closet. Not only that....she didn't realize she was gay until seven years ago. Wow. Well, I'm glad she discovered this aspect of herself. Better late than never.

I'm tired of reading. I think I'll watch some videos now.

Here's a news report about Iemma resigning. They pronounced his name as Yemma rather than Jemma. That makes sense to me.

They talk about Nathan Rees taking the job. He sure didn't last long. I wonder how long the American woman will last.

Here's Iemma talking about his Premier days. There's a lot of editing there, so I don't know how much I can trust it. He does something I've waited to see a politician do. He admits to screwing up. Well, he says he admits we let the people down. Now is he admitting HIS mistake, or is he admitting mistakes made by the party? If it's the latter, it's much less impressive. Then it's kind of saying, other people messed up. I'm going to save the day. It's not at all unusual for party members to diss other members in their own party.

And here's Iemma talking about electricity privatization. Well, that video isn't too helpful actually. I couldn't really understand what I was seeing or hearing.

I'm going to read an ABC transcript about the issue.

I'm not really understanding much here.

It says the Labor folks were trying to get support from the Opposition. I get that.

The Leader of the Opposition (Barry O'Farrell) said, Morris Iemma's the bloke with trouble is all this. He's got trouble I his caucus, he's got trouble outside his caucus. And the reality is that he's dithered, he's shown weak leadership and he's had to finally put the public interest first only because the Liberal-National Parties have insisted.

I'm not sure what trouble I his caucus means. Maybe it's a misprint. Is it some kind of Australian saying?

I'm not sure what privatization is. I THINK it's letting private businesses handle something, rather than the government.

Yep. Lord Wiki confirms that. Every so often, I'm less dumb than I imagined.


  1. Hi Dina,

    Morris Iemma (Yem-ah) got kicked out because he tried to go against his party and the unions and wanted to privatise the electricity industry. This is a policy that you would generally see from the Liberal Party thats why he was counting on their support to get the bill passed.

    Privatisation is when you take a government owned industry/company and sell it on the stock market to share holders. eg Telstra or Qantas.

    Nathan Rees is actually from the Left of the Labor Party but majority of the Labor party is from the Right and they are very similar to the Left of the Liberal Party.

  2. Matt,

    Hello. Thank you for explaining. And thanks for answering my question about the left/right stuff : )

  3. Morris Iemma was badly treated by his own party. Ideally, the people would have got to vote on his policies, instead of the Labor Party factions.

  4. I forgot to point out that it is the first time that we have a female Premier in NSW and the first time in Australia that we have had two females in the top two positions (Premier and Deputy Premier) in Australian politics.I dont think this will last too long as they are sure to get voted out at the next election.

  5. Michael: I wonder how differently life would be if we voted for policies on a more frequent basis. I think there are pros and cons to that.

    Matt: I didn't realize the Deputy Premier was female....Okay, I just looked her up. Funny that she mistook Australia Day with Federation Day. I'm trying not to laugh at her too much. I make mistakes like that quite often ; )

  6. i forgot all about that, lol, i bet i wasn't funny for her when they pointed it out that she got it wrong. Especially because i think she was education minister at the time.

  7. Matt,

    Education Minister? Oh no! That makes the story even better.