Sunday, December 13, 2009

Neville Wran

Neville Wran....another New South Wales Premier. Am I going to write about every New South Wales Premier that ever existed? I hope not! Maybe Wran is the last one.

What do I know about Wran? Not much. I forgot where he is in line. Maybe he comes before Bob Carr? Does it go Wran, Carr, Iemma, Rees, Kenneally? I hope so. If I'm right, I'll feel all smart for five minutes.

Oh bummer. Lord Wiki says I'm wrong.

The good news is I got the last four right. But there are three Premiers between Wran and Carr.

Wran was the Premier between 1976 and 1986. He had the job for about ten years.

Baby Neville was born in the suburb of Paddington in Sydney. That's in Eastern Sydney, not too far from where we had stayed last February.

Wran went to Nicholson Street Public School which is located in Balmain. Google Maps says that Balmain is about twenty minutes north of Paddington. It's not the closest commute from school. I wonder if the family moved.

Next, he went to Fort Street High School. I remember that place. Isn't it a prestigious government school? Anyway, I forgot where it's located though.

Lord Wiki says I'm right about the prestigious public school bit. It's located in the inner western suburb of Petersham. That's about twenty-five minutes west of Paddington.

I wonder if the family moved around a lot; or if they just found ways to get their kids to schools that weren't neighborhood ones.

Wran went to the University of Sydney. Lord Wiki says there he was part of the Liberal Club. He labels this as being ironic. I'm not sure if I'd call it ironic. People sometimes change their political viewpoint. I know someone who is a major Republican. He was a huge Bush fan. I was shocked when he told me he used to be Democrat.

At the university, Wran got a degree in law. He became a solicitor in 1951. He was called to
the bar in 1957. Then in 1968 he became part of the Queen's counsel. What's that again?

Well, Lord Wiki says it is now usually referred to as senior counsel.

I'm reading and I don't fully understand it. I'm getting that it's an honor though. I'll leave it at that.

This New South Wales Bar Association has a list of people appointed to Senior Counsel in 2007. It doesn't really explain much to me, but it is lovely to see all the names. There might be a bit too many males and not enough females. But who knows. Maybe it's not sexism. Maybe the law profession is less popular with women?

Wait! I just noticed something. I was glancing through the entire Lord Wiki entry and noticed a box on the side. There it says that Wran was born in Balmain! Why does he give me conflicting information like that? Why? Why!

I'm going to feed us some brunch. Then I'll be back to learn some more.....

Never mind. I didn't feed us brunch. Jack fed us! He's becoming quite the chef. Last night he made dinner. This morning, he made us eggs. I gave him very little help. In fact, I was busy unloading the dishwasher while he cooked.

This is yet another reason I love unschooling. You can train your child to become your own personal chef.

Back to Wran.....

His political career began in 1970. That's the year my sister was born. Why do I sprinkle these entries with age and birthday information regarding my family? I don't know. Maybe I'm just nuts.

Wran became a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. No. He didn't. He became a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Counsel. I saw that, but figured it was the same as the Assembly. It's not. The Counsel is the upper house. The Assembly is the lower house.

I guess the counsel would correspond with the Senate in Federal Parliament.

Three years after he joined the upper house, Wran moved down to the lower one. He got into the seat of Bass Hill, and was there until 1986.

On the day my sister turned two-years-0ld (technically the day before since we're in different time zones), Wran became Leader of the Opposition. That was February 22, 1972.

Four years later, Wran became Premier. He was the first Labor Premier in about eleven years.

Lord Wiki says that Wran was very popular. Some even felt that he should be a national leader...instead of a local one. Some saw him as an alternative to Bill Hayden. But then eventually Hawke became that alternative.

Wran's priorities while in office were public transport, environment, consumer protection, and job creation. That sounds fairly typical. And it's still stuff we worry about today.

In 1983, Wran had a bit of trouble that put him in front of the Street Royal Commission. This was regarding something uncovered by the TV Show Four Corners. They claimed that Wran had influence over something that happened to a guy named Kevin Humphreys. No wait. On the Kevin Humphrey entry, it says I have it all wrong. What happened is that Wran sued Four Corners for Libel. It had something to do with the Rugby League. I guess the show accused Wran of doing something, and then he sued for libel.

On July 4 1986, Wran quit being Premier of New South Wales.

That's about it for Lord Wiki. Now I shall go search for other fun stuff.

The New South Wales Labor Party website has a section on Wran. I'll read that. Here, they say he was born in Paddington, but say he's more known as a product of Balmain. I'm guessing the family moved when Wran was young.

The site says that with Wran as Premier, the government increased trading hours for business. I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Maybe? To me, it's about increasing consumerism and working hours....more time with materialism and less time with family. Although I have to admit, I like it when stores and restaurants are open for long hours. What can I say? I want my cake, and I want to eat it too.

Wran doubled the number of national parks. I like that. I like parks.

He helped develop Darling Harbour...the new and improved Darling Harbour. Although from what I'm reading, it might not have been finished until Wran was already out of office. He left in 1986.

Yeah. The official Darling Harbour site, says the new and improved place opened in 1988. They made it a Bicentennial affair.

I want to go to Darling Harbour today. I want to hang out in Sydney.

Last night I dreamed I was in Tasmania. I'd love to be there too.

Wran introduced random breath testing for drivers. I like that. I like anything that cuts down on drunk driving. Here's some more information about that. I want to find out about the laws in America about that...or even just Texas. I heard something disturbing from someone. They said something like the police are NOT allowed to perform breath tests without permission.

Well, here's a whole article about the random breath testing in Australia, and how Americans can learn from it.

The article says that when the program started, there was an immediate ninety percent reduction in road deaths. That's pretty big. The statistics here confuse me a bit. But I think what they're trying to say is that, although the reduction of deaths didn't remain at that level, it did stay at a level that showed the new policy was saving a substantial number of lives.

The article says people are NOT stopped based on how they're driving. Also, refusing to take the test is equal to failing the test.

The article is a bit long. I'm kind of skimming. I want to know more about the American stuff.

I think I'm going to find information somewhere else. This is going too much over my head.

Well, Lord Wiki talks about it some. If he's telling the truth, it doesn't sound that bad. What I'm getting is people don't get the breath test on the least not usually. They do some weird physical ability tests. They're asked to do stuff like touch their nose and stand on one leg. The problem is sometimes people fail these tests because they have some kind of physical that does not involve alcohol.

If people fail the tests, they are taken to the police station. There they're given the test. If they refuse, they're charged with driving under the influence.

I don't know what's the deal with what the person had told me. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong? Maybe they gave me wrong information? Maybe I misinterpreted it.

Wait. Here's some information from a law office in Texas. They say the rate of refusal for elected officials is one hundred percent. That gives me the creeps. I wonder how many elected officials make up that hundred percent. For the other population, the rate is fifty percent.

The website says that many lawyers advice people to refuse the tests. The reason is even if they pass the test, they'll still be charged with a DWI. What???!!

This article disgusts me. I like what this Mother Against Drunk Driving person says. Many people refuse to blow; it's a growing problem in Texas. But we like to think our elected officials would behave as role models and hold themselves to a higher standard.
Yeah, that would be a nice world to live in.

This makes no sense to me. It says if one refuses a test, they lose their license for 180 days. This is in comparison to the 90 days if they take the test and fail. THAT would make sense. BUT then it says the people can drive with a temporary license. What the hell? What's the point of taking someone's license away, if they can still drive?

I think the mistake I made in interpreting what the person said is I pictured people being stopped for drunk driving. They'd refuse the test, and then go drive off. I now get that THIS is not the case. The people will be usually taken off the road. I hope! But it seems what can happen is without that evidence, they can manage to lessen the later charges against themselves.

A DWI prosecutor says, Without chemical proof of drunken driving, prosecutors must make a case solely on a police officer's observations — the driver's breath smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, he could not walk a straight line — that are readily disputed in court. And thanks to TV shows like "CSI," juries tend to expect forensic evidence of intoxication.

I really hate being on the road. You never know if this is going to be the day that someone exercises their civil liberties in being an asshole, and ends up killing you.

I should get back to Wran.

Actually...maybe not. This post is long enough already.

I want to play Jack's new Mario Wii game. It's SO much fun.


  1. I always thought Fort Street High was in Lower Fort Street at The Rocks. I know better now.

  2. Andrew,

    You're not really wrong exactly. From what I'm reading, the school USED to be in/near The Rocks. Then it split up into different schools. Fort Street High went to Petersham. And then there is still a Fort Street Public School in the area.

  3. My Mum lived in Bondi went to Fort Street High in the early 1930s. The availability of high schools was much less in those depression era days! Great post as always. :)

  4. Redness,

    Thank you : )

    Was the school still in the Rocks in the 1930's?

  5. Our legal system is very traditional here. Becoming a Senior Counsel (or still Queen's (or King's when we eventually have King Charles III and Queen Camilla) Counsel in some states) is referred to as 'taking silk' and involves a bit more dressing up as that expression suggests. An SC also has to appear in cases with a 'junior' barrister which adds to the cost of employing one compared to employing just a regular barrister.

    Also, in your second paragraph haven't you put a South Australian Premier into the mix? You ARE very smart so this isn't meant to suggest otherwise. I just thought you would like to correct it. The name you're looking for is Rees.

    I also wanted to share something about people who seem to have shifted their positions politically. Sometimes people will pretend to have changed as a rhetorical technique. I can think of two examples. There is a theist who wrote a book criticial of Dawkins and he likes to loudly proclaim that he used to be an atheist too. And in Mein Kampf Hitler says when he was younger he couldn't understand what people had against the Jews. They seemed OK to him, he said, before going on to repetitively rant about their evils and discuss his plans for their extermination for the rest of the book.

    The fact that he had been a Liberal wasn't used by Wran like that I don't think but I was wondering how many people it actually works on. If I had been reading Mein Kampf in the 20s would I be saying to a friend "you see, some of Hitler's best friends used to be Jews - he should know what he's talking about". It fails as a logical argument because it's really an auto ad hominem but you still hear it so often or at least the related "I'm not ... but" or "some of my best friends are ... but".

  6. Martin,

    Thanks for the correction! Oops. Yeah. I sometimes confuse Rann and Rees.

    I'll correct that.

    I've seen the method of argument you've mentioned. I think it's fairly common. I think a lot of times, it's NOT faked though. I think people actually change their position sometimes. And the fact that they used to believe in the other thing makes them more zealous. I think they also feel that since they "saw the light" they can convince other people to do the same.

    Hitler might have been faking it about the Jewish thing. I don't know??? Do you know much about that?

    As for former Atheists. I'm sure there are some out there. Of course, when they become Christian, they'll want other Atheists to do the same. And I'm sure there are Atheists who used to be Christian (or some other religion) and now they'd wish for other Christians to see the light and become more rational.

    Does the argument work to convince others? I don't know. In my own life, an example I can think of....

    When I had an eating disorder...Well there was a part of me that knew I had a problem. But another part of me believed it was EXTREMELY important to be thin. And anyone not dieting and exercising obsessively (like me) was lazy and foolish. Then I crossed over to the other side. And when I see people who have my past behaviors, there's a temptation to think/say "I used to be like that too. But now I've realized, blah, blah, blah." I usually keep my mouth shut though. I can pretty much guess what they'd think if I spoke up. It would be along the lines of "She failed. She's just jealous because I'm thin and she's not anymore."

    So I don't know if the argument (whether honest or not) works. I can't think of a time where someone made that leap and I thought..."Well, if he changed, maybe I should change my mind too."

  7. Ah, ok. I get it now. I thought it was odd that I was so sure it was at The Rocks.