Monday, April 25, 2005

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen: 13/1/11 - 23/4/05

He was the Premier of Queensland with a strange name from 1968 to 1987. About a year ago I wondered what the fuss was about Joh. This Wikipedia entry helped me out:
The government was despised in left-wing and civil libertarian circles for its intolerant approach to political protest. ... In 1977 the government went so far as to ban street demonstrations altogether, leading to further violent protest.

Extensive Special Branch monitoring (including telephone tapping) of suspected subversives was routine, including not only Labor Party parliamentarians, but also National Party figures who had incurred Bjelke-Petersen's displeasure. Bjelke-Petersen regularly accused political opponents of being covert communists bent on anarchy, and his forceful rhetoric won him particularly high approval among conservative and rural voters.

Just my kind of guy...

He's going to receive a state funeral and I think that's probably not a great thing. But because all I know about him came from Wikipedia (no disrespect to the wonderful Wikipedia), I'm not in a good position to comment. However, some other people had interesting things to say.

Quentin Dempster (who looks like my high school maths teacher, but don't hold that against him because I'm sure my teacher had a lot to do with my choice to study maths at university...or maybe that's why you'd hold it against him) provides the details of Joh's corruption. Just one serious example:
Bjelke-Petersen became Premier on 8 August 1968 and three weeks later companies in which he had shares (Exoil NL and Transoil NL) were given oil prospecting leases on the Great Barrier Reef.
Thank you Paul Kidd:
Joh turned the sunshine state into a corrupt cesspool, encouraged or at least allowed the police force to become utterly debased and corrupt even beyond Australian standards, he spied on his enemies, trampled on civil rights and, not surprisingly, spewed venom and hatred towards gay men and lesbians. "Insulting, evil animals," he called us.

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3 Comments:

  • There has been lots of interesting commentary on Joh's life and times since his passing. Like you, I don't think I have enough first-hand experience with his politics to make a firm judgment.

    Certainly it seems like he was a bit of a bigot, and his government quite corrupt.

    Currency Lad has an alternative spin on his life and times.

    Andrew Bartlett's take is also interesting - and incidentally how I found your blog!

    By Anonymous Guy, at April 29, 2005 7:36 pm  

  • I lived in Queensland during some of the time that evil Joh was in power. I was only a child, but I remember the protests, the intimidation and the general feeling of being powerless little people in the face of a blank, corrupt, uncaring and smug government.

    Hey. Kinda like now. Except more so.

    Plus, we all had to make pumpkin scones in school because Flo Bjelke-Peterson had "the best recipe" and thus we were showing our respect to our beloved leaders.

    It was an incredibly weird time.

    By Blogger ZuckerBaby, at May 01, 2005 1:19 pm  

  • I think it's cool that Andrew Bartlett linked to my post. Joh's support is still a mystery to me ... but so are a lot of things that mainstream Australians do these days - the way they vote, the music they listen to, the television they watch...

    By Blogger Anne, at May 01, 2005 4:43 pm  

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