First is Anna Bligh, current Premier of Queensland, Australian Labor Party. She is distinct in being the only female State Premier in Australia.
In a nutshell she’s two slightly short-sighted things rolled together in one neat little package; a Socialist and a Feminist. As a student politician at the University of Queensland*, she is noted for opposing a controversial restructuring of the administrative system, as well as being instrumental in the removal of all Pornography from the St.Lucia campus.
Chances are, I just voted on your behalf.
After leaving University she has worked to set up many community projects such as childcare, neighborhood centers, women’s refuges and (unsurprisingly for a Labor Politician) Trade Unions and Industrial Relations. In 1995 she was elected to Queensland Parliament as MP for South Brisbane, and in 1998 became Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care Services. In 2001 she became Queensland’s first female Education Minister. In 2005 she became Deputy Premier to Peter Beattie and then assumed the role of Premier in 2007 when he resigned.
Ever since then the most remarkable thing I can find on Bligh is that she’s stuffed us around on the issue of water management. Few people realize just how bad the water situation is in Queensland, and while NSW and Victoria and indeed Australia in general is suffering a similar problem, its much worse up here. She’s made and reversed her decisions on recycled water several times as public opinion has grown and fallen on the issue (admittedly a dynamic common to the Labour party at its core).
Bligh has sworn to try and create 3000 new ‘Green Jobs’ if elected, attempting to garner both the environmental and the working vote.
If you were going to base your vote on how good her spot on Breakfast radio was the other day, then I suppose you could go for Anna out of pity. Then again you might vote Liberal based on pity as well but a different kind of pity. She read out the weather report with a pirate voice, (“Yaar, this seems like a last-ditch attempt to save the election from Davey-Jones locker me-hearties!”) highlighting her genealogical connections with Captain William Bligh, who most will know as the Captain of the HMS Bounty. As a politician there are few worse people you can have bloodlines to than Captain Bligh. While historical evidence contradicts much of what happened in the story Mutiny on the Bounty, knowing one of your distant relatives was probably responsible for a notorious mutiny in 1798 doesn’t really inspire one with confidence. Maybe she will be saved by the discovery that Lawrence Springborg is in fact a distant relative of Pauline Hanson.
So what about Lawrence Springborg? I can best describe him as mediocre but not in the same sense as Anna Bligh is slightly mediocre. He is the youngest person to be elected into the parliament of Queensland in 1989 as the member for Southern Downs, National Party. In 1995 he was made Minister for Natural resources, also making him Queensland’s youngest Minster. He was made deputy leader of the National Party in 2001 following elections lost to Peter Beattie’s Labor government*. Springborg became Opposition leader in 2003 and began re-tooling the National Party to have a younger, more elect-able image. Then he lost the 2004 election to Peter Beattie again. Oh dear. In 2006 he helped the party to re-merge with the Liberals in order to combine support over shared conservative interests. During the same year he also criticized the Labor government for its mismanagement of water resources. Peter Beattie called an early election in September 2006, which Springborg once again lost.
He then took a hiatus from politics before returning in January 2008, and quickly helped to form the National-Liberal Party merger in July 2008, providing a singular political opposition to the Labour Party. There is some vague notion coming from the Nat-Libs that if they're elected they will try to save the Queensland mining industry by expanding it significantly. This has evoked some resistance from the Greens* and the Socialist Alliance, both of which are completely unelectable, which does wonders for their credibility.
Springborg’s Radio spot was certainly something to be pitied, but with actual pity rather than hilarious pity. When asked jokingly by the host who his best-friend was Springborg replied that his best friend was dead and then proceeded to fight-back tears throughout the rest of the interview. Yikes. I think if you are basing your vote on entertainment value then it really depends on what sort of thing you get off on, ya sick bastards. Whoever you vote for you can guarantee you’ll be quite poor for the next 5 years, so you might as well vote for one that can make you laugh either out of joy or sadism.
While it seems a little futile to debate ideological differences between the two parties since they’re both sitting squarely in the center, I would usually vote Liberal on principle, and while Liberal rarely means Liberal in the classic sense any more* I know it’s sure as hell not Socialism*. Unfortunately Springborg has announced that if he is elected he will be taking money from Queensland Transport and putting it into healthcare, which don’t get me wrong is probably the best thing to do in the long run, but it will mean I’ll probably have to join the workforce prematurely.
That’s right, voting Labour in this case will actually benefit the middle class. What a strange age we live in.
Anna Bligh winning the hard stare contest, effectively making her the 12th Feminist to take the title of champion.
*Queensland University of Technology have the distinct honor of producing Kevin Rudd, and while they’ve got us beat on creating a Prime-Minister, we can feel slightly smug because they did a fairly half-arsed job.
*Labor has basically dominated Queensland Politics for about 10 years.
*Don't kid yourself, a vote for the Greens is a vote for Labor.
*Why the hell don’t we have an Objectivist Party or even a wackily over-zealous Libertarian party I can vote for?
*An acceptable term for communism.