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Labo(u)r Govts.-same shit, different flies! In Qld they grant the Hillbilly Dictator a state funeral
rights, freedoms and repression |
Friday May 06, 2005 13:33 by Ciaron On the road!
In my last year of high school ('77), the right wing govt. led by Joh Bjelke Petersen banned all civil liberties in our Australian state of Queensland. Our society was dominated by a corrupt Irish (diaspora) police force willing to be used to crush civil liberties and a Calvinist govt willing to turn a blind eye to police corruption (cops running brothels, casinos & prottection rackets around drugs) The. Labor party offered little opposition as thousands of us who did were criminalised, raided, framed, blacklisted from work & run out of the state.
It unraveled when cops from Juvenile aid were out running child porn and the Fitzgerald Royal Commision kicking in sending the police comissioner to jail for 14 years and 5 govt. ministers to jail. Joh missed out on jial by one younger member of his party hanging the jury. The authoritarian culture, aboriginal deaths in custody is maintained by the present Labor Govt who granted Joh a state funeral this past week.
1) Anarcho report from Brisbane.
2) An article by John Birmingham, author of "He Died with a Falafel in His Hand", a book based on the shared house of the anarcho-ghetto of West End at this time. Later made into a film starring Noah Taylor( Hitler in "Max, geek in Lara Croft).
*The early punk band "The Saints" emerged out of this environment and also the "Go Betweens" (The Bee Gees did as well but that's another story!
1)Rally honours 'victims' of his rule
IT was a much smaller gathering than the one in Kingaroy, but the
of feeling towards former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was just as
in Brisbane's King George Square yesterday.
About 200 people who campaigned against Sir Joh during his time in
held a memorial service in honour of the "victims" of his government.
Organiser Drew Hutton said there were "many, many people hurt" by the
"We're talking about civil libertarians, indigenous people, people who
concerned about democracy, people who were just honest and were driven
the wall by Joh Bjelke-Petersen and his mates. Honest cops. These
need to be remembered," Mr Hutton said.
He said the rally had succeeded in "frustrating the attempts of
conservatives in this state to rewrite history".
The rally praised the "honest cops" - including Ray Whitrod, Alec
Nigel Powell, Michael Egan and Col Dillon - who had attempted to fight
corruption in the Queensland Police Service.
It attacked the former government's use of the police to further its
Sacked SEQEB worker Bernie Neville gave the rally a first-hand account
"I had, outside my house for three weeks, the Special Branch. They were
there from morning to night, watching my every move," Mr Neville said.
"I ask the question again - why would we want the Premier of this state
go to Kingaroy and pay homage to a man who was corrupt?"
Veteran campaigner Brian Laver, who started the "No State Funeral for
committee, said he had changed his mind and now believed the former
after using the machinery of state for his personal advantage in life,
"a most perfect person for a state funeral".
"So golden boy, Peter Beattie . . . embrace your fellow political
"Bury your mate in the finest traditions of the state."
2) Good riddance to Joh Bananas
John Birmingham's personal remembrance of life in Joh's hillbilly hell.
Not everyone's a hypocrite. Some of us will be raising a glass to send
old bastard on his way to whatever level of hell lies in wait for
dictators. In all of the maudlin, confected nostalgia generated by Joh
Bjelke-Petersen's long overdue demise, something precious has been
forgotten. The hate.
Because there were thousands of us trapped north of the Tweed who hated
vicious, crackbrained yahoo with a visceral intensity.
There were thousands of us who'll look back on the Johera as a waking
nightmare, when a gang of slack-jawed yokels, crooks, bandits,
chancers and degenerate greedheads ensconced themselves in power by
crushing all opposition, debauching the public offices, and rewarding
favoured cronies with the sort of naked contempt for propriety that
have impressed Ferdinand Marcos or Manuel Noriega.
As long as there is a spark of life in Australian democracy, the mid
when Bjelke-Petersen ruled alone, at the very zenith of his powers,
be studied in civics courses as an object lesson in what happens when
untrammelled power is gathered into the shaky, liver-spotted hands of a
stuttering, proto-fascist brute with just enough rat-bastard cunning to
his true nature behind a carefully constructed facade of endearing
And what of that legacy? What was more lasting?
The corruption of the state police, or the use of that force as a
guard, a last guarantee against the depredations of civil libertarians
unwashed protesters who might disrupt the orderly flow of business in
Sunshine State; i.e. the orderly flow of tribute into the pockets of
Or should his legacy be the damaged lives of opponents who proved so
troublesome that they had to be destroyed on general principles, broken
the wheel of the law, by defamation cases, by emergency legislation, by
punitive actions of a state with untold resources?
Should his legacy be the flight of thousands of Queenslanders to safer,
contested lives in those states where politics did not threaten to
intimately personal matter, something that could, in the worst case,
out and touch you, shrivelling your options to fight or flight? And,
only to the latter.
There's a certain sort of smugly stupid conservative who can't help but
mount a reflexive defence of Bjelke-Petersen because they can't abide
critics of his regime. But there was nothing conservative about him or
They were radicals with no respect for the institutions of
All they understood was strength and fear and the simple joy of driving
enemies before them. There was no schadenfreude in seeing
humiliated before the Fitzgerald inquiry when he was unable to explain
was meant by the doctrine of the separation of powers, because all it
was hammer homethe truth that we'd been comprehensively cornholed by a
with the ethics of a starving sewer rat, and political instincts of a
sabre-toothed baboon with a really bad amphetamine dependency.
His state funeral should be an appropriate ceremony.
Perhaps a pack of dingoes could be starved for a week before being
upon his corpse in the mudflats down by the Brisbane River. Or he could
buried at sea with the worst of his cabinet ministers, all of them
chum and fed to the hammerheads and reef sharks off the Great Barrier
which they were so keen to open up to mining.
The power and the peanut
Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the peanut farmer from Kingaroy, ran Queensland
almost two decades before corruption and his autocratic style brought
"I really worry about Queenslanders," Joh Bjelke-Petersen once
lose a lot of sleep because I don't know what will happen when I go."
one really missed Joh when he did leave. Indeed, Queensland quickly
much better place for his departure as premier in December 1987 after
years of autocratic, divisive and corrupt government. Like so many
who stay too long, Bjelke-Petersen was a fatal captive of hubris that
convinced him all Australia could be re-cast in Queensland's mould. The
was predictable tragi-comedy: the mad "Joh for PM" campaign finished
Howard's first tilt at The Lodge in 1987 while Bjelke-Petersen and his
government collapsed in a mire of corruption.
Now he's gone from life, Joh's many conservative critics will lace
with praise. But to a generation who grew up in an Orwellian climate of
illegal street marches, social engineering and Special Branch raids on
"subversive" student houses, he passes as a red-neck dictator with
mates. For them the words of Gough Whitlam, who described him as "a
Bible-bashing bastard . paranoiac . a bigot and fanatical", will
Johannes Bjelke-Petersen was born in New Zealand on January 3, 1911, to
Danish Lutheran pastor and his wife. They later settled at Bethany, a
sprawling property near Kingaroy, 300km north-west of Brisbane, that
remain his base until death.
He was initially unexceptional, growing peanuts until, aged 35, he was
elected to Kingaroy Shire Council. He entered state parliament as a
Party MP in 1946. In 1952, aged 41, he married Florence Gilmour and
The Queensland Country Party, capitalising on the Labor split, won the
election in 1957 - the beginning of 32 years of unbroken rule (later as
National Party), much of it in coalition with the Liberals. Six years
under the tutelage of Premier Sir Frank Nicklin, Bjelke-Petersen became
minister for works and housing. Jack Pizzey became premier on Nicklin's
retirement. But Pizzey died after six months, giving rise to
who, while enjoying a reputation as a political doer, was more notable
church-going teetotaller with a penchant for tortured syntax. He stared
a leadership challenge by one vote in 1970 and did not face serious
until his final months as premier in 1987.
There was, however, heated community unrest in the early years, with
against the Vietnam War and apartheid. He responded by legislating
street marches. He cut state death taxes, luring thousands of "Mexican"
retirees from the southern states. A resources and tourism boom ensued
the infamous "white-shoe brigade" - millionaire developers and National
Party supporters - replaced hectares of heritage buildings with
skyscrapers. Vice, illegal gambling and police corruption flourished.
Meanwhile, Bjelke-Petersen railed against federal and state "socialist"
Labor governments; he helped trigger Whitlam's 1975 downfall by
the hostile "independent" Albert Field to fill a Queensland senate
He opposed condom-vending machines ("We don't want any of that sort of
up here"), bashed the unions ("Tie the unions up like a dog") and
seriously about secession ("Let me tell you, what is good for
good for Australia"). He weathered southern media allegations about
and ignored innuendo about his pilot, Beryl Young, a political and
confidante who had a de facto seat at the cabinet table.
Spurred on by his white-shoed mates (and, not least, his ever-ambitious
larger-than-life minister Russ Hinze), Bjelke-Petersen launched his
PM" push in 1987. While Bjelke-Petersen eyed Canberra, all around him
The Fitzgerald inquiry resulted in the jailing of four ministers and
notoriously crooked police chief Sir Terence Lewis, who was later
of his knighthood.
Bjelke-Petersen quit under pressure in December 1987, eight months shy
serving 20 years as premier. He was acquitted of perjury before the
Fitzgerald inquiry (the jury foreman was a National Party sympathiser).
lodged a $338m compensation claim. Queensland's incumbent Labor premier
Peter Beattie refused to pay him.
His later years were characterised by failing health (he suffered
s disease) and the struggle to pay legal bills. He is survived by his