Today was a historic day for Queensland and a small personal step for me as well. Our state’s first woman premier was sworn in amidst the conservative’s prophesies of doom. I think their gloom is more over the fact that Anna Bligh is Peter Beattie’s handpicked successor and that the conservative parties really have no viable alternatives to offer, than the fact of her gender. However, after a meeting recently during which the fact that someone worked with a female diesel mechanic caused great amazement, this may not be the case. This is after all the state of Sir Joh in which Flo’s job was to make the scones and bear the children. And I have been asked if I wasn’t selfish to do a Ph.D. which “You’re after all not using” when there are so many men needing jobs in academia.
Bligh is not Australia’s first woman premier. We’ve had Joan Kirner in Victoria, Carmen Lawrence in Western Australia and Claire Martin and Rosemary Follett as Chief Ministers respectively of the Northern Territory and the ACT. However, to the best of my knowledge, Follett and Martin are the only elected women leaders. All the others, including Bligh, have stepped in after a male premier has resigned. What will be interesting is to see how she fares in the next couple of years and when the election comes.
My personal step is both far less important and far more significant to me. After years of ideological resistance I finally bought a mobile phone. All I can say is that buying it was the easy part. Several hours of crankiness later involving telephone calls, internet intervention and other things, I think I have it up and running. I don’t know how a lot of technology makes sense to me, but such a small instrument can cause so much torture.
The nicest thing today was the lovely drive over the chocolaty soils and tenderly green and yellow leafed Lockyer Valley to Gatton. I wondered briefly as I drove why I had turned my nose westwards instead of eastwards. There are certainly larger shops with more options in Ipswich. The fields garlanded by the distant mountains were their own answer as was the time to think as I drove. In the absence of a good door or an exotic voyage, you have to use what you have.