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Sun Jul 3, 2016, 07:25 PM

Linda Burney becomes first Indigenous woman elected to Australia's lower house.

Australia will have the first Indigenous woman elected to the lower house of the federal parliament, with Linda Burney claiming victory in the marginal seat of Barton.

Burney, the former deputy leader of the New South Wales Labor party, called her election in the southern Sydney seat on Saturday night.

The Wiradjuri woman resigned from the NSW parliament in March and announced she was running for the federal seat of Barton. The seat was a marginal Liberal one but after redistribution became a notionally marginal Labor seat.

Burney claimed victory after 7pm on Saturday. “Wonderful, wonderful,” Burney told Sky News.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/02/linda-burney-first-indigenous-woman-elected-australia-lower-house

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Sun Jul 3, 2016, 09:07 PM

1. And I expect she'll be a very capable one.

I would have liked to see her take the leadership of the State (NSW) Opposition when the post became vacant, but it was given to Luke Foley instead. Because they'd prefer a man than a woman? I don't know, but Foley's hardly been inspirational.

So Ms Burney resigned from State politics to enter the Federal arena. State Labor can only look on and wonder, "What if ...?"

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Response to Matilda (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 3, 2016, 09:50 PM

2. My guess is that the sky's the limit for her. Are we looking at a future Australian Prime Minister?

Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with Australian politics - which I understand are quite fascinating.

By way of a personal anecdote, I once worked on a real estate deal with an Australian woman who claimed to have been Bob Hawke's mistress during his time as president of the ACTU.

I gathered from what she told me that when Hazel Hawke found out, she found it prudent to leave the country (in the late 1970s sometime). Whether any of it was true, I have no idea; but she seemed sincere.

If walls could talk, right?

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Response to forest444 (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 3, 2016, 09:59 PM

3. There's no doubt, Bob was a player in his day.

Doesn't say much for him really - Hazel was an intelligent and cultured woman, and very down to earth. I think she had a hard road to hoe with him, but seems that's what she wanted.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 3, 2016, 10:14 PM

4. Sorry to hear that. I understand he was a good Prime Minister.

Some of that is a testament to the duality of people, I suppose.

So many of our own former presidents, as you know, have been accused of being philanderers and/or homosexual themselves - and some of these were actually rotten presidents (unlike Hawke, correct me if I'm wrong).

Not that there's anything wrong in the least with being bi/gay; but it was (or would have been) quite hypocritical seeing as some of these same people were well known for their self-righteousness about "family values."




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Response to forest444 (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 3, 2016, 10:32 PM

5. There's some debate about how good Hawke was at policy-making.

He was very popular with the electorate, just "one of the blokes", and good at bringing different factions together.

But I think much of his policy was dictated by Paul Keating - Keating, of course, claims it was. And I think the proof is that he continued to pursue ground-breaking economic policies once he became PM in his own right.

They were actually a formidable team, but both had rampant egos, and it was an uneasy relationship.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 3, 2016, 10:45 PM

6. Amazing. Thank you for the background.

That confirms my initial impressions about Hawke - that, like so many other men of good will, he was a man with a fair amount of personal shortcomings; but whose heart was in the right place and was more or less able to get things done for his country.

The Bushes, on other other hand, had far more serious vices (especially the younger Bush); but few, if any, of the virtues.

Thanks again for all the insight and info, Matilda. Here's one for the memories:

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Response to forest444 (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 02:11 AM

7. There was a touching scene at the Labor launch before the election.

Hawke, Keating, and Gillard were all there to support Shorten. At the end, they all went up on the stage to acknowledge the crowd.

Hawke's in his eighties now and walks with a stick, and when he went to step down from the podium, he leaned on Keating's shoulder for support, and Keating steadied him by holding his arm.

The two haven't been on speaking terms for about a decade, so it was quite touching to see.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 10:18 AM

8. Gives me a warm feeling just picturing that. Thank you.

Hello again, Matilda!

I'll try to find footage from the ABC or another good Australian source to see the scene you described for myself.

I understand Labor now has 71 seats; and Turnbull's Coalition, 67 - both short of the 76 needed to form a government on their own accord. How do you think the minor parties will align (if at all)?

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Response to forest444 (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 09:54 PM

9. It's bouncing up and down daily.

The Lower House Independents and Greens mostly say they will take their stand on issues as they come up, but at least one is very conservative. The others are a bit more likely to block a Turnbull government's worst policies, especially if they can get something in return.

The Senate is another case - thanks to Malcolm calling a double dissolution (we normally vote for half the Senate at each election, as I understand you do), minor parties and Independents can be elected with smaller numbers (I['m not sure why that is so, but that's what the experts say). As a result we look like having three One Nation senators (Pauline Hanson heads the party, and she's a racist nutter who could give Trump a run for his money). We also have a broadcaster and former TV personality, Derryn Hinch, who's an ultra-conservative egomaniac who really cares only about promoting himself. Labor and the Greens together might have the numbers to block the worst legislation, but there will be some currently unknown minor players who could come from either right or left. I hope some of them will be good people - my daughter and I spent ages researching the minor parties so we could choose the most ethical people, and I hope at least one of them gets in!

Malcolm will probably keep his job as PM, because the Libs really don't have anybody else who's even halfway able to do the job. Tony Abbott is promoting himself tirelessly, but the electorate have already shown they don't care for him at all, so I don't think he has a chance unless the party really has a death wish.

It's as though time has stopped here at the moment - my work involves working with advertising agencies among others, and they are doing nothing. I imagine retail is the same - we just don't know what's ahead for us right now.

And here's a photo of Hawke & Keating at the campaign launch:

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Response to Matilda (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 10:07 PM

10. I see. Sounds like another Turnbull government, but with a number of (probably welcome) changes.

One rarely gets the opportunity to discuss other countries' politics with someone with first-hand, granular knowledge. Thank you, Matilda.

Australia is one of the world's most important - and, I think, well run - countries, and frankly should be a model in many ways for our own public policy.

But such is the world we live in. This great country - the U.S. - has become a plutocracy where having a third of the world's billionaires is held up as some kind of national treasure (even known money launderers), while the median family has a net worth of only one third as much as Australia's (as well as a number of western European countries) and 300,000 people declare bankruptcy each year on account of our astronomical health care costs.

I'm sure Australia has its problems (like all nations); but we have so much to learn from a country like yours.

Thanks again!

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