Anna Bligh

Anna Bligh

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Anna Maria Bligh is an Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n politician and the Premier of Queensland since 2007. The 2009 Queensland state election
Queensland state election, 2009
The Queensland state election was held to elect members to the unicameral Parliament of Queensland on 21 March 2009. The election saw the incumbent Labor government led by Premier Anna Bligh defeat the Liberal National Party of Queensland led by Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, and gain a...

 was the first time a female-led political party won or retained state or federal government in Australia. Bligh has been an Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
Queensland Legislative Assembly
The Queensland Legislative Assembly is the unicameral chamber of the Parliament of Queensland. Elections are held approximately once every three years. Voting is by the Optional Preferential Voting form of the Alternative Vote system...

 seat of South Brisbane
Electoral district of South Brisbane
The district of South Brisbane is an electoral district of the Queensland Legislative Assembly. The electorate encompasses suburbs in Brisbane's inner-south, stretching from East Brisbane to West End, and south to Fairfield...

 since 1995.

Bligh is the first woman to be appointed Premier of Queensland, the third female Premier of an Australian state
Premiers of the Australian states
The Premiers of the Australian states are the de facto heads of the executive governments in the six states of the Commonwealth of Australia. They perform the same function at the state level as the Prime Minister of Australia performs at the national level. The territory equivalents to the...

, and the sixth female head of government of an Australian state or territory. She is one of four current female heads of government in Australia (the others being Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

, Premier of Tasmania Lara Giddings
Lara Giddings
Larissa Tahireh "Lara" Giddings is an Australian politician and the 44th and current Premier of Tasmania since January 2011...

, and Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory is the head of government of the Australian Capital Territory. The leader of party with the largest representation of seats in the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly usually takes on the role...

 Katy Gallagher
Katy Gallagher
Katy Gallagher , an Australian politician, is the sixth and current Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory and a member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly since 2001, representing the electorate of Molonglo for the Australian Labor Party...

). On 20 October 2011 with the retirement of South Australian Premier Mike Rann, Bligh became the longest serving current Australian head of government.

Early life


Bligh grew up on the Gold Coast
Gold Coast, Queensland
Gold Coast is a coastal city of Australia located in South East Queensland, 94km south of the state capital Brisbane. With a population approximately 540,000 in 2010, it is the second most populous city in the state, the sixth most populous city in the country, and also the most populous...

. Her parents separated when she was 13. She attended Catholic schools until Year 9 and considered becoming a nun. One of her aunts became a nun and another had entered a convent. However the church's attitude towards divorced people (her mother was no longer permitted to take Communion) reportedly estranged her and her mother from the church.

Studying at the University of Queensland
University of Queensland
The University of Queensland, also known as UQ, is a public university located in state of Queensland, Australia. Founded in 1909, it is the oldest and largest university in Queensland and the fifth oldest in the nation...

 from 1978, Bligh gained a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

. Bligh traces her politicisation to her first year at University, observing a right-to-march rally in King George Square where people were being hit over the head by the police. Bligh's first involvement in activism was student protests against the Vice-Chancellor Brian Wilson's controversial administrative restructuring within the university. She then went on to be involved in the Women's Rights Collective which campaigned for legalised abortion against the anti-abortion policies of the Bjelke-Petersen government
Joh Bjelke-Petersen
Sir Johannes "Joh" Bjelke-Petersen, KCMG , was an Australian politician. He was the longest-serving and longest-lived Premier of Queensland, holding office from 1968 to 1987, a period that saw considerable economic development in the state...

. Bligh's next role was as Women's Vice-President of the Student Union
UQ Union
The University of Queensland Union is a student organisation established to provide service, support and representation to the students of the University of Queensland.-Aims:The specific aims of the Union as defined by the UQ Union Constitution are:...

. She then ran an election ticket called EAT (Education Action Team) in an unsuccessful bid to oust the faction in charge, headed by the future Goss
Wayne Goss
Wayne Keith Goss was Premier of Queensland from 7 December 1989 until 19 February 1996.-Early life:He was born at Mundubbera, Queensland and educated at Inala High School and the University of Queensland...

 government identity David Barbagallo. Law student Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas (politician)
Paul Thomas Lucas is the Attorney-General of Queensland and Minister for Local Government and Special Minister of State in the Bligh Labor Government and the Member for Lytton...

, Bligh's future Deputy Premier, was a part of Barbagallo's team. Her 1982 team included the former Minister for Education, Training and the Arts Rod Welford
Rod Welford
Rodney Jon Welford is the current Chief Executive of the Australian Council of Recycling Inc, the national peak industry body for the recycling industry in Australia...

. Anne Warner, who was a future Minister in the Goss Government, was an office holder at the time in the Union. Warner soon become one of Bligh's key political mentors.

She subsequently worked in a number of community organisations, including child care services, neighbourhood centres, women's refuges and trade unions as well as in the Queensland Public Service.

Bligh was the secretary of the Labor Party's Fairfield branch in 1987.

Parliament


Bligh was first elected to parliament at the 1995 election to the safe Labor seat of South Brisbane. She was promoted to the ministry following the election of the Beattie
Peter Beattie
Peter Douglas Beattie , Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years...

 government in 1998 as Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care and Disability Services. In 2001, Bligh became Queensland's first female Education Minister. She assumed additional responsibility for the Arts portfolio in 2004.

Deputy Premier



In July 2005, the retirement of the Deputy Premier and Treasurer Terry Mackenroth
Terry Mackenroth
Terence Michael "Terry" Mackenroth is a former Queensland Australian Labor Party politician, serving almost 28 years with a notable parliamentary service history and a number of ministerial roles including Treasurer and Deputy Premier....

 forced a cabinet reshuffle, which saw Bligh promoted to the office of Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance, State Development, Trade and Innovation. Bligh's appointment as Deputy Premier coincided with her election to parliament ten years earlier. In early February 2006, Bligh also gained the Treasury
Treasury
A treasury is either*A government department related to finance and taxation.*A place where currency or precious items is/are kept....

 portfolio after Beattie relinquished the responsibility in order to focus on attempting to fix the state's troubled health system.

Premier


Bligh had long been touted as a likely successor to the long-running Premier Peter Beattie
Peter Beattie
Peter Douglas Beattie , Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years...

, and he publicly endorsed her as his replacement when he announced his retirement from politics on 10 September 2007.

She was subsequently nominated unopposed by the Labor caucus, in a deal that saw Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas (politician)
Paul Thomas Lucas is the Attorney-General of Queensland and Minister for Local Government and Special Minister of State in the Bligh Labor Government and the Member for Lytton...

 from the Right faction succeed her as Deputy Premier. She became the leader of the Labor Party on 12 September. After Beattie formally resigned on 13 September 2007, Bligh was sworn in by the then Governor
Governors of Queensland
The Governor of Queensland is the representative in the state of Queensland of the Queen of Australia. The Governor performs the same constitutional and ceremonial functions at the state level as does the Governor-General of Australia at the national level....

 Quentin Bryce
Quentin Bryce
Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO is the 25th and current Governor-General of Australia and former Governor of Queensland....

. Bligh led Labor to victory in the 2009 state election
Queensland state election, 2009
The Queensland state election was held to elect members to the unicameral Parliament of Queensland on 21 March 2009. The election saw the incumbent Labor government led by Premier Anna Bligh defeat the Liberal National Party of Queensland led by Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, and gain a...

. While losing eight seats from the large majority Bligh inherited from Beattie, Labor still won 51 seats out of 89, enough for a comfortable majority. The election marked the Queensland ALP's eighth consecutive election win; the party has been in government for all but two years since 1989.

In winning the election, Bligh became Australia's first popularly elected female premier. The two previous female premiers, Carmen Lawrence
Carmen Lawrence
Carmen Mary Lawrence is a retired Australian politician; a former Premier of Western Australia and the first woman to become Premier of a State of the Commonwealth of Australia....

 (Western Australia
Premier of Western Australia
The Premier of Western Australia is the head of the executive government in the Australian State of Western Australia. The Premier has similar functions in Western Australia to those performed by the Prime Minister of Australia at the national level, subject to the different Constitutions...

 1990-93) and Joan Kirner
Joan Kirner
Joan Elizabeth Kirner AM , Australian politician, was the 42nd Premier of Victoria, the first woman to hold the position, which she held for two years prior to a landslide election defeat.-Biography:...

 (Victoria
Premiers of Victoria
The Premier of Victoria is the leader of the government in the Australian state of Victoria. The Premier is appointed by the Governor of Victoria, and is the leader of the political party able to secure a majority in the Legislative Assembly....

 1990-92), became premiers following the resignation of male premiers (as Bligh did), but both were defeated at the following respective state elections. However, Bligh is not Australia's first popularly elected female head of government. Rosemary Follett
Rosemary Follett
Rosemary Follett AO , Australian politician, was the first Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory. She was the first woman to become head of government in an Australian state or territory....

 and Kate Carnell
Kate Carnell
Anne Katherine Carnell AO was the third Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, serving from 1995 to 2000. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Food and Grocery Council.-Pharmacy career:...

 were both popularly elected as Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory is the head of government of the Australian Capital Territory. The leader of party with the largest representation of seats in the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly usually takes on the role...

, and Clare Martin
Clare Martin
Clare Majella Martin is a former Australian politician. She is the current CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service . A former journalist, she was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in a shock by-election win in 1995...

 was elected as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory is appointed by the Administrator, who in normal circumstances will appoint the head of whatever party holds the majority of seats in the legislature of the territory...

.

In 2009, Bligh was elected to the three person presidential team of the Australian Labor Party, to serve until July 2012. She served as National President of the Australian Labor Party for the 2010–11 financial year.

Privatisation


Bligh has announced the privatisation of five government owned corporations:
  • Queensland Motorways
    Queensland Motorways
    Queensland Motorways is company wholly owned by the Government of Queensland, Australia which operates and owns the Gateway Bridge and 20 km of the Gateway Motorway, Gateway Extension and Logan Motorway. The company began operating in 1980....

     Limited (Operating the Gateway Bridge and Logan Motorway
    Logan Motorway
    The M2/MR6 Logan Motorway offers motorists a quick link between Ipswich and the M1 or Pacific Motorway at Loganholme, and the Gateway Motorway, providing access to the Gold Coast on the eastern seaboard and to the rural areas of the Darling Downs to the west....

     tolling systems)
  • The Port of Brisbane
    Port of Brisbane
    Port of Brisbane is the shipping port of Brisbane, on the east coast of Australia. It is located in the lower reaches of the Brisbane River on reclaimed land that was once called Fisherman Islands at the mouth of the river. It currently is the third busiest port in Australia and the nation's...

     Authority
  • Forestry Plantations Queensland
  • Abbot Point Coal Terminal
  • Coal carrying rail lines, currently owned by Queensland Rail
    Queensland Rail
    Queensland Rail, also known as QR, is a government-owned railway operator in the state of Queensland. Under the control of the Queensland Government, Queensland Rail operates the inner-city and long-distance passenger services, as well as some freight operations and gives railway access to other...

     (QR Passenger services will remain nationalised).

More than 3,000 workers will be offered voluntary redundancies, just three months after the privatisation of QR National.

Queensland Motorways Limited and Forestry Plantations Queensland are not being sold, but rather being leased for an estimated 50 year lease. Since this announcement, the Queensland Government announced plans to sale Queensland Rail to the public.

Revenues from privatisation were estimated at approximately $15 billion dollars, to go towards balancing QLD's state budget.

The sale of these assets aimed at removing significant overheads from the Queensland Government's debt portfolio, allowing further growth of the Governments capital assets, as well as aiding the government to return to its AAA credit rating. Bligh has faced resistance from both within her party and the trade union movement, but has defended her privatisation plan as 'not negotiable'.

The 2009 Annual State Conference of the Australian Labor Party - Queensland Branch, passed a motion, moved by Treasurer Andrew Fraser MP, seconded by Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living Murray Watt MP, supporting the sale of the assets, recognising that the sale will allow the Queensland Government to grow its asset portfolio, as well as retire debt.

Daylight Saving


In October 2006, then Queensland Premier Peter Beattie
Peter Beattie
Peter Douglas Beattie , Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years...

, commissioned research to seek if Daylight Saving
Daylight saving time
Daylight saving time —also summer time in several countries including in British English and European official terminology —is the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less...

 should be re-introduced into Queensland on a trial basis. On 1 October 2007 Bligh ruled out holding a new referendum, despite this government-commissioned report indicating that 59% of Queensland residents and 69% of South East Queenslanders support daylight saving.

On 14 April 2010 Independent member for the Electoral district of Nicklin
Electoral district of Nicklin
The district of Nicklin is an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Queensland. The electorate is centred in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and stretches north to Yandina, south to Eudlo and west to Kenilworth...

, Peter Wellington
Peter Wellington
Peter Wellington is an Independent member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, for the Electoral district of Nicklin. Wellington, along with fellow independent Liz Cunningham, briefly held the balance in power following the 1998 state election...

, introduced the Daylight Saving for South East Queensland Referendum Bill 2010
Daylight Saving for South East Queensland Referendum Act 2010
The Daylight Saving for South East Queensland Referendum Bill 2010 was tabled in Queensland Parliament on 14 April 2010, by Queensland, Independent Member Peter Wellington. Wellington has called for a referendum to be held at the next State election on introduction of daylight saving time for...

 into Queensland Parliament, calling for a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 to be held at the next State election on the introduction of daylight saving for South East Queensland
South East Queensland
South East Queensland is a region of the state of Queensland in Australia, which contains approximately two-thirds of the state population...

 only, while the remainder of the state maintains standard time
Standard time
Standard time is the result of synchronizing clocks in different geographical locations within a time zone to the same time rather than using the local meridian as in local mean time or solar time. Historically, this helped in the process of weather forecasting and train travel. The concept...

. In response to this Bill, Bligh announced a community consultation process, which resulted in over 74,000 respondents participating, 64 percent of whom voted in favour of a trial and 63% were in favour of holding a referendum.

On 7 June 2010, after reviewing the favourable consultation results, Bligh announced that her Government would not support the Bill, because regional Queenslanders were overwhelmingly opposed to daylight saving. The Bill was defeated in Queensland Parliament on 15 June 2011.

Queensland floods


Bligh's management of and performance during the 2010–2011 Queensland floods
2010–2011 Queensland floods
A series of floods hit Australia, beginning in December 2010, primarily in the state of Queensland including its capital city, Brisbane. The floods forced the evacuation of thousands of people from towns and cities. At least seventy towns and over 200,000 people were affected. Damage initially was...

 was widely approved. The following Newspoll saw a record turnaround in Bligh and Labor's fortunes, rising from a two-party deficit of 41-59 to a lead of 52-48, with her personal satisfaction-dissatisfaction standing going from a negative 24-67 to a positive 49-43. A day before the poll was publicly released, LNP opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek
John-Paul Langbroek
John-Paul Honoré Langbroek is an Australian politician. He has been a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly representing the Liberal Party and its successor, the centre-right Liberal National Party, in the seat of Surfers Paradise since 2004...

 stood down, with Jeff Seeney
Jeff Seeney
Jeffrey William Seeney is an Australian politician. He has been a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly since the 1998 state election, representing the National Party and merged Liberal National Party ....

 temporarily taking over. In an Australian first, Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman
Campbell Newman
Campbell Kevin Thomas Newman is the leader of the Liberal National Party of Queensland. He was the 15th Lord Mayor of Brisbane from 2004 to 2011....

 and the LNP announced Newman would lead the LNP team and stand for the seat of Ashgrove
Electoral district of Ashgrove
The division of Ashgrove is a Queensland Legislative Assembly electoral division in the state of Queensland, Australia.It is located in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, encompassing Alderley, Ashgrove, Enoggera, The Gap, and Newmarket...

 at the next Queensland state election
Next Queensland state election
The 2012 Queensland state election will elect all 89 members of the Legislative Assembly. Queensland elections must be held on a Saturday, the last possible date being calculated by reference to the previous election writs, and therefore slightly longer than 3 years after the previous election...

, with the aim of Campbell becoming Premier, should he and the LNP succeed. Shortly after the floods peaked Bligh established a Commission of Inquiry into the 2010-11 Queensland floods
Commission of Inquiry into the 2010-11 Queensland floods
The Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland floods is an Australian inquiry set up by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deadly 2010-2011 Queensland floods. The independent Inquiry will be headed by Justice Cate Holmes and is expected to cost...

 to comprehensively and independently review all aspects of the flood.

Personal


Bligh appeared as a contestant on Celebrity MasterChef Australia
Celebrity MasterChef Australia
Celebrity MasterChef Australia is an Australian competitive cooking game show. It is spin-off of MasterChef Australia, itself an adaptation of the British show MasterChef, and features celebrity contestants...

. She was eliminated in her first heat, losing to the eventual winner of the series, swimmer Eamon Sullivan
Eamon Sullivan
Eamon Wade Sullivan is an Australian sprint swimmer.-Career :In April 2002 at the Australian Age Championships, Sullivan won the 50 m freestyle and came second in 100 m in his age group, and swam for Australia at Trans Tasman series with no dramatic result.In April 2003 at Brisbane in the Fisher &...

.

Bligh is married to Greg Withers, a senior public servant, with whom she has two sons, Joe and Oliver, both of whom attended Brisbane State High School
Brisbane State High School
Brisbane State High School is a partially selective, co-educational, state secondary school, located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is a member of the Great Public Schools' Association of Queensland, and the Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association...

.

Bligh is a descendant of Cornishman
Cornish Australian
Cornish Australians are citizens of Australia whose ancestry originates in Cornwall, United Kingdom, one of the six Celtic Nations. They form part of the worldwide Cornish diaspora which also includes large numbers of people in the US, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and many Latin...

 William Bligh
William Bligh
Vice Admiral William Bligh FRS RN was an officer of the British Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. A notorious mutiny occurred during his command of HMAV Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, after being set adrift in the Bounty's launch by the mutineers...

 who is famous for the Mutiny on the Bounty
Mutiny on the Bounty
The mutiny on the Bounty was a mutiny that occurred aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789, and has been commemorated by several books, films, and popular songs, many of which take considerable liberties with the facts. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian against the...

 and being the 4th Governor of New South Wales. The name Bligh comes from the Cornish language
Cornish language
Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

 word Blyth meaning Wolf.

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