Editorial (Editorial) - Queensland Review

Editorial (Editorial)

By Queensland Review

  • Release Date - Published: 2009-02-01
  • Book Genre: History
  • Author: Queensland Review
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Editorial (Editorial) Queensland Review read online review & book description:

Queenslanders recently ushered in the state's sesquicentenary year by electing Australia's first female premier. In her victory speech, a radiant Anna Bligh recalled 'a time when people regarded us as the backward state of Australia ... a time when nobody would have thought that we would be the first state in the country to elect a woman as our premier'. During its first 150 years, Queensland has notched up some impressive firsts for progressive politics: the world's first labour government took office in Queensland for seven days in 1899, for example, and Fred Paterson--who held the state seat of Bowen from 1944 to 1950--was the only member of the Communist Party ever elected to parliament in Australia. But over this period both conservative and Labor governments have embraced a development ethos, which--with its calamitous effects on Indigenous culture and the natural environment, and its antipathy to dissent--has contributed to the state's reputation as socially and culturally backward. Little has changed in the twenty-first century: Peter Beattie enthusiastically adopted Joh Bjelke-Petersen's 'crane count' as a barometer of the success of government policy, and Anna Bligh is photographed almost daily in a hard hat, visiting construction sites. The year 2009 marks both the 150th anniversary of Queensland's separation from New South Wales and the 150th anniversary of responsible government. On 6 June 1859, Queen Victoria signed the papers creating the new colony. On 10 December 1859, the first Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, was sworn in and the colony of Queensland was officially founded: its name, according to Bowen, was devised by Queen Victoria herself. The colony of Queensland, uniquely in Australia, began with two houses of parliament: an appointed Legislative Council and an elected Legislative Assembly. (Following the abolition of the Legislative Council in 1921, Queensland is today Australia's only unicameral state parliament.) The white population of the colony in 1859 was around 28,000, of whom approximately 6,000 lived in Brisbane. Most of the gazetted territory of the colony was not under effective colonial control in 1859, and indeed the borders of Queensland changed several times in the years following separation. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the colony of Queensland was in effect a moving frontier.

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