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Anna Bligh

Anna Bligh crop.jpg
Bligh in 2007
37th Premier of Queensland
Elections: 2009, 2012
In office
13 September 2007 – 26 March 2012
GovernorQuentin Bryce
Penelope Wensley
DeputyPaul Lucas (2007–2011)
Andrew Fraser (2011–2012)
Preceded byPeter Beattie
Succeeded byCampbell Newman
Minister for Reconstruction of Queensland
In office
21 February 2011 – 26 March 2012
PremierHerself
Preceded byNew position
Succeeded byJeff Seeney
Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland
In office
13 September 2007 – 26 March 2012
Preceded byPeter Beattie
Succeeded byAnnastacia Palaszczuk
Deputy Premier of Queensland
In office
28 July 2005 – 13 September 2007
PremierPeter Beattie
Preceded byTerry Mackenroth
Succeeded byPaul Lucas
46th Treasurer of Queensland
In office
2 February 2006 – 13 September 2007
PremierPeter Beattie
Preceded byPeter Beattie
Succeeded byAndrew Fraser
Minister for the Arts of Queensland
In office
12 February 2004 – 21 February 2011
PremierPeter Beattie (2004–2007)
Herself (2007–2011)
Preceded byMatt Foley
Succeeded byRachel Nolan
Minister for Education of Queensland
In office
22 February 2001 – 28 July 2005
PremierPeter Beattie
Preceded byDean Wells
Succeeded byAnna Maria Bligh AC (born 14 July 1960) is a lobbyist and former Australian politician who served as the 37th Premier of Queensland, in office from 2007 to 2012 as leader of the Labor Party. She was the first woman to hold either position. In 2017, she was appointed CEO of the Australian Banking Association.

Bligh was born in Warwick, Queensland, and studied at the University of Queensland. Before entering politics she worked for various community organisations. Bligh entered the Queensland Legislative Assembly at the 1995 state election, winning the seat of South Brisbane. She was promoted to the ministry in 1998, under Peter Beattie, and became deputy premier in 2005 and state treasurer in 2006. Bligh succeeded Beattie as premier in 2007 – Queensland's first female premier and Australia's third. She led Labor to victory at the 2009 state election, but at the 2012 election suffered a landslide defeat and announced her retirement from politics. From 2010 to 2011, Bligh was National President of the Australian Labor Party.

Early life

Bligh was born in Warwick, Queensland. She is a descendant of William Bligh, who is famous for the Mutiny on the Bounty and being the 4th Governor of New South Wales.[1] Bligh grew up on the Gold Coast. 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.[2]

Studying at the University of Queensland from 1978, Bligh gained a Bachelor of Arts. 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. Bligh's next role was as Women's Vice-President of the Student Union. 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 government identity David Barbagallo. Law student Paul Lucas, 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. 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.[2]

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.[3]

Parliament

Bligh was first elected to parliament at the 1995 election to the safe Labor seat of South Brisbane, succeeding Anne Warner. A member of the Socialist Left faction of the Labor Party, she was promoted to the ministry following the election of the Beattie 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

Anna Bligh, Nicholas Rudd, then federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd, and Grace Grace (state Labor MP for Brisbane Central) at Labour Day 2007

In July 2005, the retirement of the Deputy Premier and Treasurer Terry Mackenroth 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 portfolio after Beattie relinquished the responsibility to focus on attempti

Bligh was born in Warwick, Queensland, and studied at the University of Queensland. Before entering politics she worked for various community organisations. Bligh entered the Queensland Legislative Assembly at the 1995 state election, winning the seat of South Brisbane. She was promoted to the ministry in 1998, under Peter Beattie, and became deputy premier in 2005 and state treasurer in 2006. Bligh succeeded Beattie as premier in 2007 – Queensland's first female premier and Australia's third. She led Labor to victory at the 2009 state election, but at the 2012 election suffered a landslide defeat and announced her retirement from politics. From 2010 to 2011, Bligh was National President of the Australian Labor Party.

Bligh was born in Warwick, Queensland. She is a descendant of William Bligh, who is famous for the Mutiny on the Bounty and being the 4th Governor of New South Wales.[1] Bligh grew up on the Gold Coast. 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.[2]

Studying at the University of Queensland from 1978, Bligh gained a Bachelor of Arts. 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. Bligh's next role was as Women's Vice-President of the Student Union. 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 government identity David Barbagallo. Law student Paul Lucas, 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. 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.[2]Studying at the University of Queensland from 1978, Bligh gained a Bachelor of Arts. 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. Bligh's next role was as Women's Vice-President of the Student Union. 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 government identity David Barbagallo. Law student Paul Lucas, 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. 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.[2]

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.[3]

Bligh was first elected to parliament at the 1995 election to the safe Labor seat of South Brisbane, succeeding Anne Warner. A member of the Socialist Left faction of the Labor Party, she was promoted to the ministry following the election of the Beattie 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 PremierIn July 2005, the retirement of the Deputy Premier and Treasurer Terry Mackenroth 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 portfolio after Beattie relinquished the responsibility to focus on attempting to fix the state's troubled health system.[citation needed]

Premier

Bligh had long been touted as a likely successor to the long-running Premier Peter Beattie, and he publicly endorsed her as his replacement when he announced his retirement from politics on 10 September 2007.[4]

She was subsequently nominated unopposed by the Labor caucus in a deal that saw Paul Lucas 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 Quentin Bryce. Bligh led Labor to victory in the 2009 state election. Bligh lost eight seats from the large majority she'd inherited from Beattie, and also suffered an eight-percent swing on the two-party vote. Nonetheless, due largely to taking 34 out of 40 seats in Brisbane, Labor still won 51 seats out of 89, enough for a comfortable majority. The election marked the Queensland ALP's eighth c

Bligh had long been touted as a likely successor to the long-running Premier Peter Beattie, and he publicly endorsed her as his replacement when he announced his retirement from politics on 10 September 2007.[4]

She was subsequently nominated unopposed by the Labor caucus

She was subsequently nominated unopposed by the Labor caucus in a deal that saw Paul Lucas 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 Quentin Bryce. Bligh led Labor to victory in the 2009 state election. Bligh lost eight seats from the large majority she'd inherited from Beattie, and also suffered an eight-percent swing on the two-party vote. Nonetheless, due largely to taking 34 out of 40 seats in Brisbane, 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.[5] The two previous female premiers, Carmen Lawrence (Western Australia 1990–93) and Joan Kirner (Victoria 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 and Kate Carnell were both popularly elected as Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, and Clare Martin was elected as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.[5]

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.[6]

Bligh announced the privatisation of five government owned corporations:

  • Q

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

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

    Revenues from privatisation were estimated at approximately $15 billion, to go towards balancing Queensland's state budget.[7]

    The sale of these assets aimed at removing significant overheads

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

    Revenues from privatisation were estimated at approximately $15 billion, to go towards balancing Queensland's state budget.[7]

    The sale of these assets aimed at removing significant overheads from the Queensland government's debt portfolio, allowing further growth of the government's 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'.[8]

    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.

    In October 2006, then Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, commissioned research to see if daylight saving should be re-introduced into Queensland on a trial basis.[9] 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.[10]

    On 14 April 2010, the independent member for Nicklin, Peter Wellington, introduced the Daylight Saving for South East Queensland Referendum Bill 2010 into Queensland Parliament, calling for a referendum to be held at the next state election on the introduction of daylight saving for South East Queensland only, with the remainder of the state maintaining standard time.[11] In response to the 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.[12] On 7 June, 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.[13] The bill was defeated in Queensland Parliament on 15 June 2011.[14]

    Bligh's management of and performance during the 2010–11 Queensland floods was widely approved. Labor had been well behind the LNP, led by John-Paul Langbroek, for most of the time since the fall of 2010. However, the following Newspoll saw a record turnaround in Bligh and Labor's fortunes. Labor rose from a two-party deficit of 41–59 to a lead of 52–48, with Bligh's personal satisfaction-dissatisfaction standing going from a negative 24–67 to a positive 49–43.[15] Bligh's recovery in the polls was a factor behind Langbroek being forced to stand down in favour of Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman.[16] Newman had become a national figure during the floods, and polling showed he was the only non-Labor politician who even came close to matching Bligh's popularity during that time.[17]

    However, Newman was not a member of parliament, and a by-election could not be arranged to allow him to get a seat in the chamber. For this reason, Jeff Seeney was elected as interim parliamentary leader of the LNP while Newman led the LNP's election team and simultaneously contested the Labor-held seat of Ashgrove.[18] Bligh harshly criticised Newman's move, saying it was irresponsible for Newman to "cut and run" from his post as Lord Mayor while Queensland was still rebuilding.[17] She also hinted that she might call an election a year before it was due. She had previously promised not to call an election for 2011 to focus on recovery, but was concerned that the unorthodox leadership arrangement on the opposition side could make the co-operation necessary for the recovery effort impossible.[19]

    2012 election