Sir joh bjelke-petersen

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Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 01:41 pm

Former Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen has died at 94. His funeral will be held in Kingaroy; remember him for his folksy sayings.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/23/2005 at 03:48 AM
    1. Definintely the end of an era with his passing. Rest in peace you old bugger you.

      Posted by rbresca on 2005 04 23 at 04:58 AM • permalink


    1. “Say what you think, then do what you say”

      Rest in Peace, Sir Joh. God bless.

      Posted by Jonathan on 2005 04 23 at 05:17 AM • permalink


    1. RIP both Joh Bjelke-Peterson and Al Grassby.  I wonder how the MSM will treat the passing of these two politicians from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

      What I’m dreading is what will happen when “statesman” Gough coughs it.

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 04 23 at 05:31 AM • permalink


    1. He was a good man who did a lot of good for Queensland. Farewell Sir Joh.

      Posted by C.L. on 2005 04 23 at 05:39 AM • permalink


    1. In case some of you lazy bastards don’t click on Tim’s links above, go and check these quotable quotes.  Joh was a “white man”.  Aussies will know what that means.

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 04 23 at 05:58 AM • permalink


    1. Now you…you…you…you…you, I say, you…you…you. There’s only one thing in this world sadder than Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s death, and that’s a Chinese Rasta.

      Posted by Jim Geones on 2005 04 23 at 06:04 AM • permalink


    1. “Just you wait and see.” He had a classical education.  That’s hendiadys.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2005 04 23 at 06:43 AM • permalink


    1. What I’m dreading is what will happen when “statesman�? Gough coughs it.

      I’m told, Stevo, that the great man has given instructions only the simplest of tombs should be constructed for him. After all, he’ll be using it for only three days.

      Posted by pog-ma-thon on 2005 04 23 at 06:48 AM • permalink


    1. Sergio Bjoking Petersen: chook feeder, colossus keeper, peanut producer, scone scoffer, berlingeri-citabria hoon. A bit of a nightmare, even for a conservative.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 04 23 at 07:00 AM • permalink


    1. I spoke to Stevo Senior (Dad) from Queensland earlier this evening.  This is what he said to me about Joh (as good as I could it write down on post-it notes … he still writes with a typewriter, not a PC):

      Joh’s crowning glory was the electrifying the railway between Gladstone and the central Qld coalfields which opened up the way for Weipa Alumina to be shipped to Gladstone.  With the ready supply of coal at the doorstep, Qld is now the the worlds greatest supplier of aluminium, though due to typical lack of Labor government foresight under Beattie and his cohorts, infrastructure at Gladstone has been neglected and it has reduced the demand in the world for Australian aluminium.  Take a look at the ships anchored off Gladstone loading or unloading, there is everything there to satisfy the needs of a 3rd world country navy.  If only Joh and Lang Hancock had realised their dream of a rail link from the Pilbarra to the central Qld coalfield, where would this country be today in the relation to the production of steel?  As against the exporting of all of our products overseas for manufacture and sell back to us at inflated prices.  Oh, for politicians and businessmen with vision!!!

      ps: can someone buy my old man a PC.

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 04 23 at 07:08 AM • permalink


    1. Mwahahaha!!

      Good riddance. Rot in hell, you diseased turd.

      Posted by Tex on 2005 04 23 at 07:21 AM • permalink


    1. Tex … what did he do to you to incur such wrath … please explain …

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 04 23 at 07:53 AM • permalink


    1. gees stevo, buy him one yourself – a mac mini is only $799

      Posted by entropy on 2005 04 23 at 08:01 AM • permalink


    1. #13 entropy:
      thanks, but a Queenslander probably couldn’t spell mac mini … ha ha … having a go at my dad …

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 04 23 at 08:07 AM • permalink


    1. I grew up in Joh country, Kingaroy.

      My favourite Joh memory was when he came to my primary school to give us a new flag.  I had to introduce him and rehearsed Bjelke-Peterson many times so I’d get it right.

      But then as I introduced him I stumbled and said “IS IT a pleasure to introduce Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson?” Joh go up and said, “Well I hope it’s a pleasure because I’m going to give you all a day off.” He then declared the next day “Joh Day”, and we didn’t have to go to school.

      What a man.  I’ll miss him.

      Posted by Shelly on the Telly on 2005 04 23 at 08:10 AM • permalink


    1. Hey, I’m a Queenslander you bloody cockroach:)
      (well sort of, I wasn’t born north of the tweed, so I guess I’ll never truely be one)

      Anyway, I was pondering the Queensland National Party the other day.  When Joh was in charge, they were a bunch of stupid agrarian socialists, but their leader had rat cunning (let’s face it, he outsmarted Gough resulting in the dismissal – Joh never really got the credit he deserved for that -or should that be notoriety).
      Nowadays, the QNP are still agrarian socialists, but not one of them has any smarts at all.
      This is why so many Queenslanders happily vote for Howard federally, but vote labor at the state level.  They never want to see the current QNP in charge of anything.

      Posted by entropy on 2005 04 23 at 08:18 AM • permalink


    1. Just as a matter of interest, Joh has much more prominiance on the MSM websites
      eg news limited or fairfax than Al Grassby, who also died today (I won’t link to Tim’s story, the invective in the comments is embarrasing).
      The lunar left might start figuring its a conspiracy to stop old Al getting his due.
      While that could be an entertaining theory, the truth probably is that the ghouls in hte MSM had the ‘orbit for Joh’ campaign well and truely written days ago, while old Al sprung it on em on the Anzac day weekend.

      Posted by entropy on 2005 04 23 at 08:52 AM • permalink


    1. As for MSM reaction to a deceased pollie, it will be very interesting to see the reaction of the ABC/SMH when a certain teflon-coated ex-NSW politician ‘croaks’ it. He must be pretty ancient by now so it can’t be far off.

      Will it be fawning or will he get the ‘Askin’ treatment?

      Posted by Flying Giraffe on 2005 04 23 at 09:05 AM • permalink


    1. Crony Capitalism, Corrupt Coppers, Contempt for dissenters and c c c c c stuttering.

      He said the brown paper bag stuffed with money was just left by “someone” on his desk.  The ABC couldn’t get past the front door of the Executive Building with their bag of money.

      From the Fitzgerald Commission:

      Q “What does the seperation of powers mean Sir Joh?”

      A “You tell me, and then I’ll say whether you’re right or not.”

      Peanut Joh.  Dead at last.

      Posted by Hector on 2005 04 23 at 09:25 AM • permalink


    1. Phat Phil:

      “The louder we laughed at them, the more powerful they became.”

      Well, what does that tell you about how valued your opinion is, Phil?

      Posted by Dave S. on 2005 04 23 at 09:52 AM • permalink


    1. Hector:

      I doubt the smart-arsed lawyer who asked that of Joh was aware of the many nuances in the separation of powers doctrine (so-called). In other words, if asked the question himself by a history professor at, say, Columbia University, he would have bungled the whole thing.

      Complexities arise with its application to parliamentary systems where the executive resides wholly within the legislature. As for the judiciary, you’d find more examples of bona fide interference in its independence under various New South Wales governments than you would under Joh’s regime.

      In that light, Joh’s answer was actually pretty clever, as a ‘correct’ answer depended on assumptions the questioner didn’t specify.

      The Labor Party established the gerrymander and the Labor Party – in the most gross example of ‘branches of power’ derangement in Queensland’s history – abolished the Upper House in the 1920s while the head of the executive-in-council (the Governor) was out of the state.

      Joh was more naive and old-world prejudiced than he was genuinely corrupt. Gough Whitlam’s attempts to borrow money from dubious sources – including from the Iraqi Ba’ath Party – were far more astonishing examples of jugheaded ignorance of the basics of prudent governance. And he was a brilliant barrister. allegedly. As was Neville Wran.

      I must say I’m surprised by the moonbat-like comments from people expressing irrational and idiotic pleasure about the man being dead. Not even his worst enemies question that he was a good family man and one with a prodigious work ethic. He built his businesses up while living in a cow shed for 13 years and succeeded in business on his own terms. All of that while supporting his own parents and most assuredly doing the right thing by everyone in his life.

      He was perhaps the last pre-welfarism government leader in this country who ever worked with his hands and his body to an extent that makes laughable the Mark Latham-like sob stories about hardship. Joh was the last Premier who ever worked a real, dirty job for a living.

      Posted by C.L. on 2005 04 23 at 10:13 AM • permalink


    1. I have a hard time seeing these as memorable quotes:

      “Don’t you worry about that”

      “Goodness gracious, I know what you’re trying to do.”

      “Just you wait and see.”

      I guess the rumors that he also said “Please pass the salt” and “Which way to the loo, mate?” are just folklore.

      Seriously, not that I understand half the Australianisms in any of this, but the comments thread in the earlier Joh thread was about ten times more interesting than the professional newspaper’s version, and actually gave some flavor for the man (not to mention contradicting, rather than reinforcing, the conventional wisdom about him being a backwoods bumpkin).

      Posted by Mike G on 2005 04 23 at 10:13 AM • permalink


    1. C.L. Oxygen can be complex and nuanced if you want to make it so.  It can also be pretty fundamental.

      Joh used the police force as a political weapon against his adversaries, and even the poor bloody “concerned Christians” who were arrested for praying in public.  Remember that chap who was arrested outside Rockhampton for “marching” with his dog at 3am down a dead-end street?

      Joh was smart (cunning), and yes he got his hands dirty farming and land-clearing.  But he was also a vindictive and corrupt politician who enriched his friends and family using the public purse.

      To use the words of Queensland prosecutors when they tried “Sugar Ray” Robinson not long ago “He displayed an arrogant sense of entitlement”.  Would you like to defend Mr Robinson as “naive and old world prejudiced”.  I’m sure he’d be grateful for your support.

      Posted by Hector on 2005 04 23 at 10:32 AM • permalink


    1. ’Peanut Joh.  Dead at last.’


      Rapidly typing fingers couldn’t come up with something so telling, so sincere, so … stupid.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2005 04 23 at 11:26 AM • permalink


    1. Brief irritation. When did Sir Joh lose his Knighthood? Why don’t the MSM refer to him by his proper name and title?

      On net balance he was a very positive force for Queensland, and I think fundamentally good. I don’t think anyone would doubt that everything he did, including the dodgy stuff, he did for the benefit he saw for Queenslanders, not himself. I believe his transgressions were a product of naiveté sometimes exploited by those around him, but in the end it was he who triumphed. There is no doubt that the Queensland Nationals, and the police force, at the time was filled with shonks, spivs, and coat tuggers and they went to gaol.

      Oh and C.L. did you ever hear him answer that question regarding the separation of powers. In the clip I saw at the time it was asked by a journalist, possibly prompted by the incident in court. Let’s not canonise the bloke. He had absolutely no idea what the term meant. And frankly I think a majority of the population at the time wouldn’t have either. It didn’t matter because it didn’t apply in Queensland anyway.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 04 23 at 11:39 AM • permalink


    1. Hector: your comments about the separation of powers prove my point. It’s actually not that straight-forward at all. Usage and application of the term is more appropriate vis-a-vis the United States. (As several commentators pointed out at the time, actually).

      The Joh Bjelke-Pinochet stuff about use of the police force has always been exaggerated rubbish, mostly foisted on people by bitter 1970s Laborites who saw their careers stalled at the time. So some bloke got arrested walking a dog. Big deal. Last week a Queensland woman had two police constables front up at her place of work over a ticket she’d received that day for smoking a cigarette. The latter is more worryingly fascist. Does that mean in 30 years time you’ll say “great, Peter Beattie’s dead at last”?

      You also ignore, as many commenters on Joh conveniently do, that he inherited a culture – one he foolishly kept and should have changed, to be sure. But compared to what his Labor predecessors did, Joh was porbably a marginal improvement in some ways. The father of Sir Gerard Brennan (one-time Chief Justice of the High Court), Frank Brennan, was appointed a judge by Labor in the 1920s – a typical corrupt appointment, acknowledged as such in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. The barristers of Queensland at the time had to point out – in vain – that he wasn’t even qualified.

      I haven’t whitewashed Joh’s reign either in this thread or in my own summary of his life and times. But your language would give people to understand that he was no better than Robert Mugabe and that’s just moonbattery.

      Vindictive, my arse. He was a politician who played hard – like they all do. Compared to Keating, Hawke and probably even Bob bloody Carr, he was a decent man.

      Posted by C.L. on 2005 04 23 at 11:54 AM • permalink


    1. Dean: I’m not canonising Joh – just pointing out – inter alia – that his answer was not entirely stupid given that, as you rightly say, hardly anyone then (or now) knew what ‘separation of powers’ meant. It actually doesn’t mean what people think it means; it doesn’t mean what the lawyer who asked the question thought it meant. If Joh was an ignorant fool and a danger to democracy because of that, then most of the Fourth Estate was (is) too.

      Nor do I regard the misuse of the police force or the indictably idiotic promotion of that weazil, Terry Lewis, to be remotely acceptable. But dance on his grave I won’t. He was better than that. And yes, I voted for Gossie to help change the State for the better and I wouldn’t be seen dead at a Nationals shindig, if anyone’s presuming I’m grass-chewin’ Joh-worshipper.

      Posted by C.L. on 2005 04 23 at 12:03 PM • permalink


    1. Poor Philco.  Maybe he and Leunig could collaborate on a graphic novel…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 04 23 at 12:41 PM • permalink


    1. At least he didn’t allow the friggin’ pokies.

      Posted by murph on 2005 04 24 at 02:38 AM • permalink


    1. Get your facts straight Hector!

      The “separation of powers” question was not put to Sir Joh at the Fitzgerald Inquiry by a lawyer. It was put by the ABC’s leading light in Queensland at the time, Quentin Dempster. It was put to Russell Cooper, Queensland Premier, just prior to the election of the Goss Labor Government.

      I met Sir Joh on two seperate occasions and had reason to phone him four times when he was Premier. Three of those calls were to his home at Bethany, Kingaroy. One was answered by Lady Flo, the other two by Sir Joh himself. Publicly listed phone numbers in the phone book!

      I don’t think that would apply to any other state or federal leader then or now!

      RIP Joh. A man’s man, and a peoples man.

      Posted by Gravelly on 2005 04 24 at 06:12 AM • permalink


    1. When he was hanging onto life over the last few days like the fighter he was, I pictured him coming through the front door of the Kingaroy Hospital and announcing to the assembled media (chooks):

      “I’ve got good news for Queenslanders.”

      Vale, Sir Joh.

      Posted by amortiser on 2005 04 24 at 08:32 AM • permalink


    1. Re Dean’s comment #25 “I don’t think anyone would doubt that everything he did, including the dodgy stuff, he did for the benefit he saw for Queenslanders, not himself. I believe his transgressions were a product of naiveté sometimes exploited by those around him, but in the end it was he who triumphed.”

      This sort of rationalisation is what politicians use whenever they do ‘dodgy stuff’ – that it’s for the greater good. Joh might not have financially benefitted himself with dodgy donations straight into his back pocket (unlike many others from the time), but he certainly benefited himself politically by enabling the widespread (political and legal as well as financial) corruption around him – no doubt telling himself it was for the good of Queensland.  And it’s strange that his defenders can simultaneously say how cunning and clever and grossly underestimated he was, yet when it comes to the corruption he was “naive and old world prejudiced” to use CL’s words.

      Yes CL, Whitlam’s (and Lionel Murphy’s) role in the loans affair and other incidents could probably be labelled corrupt (I only use the qualifier “probably” because there haven’t been the Inquiries to bring as much evidence to light as there was with Joh and his mates), but pointing at someone else and saying ‘he was worse’ is not much of a defence (as you also do by saying he was a decent man compared to Keating, etc, which is not that much of a recommendation)

      CL also says:

      The Joh Bjelke-Pinochet stuff about use of the police force has always been exaggerated rubbish, mostly foisted on people by bitter 1970s Laborites who saw their careers stalled at the time. So some bloke got arrested walking a dog. Big deal. Last week a Queensland woman had two police constables front up at her place of work over a ticket she’d received that day for smoking a cigarette. The latter is more worryingly fascist.

      Space precludes me from going into detail, but virtually none of the people I knew at the time were ‘Laborites’.  However, while the harassment and assaults were not on a Pinochet scale, they were 100 times worse than getting followed up about a ticket for smoking. Police verballing, planting of drugs, assaults, continually being pulled over for questioning and searching, etc were all very real and were directed specifically at political opponents – you’ll just have to take my word for it.

      None of this should suggest that police corruption didn’t exist before. Queensland had a long history of it (as did most other states I imagine), much of around gambling. This included a previous Commissioner, Frank Bischof – see this link from Australian Gaming magazine – which leads me to Murph’s comment #29. Whilst stopping pokies had it’s good side (apart from enabling NSW footy clubs to rip the guts out of the Brisbane competition by buying all the best players), even maintaining that policy was encouraged by big donations from ‘colourful’ on-line gaming machine opoerator Jack Rooklyn who didn’t want the pokies destroying his gambling alternative.

      Posted by Andrew Bartlett on 2005 04 24 at 10:44 AM • permalink


  1. HECTOR:

    welcome back bryla . . . .I recognised the email address!

    Posted by steve68 on 2005 04 25 at 02:53 AM • permalink