Sunday, April 14, 2013

Don know 2, much

I don't know that I believe you are stamped with your name so indelibly that it determines your career or decides how your love life will proceed. The Dons I know are a mixed bunch. But so are the Charleys and the Cindys; the Brians. Regardless of what you think of your name, it's likely that those you are forced to share it with are going to be of every kind. I haven't met any bad Grants but it could just be a matter of time.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Don know

Here's a question; a serious one: do you think it's sensible to feel you should apologise to some people for not knowing of their existence?

This can only apply to someone of fame or notoreity, I realise. If not a captain of industry then a high class buffoon.

In my case, as I was writing that past post about External and Foreign Affairs ministers, I was struck that I had been around in the Whitlam era; just going into high school, granted, and I didn't make the connection between the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time and his sons who went into Current Affairs.

The truth is, I wasn't an activist in high school. I had enough on my plate (or, if not, we could go up for seconds) and I hadn't fully matured from my parents' conservative outlook.
It was, ironically, the kid who gave me my black tooth who made me see the virtue in a party for the working man. His dad was a shearer.

The Dons I was aware of in politics were Don Dunstan, the flamboyant South Australian premier, and Don Lane the party-switching Fitzgerald Inquiry subject of the dying days of Bjelke-Petersen mach II and III. He might have even been the local member when we were living in New Farm.
(not to be confused with the lanky yank, Mort Isaacson)

Well, that shows that no one (in Australia, at least) is reading. What about Don Chipp?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

External affairs

When pondering what the most important portfolios were for our first federal governments, I would have guessed Treasurer or Attorney General. History has it that it was External Affairs. Or was it?

As the history in hyperlink above displays, the fact that the role resided with the Prime Minister at first meant that, in some respects, was less independent and had less resources allocated to it.

Then it was abolished!

Coming back as Foreign Affairs made the department sound no less clandestine (not to mention sexy)

Sir Edmund Barton traveled to England in 1902, the second year of parliament. We know that by his knighthood but, co-founder of federation/historical great he may have been, but his access to the rest of the world must have been curtailed, especially while governing Australia. There again, there wasn't some fellow in a balloon or yacht that you could despatch, knowing you'd get telegrams.
The Prime Minister would still have traveled and perhaps that's why the ministerial responsibility also staid with Alfred Deakin, Billy Hughes, and George Reid.  It can't have been the thinking of Andrew Fisher, who, in 1908-09 had as his External Affairs minister Lee Batchelor. Whether he was just following lead, or thought it amusing to follow Batchelor with Littleton Groom, but Alfred Deakin also devolved the responsibility in his third term in office. Perhaps it had lost its sheen by this time.

Josiah Thomas followed a second tenure for Batchelor. Paddy Glynn was Joseph Cook's representative overseas. Fisher's third term as Labor PM saw John Arthur and Hugh Mahon in the role, Mahon staying on in Hughes' first term as Prime Minister before the position was abolished; there effectively being no affairs outside the country between 1917 and 1920. Hughes himself then took on a familiar role from 1921 to 23, with Stanley Bruce doing the same when he was in power 1923 to 29, and James Scullin during his leadership 1929 to 32.

John Latham authorised your passport.

Sir George Pearce helped you when you were in trouble abroad.

Sir Henry Somer Gullett managed the embassies.

John McEwen coordinated diplomats.

Frederick Stewart appointed his ambassadors.

Dr Herbert Vere Evatt helped to intrigue.

Percy Spender forged an alliance.

Richard Casey talked about mutual respect.

Robert Menzies saw how we could do business.

Sir Garfield Barwick made representation.

Paul Hasluck flew overseas.

Gordon Freeth and the Commonwealth and UN

William McMahon arranged work visas for jobbing actors to make it to Hollywood. Possibly.

Lesley Bury at sea.

Nigel Bowen on a whistle stop tour.

Gough Whitlam on the tarmac.

Don Willesee what happens next.

Andrew Peacock in one respect outdid all the others in terms of foreign affairs.

Tony Street was soaking up customs

Bill Hayden engaged in trade

Gareth Evans went to other parties rather than other countries to form affairs or firm affairs.

Alexander Downer at every diplomatic circle; a groan purpose pun for the occasion

Stephen Smith forms the first line of Defence

Kevin Rudd practicing Mandarin and possibly at his peak, despite having been PM.

Bob Carr drives foreign policy today