Anna Bligh : biography
Anna Maria Bligh (born 14 July 1960) is an Australian politician and the 37th Premier of Queensland from 2007 to 2012. Bligh was an Australian Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of South Brisbane from 1995 to 2012.
Bligh was the first woman to be appointed Premier of Queensland, the third female Premier of an Australian state, and the sixth female head of government of an Australian state or territory. She led Labor to victory in the 2009 Queensland state election, becoming the first woman elected in her own right as a state premier in Australia.
Bligh attempted to win a second full term as Premier in the 2012 state election. However, her party suffered the worst defeat of a sitting government in Queensland history, winning only seven seats. In the wake of the loss, Bligh announced her immediate resignation as leader of the Queensland Labor Party. She also announced that she would resign from parliament and retire from politics, effective 30 March 2012.
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.
Bligh is a descendant of Cornishman William Bligh who is famous for the Mutiny on the Bounty and being the 4th Governor of New South Wales. The name Bligh comes from the Cornish language word Blyth meaning Wolf.White, G. Pawley, A Handbook of Cornish Surnames.
Bligh appeared as a contestant on Celebrity MasterChef Australia. She was eliminated in her first heat, losing to the eventual winner of the series, swimmer Eamon Sullivan.
On 8 June 2013, Bligh announced that she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Bligh was first elected to parliament at the 1995 election to the safe Labor seat of South Brisbane, succeeding her former university compatriot, Anne Walker. 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.
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 in order to focus on attempting to fix the state’s troubled health system.
Bligh was born in Warwick, Queensland. She 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.
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.
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.
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.