Friday, 25 June 2010

Southern Comfort

I was going to ask whether there was any other country where a first-generation immigrant could rise to be Head of Government, as has just happened in Australia. But there is another, deeper question: could anyone become Prime Minister of Australia as a first-generation immigrant from, except perhaps New Zealand, any country other than this one? The EU and the always rather flaky Atlantic Alliance are falling apart. But some ties are for ever.


  1. As for Australian Prime Ministers, John Christian Watson (PM briefly in 1904) was born in, of all places, Chile. Other than that, though, I believe every foreign-born Australian PM has been British-born.

    The ethnic backgrounds of State Premiers have been far more varied. Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Queensland's Premier 1968-1987, was of Danish-New-Zealand parentage. Nick Greiner, New South Wales's Premier 1988-1992, was of Hungarian-Jewish-Catholic parentage. Morris Iemma, New South Wales's Premier 2005-2008, was of Italian parentage.

  2. Ah, yes, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen...

  3. Er yes, for example it was not so long ago that Sonia Gandhi (Italian) was offered the premiership of the world's second largest country in the world on a plate. It was she who turned it down.

    Or American Janet Jagan who was Guyanan President 1997-1999.

    These are Commonwealth Countries. I thought you would know these facts.

  4. Sonia Gandhi had more sense than to take up the offer. Had she done so, then she would rapidly have seen how very different was the view of the masses compared to that of the Congress Party great and good. But she could see that, anyway.

    Janet Jagan is a fascinating figure. But the fact remains that, like Sonia Gandhi, she was a proxy for her dead husband. Less so in Jagan's case. But still.