Former Queensland politician and famed lover of the pumpkin scone Florence “Lady Flo” Bjelke-Petersen died overnight. Nobody wants to speak ill of the dead, but you’d think you could “say something nice” about the wife of the Hillbilly Dictator without excusing his corrupt reign. And yet politicians of all stripes were quick to gloss over the fact of Sir Joh’s corruption, the fact he parachuted his wife, Flo, into the Senate, and also that whole “Fitzgerald Inquiry” thing.
Annastacia Palaszczuk called the Bjelke-Petersens “a loving couple and a formidable political pairing”. Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce listed the corrupt ex-premier as an inspiration. Sky News even dragged Campbell Newman out for comment. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted this morning that “Joh and Flo devoted their lives to Queensland and its success and dynamism owes so much to their vision and leadership”.
Presumably, “vision and leadership” here does not include Sir Joh’s attacks on First Nations people, the LGBTIQ community, police oversight, legitimate protest and democracy itself. Labor MP Tim Watts has been one of the few to speak out against the rose-coloured memories, tweeting a list of the former government’s greatest scandals this morning, including Sir Joh’s being charged for perjury and the fact openly homophobic policies forced nuns to smuggle Commonwealth funding for LGBTIQ services in brown paper bags:
But hey, Flo sure did love those pumpkin scones!