Talk:Joh Bjelke-Petersen

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Use of sources[edit]

There is a hierarchy of sources which should be applied in writing non fiction or journalism. Let's start at the top and work down. Wherever possible sources cited should be as close to the action as possible. Don Lane and Peter Beattie became central players in Queensland politics and as such their writing can be very useful to quote. Original documents and contemporary interviews can also be very useful. Properly documented histories, such as Rae Wear's book are important to provide context, but also can be quoted. Official biographies are usually further down the scale, often descending to hagiographies for what they leave out. Derek Townsend's work may be seen to fall into the latter category. Journalism and commentaries can be useful, depending on who is doing the writing. Some contemporary journalism merely reflected intentionally disingenuous media releases. Third hand accounts, like an English history of Rugby union, are clearly so far from the action that they should not be used. Similarly simply quoting a website which mentions an event such as Expo is not useful.

Joh's Premiership occurred before the world wide web and as a result, sources available on the web are strictly limited. For example, much of the contemporary newspaper reporting of Joh by reporters such as Quentin Dempster is not available on easily retrieved data bases. Dempster is fortunately still alive and available for interview, although it should be remembered that after the event interviews can be imprecise methods of recording histories.

Writing about Joh for the Wikipedia can be a frustrating experience. Some editors work from limited sources. Others have read little more than the propaganda which marked his premiership and continues to influence the uninformed and gullible. Very few have met the man in question and even fewer have had the opportunity to interview him.

Johlover2, 11.10.08 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johlover2 (talkcontribs) 22:22, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Somewhere in there one might mention academic sources too, although they're few in number in this case and mostly limited to the Political Chronicle regular feature in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, although a professor wrote a book on the 1989 election as did a couple of later journals which revisit some of the history. When I have time (I'm presently buried in uni and TAFE assignments until, realistically speaking, the end of the month) I'll see what other sources I can track down of the ones I have access to. There'll be a few as one of those sources is a well stocked university library which I have cross borrowing rights at. If anyone wants to send me any as PDFs, my email address is orderinchaos78 at gmail dot com (at=@, etc - protecting myself from spambots :)) Orderinchaos 00:43, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. However, Rae Wear, who I have quoted widely, is a University of Queensland academic who researches the nature and impact of populism and on rural politics and culture. ( Her scholarship on this issue is very good, but not yet definitive. Academic sources usually rate higher up on the hierarchy, although they too are not invulnerable to propaganda. You can usually assess how good they are by looking at their bibliographies.
The best repository on Queensland politics is the Fisher library at University of Queensland. It holds the biggest collection of contemporary criticisms of Joh, often written by radical university students. Much of this material was discounted at the time, if only because the authors were themselves the targets of government propaganda. However, in part as a result of the deplorable state of the Labor opposition and the Queensland press, student activists can be identified as early if not leading opponents of electoral rigging, police corruption and institutionalised racism. Their credibility may have been enhanced in retrospect by the fact that a number later became leading journalists, senior barristers, medical specialists, professors, cabinet ministers and in one or perhaps two cases, Premier.
johlover2 11:18, 12 October 2008 (UTC —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johlover2 (talkcontribs)

"non-fiction and journalism" ... give me a break! They are opposites! You will not find objective analysis of JBP anywhere. Even academics are biased. To paraphrase Denis Potter, selective observations are simply manipulation. There are leftists and rightist, such as Siracusa, in academia. I can remember sitting in the refectory at JCU listening to the great god of objectivity Henry Reynolds (his missus was a Labor Senator) bleating on about the evil Malcolm Fraser trying to introduce student fees. Seven years later when when the world's greatest treasury glove puppet introduced fees, M'Lord Henry of Reynolds was nowhere to be found around the refectory. So much for objective academics. (talk) 02:41, 21 October 2014 (UTC)


I just did a revert, Johlover is appearing to take on an attempt to force page ownership, and is going against consensus here. With that said, much of Johlovers edits have severe NPOV problems, he reinserts uncited edits, and is running an agenda hereVivaldi27 (talk) 15:35, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

One of the weird features of Wikipedia is that it attracts everyone - right, left, centre, people with agendas, people with none, etc. The policy framework within which we operate is what stops the whole thing careening into the ditch, and that's part of the reason I'm here - I'm informed on the broad subject area (politics, and modern historical politics in Australia) although not the specific topic (Bjelke-Petersen and Queensland politics in 1968-1987). Being resident in a different State and having been 9 years old when he left office I have no personal stake in the issue, and I am an administrator with reasonable experience in the Australian project and handling disputes between third parties over content. Despite some fairly fundamental disagreements between the two main editors here on sourcing and content, I hope my presence and that of others I have been given reason to trust in the past, some of whom have commented here at times, will be enough to keep things going relatively smoothly. I wish I had more time to invest into actually working on it myself, I probably will come December once the uni semester is over and my job future is a bit more assured. In the meantime I'm simply watching out for excesses and attempting to fix them. Orderinchaos 16:24, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't own the page, but I do seem to be able to place a lot of citations about Joh. According to Vivaldi much of my edits have "severe NPOV problems". This may say more about his/her POV than mine. Vivaldi has done me a favour in that his/her removals of material have forced to me to remember sources and locate them. In part, the books I have introduced to this page include those by Don Lane and Rae Wear, as well as transcripts by Ray Whitrod, Colin Lamont, Quentin Dempster, Mike Gore and Joh himself. When I get the time (this is just a hobby you know) I will try to supplement this material with clippings from the Queensland newspapers library, referencing reporters like Ian Miller and Peter Trundle. History is informed and documented opinion, not just what the majority thinks. When you write a PhD thesis you start with a hypothesis, do your background reading, develop a methodology, and create a case study or analysis which tests the research questions. This may be seen as an agenda. Its actually a process for seeking truths. I have a hypothesis about Bjelke Petersen. It goes like this.

He was an ill-educated and authoritarian man who became Premier when Jack Pizzey unexpectedly died. He floundered until he discovered that the bashing of city demonstrators played well in the undersized and conservative electorates which could deliver government. After Don "Shady" Lane was elected to Merthyr, Bjelke Petersen formed a political alliance with the criminal element of the Queensland police force, led by Terry Lewis. From then on, Bjelke Petersen could preach law and order while the police were left to run organised crime. During this period Bjelke Petersen's control of cabinet became almost absolute. However a growing group of disaffected Liberals were later joined by some key Nationals, ultimately undermining his authority. Joh ran for Canberra with the support of a group of developers who benefited from and shared his contempt for normal process. The Fitzgerald inquiry occurred, as Joh stated, because he wasn't there to stop it. Several ministers, including Lane , as well as Joh's PR, Callaghan subsequently went to jail. Joh didn't , thanks to a hung jury chaired by one of his political supporters.

I agree. When Police Commisioner Ray Whitrod suggested to Joh that there be a basic education standard for police training of yr 11, Joh replied "Steady on, we don't want Rhodes scholars!" Joh earned the plaudits of many when he abolished probate. But his real reason was what would be in it for him. A peanut grower who had a peanut for a brain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:10, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Consensus can be wrong...and that's what's wrong with the Wikipedia. Wikis consensus is based a whole lot of anonymous people contributing their knowledge on the issue. When a conscious creator of propaganda (like Joh) is under study, the majority may be ignorant of his real activities. Balancing sources with lies and hearsay merely endorses fantasies. johlover2 16:24, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

"Consensus can be wrong...and that's what's wrong with the Wikipedia." And who are you to say we should not follow WP:CONSENSUS? If you don't like it, tough. Timeshift (talk) 08:28, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Re: "History is informed and documented opinion, not just what the majority thinks" - that is pretty much the bedrock principle of Wikipedia. Consensus is meant to resolve conflict, not decide capital-T Truth. While we need to be careful to steer clear of WP:OR, I welcome any source-based approach to political topics - ultimately our article should fairly represent what the sources say on a topic. An interesting challenge - check out WP:WIAGA (particularly this older version of it) - that's the standard to which we should aspire with every article on Wikipedia, and there's no reason why it isn't achievable. Certainly from December onwards I'll be looking up whatever sources I can to try and help improve this thing, and if others are available I'm happy to review them. Orderinchaos 12:53, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

A totally worthless politician who had a peanut for a brain - is a totally accurate and unbiased opinion —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

If I had a personal webpage devoted to my views about Joh they would be much like the above....."A totally worthless politician who had a peanut for a brain". But on Wikipedia it needs to show his life in a fair and balanced way so that in 100 years time people will know the true story about him.`During his time as Premier a lot of good things happened and a lot of bad things happened as well. It all needs to be on here.

The same goes for people like former Police Commissioner Terry Lewis. He was sentenced to 14 years in the clink and will go down in history as being extremely corrupt. But he received bravery awards etc which rightly, are also noted. Rocketrod1960 08:59, 19 December 2010 (UTC)


At the risk of stirring up a hornet's nest, I think it's about time this rather tangled article was rewritten, going back to neutral sources as a first port of call and then building up from there. I made some edits today and on the way through was a little concerned at the article's focus on almost random events. It's sort of symptomatic of the fact this article has historically been a battleground between his supporters and opponents and contains elements of both (the controversial former leader of my own turf, Brian Burke, has a similar problem.) What say others? Orderinchaos 00:28, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

The article is written from collective memories, and some vague refs are thrown in at random. It was always a fine line between fantasy and reality during the reign of King Joh of Kingaroy. Some bits from my memory.

  • No mention has been made of FIDO, and the schoolteacher who was hounded out of his job. Circa late 70s. Destruction of the Bellevue is a bit over emphasized IMHO.
  • Article needs to say more about JBPs early business. AFAIK this made him quite wealthy before entering politics. Hastings-Deering gave him a job selling bulldozers, after leaving politics.
  • Much better public refs are needed for the Hollows incident. Best from newpapers. If it was never made public, then an independent confirmation is certainly needed.
  • Liberals ended up with 7 seats ... "Snow White and the seven dwarfs". The publicity wing of the ALP, the ABC, did this story to death, until the election. As at March 2012, the ALP has 7 (YES S-E-V-E-N) seats, but the ABC has mentioned it only a few times.
  • Proroguing of Parliament has not been mentioned. This is highly significant but it seems to have escaped the collective memories.
  • Claims of rigged electoral borders need to be backed up. Opponents always whinged about the Bejelkemander, but never bothered to show the details. Borders had mainly been set by 30s Labor government, and heavily rigged. Mechanization of farms, and the exit of labourers, saw rural areas become politically conservative. Its more a case that the NPA simply left the borders as designed by the ALP. (talk)


This guy is a real character. We've even heard of him in Canada and the US. I heard he used to run a line of cheeses—does anyone know something on this? It would be good to put this in the article, if it's true. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 00:36, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Boy, I would never have remembered that until you bought it up! Bjelke-Blue it was called. I think it was released not too long before he exited politics and was not a success. A little bit about it in the link below. Rocketrod1960 08:46, 19 December 2010 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rocketrod1960 (talkcontribs)

Capitalisation of the word "police"[edit]

This subtle characteristic which I only just noticed throughout this article is interesting. I have not seen this used before. Is it warranted? If not, can it be removed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:54, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

This is the least worry of bad punctuation. "Police Commissioner" is correct. "police" unless it starts a sentence, or specifically refers to "Queensland Police Service". The use of parentheses to include tid bits, or for a comparison, is very annoying. Its becoming a de facto standard in prose (unfortunately for readers) and shows a lack of structured thought by the writer (unlike me who rarely uses parentheses). (talk) 23:58, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Role in Whitlam dismissal[edit]

What's this "witching hour" crap? --Pete (talk) 06:44, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

From Vince Gair: In Canberra, a group of Country Party Senators kept Gair occupied in their office, away from the President of the Senate (to whom he needed to give his resignation), drinking beer and eating prawns, until 6pm (the Commonwealth Electoral Act provided that writs would be deemed to have been issued at 6pm irrespective of the time that they were actually issued). At 6:05pm, the Queensland Cabinet met, and recommended to the governor, Air Marshal Sir Colin Hannah, that writs be issued for the election of senators for Queensland, and the writs were issued at 11pm. As a result, Gair failed to resign his Senate position in time for there to be six vacancies instead of five, thus thwarting Whitlam's plan. This delaying tactic was later known as "the Night of the Long Prawns". (my bolding).
That's what it's obviously referring to, but I agree the wording could be way better than "witching hour". -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 07:48, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposed rewrite[edit]

I have written a new version of this article out of concern over certain flaws, and propose to replace the current version with it. The new version can be read at User:BlackCab/sandbox, which is my incubator page. The main differences are:

  • I have expanded the lead section.
  • The new version approaches the subject from a more disciplined chronological basis, charting Joh's rise to power, his political peak, his decline and the aftermath.
  • The addition of a section dealing specifically with Joh's personal character and attitudes on leadership, environment, industrial relations, indigenous Australians and other facets.
  • Consequently I have dispensed with several subsections on the Joh for Canberra campaign, the Fitzgerald inquiry, his trial, and his relations with Cabinet and the media, etc; this material has been largely folded into the main chronological section or the Character and Attitudes section.
  • I have removed a large number of dead links from the article and introduced a much greater reliance on the three major Bjelke-Petersen biographies (Lunn, Wear, Whitton) as well as other books and newspaper articles.

I welcome comments and suggestions, either here or at my talk page. I'd prefer you not edit my sandbox page, but rather discuss it. I am in no rush to upload my version to replace the current Bjelke-Petersen article, but I do believe there is a strong need to address and remedy its significant weaknesses. BlackCab (talk) 11:45, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

The proposed rewritten version looks good to me (and agreed with the assessment of its current state). One omission is the by-election to replace him where he supported the CEC candidate over the endorsed National, but this can be pretty much by-lined and linked to a (improved) Barambah state by-election, 1988 article. Orderinchaos 05:05, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
I can find no reference in a reliable source that states that Joh endorsed the CEC candidate. The Courier-Mail reported him on 15 March 1988 as urging voters to support the Liberals in the Groom federal by-election the week before the Barambah by-election (which I'll add to my article), but I can find no reference in the Courier-Mail or The Australian to Bjelke-Petersen endorsing any of the Barambah candidates. BlackCab (talk) 00:05, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

The Gair affair[edit]

At this edit [1] an editor has changed the article from "Bjelke-Petersen immediately sought confidential legal advice on how to thwart the federal government's plan. He devised a strategy in which Gair's seat would be declared a casual vacancy ..." to "Bjelke-Petersen's colleagues in Canberra immediately devised a strategy in which Gair's seat would be declared a casual vacancy". According to Lunn (p.172) it was Bjelke-Petersen who came up with the concept and later sought help from Doug Anthony to keep Gair occupied. What's the source for the change? Rae Wear (p.181) also credits the Gair Affair to Bjelke-Petersen's cunning. BlackCab (talk) 09:23, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Feeding the chooks[edit]

I have reverted the new material that was placed under the heading "Feeding the chooks". Wikipedia articles are based on reliable published sources rather than an editor's "experience in Joh's press gallery." The article has been reshaped into a broadly chronological order, so a section on Joh's dealings with the media now properly belong in the "Character and attitudes" section. BlackCab (talk) 05:17, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

You are entitled to your view. However, not everybody on the web is an amateur, a fool or a charlatan. I really was in the gallery at the time and have an understanding of what happened. I interviewed Joh and Flo many times. In a later life, I have been a professor at a Queensland University for 17 years. With all due respect, what's your qualifications and experience to make judgements on how Queensland history might be written? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:47, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Arrogance and personal experience don't count here. Please read Wikipedia's content guideline at WP:RS before adding any further personal impressions. BlackCab (talk) 05:51, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Knowledge does not equal arrogance. If you really want to begin to understand how Queensland operated under Joh, read Matt Condon's new book, Three Crooked Kings. It begins to explain the links between the Nationals government and corrupt members of the police force. Last month's conference at Police headquarters explored these issues and the undermining of Police Commissioner Ray Whitrod. It wasn't reported in the Courier Mail or in a sanitised history of Queensland. But the people involved actually had first hand experience of what happened. If you go to and click on Springbok Tour 1971, you can hear an audio stream. References do not necessarily mean the truth. Rules do not equal history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johlover2 (talkcontribs) 07:03, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

If you are the same person who commented earlier, please understand that we are not here to debate how much we know about the issue and what books you think I should read. The article was in a very shabby state, with no clear chronological thread and was just a random assortment of subjects. I have rewritten it to show the development of his career and his fall. His dealings with the media do probably warrant inclusion, but it does the article no good to insert another subject in the middle of the chronological thread, leaving a host of numbers in the article that do not mean anything because there is no longer any link to sources. I want the best possible article, and I presume you do too. My suggestion is to move the media material down into the "Character and attitudes" section and place proper sourcing there. Wikipedia depends on collaboration and co-operation, and it also relies on reliable sources as its measure for inclusion; without that it all becomes a jumble of opinion from warring editors. I'd vastly prefer we worked together to fix it, rather than just reverting. BlackCab (talk) 07:46, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

other posts[edit]

wasnt sir joh the treasurer and held other commissions? why doesnt it say those other offices in the box? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:00, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

The article does mention the portfolios he held before becoming premier. I've had a quick look at the template used for that infobox and don't see that it allows that information to be included. I'll see what I can find and also whether other state premiers have that information listed. BlackCab (talk) 09:47, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Certainly Nick Grenier is not listed as treasurer neither. But Barry O'Farrell is listed as minister for western sydney. Does seem an ommission. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:14, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

It is doable with the template. See e.g. Peter Beattie Orderinchaos 06:59, 31 May 2013 (UTC)


I notice some presidents of america have a section entitled this. For example, on the night of the 1987 federal election, liberal party president John Valder said Joh "Was like John Wayne who has fallen off his horse". There is a great image of Joh wearing a straw hat. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:59, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

inventor Stephen Horvath[edit]

User:BlackCab, regards to you

The webpage of the inventor Stephen Horvath is very reliable in that it reveals the approach to which Bjelke-Petersen would have responded.

The actual reliability is beside the point. What the link gave was what the Premier received himself as information.

I was quite aware of the wiki technicality.

thanks --Laurencebeck (talk) 09:30, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

An encyclopedia must rely on secondary sources for its information, not primary sources. It is never clear whether an individual's website is accurate or not, hence the reliance on reliable secondary sources -- those with a reputation for fact-checking -- and the general prohibition against self-published sources. Please read WP:USINGSPS and WP:RS for further information. BlackCab (talk) 10:29, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
— hydrogen-powered car — link to newspaper story is now placed in main article in section 9.7 Personal associations. --Laurencebeck (talk) 05:04, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Is conservatism a reason for notability?[edit]

The statement that "His uncompromising conservatism (including his role in the downfall of the Whitlam federal government),..." reads oddly to me. Conservatism is surely not a reason for notability. And his role (if any) in the fall of Whitlam is not connected to his "uncompromising conservatism". These are different concepts and factors. Incidentally, I do not think Bjelke-Petersen can be said to have been uncompromisingly conservative. He supported business development, and was in favour of legal casinos, both liberal viewpoints.Royalcourtier (talk) 06:03, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

That wording was introduced back in early 2006.[2] Bjelke-Petersen was certainly notable for his moral conservatism, with his acceptance of a casino being the obvious jarring exception. In an era of increasing liberalism, Joh stood out as a bulwark against the erosion of old-school morality and came to be regarded as nationally as a subject of ridicule for that reason. His involvement in Whitlam's downfall came through his unrelenting sense of political conservatism, which involved an obsessive anti-socialist outlook. I think there's a reasonable connection, but if you have a suggestion for improved wording, you're welcome to suggest it. BlackCab (TALK) 07:03, 11 February 2015 (UTC)