Weird news: an Ohioan Premier of NSW

As a cornstalk* living in the heart of it all†, I was amazed this morning when my wife told me that an Ohioan had become Premier of my native state. But, indeed, Kristina Keneally is now leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party and Premier-designate of New South Wales, having grown up in Toledo and gone to university (or “to school” as they say in these parts) in Dayton.

Mind you, it may just be one more symptom of the collapse of the Australian Labor Party in NSW, and one more step on the road to a Liberal Premier being elected in 2011, but at least it’s more more expat-makes-good story.

*Cornstalk = New South Welsh person (and the “corn” is wheat, not the corn they grow round here)
†The heart of it all = Ohio

Her birth mother is Australian, she married an Australian, but then naturalized circa 2002? Wouldn’t she have dual status as an Australian, given her mother’s citizenship?

Yes, I think she’s a dual citizen. Her Wikipedia article said that she naturalised as an Australian in 2000. Even though her mother was Australian, her mother may have lost her Australian citizenship when becoming a US citizen (the law has changed now, so that Australians becoming citizens of other countries no longer lose Australian citizenship). Thus, Ms Keneally may not have been born an Australian citizen.

As a lifelong Ohioan, I say huzzah! Hope she does well.

Another expat who rose to power back in his home country:

It’s not just him. The president of Estonia grew up in New Jersey and the previous president of Latvia grew up in Toronto. So for a period in 2006-2007, all three Baltic presidents were North American raised.

I was brought here under false premises. There’s nothing in this thread that’s Not Suitable for Work. I was unaware of this New South Wales.

There’s a lot in New South Wales that’s NSFW.

I think her accent will prove fatal. The universal reaction this morning in the office has been “who’s this bloody American woman premier”?

I’ve listened to a clip of her before she became Premier, on her alma mater’s site, and she sounds like she’s trying hard to speak with an Australian accent, but misses it a bit.

The other interesting thing is that, not only is she the first woman Premier of NSW, but now the Governor, Premier and Deputy Premier are all women.

Yes, it’s very slack of the ALP not to have given Carmel Tebbutt the flick and installed a token male into the Deputy’s position to display the party’s commitment to gender equity.

To be fair, she’s only there as a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi, and isn’t likely to be long for the world. The NSW ALP seems to be treating the premiership as an under-9s soccer presentation night - everyone gets a prize. On the other hand, most under-9s have a “teamship” award. She was essentially only appointed as otherwise it would have been Frank Sartor and the ALP realises that there’s a difference at the next election between a 15% swing against them and a 30% swing.

I’m fairly sure that she would have sent the papers to the consulate to renounce her American citizenship - if not, she’s not eligible to sit in parliament and the Opposition would probably be barely competent enough to get her turfed and a by-election held.

So, in short, she’s been installed because the NSW right’s powerbrokers know that they aren’t electable and she’s got a reputation for being full of herself but otherwise pretty dim.

The Georgina W. Bush of the bearpit, if you will.

ETA: Actually, if Carmel held on to the deputy’s job, that makes both the premier and the deputy premier who are both only in their jobs because they’re seen as too moronic to be a threat to their powerbase.

There’s a problem with that. The central political deal in the NSW ALP is that the right wing gets the Premier’s job (since they are the majority within the majority in the Legislative Assembly), while the left wing gets the Deputy Premier’s job. So, dumping Carmel Tebbutt would require the left wing to caucus by intself and agree to dump her in favour of a male left-winger. I can’t see that getting past the federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, among other people.

(NSW ALP politics is very incestuous at times).

Are you sure she’s really from Ohio? That’s just a conspiracy of the media! The truth is she’s really born in South Australia! Here’s the birth certificate to prove it! She is therefore ineligible to serve as the New South Wales premier!

I know quite a few people down in NSW saying “Who the fuck is this woman and how did she end up as Premier?”

It’s one of the reasons why I rather wish Premiers were popularly elected, even though I realise it’s not really practical.

UD grad? Huh. That’s where I got my MS.

I love it! Here I was thinking of emigrating from Columbus to Australia a few years ago. If only I had known my future could have been as the bloody Yank politician, I might have considered it.

I could be righter than I thought. It looks like she might be on the way out, if not sacked, by this weekend.

So is there still hope for me, an Illinoisan, to one day become Premier of Tasmania? My first act will be to secure an appropriation refunding the rip-off electronic speeding ticket that they mailed to me.


In my office it was more along the lines of "Why doesn’t she talk at the same time Joe Tripodi does?

No, no - Joe’s doing the movements. Eddie Obeid’s backstage with a wireless microphone doing the voice.