Judy Spence

Interviewed by
Danielle Miller
Mar 01 2011
Judy Spence
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:06 Judy Spence outlines her early life growing up in Brisbane, attending Marshall Road Primary School in Holland Park West, then Yeronga High. After attending Mt Gravatt Teachers College she taught at Calen Secondary School (north Mackay) then at Woodridge High School for 3 years (while she completed a degree in Asian Studies from Griffith University), then 3 years at Beenleigh High School, had her first child, then taught for 4 years at Browns Plains High School before being elected to Queensland state parliament in 1989. Mackay, school teacher
00:00:51 Judy Spence discusses her motivation for joining the Labor Party and the importance of the Bjelke-Petersen regime in politicising her. She describes her preselection for the electorate of Mt Gravatt, then not thought to be a winnable Labor seat, and her election to state parliament on 2 December 1989 with the Goss Government, 11 women were elected at that election. women
00:03:34 Judy Spence describes the lack of facilities for mothers in parliament, she took a week off to have her child without missing any parliament and then her husband took 18 months off work to look after the baby and her.
00:04:53 Judy Spence outlines her campaign style including Saturday street stalls, direct mail letters, and use of the local Quest newspaper. She discusses her multi-cultural electorate and the need to spend money on Chinese newspapers. She states that she would have got more into social networking sites if she had decided to remain in parliament after the next term. campaign strategy
00:06:11 Judy Spence discusses the commitment of the Goss Government to re-establishing the committee system following its dismantling by the National Party in the 1970s and 1980s. She describes the dynamism of the committee system in the 1990s, whose chairs included Peter Beattie, Matt Foley, Rod Welford, Judy Spence, Tony McGrady, Robert Schwarten and others who went on to become ministers. She outlines the further decline in the committee system where reports are now routinely ignored by the media, academia and the parliament resulting in less accountability. academia, accountability, committee system, media
00:08:32 Judy Spence discusses her role in chairing a committee on reforming the committee system of the Queensland parliament in 2010, destined to be the most far reaching reforms since the upper house was abolished in 1922. She states that this system where people can scrutinise legislation before it gets presented to parliament will be unique in Australia, shared only with New Zealand and some unicameral provincial legislatures in Canada. committee system, unicameral parliament
00:10:05 Judy Spence discusses women in parliament and the advances made in the last 20 years. She comments on women's lack of opportunity in networking. women
00:11:38 Judy Spence outlines her priorities when Minister for Consumer Affairs and Women (1998-2001) including widening reach to include women outside south-east Queensland. She describes rewriting the legislation covering the debt bound Building Services Authority and the Auctioneers and Agents Act left moribund by Denver Beanland, and addressing the problems of marketeering on the Gold Coast. Auctioneers and Agents Act, Building Services Authority, Consumer Affairs, Gold Coast, women
00:14:23 Judy Spence states that as minister her first director general (1998) was appointed for her, after which she appointed her own. She describes her close working relationship while Police Minister (2004-09) with Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson who briefed her by phone at 7.30am every day on issues of the last 24 hours. Bob Atkinson, directors general, Police
00:15:59 Judy Spence discusses her approach to the role of ministerial advisers, and her practice of talking directly with public servants. ministerial advisers
00:16:25 Judy Spence responds to a question on the approach of the Borbidge Government to Aboriginal and Islander Affairs. She states that it had a low profile under Borbidge, but that when she became minister (1998) she identifed spending of $1.5 million per annum on the Indigenous Advisory Council. She abolished this and other advisory boards that were using government money and not getting services to where they were needed. She states that as she had two terms as Aboriginal and Islander Affairs Minister (1998-2004) she was able to tackle some of the tough issues. She describes instituting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board in 1999 with a reduced budget that provided very good advice. She outlines the commitment of Peter Beattie to Aboriginal issues. Aboriginal Affairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board, Indigenous Advisory Council, Peter Beattie
00:20:31 Judy Spence comments on the stolen wages controversy and the process of compensating the community within budget constraints. stolen wages
00:22:30 Judy Spence discusses Reconciliation and the Stolen Generation report. Reconciliation, Stolen Generation
00:23:44 Judy Spence discusses her role as Police Minister during the Palm Island death in custody (2004), and her relationship with Aboriginal people having previously been Aboriginal Affairs Minister and her relationship with police officers throughout Queensland. She discusses the government's response to deaths in custody. deaths in custody, Indigenous issues, Palm Island, Police, prisons
00:25:33 Judy Spence explains Queensland's contribution of police officers to the Northern Territory Intervention. She outlines her differences with federal minister Mal Brough, and her belief that although there was widespread sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities, that this did not constitute paedophile rings. Northern Territory Intervention, sexual abuse
00:27:25 Judy Spence discusses the merits of a whole of government approach to Indigenous issues, rather than sidelining them in one agency. Indigenous issues
00:28:15 Judy Spence discusses the influence of One Nation on the general commitment to Indigenous and other issues of race, including Chinese, Islamic people and Indians. One Nation, racism
00:29:00 Judy Spence discusses the challenges of the Families, Disability Services and Seniors Department betwen 2001-04, and the issue of funding child protection. child protection, disability services, Families, Disability Services and Seniors
00:30:19 Judy Spence discusses the outcomes of the CMC inquiry that created a stand alone portfolio for child protection, a nation-wide issue at the time. child protection
00:31:15 Judy Spence describes the press reaction to her being appointed the first woman Police and Corrective Services Minister, and the unfair questioning as none of her male predecessors had been police officers, and in fact she had spent 6 years as Aboriginal Affairs Minister, and responsible for juvenile justice and child protection in which roles she had dealt extensively with the police and corrections system. media, Police and Corrective Services, sexism, women
00:33:10 Judy Spence discusses the reforms from the Fitzgerald Inquiry, including the quality of police recruitment and prison reform. Police, prisons
00:35:27 Judy Spence discusses the privatisation of prisons, and that although she was initially opposed to it, that the two private prisons - Borallon and Arthur Gorrie - work well with government monitoring. Corrective Services, prisons, privatisation
00:36:21 Judy Spence discusses her good working relationship during her time as Police Minister (2004-09) with the Queensland Police Union, and her good relationship with the Police Commissioner. She discusses the option of the introduction of tasers (2009). Bob Atkinson, Police, police union, tasers
00:39:09 Judy Spence outlines the need to spend more money on sport and sport infrastructure in Queensland due to the decentralised nature of the state. She discusses her joint role as Sports and Police Minister during the sexual assault allegations against Gold Coast Titans rugby league players in 2007-08. sexual assault, Sport
00:40:46 Judy Spence comments on her shift from the Socialist Left to the Labor Unity faction. factions
00:41:52 Judy Spence comments on the debate surrounding whether the Labor Party leader should be able to choose their own ministry. She states that the caucus selecting the leader is one of the oldest policies of the Labor Party, and one that separates it from the conservatives.
00:44:21 Judy Spence comments on her role in chairing a committee in 2010 that looked at reforming the committee system. She says that the reforms have the potential to transform the way the Queensland parliament works, as it will facilitate public consultation and enable members to concentrate more on their role as legislators. committee system
00:52:34 Judy Spence looks back on her political life and describes the benefit of having a Brisbane electorate rather than a country electorate.
00:54:30 Judy Spence reflects that she is the longest serving woman member of the Queensland parliament, and states that media scrutiny of politicians, especially on their personal life, makes it a tough life on both the politician and their family. She reflects on the need to be passionate about politics as a career path. media
00:56:09 Interview ends.