Monday, 10 November 2014

Goss The Boss: Father of Modern Queensland.

Wayne Goss, former Premier Queensland from 1989-1995, died today aged 63. He will forever be remembered as the man who lead the Queensland ALP back to government after 32 years in opposition. His history making 1989 election victory alone is worth a comprehensive eulogy. However to comment on this achievement alone is to do him, and his government, a severe injustice. 

Though I did not live in Queensland during the Goss era, I have never forgotten the legacy of his government. Without the Goss Government, Queensland would still be a backward looking provincial colony. Most importantly of all, Queensland would still be a corrupt, vengeful, autocracy subjected to the whims of self serving leaders. He changed political culture in this state for the better.

Given that the deaths of Whitlam and Goss have occurred in close proximity to one another, comparisons between the two leaders are perhaps inevitable. Both men returned the ALP back to government after a generation in Opposition. However, the Queensland ALP stayed in the wilderness for more than a decade longer than their Federal counterpart. Goss  doubled Whitlam's term as the leader of a Government. Perhaps Goss and his government learned from Whitlam's mistakes, but Goss's job as a Premier who led an enormous transformational period in Queensland history should not be, and is often, overlooked.

The legacy of the Goss Government as whole also continues to be underestimated. You may argue whether he is the 'best' according to partisan preferences. However, Wayne Goss was the most important Premier of any state in the past 50 years, that to me is undisputed.

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