The dead poet has beaten the dead politicians for the honour of being given the name of Queensland’s new House of Representatives electoral division. For a second time a committee charged with drawing up the State’s electoral boundaries has recommended that the distinguished poet, Judith Arundell Wright (1915-2000) be given the nod. Back in 2006 the then-redistribution committee recommended Ms Wright’s name to the Australian Electoral Commission for a new division located in central and western Queensland. In its report out today the committee notes that following public objections, as a result of local issues at the time, the then-augmented Electoral Commission decided to change the name of the proposed new division while indicating that were it not for those local issues, there would have been no reason to change the name.
The Committee says it considered the circumstances surrounding that decision “and observed that the reason for not adopting the name of “Wright” in 2006 does not apply to the geographic area of the new proposed division. A number of individual suggestions and comments offered the name of “Wright” for the new division. Therefore the Committee proposes to name the new division “Wright” in honour and recognition of Judith Wright’s service and contributions to Australia as a social and environmental activist, and poet. The Committee also considers that “Wright” is an appropriate choice of name given Ms Wright’s association with the area in which the new division is located, particularly Mount Tamborine.”
Those beaten for the new electorate title included nominations for Adermann, Bjelke-Peterson, Chalk, Coulter, Fulton, Gair, Killen, Theodore, and Waters. Because the guidlines for naming divisions say that they “should be named after deceased Australians”, on this basis Coulter was not even considered. The singer Ricki-Lee Coulter, a Gold Coast resident, whose work includes the seminal meditation on working-class life in Australia Hell No (“Workin’ hard, two jobs, just to get by / Got a boss that’s makin’ my head fly’) and the lyrical, inspirational Sunshine (“Everything that I’ve been waiting for / is knocking at my door”) will just have to wait.