When I wrote my last post at the very end of May, I had no idea that I would be writing my next one from my new home in Melbourne. But a lot happened in Queensland in April and May: Campbell Newman, the newly elected Premier, cut funding to the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, and Healthy Communities, the GLBTI health organisation. The civil partnership legislation that was passed just last November, enabling gay and lesbian (and heterosexual) Queenslanders access to civil partnerships, was watered down in response to the concerns of lobbyists. Queensland gay and lesbian couples may now "register" their relationships; there is no provision for a formal ceremony to accompany the registration, making the process akin to registering a cat or dog, as many critics pointed out. But this was just the beginning. Newman revealed that up to 20 000 public servants would lose their jobs in his huge cost-slashing spree. Those on temporary contracts were the first to go, regardless of the fact that some had been working for government for a decade or more. Big on cuts but small on details, Newman deferred revealing most of the specifics until the September 11 budget was announced. In the meantime (the mean time), Queensland's public servants could just live in fear.
All of these cuts mattered quite a lot to me, because I am a writer who is married to a woman who was then working for the Queensland government. Rather than sit around and wait to see if Heather would lose her job, and how else the government might target pretty much everything we believed in, we decided to see what opportunities lay further afield. So we began a tentative look around. Heather applied for a job in Melbourne, and then ... she got it. Just like that. Suddenly, she was starting a job in Melbourne in less than a month, and I had a house to pack up and a book to revise (among many other tasks). Suddenly, things exploded.
Now that my first interstate move with two cats and proper adult furniture is over, I am back to breathing again and (mostly) sleeping through the night. Heather and I have been exploring the delights of Melbourne, and we took our first day trip on Saturday, out to the Yarra Valley. Brisbane is still home, in many ways, but we don't live there anymore. It's a strange thing to come to terms with. But I am also coming to realise that maybe I have many homes. If a home is wherever the people I love are, then I am lucky to have many places to hang my hat. And Heather and I are also lucky in that we are able to move states fairly easily. But tonight, on this budget announcement eve, my thoughts are with Queenslanders, and with Queensland. I hope for a gentler future, but I can't see it coming any time soon.