Sunday, August 31, 2008

Former Queensland premier Beattie now dreams of being a missionary - The Age - 30th August 2008

Former Queensland Premier and self-confessed "media-tart" Peter Beattie wants to become a missionary.

The now Queensland Trade Commissioner for the Americas based in Los Angeles said both he and his wife Heather would like to pursue other passions in the future, including missionary work.

"Heather's father was an Anglican missionary and she has a very strong social conscience," he told Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper.

"We'd probably like to do something in that area, just part-time or whatever.

"But we'd want to become totally irrelevant because you've got to be able to do that sort of work based on what the work is, not on the basis of who you are."

Mr Beattie was a parishioner of St Alban's Anglican Church at Wilston, near his family home on Brisbane's northside.

It has been a year since he suddenly resigned after almost a decade as premier.

The ex-premier and self-confessed "media tart" promptly disappeared from public life before taking up a brief tenure as a visiting professor at the University of South Carolina.

The following month after pledging he would never accept a state or federal government appointment "to avoid any unfavourable perceptions of deals or otherwise" he accepted his latest position.

State opposition treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls said Mr Beattie's pledge to become a missionary was another public relations ploy.

"He had the opportunity to do missionary work earlier this year when he was offered the $300,000-plus a year job as Queensland Trade Commissioner to the Americas," he said.

"If he really wanted to do missionary work he could have refused that job...I think he's certainly not lost his mastery of trying to put a public relations spin on his current position."

Mr Beattie said he often thought about the less advantaged and problems of the world.

"You do think about the issues of spirituality, you do think about mortality, the social issues of the world," he said.

"Those are important questions and if you don't deal with those then you're either a moron, you're shallow or you're dead."

Queensland Transport Minister John Mickel said Mr Beattie would be good as a missionary.

"He would be good at whatever he turned his hand to and if he wants to give back to the community in that way then all power to him," he said.

Anglican Dean of Brisbane, Bishop John Parkes, said Mr and Mrs Beattie would be welcome to join the church as missionaries.

"I know Peter Beattie very well and clearly he is a man of great faith and would have an enormous amount to contribute and he would be welcome to join us in missionary work anytime he likes," Bishop Parkes told AAP.

Mr Beattie has been contacted for further comment.