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Zoë Parker

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The Rt. Hon. Zoë Louisa French Parker (b. July 23, 1960) is the immediate former Prime Minister of Georgeland, who served from July 30, 2005 until July 6, 2007. She was the first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister. Prior to her elevation to the highest position in the Georgeland government, Parker had been Deputy Prime Minister and was a former Foreign Minister. On June 30, 2007, Parker's government was defeated at the general election. Parker subsequently resigned as Liberal Democratic leader. After her term as Prime Minister ended, Parker resigned from her constituency of Peterson and left politics. Parker has accepted a position on the board of Ironside and Curtis, a large property investment firm.

Parker
Zoë Parker
Position 25th Prime Minister of Georgeland
Term in office July 30, 2005-July 6, 2007
Preceded by Campbell Rhodes
Succeeded by Luke Macaulay
Political party Liberal Democrat
Total time in office 1y 11m 7d (19th)
Born 23rd July 1960
Constituency Peterson
Spouse Michael Parker (married 1998, divorced 2003)

Early Life

Parker was born Zoë French in Cosgrove Hill, a small town in what is now East Mainland, in 1959. One of three children, Parker had a somewhat harrowing childhood. Her father, John French, a grazier, went bankrupt in 1967 and subsequently began drinking heavily, and Parker and her mother were abused. Parker's father died when she was 14 and Parker began to help contribute to the family's income. Her mother, Sally, ran a shop in Cosgrove Hill. From her early teens, Parker was a member of what was then called the Shop Stewards Union (now the Retail Alliance) which naturally led her towards the United Islands Labour Party.
Parker attended the University of Doubledance where she studied Political Science, and while there gained a reputation as, in her own words, a 'party girl'. Parker has admitted that during that period in her life, she openly 'experimented' with a variety of drugs, that she drank too much and that she was sexually promiscuous. Parker has also declared she has not engaged in illegal drug use since leaving university.

In Politics

After her return to Cosgrove Hill, Parker took care of her ailing grandmother and mother, and began working full-time in a shop in order to pay off her student loans - during this time she also became a very active union organiser. In 1984, at the age of 25, Parker was elected to the Robbins Valley local council, where she found herself at odds with the Conservative administration. In 1985, Parker and a group of non-Tory councillors led an investigation into the mayor's financial dealings and corruption - when they announced their results the mayor was impeached by the council. Parker ran for deputy mayor, but lost narrowly. She remained on the council until 1990. At the 1990 Mainland state election, Parker was elected to the seat of Weighcliffe for the Labour Party. Parker gained a reputation as a firey speaker and a skilled debater during her time in the state legislature, as well as her reputation for being a political head-kicker. In 1993 she became the party's chief whip in the legislature, the first woman to hold that post. In 1997, Parker was selected as the new candidate for the federal seat of Peterson, after the previous MP, Conservative Doug Lewis, retired. Parker defeated Lewis's son, Adrian, by a comfortable margin. She has since been re-elected five times, increasing her margin of victory each time. Peterson is now a rock-solid safe LDP seat. Immediately after her election to the House of Commons, Parker was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. This surprise many, as Parker had no federal parliamentary experience. However, it was understood at the time that the Prime Minister, Campbell Rhodes, wanted a 'fresh face' and a person without any baggage. Parker became somewhat of a Rhodes enforcer, and over the next two years she was successful in helping the government put down rebellions in its own ranks over union reform and tax hikes. As a reward, in 1999 Parker was promoted and became Minister for Science and Technology, a junior education minister. Though not in cabinet, the promotion was a big step for Parker, and she used the opportunity to promote public education, something she has been a strong advocate for for many years. Shortly after she became a minister, the Labour split occurred when Rhodes opponents staged a party room coup. Parker was one of the 39 MPs who walked out of the party nd joined Rhodes in the Liberal Party. After the election, which saw Rhodes return in coalition with the Democrats, Parker began to be seen as the party's 'rising star'. In the 2000 reshuffle following Rhodes' resignation and the ascention of Michael Elderton to the leadership, Parker was chosen to fill Elderton's role at the Education department. The opportunity gave Parker a chance to espouse her belief in public education, and as a cabinet minister she had significant influence. Around this time, Parker began her aggressive parliamentary style for which she is still noted. In April 2001, when Rhodes was moved from the Treasury to Foreign Affairs, Parker became a supporter of his return to the leadership. In August, when he challenged for the leadership and defeated Elderton, Parker was elected Deputy Leader over incumbent Christine Hinkle.

Foreign Minister

The post-challenge reshuffle moved Parker into Foreign Affairs, a post she remained in for nearly four years. As Foreign Minister, Parker became a somewhat maverick figure on the international stage. A strong opponent of the Bush administration, Parker was snubbed by Washington when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to visit Georgeland after his Australia visit. Powell and Parker later had several meetings, however. Parker's greatest challenge as Foreign Minister came when the U.S., France, Saydney and the U.K. expressed open opposition to the government's plan to make Georgeland a nuclear-free zone. Parker is said to have argued strongly against the proposal in Cabinet, even threatening to resign, but nevertheless she supported the proposal in public. Parker's style of negotiation became noted internationally for its aggressive, almost stubborn characteristics. For this reason, a number of countries, notably India, became wary of negotiating with Parker. She later toned down her behaviour in the interests of co-operation. In one highly-publicised incident in 2003, an intoxicated Parker called her Saydneyan counterpart, Miranda Eaton a 'bitch' during Norman peace talks. She later publicly apologised and again offered her resignation to the Prime Minister, who refused. The Opposition initially demanded she be sacked but later back-flipped, and Opposition Leader Sam Richardson reversed the calls, saying "we all make mistakes". To date, Richardson has offered no explanation for the about-face on Parker, and the incident has rarely been referred to again by the Tories.

Deputy Prime Minister

In 2004, Parker became Deputy Prime Minister. The LDP had been created with the merger of the Liberals and Democrats several months earlier. Deputy PM Warren Barker resigned in July and Parker was elected unopposed to replace him. She remained as Foreign Minister. Parker was now solidly entrenched as the PM-in-waiting, and made every effort to be seen in a more sympathetic light by the electorate. In 2004 she was one of several prominent politicians who took part in the Political All Stars Christmas CD, recording Fleetwood Mac's Seven Wonders with Tory Senator Bill Allen. In early 2005 she appeared on the interview program Kellerman and talked candidly about her life, including her wild past. After the 2005 election, Parker was placed in charge of the new Department of the Deputy Prime Minister, with responsibility for local government, federal-state relations, constitutional affairs, territories and acting as the government's senior domestic policy spokesman. The move was widely seen as an attempt by the PM to groom Parker as his successor. As well as the new department, Parker became for the second time Leader of the House of Commons.

Leadership bid

Following Rhodes' announcement of his retirement in July 2005, Parker was the first candidate to declare her interest in the leadership. During the first round of voting, conducted in the party room, Parker recieved 63 votes out of 180, with her rival and predecessor Andrea Perkins scoring 70. The result was lower than expected, but her second-place finish meant she and Perkins were the two choices available to LDP membership when they voted on the leader throughout late July.

Prime Minister

Despite Perkins' slightly higher level of support in the party room, Parker won a comfortable margin of victory in the general poll, winning 3,456 votes to Perkins' 3,037, or 53.3% to 46.7%. On July 30, 2005, Parker was formally commissioned by President Charlotte Lang to form a government.Parker is Georgeland's first woman Prime Minister. On the evening of July 30, she confirmed that Tom McCully would be her deputy.
Parker's first major challenge came in early 2006, with the loss of seven MPs and two Senators in the Civic Bank Investment Scandal. At the subsequent by-elections, Parker's government lost two seats to the opposition, leaving the Liberal Democrats with a majority of nine.
In February 2007, Parker faced a personal scandal when the Globe and Standard newspaper cited police records from an underground abortion clinic recently unearthed by the paper, with the implication that Parker had had an illegal termination performed while at university in 1981, before the Mainland state government legalised abortion. While it is not possible for criminal charges to be laid after so much time, the scandal threatens to erode Parker's personal credibility. Opposition leader Luke Macaulay refused to comment on the issue, and Parker's did not respond.

2007 election

Parker's government put in place legislation to make all future Parliaments serve a fixed-term, and to fix a permanent date for all subsequent elections. The date for the 2007 election was set for August 3. However, in mid-May the Georgeland Senate blocked a government "mini-budget" that would authorise a number of urban development proposals, seen widely by the electorate as 'pork-barrelling'. When the Senate rejected the mini-budget again, Parker called the poll for June 30 as a double dissolution. Parker's campaign centred around the status quo and questions over Opposition Leader Luke Macaulay's ability to control the far-right in his own party. Despite a recovery in the polls by election day, Parker's government was heavily defeated, losing 25 seats to the Conservatives. Parker announced her resignation on July 1 and declared she would not serve as LDP leader, though she would remain as Prime Minister until Macaulay's swearing-in. After that date, she retired from politics. In August 2007, Parker accepted a position on the board of property investors Ironside & Curtis.

Parker Ministry 2005-2007

Cabinet

(Keeler replaced Hon. Michael Gannett, MP on 30th September 2005)

  • Minister for Finance and Economic Development: Hon. Adam St. John, MP

(St. John replaced Dr. Christine Hinkle on 28th February 2007)

  • Minister for Health and Social Services: Hon Clare Price, MP
  • Minister for Social Security and Veterans' Affairs and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons: Hon. Tim Johnson, MP
    Johnson replaced Michael Boyle on March 19, 2007
  • Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Sen. Hon. Mark Duffy
  • Minister for the Environment and Resources: Hon. Wendy Chamberlain, MP
  • Minister for Communications and Information Technology: Hon. Geraldine McLean, MP

Outer Ministry

  • Minister for Science and Technology: Hon. Robyn Keller, MP
  • Minister for Transport, Development and Energy: Hon. Tina Jones, MP
  • Minister for Regional Development and Housing: Hon. Joan Kavanagh, MP
    Kavanagh replaced Tim Johnson as Minister on March 19, 2007
  • Minister for the Arts, Sport and Tourism: Sen. Hon. Amanda Keogh
  • Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Population: Hon. Jon See, MP
    (See replaced Adam St. John on February 28, 2007.)
  • Minister for Consumer Affairs: Hon. Matthew Aitkin, MP
  • Minister for Constitutional Affairs: Hon. Daniel Rudolph, MP

(Rudolph replaced Dr. David Keeler, September 30, 2005)

  • Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Equal Opportunities: Sen. Hon. Joshua Chan
  • Minister for External Territories and Local Government: Hon. Kelly Houston, MP
    Houston replaced Erica Lucas on November 26, 2006
  • Minister for Customs and the Coast Guard: Sen. Hon. Jeff Brush, MP
  • Minister for Resource Management: Hon. Lucien Trump, MP
  • Assistant Treasurer and Deputy Manager of Government Senate Business: Sen. Hon. Zelda Mitchell
  • Minister for Defence Industries: Hon. Peter Anthony, MP
  • Special Minister of State: Hon. Jonathan Johnstone MP

(replaced Bill Williamson August 2006)

Other

Political views

Parker is somewhat to the right of Rhodes, but this is primarily from an economic standpoint. Parker favours, in general, deregulation and privatisation of industry and repealing some of the harsher taxes on investment. Socially, Parker is fairly progressive. She strongly supported the decision to legalise same-sex marriage in Georgeland. She opposes any legalisation of marijuana, however, though she supports harm-reduction techniques for all drug users and emphasis on rehabilitation. She is also not as adamantly pro-choice as many LDP colleagues. She believes in a woman's right to choose but also believes abortions are too common and damaging. Parker is a non-denominational Christian, although she describes her views as 'very lapsing Protestant'. In the Kellerman interview, when asked if her religion was at odds with her stance on same-sex marriage, she said:

"I don't believe God cares about whether or not people are gay. I think if you live a good life and you do good deeds and you're charitable and do no harm I think God just says `good luck to you'. I don't see homosexuality as wrong at all, and I don't think God would either."

Supreme Court appointments

The Parker government appointed the following justices of the United Islands Supreme Court:

Personal life

Parker married Michael Benedict Parker in 1994, changing her name from French to Parker in the process. The marriage ended in divorce in 2003, after a two-year separation. Michael Parker, a Catholic, was opposed to any divorce which made the process long and drawn-out. The Parkers have joint custody of their daughter, Pamela (b. 2000). Parker has retained her married name. Parker is the second Prime Minister to be unmarried at the time of appointment and the first divorcee. In July 2006, Parker was seen eating dinner with prominent business figure James Holden, though neither has commented publicly on whether they are involved in a relationship.

Zoë or Zoe?

Parker's first name is often spelled as Zoe, even in official media. This is incorrect. Parker's name is pronounced "Zoey" and should properly contain the umlaut over the 'e'. The other form of the name, pronounced "Zo" is never used by Parker herself.

Trivia

  • Parker was, during her time in office, the youngest female head of state or government in the world. She is also one of the youngest ever female heads of government, coming to office at the age of 45.
  • Parker is an avid tennis player and in 2002 competed in a charity match against Georgeland tennis champion Nick Kalter. Kalter defeated her 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
  • Parker is also a Lylecity Football Club supporter
  • Parker is also a big fan of the TV program The West Wing. On her 2003 visit to the United States she visited the set and appeared on the show as an extra. She also obtained an autographed cast photo which hangs on her office wall. The episode in which Parker appears is the season 5 episode Constituency of One - Parker can be seen walking through the White House corridors.
  • Parker's favourite singer is Bobby Darin. Parker was 14 when Darin died and, in her own words "cried for a week and wore black for nearly a month." Her favourite Darin recording is Mack the Knife.
  • Parker's favourite author is Charlotte Brontë and her favourite poet is Dylan Thomas.
  • Parker quit smoking in 1994, however in 2003 she was caught smoking on camera. She maintained she only smokes 'when stressed' and that it was her first cigarette for nine years.
  • Parker follows astrology, though not strictly. She makes a point of reading her horoscope, and believes in certain personality aspects of star signs. She herself is a Leo, though July 23 is sometimes considered 'on the cusp' of Cancer and Leo.
  • Is short-sighted, but almost never wears glasses. Parker wears contact lenses most of the time.
  • Her nickname among Liberal Democrats, according to a 2006 biography by Ian Spencer, was "The Boss Lady".

Quotes From

  • "I've always been what I always was - a country girl from Cosgrove Hill."
  • "If the oompah-loompahs opposite would allow me to speak..."

-In Parliament, 2004

  • "There is no greater victory than a victory over our own fears. There is no greater goal than the goal to achieve our hopes and dreams. There is no greater defeat than to fail to achieve them through our own doubts."

-Speech, 2005

  • "Following Campbell Rhodes into this job is certainly a tough ask. I guess I'm like Buzz Aldrin, in a way - he was there on the moon too, but nobody can remember his name."

-On TV, 2005

  • "I don't like the word 'feminist'. I don't think women should be equal to men. I think men should be equal to women."

- At a women's conference, 2004

  • "There are two forms of barbarism still practiced in the first world. One is racism. The other is capital punishment."
  • "Until you've borne a child for nine months and raised them, until you've been roused from bed at three in the morning because your child has soiled themselves, until you've been awake for forty-eight hours pacing around a hospital ward waiting for tests to tell you if your daughter is going to be okay, until you've done all these things, don't talk to me about family values."

"Abortion is a right. It is inaliable, it is constitutional, it is indisputable - it is a right."

Quotes About

  • "It's like putting Mike Tyson in charge of Versailles"

- Tory foreign affairs spokesman Martin Higgins, referring to Parker's organisation of a Norman summit.

Preceded by
Michael Elderton
Georgeland Foreign Minister
August 12, 2000 - March 26, 2005
Succeeded by
Charlotte LeBeau
Preceded by
Warren Barker
Deputy Prime Minister of Georgeland
July 28, 2004 - July 30, 2005
Succeeded by
Tom McCully
Preceded by
Campbell Rhodes
Prime Minister of the United Islands of Georgeland
July 30, 2005-July 6, 2007
Succeeded by
Luke Macaulay
Preceded by
Campbell Rhodes
Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands
July 30, 2005-July 1, 2007
Succeeded by
Michael Boyle (interim)

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