God, CSG and Clive Palmer good for country, says Lady Flo

The wife of former Queensland premier Joe Bjelke-Petersen, Florence Bjelke-Petersen. The 93-year-old, affectionately known as Lady Flo, spoke to the Daily during her holiday at Alexandra Headland.
The wife of former Queensland premier Joe Bjelke-Petersen, Florence Bjelke-Petersen. The 93-year-old, affectionately known as Lady Flo, spoke to the Daily during her holiday at Alexandra Headland. Brett Wortman

LADY Flo Bjelke-Petersen may be 93 years of age but her mind is still crystal clear and her opinions sharp and to the point.

God has been a constant part of her life, Queensland may still see another Bjelke-Petersen in politics and Clive Palmer's arrival on the political scene is a good thing for democracy.

She agrees that her faculties are still sharp, saying that with journalists often ringing up for comment or coming to see her for interviews she needed to keep her wits about her.

"You do the best you can,'' Lady Flo said in deflecting a compliment.

The former National Party senator for Queensland, on the Coast this week for an annual

holiday at Alexandra Headland, retains fond memories of visiting here in her youth in the late 1940s before her 1952 marriage to Johannes Bjelke-Petersen.

"When he was an Opposition backbencher if you had ever told me he would go on to be premier and I would become a senator for Queensland I would have thought there was something wrong in your head,'' Lady Flo told me.

"I would have thought it was a fairy story. But I believe everything works out according to God's will.''

Her faith and love of God were forged in her early visits to Presbyterian Church youth camps at Alexandra House, in lush bush near where she is holidaying.

"We had a great time,'' she said.

"We used to walk from there to Buderim for exercise. In the trees there was an area for services.

"My fondest memory is of the people I met and that I learnt more about our saviour who is the most important part of life. I

remember going to the beach for a surf. I was involved with the

organisation but had plenty of time."

The intervening 65 years between those early visits and now have eradicated much of the bushland in which she frolicked and prayed in her youth, replaced by housing.

"I guess the change is progress,'' Lady Flo said. "The church had a lot of land and sold it and it went from there. They still have an office and convention centre behind here.''

Queensland is a big state and she believes there is room for CSG mining and agriculture, but is not sure whether the South Burnett is the place to accommodate both.

As for her son John's repeated attempts to enter politics, she said he remained interested and a grandson is also developing an interest.

"You never know where a Bjelke-Petersen will show up,'' Lady Flo laughed.

As for Clive Palmer, who once worked for her husband, Lady Flo is impressed.

"I think Clive is playing a good role in Queensland. It looks like he is going to Federal Parliament. Good on him. He has a vision and wants to use it. Getting into Parliament here (on the Coast) is a big step and I congratulate him. We'll have to wait and see if he is able to exert an influence.''


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