Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No smile but departs with style

Yesterday the WA premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, resigned from his position as state leader in the west. I'll plead right now a rather comprehensive ignorance of the politics of Western Australia, so I can't write a decent obituary for Dr Gallop's career, but one thing I do know is that he departed with a grace and honesty very rare in politicians these days.

Dr Gallop, in explaining the reasons for his departure from politics, announced that he was suffering from severe depression which would hinder his ability to lead the state.

Speaking of his depression Dr Gallop stated, "It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so that I sought expert help last week. My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable. However, I can't be certain how long that will take. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career."

Now, as someone who has suffered from depression I can tell you that that was a pretty ballsy confession to make in front of the media wolves and the public at large. Without knowing much about Dr Gallop's political history I'd have to say that WA is losing a pretty good man. With a string of attempted suicides by politicians suffering depression over the last couple of years, let's hope that Dr Gallop's courage will remove at least some of the stigma attached to depressive illness, and the resultant reluctance to tackle the problem in an open and honest format.

[Update: West Australian environment minister Judy Edwards resigns as well. Hmm, I wonder if there is more than meets the eye going on over in the west.]

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