WELL LOVED: Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen having tea and pumpkin scones at Bethany, Kingaroy.
WELL LOVED: Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen having tea and pumpkin scones at Bethany, Kingaroy. Liam Kidston

Lady Flo 'the real deal'

LADY Flo would have walked all over the insincerity, zealotry and political correctness of our time, Gympie MP Tony Perrett said yesterday.

"In an era when the public is searching for authenticity, Lady Flo would have cut through,” he said.

"She was the real deal, an unwitting trail blazer, mentor and sounding board for anyone who sought her advice,” he said.

"Despite sniggering asides she was a proudly Christian politician whose faith underpinned a positive outlook and gave strength when under pressure.”

It was easy to go with the "Flo,” especially for people like Tony Perrett and former federal Wide Bay MP Warren Truss, for whom she was a close family friend.

Lady Flo died in the Orana Lutheran aged care centre in Kingaroy.

Among those mourning her today are her fellow residents and long-term friends, Mr Perrett's grandmother Doris and Mr Truss' mother Irma.

Mr Truss' successor as Wide Bay representative in Canberra, Llew O'Brien said he was "sad to hear of the passing of Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen.

"Lady Flo helped shape this state and nation into the great place it is today.

"Lady Flo was an inspiration and role model to many, including my daughter,” he said.

Lady Flo was the wife of always controversial Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and went into politics in her own right when she was elected to the Senate in 1980.

Sharing her husband's direct and highly quotable turn of phrase, she once said that if you had the brains to make pumpkin scones, you had the brains to go into politics. And she was quite famous for pumpkin scones.

Her daughter Helen Folker said yesterday her last words to Florence before her death on Wednesday afternoon were to "say hi to Dad for us.” Her sister Ruth Cummins said she could not go past her mum's advice: "Be a good, kind person, treat everyone as you'd like to be treated yourself.”

Mr Perrett recalled growing up in Kingaroy and looking up to Joh and Flo.

Gympie Times


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