|Preceded by De-Anne Kelly|
Party Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by George Christensen
|Resigned July 19, 2010|
Name James Bidgood
|Born 25 May 1959 (age 56)
London, United Kingdom (1959-05-25) |
Other political affiliations Labour Party (UK) (before 1991)
Role Former Member of the Australian House of Representatives
Previous office Member of the Australian Parliament (2007–2010)
Political party Australian Labor Party
James Mark Bidgood (born 25 May 1959) is an Australian former Labor politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Dawson, in north Queensland, from 2007 to 2010. He was elected at the November 2007 federal election, defeating the sitting Nationals member, De-Anne Kelly, in a major upset. He gained one of the biggest swings in the election, winning Dawson for Labor on a swing of over 13 percent; Kelly had gone into the election with a seemingly safe majority of 10 percent. He was only the second Labor member ever to win it, and the first since 1974. He retired in 2010 due to ill health.
Bidgood was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in the East End of London. He has an Open University honours degree in social science majoring in politics and economics. He was a member of the British Labour Party before coming to Australia as a backpacker in 1991 and settling in Mackay. Before his election he was a Councillor on the Mackay City Council and was Financial Director of Caneland Medical Centre in Mackay. When he attended his first Caucus meeting in Canberra on 29 November 2007, it was first the time he had ever been to the national capital.
On 13 November 2008, Bidgood was forced to clarify his comments in the House of Representatives after stating, earlier that day in an interview, that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was indiscreet in his handling of a telephone conversation between himself and U.S. President George W. Bush.
On 3 December 2008, Bidgood was forced to publicly apologise after taking and selling photographs of protester Marat Aminov, who had been threatening to set himself on fire outside Parliament House, Canberra. Aminov's multiple protest efforts had been aimed at securing aged-parent visas for his mother and father. Bidgood sold photographs to News Ltd newspapers, with instructions to send the proceeds to a charity. Kevin Rudd described Bidgood's actions as "deeply offensive".
Bidgood is a devout Christian, and claims the 1987 stockmarket crash was caused by Christian marches for Jesus in London. On 4 December 2008, The Australian newspaper reported that Bidgood made a speech in parliament declaring that the Global financial crisis of 2008 was an act of God, linking it to the end of the world: "I believe there is God's justice in action in what is going on here. We haven't seen the end of it. The ultimate conclusion is like I say, we look at Bible prophecy, we are going towards a one world bank and a one world monetary system. And if you believe the word of God and you read Revelations...you will see clearly what is being spelt out. We are in the end times."
Bidgood announced his decision to retire on 5 February 2010, citing health reasons.