S.C. Statehouse Report
Sunday, July 29, 2007
VIEW: http://www.statehousereport.com/columns/07.0729.better.htm

SC can nurture Queensland relationship better
By Andy Brack, Publisher

PERTH, Australia, July 29, 2007 - - For a state that takes pride in politeness and manners, South Carolina has done a pretty poor job with its sister state of Queensland, Australia.

Fortunately, it seems like we're starting to get our act together.

Back in 1999, Gov. Jim Hodges signed a sister state agreement with Queensland to cooperate, collaborate and boost business ties. Among the areas of common interest were tourism, which is big business in Queensland, ports, business development and joint university projects that could spin off jobs.

At the time - just like now - the idea made good sense because of our similarities and complementary conditions. Queensland, which has about the same population as South Carolina, has economic roots that relied on agriculture and natural resources. And like our state, Queensland has been itching to be more vibrant economically in the 21st century.


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We're really not in competition with the Queensland universities," explained Karl Kelly, head of SC Bio, a kind of Chamber of Commerce in South Carolina to push biotechnology initiatives. "This collaboration with Queensland makes the entities stronger. We simply go [forward] faster by working together. It's about building a bigger research engine."

So far, however, Queenslanders have been doing more of the heavy lifting in the relationship, despite several successes. Cases in point:

  • Queensland has sent 10 official delegations to South Carolina since 1999, including five led by its progressive head of state, Premier Peter Beattie. South Carolina has sent two delegations, neither led by a governor.

  • In a spirit of goodwill, Queensland donated two koalas to South Carolina's Riverbanks Zoo - a gesture that shows a deep institutional and cultural commitment to the Palmetto State. For Queensland, giving two koalas (and helping to get two more) is a very big deal - - the cultural equivalent of Americans donating a bald eagle or Hank Aaron giving the baseball from his record-breaking 715th home run to someone. What have we given Queensland? A decorated metal palmetto tree, which certainly is a nice gift that now is in a park in Brisbane [Queensland's capital city], but not something with the emotional complexity of koalas.

"We really have never reciprocated to Brisbane to the level that Peter Beattie has done here," admitted Clarke Thompson, a Queensland enthusiast who directs export development for the SC Department of Commerce. "If we can send a high-level delegation of leaders to him, he would eat it up and greatly appreciate it."

That trip, the first real official trade mission to Queensland, is planned for late October. It may be led by Commerce head Joe Taylor, or perhaps Gov. Mark Sanford, who renewed ties with Beattie during a May visit to Columbia.

"The opportunities to South Carolinians to enhance their import-export business in tremendous," said former state tourism director John Durst, a long-time friend of Queensland.

One of the big positives of the sister-state relationship is what these two small states can do for each other.

For South Carolina, Queensland offers a springboard for our businesses to enter the Asian market. Queensland already has significant ties with China, Japan, Korea and other countries. As a partner, our business can work with Queensland's business development offices in Asian countries to improve the balance of trade to South Carolina. And because Queensland is culturally similar (same language, same British heritage), it makes sense for South Carolina businesses to have major offices in Brisbane.

Similarly, Queensland businesses need a friend in American where they can enter the marketplace. Instead of locating in California or some other state, they can use South Carolina, with its strong port system, as a launching pad into the American market - the world's richest.

The sister-state relationship has been somewhat ignored by South Carolina for too long. Now that our economy is healing, it's time for us to reach out to people who want to be our friends so we can boost business on both sides of the globe - and perhaps build more jobs here.

Next week: A look at budding collaborations between South Carolina and Queensland that are starting to pay off.

You can reach Andy Brack, publisher of SC Statehouse Report, at brack@statehousereport.com.

Recent commentary

Charleston Renaissance artist Hutty showed city as it was

Alfred Heber Hutty (1877-1954), born in Grand Haven, Michigan, supported himself by working in a stained glass studio in St. Louis until 1907. He then moved east to attend the summer school of the Art Students League in Woodstock, New York, where the tonalist landscape painter Birge Harrison became his mentor.

Deep South, by Walter Hutty, 1934. In collection of Greenville County Museum of Art. More.

In 1919, in pursuit of a warmer place to spend winters, Hutty discovered Charleston, and until three years before his death, he alternated residences between woodstock in the summer and Charleston in the winter.

His oil paintings of Charleston streetscapes and lowcountry gardens are impressionistic, a stylistic approach ideally suited to the floral spendor of spring foliage. However, he earned greater fame for his etchings and drypoints. As a seasonal resident of Charleston from the 1920s through the 1940s, Hutty is closely identified with the Charleston Renaissance.


SC Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with a weekly historical excerpt about the state. Each excerpt, which is used with permission and not for republication, is taken from The South Carolina Encyclopedia, a 1,077-page book published in 2006 with entries by almost 600 contributors and edited by noted historian Walter Edgar. We hope you enjoy this new feature.

Unlike his female art counterparts, Hutty rarely idealized the city and its residents, choosing instead to show the decay and decrepitude that lay around him. His proficiency with drypoint -- an enhancement of the etching technique, which created rich, inky lines -- complemented his rendering of live oaks draped with Spanish moss, dilapidated old buildings and animated African Americans.

-- Entry by Martha Severens, The South Carolina Encyclopedia

lighter side
Debate disease

Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:


7/18: Robbing Peter to pay Paul, Marsha Bibb-Goggans Johnson, North Charleston, SC
7/12: Domestic violence laws may be used wrongly, Marty Hicks, Mount Pleasant, SC
6/26: Brack is inconsistent, Bill Rentiers III, Lexington, SC
6/14: East Edisto would be boon to ACE Basin, Maggie Ridge, Hollywood, SC
6/12: Protect large tracts, Benjamin Lennon, Short Hills, NJ
5/21: Willing to buy bridge for more guns, Bernard W. Fatig, Hartsville, SC
5/16: Gun commentary is liberal doom and gloom, Rev. Joel Osborne, Sumter, SC

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Race to replace over early
From the paid-subscriber issue of Statehouse Report

JULY 27, 2007 -- Millionaire Thomas Ravenel's Tuesday decision to resign his office as State Treasurer in the face of serious federal drug distribution charges may have set off a major game of political dominoes in the Palmetto State. With Ravenel's retreat, several names came to the fore to replace him: Rep. Converse Chellis (R-Summerville); state Sen. Greg Ryberg (R-Aiken), a close ally of Gov. Mark Sanford; and even U.S. Rep. Henry Brown (R-South Carolina).

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Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. No republication is allowed.