October 8, 2012
My wife, having had a quite good job at IBM, when she came to having children quit and spent the years bringing them up based on the Jackie Kennedy principle, “if you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much”. So to be with the children, she took up childcare and ran the programs wherever they went to school almost till the start of high school. She would have run the program at the ANU if they had had one just to stay close, but eventually she had to let them lead their own lives, and now they are in London so we probably should have kept a closer eye.
Anyway, ever since those early days in childcare she has stayed in the industry and now works a few days a week for a few hours a day just to keep her hand in and for a bit of pocket money, which always comes in handy. This is why I am always pleased to hear Julia promising to raise the wages of childcare workers -- not that I can see the economic logic of it, but you know how this self-interest thing works. The changes they have been making have made childcare all but unaffordable, but that’s not one of my problems at the moment.
But this is all merely preamble to my contribution to the Nicola Roxon-Margie Abbott debate. Roxon, of course, has made no statement that has not been focus-grouped and market-tested, so what she actually believes we may never know. But the latest form of distraction from the economic mess the ALP has created is to follow the same plot lines as the Democrats in the United States and accuse Abbott of being a soldier in the great War on Women in the same way Romney has had to face the exact same accusation.
Neither man seems to fit the bill, not in the slightest, but the parties of the left are filled with such colossal stupenagels that they swallow the lot on the say-so of Gillard or Obama. Evidence? Who needs evidence when it is something the accusations are what they want to believe, since it reinforces every one of their blind and ignorant prejudices? It is absurd that both Mitt and Tony (a pairing I hope we will have to get used to) find it hard to make public statements defending themselves against the left since there is nothing either man has ever said or done that would make replying to these accusations anything other than beneath their dignity. But it’s politics and so they must. To say that you haven’t stopped beating your wife because you never had in the first place is always a difficult proposition to get across.
But childcare has come up both here and in the US as part of the political debate. There is first here in Australia where we find this from an interview in The Herald Sun: “Mrs Abbott, who runs a community based childcare centre . . .”
Well, fancy that. There are many things Tony and I have in common, but who would have thought that one of them would be that our wives both work in childcare.
It also came up in the United States as well, but in that case it wasn’t Ann Romney who was the childcare worker, but Mitt himself. The only reason it came out was because the Democrats had argued that this plutocrat was obviously too distant from the world of work to understand much of anything about ordinary people, and the example they used was Romney’s own garbageman (ie rubbish collector). But it turns out that Romney had even worked as a garbageman, as he has explained:
During my campaign for governor, I decided to spend a day every few weeks doing the jobs of other people in Massachusetts. Among other jobs, I cooked sausages at Fenway Park, worked on asphalt paving crew, stacked bales of hay on a farm, volunteered in an emergency room, served food at a nursing home, and worked as a child-care assistant. I’m often asked which was the hardest job -- it’s child care, by a mile.
Childcare the hardest job? I can believe that. After that, being president will be a complete breeze. As for Nicola Roxon, what does she know about real work. This is from her Wikipedia entry that covers what constitutes her working life:
Between 1992 [ie when she was 25] and 1994, Roxon was employed as a judge's associate to High Court Justice Mary Gaudron. She then became involved with the trade union movement, joining the National Union of Workers as an organiser. Roxon was also an industrial lawyer and senior associate with the law firm Maurice Blackburn and Co. from 1996 to 1998.And from there into Parliament and now attorney-general. Someone with a law degree, a handful of years working as a judge’s associate and few years in a union and now making the law. It makes you angry that a woman with so little true experience of anything, a woman who has done nothing with her life other than occupy various Labor sinecures, can feel the right to say anything based on the shallow and limited experience she has had with life.
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray