I don’t have kids, and I vote

I don’t have children. I’m not anti-children, I just don’t have any and I’m not particularly interested in having my own. I adore my friends’ kids and I love seeing families in the CBD because the city is for everyone, not just suits. But every single election campaign – state and federal – politicians go to childcare centres and playgrounds to show how “good” they are with kids. Or, as Tony Abbott unintentionally demonstrated yesterday, how good his wife Margie is with kids while he hovers uselessly in the background.

Working families. Australian families. You’d be forgiven for thinking that only families are allowed to vote. Oh, and the occasional small business owner. According to the two main parties, the votes of teenagers, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings and forty-somethings without kids aren’t worth anything.

I’d love to see Julia Gillard go into a wine bar and sit down with a group of half-drunk 30-somethings in Surry Hills or Newtown; Tony Abbott at a music festival trying to talk to recreationally-enhanced 20-somethings; both of them spending an entire Saturday in the soul-destroying rental market so they can understand what it’s like to be desperately trying to find somewhere to live; or at a Centrelink office in regional Australia where there just aren’t any jobs.

Gillard and Abbott don’t dare do anything of these things. Children are safe. They don’t ask curly political questions, or tell them to fuck off, or mock them. Childcare centre visits are boring. And meaningless. We don’t learn anything about what they have planned for Australia’s future when they read a book to a bunch of pre-schoolers. Which is the point, and that’s pathetic. Pfft. I wish they’d grow some fucking balls.

19 responses to “I don’t have kids, and I vote

  1. so if the media stopped following them to child care centers would they then stop molesting Australian children and bothering the underpaid child care center staff???

  2. It’s a narrow construction of ‘family’ that they seem to be referring to – if you don’t fit into that definition it’s alienating even if you do have kids.
    Apparently only families with very young children are worth talking to – people whose fertility is most apparent at this moment.
    If you have teens, well they’re probably delinquents, especially if you’re a single parent.

    Not that people without children shouldn’t be invested in good policy decision-making around issues to do with kids – I mean with the ageing population, you’re gonna want services to be available during your later years – but it would be good to see the pollies visit an aged care facility, or a gaol, or a university, for a change.

  3. “or at a Centrelink office in regional Australia where there just aren’t any jobs. ” – they’re just not trying hard enough. If they just tried harder not only would they get jobs but they could get married and have children too. And then they’d get to meet Tony Abbott at a child-care centre.

    Why is Tony even visiting child-care centres? Child-care centres are for half-mothers who refuse to do the right thing and stay at home with their children. Selfish bitches.

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  5. Yeah I know how single mothers are seen.

  6. The reason families are the focus, is that one of the governments main aims is to encourage us to all have children, as they are the future tax base. Its something they don’t explicate in their policies, but population growth and economic growth ( the obsession of government as it apparently makes our lives better) are intrinsically linked. Encouraging us to have children, lets face it, is right now much easier than dealing with the issues around immigration.

    I really wish they would get some guts and bring immigration into the debate as a positive aspect of a sustainability policy.

    Instead paid parental leave policies are introduced, which encourage us to have more children with financial support. This policy does seems as a step forward , it recognises and values the unpaid work women have done as parents. But the policy is too selective. It discriminates against stay at home parents, because to qualify, you have to have been in paid employment for 12 of 13 months befre claiming it. So parents who are full time stay at home parents, still don’t get paid.

    Considering this, i think that the policy aim is to increase labour market participation of women in particular and therefore the tax base for the government. If it was really about families, then stay at home parents would get it. What worries me even more, is that single parents, or those partnered parents who are doing it tough, working in part time and casual jobs, would have a really hard time getting 12 months continuous employment given the nature of single parent hood and casual employment.

    Its like they are giving up on these people and only want to support those that already have a chance of making it. I am furious because at least Howards baby bonus was available to everyone.

    So yes, only familes matter, and whats more, only working (with stable jobs) families matter.

    • Hello Anna, and welcome to the News with Nipples. Do you think immigration can ever be discussed in a mature, adult way in Australia? The mainstream media is built around politics as conflict, so there is no middle ground and no room for voices outside the two main parties.

      And you’re spot on about the parental leave stuff. It’s saying that the only women worth supporting are those who pay taxes, and that some babies are more worthwhile than others.

    • geekanachronism

      Except that there will be a payment for stay at home parents. It’s just not as much. You’ll still get the baby bonus and family tax things, just not that particular benefit.

      • Hi geekanachronism, welcome to the Nipples. A good friend of mine is having a baby in January and she gets her employer’s maternity leave plus the government’s paid leave. She double checked, and yes, gets them both. That doesn’t seem right…

        • geekanachronism

          It seems fine to me – they’re completely separate things. The government’s paid leave will supplement the more paltry employer provided leave schemes (where there is any paid leave at all) but there will still be a payment for non-working parents.

          I’ve just been discussing this with my union rep – with my new job I’ve dropped from 14 weeks full pay then any other leave to 6 weeks. Which is not actually a full 6 (or 14) weeks with your child – it includes whatever period between leaving and birth. For me that was 4 weeks because I was coming up to some issues with the pregnancy that meant I could no longer work. If I had been in need of my full salary I would have had 1 week in the hospital with my daughter and 3 at home. Nothing even close to the time I needed to recover from the birth and to set up breastfeeding – things which aren’t just about ‘comfort’ or ‘ease’. Those things have direct effects on my health and my ‘worth as a worker’. Supplementing leave gives new mother’s a chance to recover and establish breastfeeding where they might have only gotten 2 weeks at home with the child otherwise.

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  9. what a brilliant idea! I love it! another late-20s childless single here…

  10. The key POD is between being allowed to vote and actually being arsed to go and do so and the lower your age bracket the lazier you are likely to be when it comes to polling day.

  11. I cannot understand the reasoning behind the claim that Married Stay-At-Home-Mums (SAHM) deserve a wage for the “unpaid” for the work they do. So, lemme get this straight; the taxpayer is to pay only MARRIED stay at home mums — a small section of the community — for doing something that is just Life 101.

    S’funny. Casting aside the painfully obvious social engineering preferences here (which may explain why this concept is so popular with the New Right/Neo-cons who support any scheme that rewards “traditional families”) there is still a considerable flaw in this claim. I could SWEAR that I, like so many people, do my own dishes, make my bed, buy my own groceries rather than say, I dunno, a group of gossamer-winged fairies who enter my home while I am at work and who disappear before I return home from work 5 nights a week.

    Somehow…SOMEHOW… SAHMs are the only people who do housework, apparently.

    Some even make the absurd claim that SAHMs are worth more than $100,000 per year based on the wages of a cook, day care centre teacher, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, cleaner, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist. This argument has been put forward by both socialist feminists and “pro-family” right wingers for ages. (see: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,21668267-910,00.html)

    Apparently a stay-at-home mum is a “chef”, a “doctor” and an “accountant” and this justifies a wage commensurate with those vocations.

    Heating up some McCains Superfries or nuking some macaroni cheese for the kiddies DOES not make mummy a “chef”. Putting a bandaid on Smashleigh does not make mummy a doctor and calling up the Optus call centre to abuse some poor operator for cutting off mummy’s phone account does not make mummy an accountant. And running a house with a couple of infants is NOT the same job as the CEO of Telstra. Even Sol was doing a more complex job than most mummies. Following this inane reasoning, when some nuisance engages another in inane conversation about their personal problems when commuting on public transport, it makes one a “psychologist” or a “counsellor” who should make a claim for reimbursement from the government.

    I am the only person who observes the inconsistency that, when the SAHMs want to wrest money off us child-free taxpayers, they have the audacity to demand $$$$ for looking after their OWN kids but, with no sense of irony, baulk at the idea of paying a liveable wage to some poor pink-collar working class/bogan girl employed in a child care centre who must look after someone else’s spoilt brats. Class warfare anyone?

    Anyway, the myth of “unpaid work” is just that. A myth! The reality is married stay-at-home mum (one who is not earning money outside the home in paid work), does get paid for doing housework. While the rest of us have to go out and earn a wage/salary to afford food in one’s belly, clothes on one’s back and a roof over one’s head, the SAHM gets a roof over her head et al in exchange for her “unpaid” housework.

    Furthermore, the Family Law Act is cognisant of the non-financial contributions of a non-working spouse when dividing property in a property settlement when the marriage ends. Yeah, sure, it is illiquid capital but there are a hell of a lot of single/widowed people who do their dishes, mop their floors and cook their dinner but it sure ain’t earning them some equity in real property.

    There are a lot of Gen X and Y single gay and straight women – the ones who seem to be under that feminist radar – who face the prospect of never affording their own home on their income whereas the married woman has “payment” for her “services” as a child-bearer and homemaker in that she gets “free” food and accommodation that the single woman has to earn an income to afford.

    Anyway, if we have to pay a “wage” to child-rearers, who will set the KPIs, investigate and police the quality and evaluate the outcomes? If the taxpayer was to pay SAHMs for doing housework, will there be inspectors who ensure that the dishes are done, the floors are swept and all children tucked up safely in their beds? Will there be a “mummy diary” like the “dole diary”? Of course not. If the oh-so-hallowed the SAHM does not do her job properly it is not as if she will be fired like people in a “real” job? Nope.

    Unlike the truly oppressed people in our nation such as the disabled, war veterans, First Australians, the long-term unemployed and single parents who all must account for their parsimonious stipends, the hallowed married mum is entitled to access great wads of this welfare largesse. It is social-engineering writ large.

    The demands for cash handouts for child-makers has nothing to do with s-called costs of living. It is just a weak assertion by over-committed yuppies with oppressive mortgages who want a baby too — and someone, anyone but them, must pick up the tab.

    • Hello Observer, and welcome to the News with Nipples. I ummed and ahhed about publishing this comment because it’s just so damn long. Please, next time, can you keep it shorter?

      To deal with your points one by one:
      * I don’t think anyone has proposed a wage for married SAHMs only.
      * “Apparently a stay-at-home mum is a “chef”, a “doctor” and an “accountant” and this justifies a wage commensurate with those vocations” – I don’t think I’ve heard any reasonable person/party say that a SAHM should be paid a doctor’s wage, or that every night they cook like a hatted chef.
      * I’ve never heard anyone say that childcare workers should be paid less.

      You know what? There’s so much anger in your comment that I’m not going to keep going through it. I am a child-free feminist who is unlikely to have kids in the future, but I do believe a paid parental scheme is important. But I don’t believe it should be at the expense of pay increases for the lowest paid. I don’t believe it’s an either/or situation. As a society, we have to value children, because without them, we’re all fucked.

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