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.