I have previously written about motherhood statements and current events in politics have made me think about this concept again.
What’s a motherhood statement? Wiktionary defines it as such: “a “feel good” platitude, usually by a politician, about a worthy concept that few people would disagree…”.
When Julia Gillard begins a speech with “My fellow Straians…” you know you’re about to hear a truck load of motherhood statements. This is stuff about education being good, importance of families, strong economy… stuff you just can’t argue with really because it’s like saying the sky is blue or we need air to breath.
The current state of politics is dire in Australia right now, in the most dull sense of the word. Not dire like in Turkey or in Syria where it’s actually a matter of life and death and basic freedoms and human rights. But dire in the sense that everyone knows that we are in a very long pregnant pause right now. The result of the September election is all but cast in stone. All public announcements by the current federal government are treated with the contempt they so richly deserve. The opposition knows full well they just need to keep quiet and not have any of their higher profile members get caught in a compromising situation with a goat and/or a member of the Greens. There is no need to announce policies or make any grand statements or even waste too much breath pointing out the faults of those currently driving the out of control road train known as the Australian Labor Party.
This week there has been a great deal of the poor excuse which passes for political media commentary and all centered on the people instead of the policies. This is what’s doing my head in. It’s always about the people and when it’s about policy it’s always just banal motherhood statements.
Let’s get back to the people angle. Generally when the conversation turns to this election it goes like this: “I won’t be voting for Julia Gillard but I can’t bring myself to vote for Abbott, argh [usually with a grimace at this point to illustrate how utterly distasteful Tony Abbott is]”. Usually I smile and nod knowingly but what I’m thinking is “grow the fuck up”. I am sick to death of this election being about Gillard vs Abbott. It’s about the policies of the Australian Labor Party versus the policies of the Australian Liberal Party, with the policies of the assorted and varied minor parties and independents throw in for colour and movement.
I have nothing against Julia Gillard. I am sure she is incredibly smart and dynamic and passionate and has lots of wonderful personal qualities which I will never know about because I am unlikely to ever meet her and share anything resembling a personal conversation. But I have a deep loathing for the policies she has implemented on behalf of her party which I strongly disagree with; starting with the highly offensive carbon tax, moving through the pink batts fiasco, the BER fiasco, the NBN fiasco and their inability to legalise gay marriage (the one thing I was hopeful a more small “l” liberal Labor Party might have the guts to bring in).
In my middle age I have become more and more conservative when it comes to the financial management of this country. I want a government which takes a reasonable amount of tax, spends it thoughtfully on important things and stays out of things which are none of their business.
I am fed up with the “misogyny” angle and the focus on budgie smugglers and red hair and menus at stupid dinners and whether the First Hairdresser is gay or not. Let’s all be mature adults here and talk about policy. Are you happy with the policies of the Labor Party? Do you think they’ve done a good job with the financial management of this country? That’s what this election should be about; not any of the other bullshit.
What we need to be asking is where do all the promises come from? I don’t know jack shit about the Gonski reforms. All I know is that everyone wants better schools (motherhood statement), better hospitals (motherhood statement), better roads (ditto), less tax (ditto). When any party promises any of these things we need to ask “where is the money coming from?”. If these wonderful Gonski reforms come in (and I’m not arguing about their benefits to the school system) where is the sacrifice going to be made?
It’s all swings and roundabouts, slight of hand and taking from Peter to pay Paul in politics. If we think otherwise we are seriously kidding ourselves.
I’ll put it out there right now: I will be voting for the Liberal Party at the next election (and my goodness it can not come soon enough). Not because I like Tony better than Julia but because I want conservative fiscal governance of our country. That simple. Whoever wins, the difference in my life and in the lives of those nearest and dearest to me will be minimal. But I am hopeful, though not totally optimistic, that the booby trapped carbon tax legislation will be repealed and that we can slowly regain the strong financial grounding Australia enjoyed prior to this Labor administration.
I will leave you with this motherhood statement. Free, democratic elections are a privilege many people around the world are willing to kill and die for. We don’t have to. But I dare to suggest we need to put on our big girl (and boy) undies and man up here (sorry to mix my clichés) and stop this playground nonsense about who we like or not. We will soon have the solemn duty to vote for our next government; let’s take this job seriously.