So I was driving into work this morning, listening to Radio National [because I’m middle-aged now, and it’s what the cool middle-aged people do]. Fran Kelly was interviewing Mark Latham [ex-leader of the Labour Party in australia], who said of Julia Gillard [current leader of the Labour Party, and Australian Prime Minister], ‘any woman who chooses not to have children cannot have much love in them’. When asked – repeatedly – whether he wanted to put that comment within any context, he said it didn’t need to be. In other words, he saw it as a universal truth.
[Deep breath. in and out…]
I don’t want to comment on how much love i have to offer [as one of those women who has chosen to be childless]. To be honest, after listening to that conversation I don’t have much love left at all. But so many of the women i respect and admire – who have given the world joy and hope and have made it infinitely better – don’t have children. And I am insulted for them that the quality and amount of love they give is questioned, and therefore diminished.
How little love Mark Latham must know, to think it can only be fulfilled in one specific way.
There’s a broader issue, of course, that the quality of political conversation in Australia has diminished and become ugly, misogynistic and so, so small. In what world are comments like Latham’s OK? In what world are signs that say ‘Julia Gillard is Bob Brown’s bitch’ not an outrage? And to twist the knife even further, countless opportunities have been given to many to speak against it, but they choose not to for political reasons. This is not a world i want to be part of.
There’s no neat ending to this blog post – no outlet for outrage or changing the world. Just real sadness, anger and fear at what we’re becoming.