because today isn’t international women’s day

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.


  1. Sarah

    Argh. Well… At least Latham is not someone who the general population listen to – but I am slightly astonished that anyone could possibly hold that view at all…even if it is ML. There’s not really an upside to this is there – just a reminder that there will always be people we come across with their head up their a**e and that somewhere along the line we forgot how to show respect. *sigh*

  2. “How little love Mark Latham must know, to think it can only be fulfilled in one specific way.” — Love it, agree with it.

  3. Kel

    thanx cheryl for helping me feel like a cool middle-aged person for listening to radio national 🙂

    as someone who has also chosen not to have children, I find his comments exasperating, and discriminatory

    I have a hard enough time with inlaws, and their other adult children, who make it very clear they do not agree with my choice, without some public figure spouting forth such one-eyed opinions they would heartily agree with


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