Politics: It’s child’s play
It’s a great job explaining politics to your kid and, in turn, having your kid explain politics to you. Maxine has just turned 12 and is showing an increasing interest in politics this election. She’s highly opinionated; once her mind is made up, she’s difficult to sway. Stubborn even. In general terms, Maxine believes that people need to look after everyone who needs help. That people who think you just need to look after yourself in life are mean, and that they’re the one’s missing out. It makes you feel good helping people out she says, and pulls her proud face because she knows she’s onto a winner.
Homelessness is incomprehensible to Maxine. Sometimes, if when we’re walking, she see’s a large, vacant warehouse, she explains how she’d like to fill it with beds so everyone could come inside, out of the rain and cold and be cosy for the night. And they can bring their dogs in too. Maxine can’t understand why, when she can see the growing numbers of homeless people sleeping rough on the streets of Melbourne, the adults aren’t fixing it. That’s why she’s brainstorming up solutions herself, solving problems.
Maxine knows the Australian Government is locking up people, even kids, who are trying to come here to live, in places that look like prison. ‘And they haven’t even done anything wrong’ she says. Then she gets right arched up. She’s like; they’re a bunch of hypocrites, pointing to Dutton and Co. on the telly (she loves the idea of adults contradicting themselves). This is Aboriginal Land Mum, so apart from Aboriginal people, we’re all immigrants. What that man is saying, is it’s all right for us to come here and live, but we’re the boss now, and we say you can’t come here to live too. She says Mum, Australia is a big place, more people will make it even better, and we’ll get to learn different languages and eat different food.
Speaking of food, earlier this year, Maxine told us she didn’t want to eat meat anymore because she loves animals too much. Animals are our friends she says. She’s not eaten meat since, and we’re proud of her resolve and clear thinking. Sausages, she concedes, do smell really good, but you’ve just got to remind yourself that there’s pig’s butts in them.
Any time Tony “The Mad Monk” Abbott comes on the box, Maxine still shoots him a foully, and it really is frightening. She’s not forgiven Tony. She harbours a myriad of grudges against him, and she can list them off with sure-fire precision: He was mean to Julia, our first female Prime Minister and that, to a girl who sees for the first time that she too could be Prime Minister one day, is inexcusable; He said weird stuff about his own daughters being ‘hot’ which was just plain wrong. He’s a sexist, Maxine has concluded.
Maxine believes anyone who is in love has the right to get married, and no politician should be able to tell anyone they can’t. ‘How dare they’ she reckons. Why can’t the mad monk and his mates butt out and let gay people get married. I tell Maxie it’s not just Tony Abbott who opposes gay marriage, but for her, he is the face of evil personified. You can’t reason with the kid. Plus she really loves his nickname; she knows just how funny it is. They need to mind their own beeswax. What are they so scared of?’ she asks, and it’s difficult to answer her.
Sometimes Max really does get furious: And God, Tony Abbott believes in God, and we don’t Mum, and that’s fine, he can believe in whatever he wants to, but why does he try to make us believe what he does?
We told Maxine how the Catholic schools had sent a note home in the kid’s bags telling all the parents not to vote Green, and she thought they should butt out too. It’s none of their business, said Max, and we all agreed. The funniest thing is though, the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, he’s a Greenie, he’s clearly a Greenie. That must just kill Tony Abbott. It must really get his goat, challenge his faith and all. The Mad Monk is all out in the cold, shivering away, trying to relocate meaning, and certainty, relocate his moral compass. Ha ha. He must be having a theological crisis that Tony “The Mad Monk” Abbott. The Pope is a committed environmentalist. Not so committed to condoms, and preventing the spread of the Aids virus throughout Africa, but very good with climate change. And speaking up for poor people.
Not so long back, Tony Abbott said: “Coal is good for humanity” and Maxine knows that to be complete and utter bullshit (my words, not hers).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn7ZGyhC9bY 1 mins. Tony Abbott spruiks coal. Good one Tony.
Coal is part of our past, and has no place in our future, and I tell you, some grown-ups make it really difficult to teach your kids to respect their elders. We teach Maxine to listen to what people say, then decide if she respects them. Or not. And if she doesn’t, then she, with good manners, should speak up and permit herself to tell them they’re dreamin’. Get the conversation going. See, the Great Barrier Reef is dying and proposed new coal channels right through its guts aren’t helping any. Luckily though, Ellen is going to save it, she’s the voice of Dory in Finding Dory, (Maxie saw this last week) and she’s got a really unusual voice. Ellen is the world’s most famous lesbian, and is married to an Australian, Portia. Maxine wonders who the world’s second most famous lesbian is, but we haven’t worked that out yet. Penny Wong I thought.
Maxine loves the time, a few years back, when Miley Cyrus saved Phillip Island from the developers. Miley made very simple work of it; you could call it case study in efficiency even. What she did right, is Miley tweeted out to her millions of followers about Phillip Island being ‘a magical place, it would be a shame to see it change,’ and linked to a facebook page of a group opposing planned development on the island. We’d been down there to see the penguins and Maxine loves it like Miley loves it. Miley had been on holiday there with her boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, who’d grown up on Phillip Island. The Government Planning minister (some footballer or other), he had to stop the development because of the bad International press Miley had generated for them. On their behalf.
Maxine loves that story, even if she doesn’t like Miley anymore, since Miley started straddling wrecking balls, nude, in film clips. Maxine thinks she should put some clothes on, but I defend Miley and explain how she’s growing up now and wants to rebel and shock people because she used to be a Disney kid. Maxine doesn’t like Disney because there are too many Princesses, and they’re always hanging ‘round waiting for a Prince to save them or whatever. Maxine thinks that’s lame. As far as animations go, she’s a Studio Ghibli girl.
Maxine believes we need to protect penalty rates for people who work on the weekend. She’s like ‘If Dad can’t come watch me play soccer on a Sunday because he’s working, then they need to pay extra to have him when I can’t have him.’ She gets right up in their grill. She’s like: ‘they’re rich, Dad’s bosses. They’re just pretending they’re not so they don’t have to pay Dad as much money as he’s worth. If they couldn’t afford Dad, then they would have already closed. They’re just being greasy, I mean greedy, wanting to keep all the money for themselves.’
On polling day, we watched Bill Shorten and his wife vote on the TV and the footage was really embarrassing, because they were posing for too long putting their votes in the box, and it was all quiet and very embarrassing. Maxine wondered who Bill had voted for, and when we told her he would be voting for himself, she thought they should make that illegal. Like really that was cheating, and we all laughed. I liked the idea of Bill and his wife having a fight that morning and her punishing him by secretly voting for Malcolm.
Maxie shrugged and said ‘I hope Mr. Harbourside Mansion doesn’t win (that’s what we all call Malcolm now. Our house loves cheap repetition gags). ‘Mr. Harbourside Mansion is going to privatise Medicare,’ declared Maxie, certainly. I was shocked she’d said it, because I’d missed Mediscare, I’d been attempting to preserve my sanity, avoiding the election campaign by keeping my head in Netflix. It seemed my kid was better informed than me. So I asked her about it and Maxine said very definitely (she had figures and all): ‘he wants to steal 8 billion bucks from the Granny’s pensions and make people pay to go to the doctor.’ I said: ‘Well that doesn’t sound too bloody good does it,’ and we were all agreed. I told Max she should tell all her friends at school about Malcolm, and tell the kids to tell their parents too.
Maxine fell in love with our Greens candidate for Batman, Alex Bhathal. She said you could just tell what a kind woman she is and how hard she works to help everyone, and to look after the environment. She’s spewing that Alex didn’t win the seat to represent us, but she knows Alex will win next time, that she did better than she’s ever done before. Maxine may only be 12, but she already knows she’s a Greenie, and she knows why too. If you ask her, she’ll tell you.
Plenty of Greens will win seats. The Greens are the future. The LNP and Labor both know it. That’s why they’re doing deals to preference each other now, to keep the Greens out. That’s them saying, sure, you’re our archenemies today, but really, honestly truly, our shared enemy is the Greens. Farmers will become Greens voters; Barnaby has sold them out to mining. He can’t pretend he hasn’t forever. The only way the major parties can keep the Greens out, is in their working together and even that won’t work for much longer. They’re shitting themselves. Their gig is up.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2dNEQiHUUo 3.41 mins British Greens use kids to explain the infighting of the major parties. Highlights include details about the ‘the long term lega-monic plan’, but the Oscar for Best actor goes to the kid cast as Jeremy.
This election made me realize the tight edit I do on relationships in terms of political leanings. If I don’t agree with a friend’s politics, they become less of a friend. My Facebook Newsfeed is filled with friends who think like I do. More or less. I’m not alone here and it adds to the sense of dismay I sometimes feel, because I can’t for the life of me, understand how someone could vote for Pauline Hanson. Maybe we need to infiltrate her Newsfeed, get to know the enemy better. I do know Pauline Hanson is the love child of Jo and Flo Bjelke Petersen, that the real threat of racism is that it can infect people from an early age, and be passed on to their kids even.
The best result this election was in the seat of Barton, in NSW. Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney became the first Aboriginal woman to win a federal seat, with a swing of 2.8%. I look forward to the Australian Greens having increased dialogue with Indigenous Australians because this, always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.
Here’s an inspiring speech I found from the Marama Davidson from the New Zealand Greens, that speaks, for me, to a new body politic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqxs6ztsPwc 20.43 mins. New Green MP Marama Davidson’s maiden speech to NZ Parliament on 4 November 2015.