On a sunshiney day at an outdoor gig in a park by the beach in Cronulla, I met a Palestinian man who had come to Australia last year for a better life for his family. His wife and four beautiful children said hello but it was he who needed to talk. To a clown. There is something about wearing a red nose that makes people open up and share their stories.
I told him I thought he was very brave to leave everything and everyone he knew behind to create a life in a new country. He told me in Australia he had hope for his children’s future. He believed that they would have a better life here. He said,
“In eight months we have achieved a lot.”
I told him I thought that it took a lot of courage to start life in a new country, but as I said it, I felt a dread that I’ve never experienced before. I hoped to God that dumb rednecks would not ruin his view that Australia was a peaceful place to be. I hoped that no one made nasty remarks or commented on his accent. I couldn’t bear to mention to him that racism is rife, as I could see a few metres behind him a woman pushing her child on a swing with a southern cross tattoo on her neck
I want an Australia that doesn’t lock people up and torture them because they dare to seek asylum
I want to vote for politicians who consider people in their policies before posturing politicking bullshit
I want uneducated rednecks out of parliament
I want a beautiful Australia where real estate speculators haven’t bought up and ugly-fied every building that happens to overlook a beach.
I want to live in a country that recognises that love is love.
I want aboriginal people recognised in our constitution.
I want $300 lunches to be abolished while people are homeless and kids are going to school hungry.
An end to reality renovation shows
I want to meet this lovely man’s children in 20 years and say, “Your mum and dad wanted you to live in safety so they gave up their friends and family for you to have a chance.” I hope they have a wonderful life, I hope they don’t get teased for their accents. I hope their mum and dad find great jobs and they grow old together, free of war.
And I hope his kids don’t end up voting for idiots
Halloween is a day of celebration for dentists, who shout “Ka-Ching!” as they book skiing holidays at expensive resorts while our kids gobble sugar. Single mothers also love to be a part of the pagan goddess ritual of decorating houses with cheap crappy decorations made in a Chinese factory and the foraging of bags of sugar and chemicals to feed small beasts. Every year, as we make our way down our friend’s streets (never in our neighbourhood) I barely hear the cries of, “Mum we haven’t got enough lollies,” because I’m too busy flirting with the dads I’m chatting up.
I love Halloween. At work I try to make sick children happy, and scaring well kids on October 31st is a brilliant release. I can stick warts on my nose, paint my face green, have a few beers and channel my inner scary mummy. I love to rise to the challenge of freaking out a kid who has a decapitated head stuck to his chest. Last year I happened to be driving the clown van on the night of Halloween. As a bonus, I managed to embarrass my teen who was hunting in a pack with her besties with my elegant clown fashions.
On October 31st, macroneurotic parents are unpopular, shunned along with their raw, vegan, unprocessed dairy, wheat and taste-free ‘treats’. On All Hallows Eve I don’t cook dinner and my kids get fed by strangers. My youngest child has perfected a sweet innocent look that fools most people. Her blood-curdling scream is evil. I pretend she doesn’t belong to me.
But there’s one thing I don’t understand: Why take a toddler or a baby to Halloween celebrations especially if they’re your eldest child? Parents save yourself the trouble until your kids are at school and stay home with a cheeky bottle of fun. I nearly ran over a rampaging preschooler dressed as Justin Bieber last year.
This morning Brandis is threatening to stall the same sex marriage debate if he doesn’t get his way. Unchristian Porter, Corgi and the other right wing rednecks all advocate butting out of people’s lives, except when it comes to telling people who they can marry. The problem with the Lieberal Nationals being elected is that the balding white males who run the party don’t want the world to change. The system works for them, it has made them rich. If we want a just political system we have to get rid of these dinosaurs. At least the independent parties are passionate about creating a fairer Australia.
I’m a yes person. I’ve done infomercials for washing machines, how hard can politics be? I thought. But after running in Joe Hockey’s electorate last year, I now know why women last don’t last too long in parliament. Hanging out with blue-suited number crunchers having endless discussions with accountants is more than this koala could bear.They reminded me of living in Britain in the late 80s when Dragoness Thatcher was in power.
Politicians are overpaid, and also the dullest people on earth, they receive far too much attention. How do the political journalists do it? How can they watch the games of preening and self-congratulations and emotional manipulation and not want to bash heads in? How can they listen to the well-rehearsed sound bites and faux sincerity all day and stay sane?
My acting teacher Hayes Gordon said, “I don’t regret doing cigarette ads, I don’t regret alcohol ads but I regret teaching the politician Robert Askin how to be charming on camera so people thought he cared.” The Liberal party feed their candidates self-confidence pills so they believe they are the masters of the universe. That kind of self-assurance is breathtaking. Last year I found myself seduced by people whose policies are abhorrent. The Libs are so good at faux sincerity it’s like watching Tom Cruise acting. You start to think he’s actually a nice guy even thought your logical brain knows he’s a Scientologist and that he dumped our Nickers so he must be an arsehole.
I know this is unusual, but as a politician, I wanted to be transparent. I thought I was the prodigal daughter returning to North Sydney to save the electorate from the Liberals. But I wasn’t even a contender, the old boys club has too much money and they want it to stay that way. I know how Ricky Muir feels.
Now the idiots want to strip funding to carers while wasting millions on a plebiscite. I’ve been a single mother living on a small income for years, I know all about financial planning. Shonky Mal Turnbull may not know how to be a leader, but he could get a few single mums in his cabinet, then he’d be able to pass a successful budget.
I am officially an old bag. Today I turn 50 and I’m trying hard not to whinge. For it is a privilege to be 50. My friends who died of breast cancer in their 40s would love to be where I am. And so would the kids who were robbed of their mothers.
The beautiful sick kids I’ve met at the hospitals I work in who left way too soon didn’t get to be adults at all. And the families and friends of my darlings Veljko, Mark and Anthony who died in their 20s would love to know them in their 50s. Those guys would have aged like fine wine if they’d had the chance.
I don’t feel that different, but I look in the mirror and I see age creeping up on me. I was born on a Monday, “Monday’s child is fair of face,” but my face looks like it needs more sleep. And my knees creak from all the stilt walking, gymnastics and dancing drunk in stupid high heels over the past 35 years. I can still have fun with my kids, my best friends, the families I meet through my work and I share great love with a beautiful heart. But there are things I’m worried that I haven’t done yet. Maybe I won’t get to live in New York or drive across Africa. Maybe I won’t be brave enough to sail across the world. Maybe crazy life goals are in the past. Maybe I won’t sing with Kermit or be the next teen superstar.
I share my birthday with fabulous people like Twiggy, Jeremy Irons, Frances Farmer, Mama Cass, Daniel Lanois, Nile Rodgers, Jimmy Fallon and Alison Sweeney from Days of Our Lives, darling. Today is also International Talk Like a Pirate day.
At 50 I’ve realised that the cocker spaniels I’ve had in my life may be the only dogs I own in this lifetime as I can’t afford to buy a house.
But 50 brings great rewards. I can sing, dance, laugh and love, I have fabulous kids, and I’ve given up people who drain me of precious energy. I have no time for those who don’t contribute to improving our world. So hit the high seas for some hijinks you swashbuckling scoundrels. I’ll be wearing my new earrings that cost a bucaneer. 50 is swell.
Last Sunday I posted a picture of me wearing a T-shirt with the words
REAL MEN PAY CHILD SUPPORT
emblazoned across it. There was a big reaction. Some men reacted with the predictable ‘not all men,’ and one friend responded like this,
Nothing but a walking sperm donor, he doesn’t get to be honoured with the title of DAD. I have nothing but respect and awe for the strength and perseverance you’ve shown in being both mum and DAD. Too bad some other men are so fragile as to think you are talking about them.
Another response was,
When men who don’t pay child support are shamed, they tend to retreat from discussion and challenge on the subject. They go into a defensive stance that blocks out even mild inquiry about their responsibilities, let alone an outright attack on their claim to manhood.
Which made one poster so mad, they said,
Why don’t the good men encourage these men to man up to responsibilities?
Can men can hold other men to a set of values? The ‘men’ I know who dodge paying for their kids have no values and feel no shame, they’re not capable of it. And their families don’t hold them to account. They come from a long line of men who avoid responsibility and any kind of admission that their behaviour needs to change.
When a woman lives in constant financial stress, lying awake night after night wondering how she’s going to get by, worrying if the electricity is going to be disconnected, knowing she will send her children to school with sniffles because she doesn’t get paid if she takes a day off work, her kids suffer. The children become stressed because their mother is not present. She’s not focused on her kids, she’s too worried about how she’s going to pay the rent and when she’s going to get a good night’s sleep.
What annoys me most is the people who aid them. How does a ‘man’ go from earning $120K per year then within a week have a taxable income of $28K? How does a ‘man’ declare a taxable income of $19K a year when his rent and bills total more than $30K? How do these liars sleep at night?
I understand not respecting or trusting your ex, but making your children suffer? I don’t get it.