by MIA FREEDMAN
It’s not every day the Prime Minister sits at your desk and types on your computer. Welcome to Thursday. When the Prime Minister’s office approached us a few days ago saying that the PM was keen to engage with Mamamia readers on the subject of childcare, we swung into action. Desks were tidied. Muffins and cupcakes were baked. An advance team including the Australian Federal Police and a charming man called Jeremy (whom I immediately called Jez and hugged) came 48hours prior to assess the security situation. It was very West Wing but not really. Somehow, I then began inviting people to come and meet Julia Gillard. My children. Their friends. Their friends’ siblings. As if it was my wedding. The only reason my parents and in-laws didn’t rock up is because they’re away on holidays.
The entire team - and a few stragglers - at the end of the morning for a group photo.
When my kids arrived my 3yo announced “Is the Prime Minister not here yet?” and then got busy with the muffins. It started officially shortly before 10am with a warm ‘G’day!’ from the PM as she got out of her car and came straight over to say hello (I kissed her) and meet my 6yo daughter who was particularly excited. Girl power etc.
In the hour she spent with us, we talked about the issues around childcare – from the point of view of parents and childcare workers. More than 400 comments were left on the post and they canvassed a wide range of issues, problems, suggestions and concerns. You can read them – and the replies the Prime Minister left here. And Kate Ellis will be replying to more of the comments over the next few days so please check back.
A few things you might like to know:
The PM does not have a ghost typist. She is a fast and accurate typist. Even with 17 cameras filming her and several people watching over each shoulder (me and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis).
Julia laughs loudly and often. “She’s so warm!’ being the most common observation after she’d left.
She has to pose for A LOT of photos. In various combinations we did me, my family, the MM team, the security guards and building owners, my teenager and his friends etc etc etc. “I rarely blink during photos,” she said. A lot of practice.
Fun fact: Mamamia’s new Managing Editor is Jamila Rizvi who until today worked for Kate Ellis. This was her first day in the Mamamia office and it was almost like a surreal matrimonial handover from old boss to new. Or a hostage situation. I’ve assured Kate she can still have weekend access. We have not come to blows.
Fun fact #2: I asked the PM if she wanted a tea or coffee and she asked for a black coffee which our intern Olivia expertly delivered. The PM did not finish the coffee. I may sell the cup on eBay.
If you’ve got something you’d like to say about childcare, hop on over to the post here.