Oh the phone has been ringing and my inbox pinging with requests for comment on this story. Have you caught it yet? Greens senator Sarah Hanson Young's 2 year old daughter Kora was thrown out of the senate last night even though she wasn't crying or running around or being disruptive.
And today, everyone has their knickers in a knot, insisting either that it was an outrageous travesty or that it….
…..serves her right because kids should never be at work in the first place.
Putting up the latter argument is Tory Maguire from The Punch who writes:
Senator Hanson-Young has staff, in fact there are thousands of
people in Parliament House during sitting weeks. Surely one of them
could have played with Kora for half an hour while her mother did the
job she gets paid very well for by the Australian tax-payers.
There is also a child-care centre about 500 metres from the Senate
Chamber, which, in case you are wondering about its standards, has a
marble sand pit. These are not facilities available to most working
mothers, who if they took their two-year-old to work would be promptly
shown the door.
But Senator Hanson-Young, 27, was apparently very distressed, and
for the first time in a while it appears there’s multi-partisan
agreement in the Upper House, with Liberals, Greens and members of the
ALP all outraged at her treatment.
Senator Hanson-Young has now inadvertently turned Kora into a stunt
baby, in the vein of Charlotte Marshall who was controversially
breast-fed in the Victorian parliament by her mother Kirstie Marshall
in 2003. Breast-feeding of babies is now also allowed in the Federal
But “pleasant diversions” do not belong in the Senate, any more than
they belong in the High Court, or any other work place where the future
of the nation is being debated and decided.
Look, I've brought my kids to work on occasion. There was even that scandalous time I apparently sent a work experience student out to BUY MY SON A BANANA which you can read about here. Yes, every working mother has a raft of usually complex childcare arrangements in place but from time to time, those arrangements break down. Someone gets sick or you have to work late or life just gets in the way.
And sometimes? Sometimes little kids just need a few minutes of face time and a cuddle from mum or dad. I'd suggest that's the story in this case. Senator Hanson-Young says she was about to be separated from her 2 year old for 24hours which is a big deal for a 2 year old. Is it that big a deal? Was she screaming or having a tantrum or singing Big Red Car at the top of her little voice?
She wasn't. She was sitting quietly on mummy's lap while mummy did the usual multi-tasking thing of working and mothering simultaneously. Not ideal for anyone but it was obviously the best she could do in that moment.
I've long thought that a career in politics is UTTERLY INCOMPATIBLE with motherhood, particularly when your kids are young. First of all there's the Canberra thing – hello! Nothing against Canberra, except when your family are living IN ANOTHER STATE. Then there are the long hours, all the travel and generally a lifestyle not compatible with raising a young family.
I think this is a travesty because we NEED more women in politics, state and federal. Hats off to Tanya Plibersek and all the other mums who do it tough in parliament because I certainly couldn't do it.
Natasha Stott Despoja who I know and admire and adore, said when she left politics to spend more time with her two little kids and husband that she hoped women wouldn't read this as a sign of defeat or an indication that you can't balance the two things. But that's exactly what lay behind her decision (at least it seemed to) – that she couldn't juggle the ridiculous demands of federal politics with the real needs of her family. I do know what she was trying to get across – the last thing our generation of mothers want to say is that it's too hard or that your kids suffer when you're working long hours – but hey, it's the truth. I'm sorry and I wish it wasn't true but it is.
And with all the coverage of this story today, I wonder how many young women are going to want to pursue a political career?
READ MORE HERE…