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"They don't want to leave home until such time as they get married".

From Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's twitter account.
From Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s twitter account.

BY ALISSA WARREN

Yesterday, Kevin Rudd welcomed Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott to his new digs at Kirribilli house. And while the pair posed for a photo opportunity, Rudd took a safe conversation route: family.

There wasn’t meant to be any audio. Just pics of the outgoing/incoming leaders shaking hands. Easy Peasy.

But the mics were open and they picked up the audio of Tony Abbott saying his daughters would be living at home until they got married. “They don’t want to leave home until such time as they get married,” he explained.

And I sort of love it.

Here’s a Dad speaking from the heart – hoping his precious daughters stay at home until the day they say ‘I Do’ – and here’s another Dad agreeing with the sentiment.

Kevin Rudd welcoming Tony Abbott to Kirribilli
Kevin Rudd welcoming Tony Abbott to Kirribilli House

There’s nothing extraordinary about this conversation. Millions of fathers have the same conversation with fellow fathers all over the world. It’s simply old-school. It’s not offensive. It’s not weird. It’s not hurtful. It’s not threatening.

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Yet today, commentators, columnists and the general public are crying that Abbott sounds like he’s from the 1950s.  ‘Every woman needs to live out of home at least once before they get married,’ they say. ‘What is it with Gen Y living off their parents as long as they can?’ say others.

But here’s the thing – this decision poses no threat to Australian rights, feminism or marriage.

Find me a loving, caring father who is more than willing to let their extremely attractive, clever, youthful and well-known daughter out into the world without any hesitation. Because that’s all it seems to be.

We don’t know if there is an iron-clad agreement that Abbott’s daughters will stay at home until they’ve walked down the aisle, we don’t know if the Abbott daughters were cringing in their pyjamas as they sat on the couch listening to the subtitled audio beam across the country. We don’t even know if it’s their idea.

tony abbott and family
Tony Abbott and his family after winning the election.

(Let’s be honest, it’d certainly be my idea if I knew Mum and Dad were checking-in to Kirribilli. Yes, please. Can I bring my husband and kids, too?)

Years ago when I was moving out of home, I remember looking at dad as I loaded my boom-box into the boot. He looked calm and confident. I couldn’t imagine him looking any other way.

He waved me goodbye but he didn’t ask for my key. I was moving in with my boyfriend (who became my husband). He let go. I guess it’s a moment no young woman can ever appreciate.

Do you honestly believe that the future Prime Minister wants to keep his kids locked in the Kirribilli Compound until Shrek comes to rescue them? I don’t.

Tony Abbott is hopeful. But he’s already let one of his three daughters fly the coup. Hell, isn’t she living in London, fashion job, Europe, something, something? So he can’t be too committed to the ‘daughters under lock and key’ cause.

This has nothing to do with Abbott’s political ideals. This has nothing to do with you and me. This is just a nervous, hopeful Dad loving his children.

How long did you stay at home? How long do you expect your kids to stay at home?

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