POLITICS
POLITICS

Why my daughter will never be a politician

Arabella. I gave my daughter a proper, old-fashioned name. Not a cutesie Kelli, nor a sultry Amber. Apologies to my friend Amber but she would be the first to agree her name sounds like it should be in the title of an adult film.

I chose my daughter’s name by asking myself the question, would I vote for a president called (insert name here)? (Yes, I’m hoping Australia becomes a republic, by the time my daughter can run for office.)

I am now reconsidering my lofty aspirations for Arabella, seeing the torture that pollies go through, day in and out. Who would want that life?

Sam Dastyari has made a complete mess of the Chinese travel scandal. Who advised him to say this to the press: “I completely reject any assertion or implication that in any way, shape or form, any of my comments or decisions have been influenced by anything other than the national interest”?

Really? It sounds like legal speak, and it made him appear defensive and 100% guilty. His resignation from the frontbench was the natural conclusion to the debacle.

Still, the media punishment that ensued did not fit the alleged misconduct.

Being a politician means living your life under a microscope and behaving according to what are sometimes impossibly high ethical standards. As one public servant said to me previously, deadpan, she and her colleagues have to account for every sugar packet that gets consumed in the kitchen at her government office.

Would I want my daughter to be scrutinised in this way at work?

The private sector in comparison is the land of milk and honey.

At my first real job – in the TV industry – we had an endless supply of chocolate biscuits, let alone coffee (real, not instant) and sugar. At another job, as a writer, international junkets and restaurant reviews for meals I did not pay for were regular kickbacks. I’ve also worked at a law firm where every Friday afternoon felt like the eighties were back, such were the decadence and duration of cocktail hour.

I am very certain that fringe benefits and bribes influenced some of the decisions I made, but with limited impact. That’s the trade-off, I suppose.

So now I’m revising my hopes and dreams for my daughter. Instead of contributing to public life and working towards the common good, she can become a CEO at a company listed in the Forbes Global 2000. All right, I’ll settle for an ASX-listed company.

Better yet, she can be a rock star. They get away with murder. Or close to it, with some hip-hop artists spinning rap sheets positively, as they enhance their street cred. And, come to think of it, I could have called her anything I wanted. I did really like Billie at one stage (as in Billie Holiday) … She changed the world in her own way, didn’t she, far more than most politicians have during their careers.

P.S. For the avoidance of doubt, I did write this blog post with a touch of sarcasm. My aspirations to be a political stage mum are far from over. No way. I get my parenting tips from Scandal’s Eli Pope.