Shortens childcare comments

Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2016 07:28 pm
I came across this extraordinary piece of journalism.


Bill Shorten, in delivering his childcare policy, made the following comment:

“Let’s face it, men in Australia rely on women in Australia to do the childcare and to organise the childcare,” Shorten said.

Which as a generalisation, is true in this country.

Lisa Wilksinson, from Today, started the following attack on these comments:

“When Bill Shorten describes women as having the second job, that men ‘rely on women to take care of all things when it comes to looking after the kids’, in other words so men can get on with doing all the important stuff, isn’t he simply entrenching a stereotype of women as second class citizens?” Wilkinson said.

I found this to be an extraordinary statement on a number of fronts:

- Wilkinson is almost outright stating that she views raising a child is the job of a second class citizen (otherwise she would not think this is what Shorten was saying). I couldn't disagree more.

- And having made that association between child raising & being a second class citizen (whether as an attack or not)...on National TV.... reinforces this view in any who hold it (whether or not that was Wilkinsons intention).

- she was attacking Shorten for saying what is very largely true in Australia...while the only negative labels attached to child raising, were the ones that Wilkinson herself was attaching to child raising.

- in saying 'it is so last century' she ignores the vast majority of Australia use this arrangement (whether or not one aggress with the arrangement), effectively sticking her head in the sand (if she believes the situation to be a problem, then it needs to be debated/discussed, not shut down)

I'm all for people trying to create a better world...but I never viewed the raising of a child as creating a lesser world. Nor those who do the child raising as 2nd class citizens. I find this concept, and her dialogue extraordinary.

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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2016 12:14 am
It seems one of the readers had similar thoughts (though he says it much better than I did), who left this feedback to the column - accessible through the first link.

What a race to take offence by the eternally offended.

First, a disclaimer - I do not like Bill Shorten....At all.

Wake up Lisa! Bill just stated a fact. YOU chose to read a whole lot into what was a basic statement of fact - Women (typically) have that role, in no short part because women are nurturing by genetics (Thank God!).

Seriously - look around you. That fact remains that women do still take the lead on the children front - either by staying at home to raise them, or organising and coordinating the childcare (even if it is the Dad dropping them off) if they are working.

The real "crime" is how undervalued that critical role is, and how through your rant you also depreciate the importance of that role. Now, this is a general comment, but most Wives have the critical job of running the family household (think meals and childcare etc), even if they do have a full time job. Each couple will work out what works for them, sometimes the roles will reverse and the wife is the primary income earner - as long as that works for the family - fine.

Most men (myself included) help with the family role, but I would be deluded if I thought I contributed as much to the household running as my wife. She's amazing, and I couldn't do what I do without her.

Women have strengths. Men have strengths. Those strengths are typically different, which is why a COUPLE compliment each other. Can I do it all - yes, but not as good as with my wife. And vice-versa.

Anyone who thinks they can have it all - you're deluded. Everything has a cost. If you're both working when you have children, then something else is compromised (and it's usually the kids). You may choose to live with that, or have no choice and both have to work full time - but either way it's a fact.

I'm so sick of people running down the importance of the Mum. They're amazing, nurturing, sacrificial, loving and caring. THAT is the best role in the world. If you ever doubt that, think about your death bed - your ex-employers are highly unlikely to be there, but your kids would be.

Now queue all the people who will flame this racing to take offence.....
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