I suppose one’s own individual politics are based on your own personal experiences.
Here is mine.
I grew up in Werribee, in the Seat of Lalor, then held by Barry Jones (the smartest man in Australia), now held by Jooolya.
I am the eldest daughter of a single mother, who divorced my father, a violent alcoholic, when I was 10. My Mum, a division 2 nurse, struggled with depression herself, and spent long periods off work. She was on a single parents pension during these times, and it was very difficult to make ends meet. Our home was part-owned by the housing commission, as Mum had to pay out Dad his part of the mortgage (Dad, God rest him, was an arsehole). Mum had to fight tooth and nail for everything, for us kids. I learned very early on to take nothing for granted.
Some of mum’s friends were gay, although I didn’t really understand what homosexuality was at the time. They were just normal, nice blokes who lived together and struggled, like my mum, with not having much money.
I went to the local public school, lots of kids of lower socio-economic status, a few of lower middle class. Not many kids travelled overseas, played music or went skiing in the winter. I only knew kids did this when I went to Uni and saw how the other half lived (and developed a chip on my shoulder). I learned about bullies there. I learned how to stand up for myself. I also learned that there were some very devoted teachers there, who saw and nurtured my potential. So did my mum.
In grade 5 we learned about the greenhouse effect and that we had to cut down chlorofluorocarbon use to help the ozone layer repair. Even at age 10, us kids understood that our actions as a society could have catastrophic effects on the environment.
One of my friends was from Vietnam, a person who came over in a leaky boat in the 1980s chased by the Viet Cong. He was very clever. During his schooling, he helped his parents sew clothes – his parents were outworkers paid a pittance to make clothes that big chain stores sell at a massive mark-up. He is now a doctor, his sister a dentist, and his parents no longer have to sew clothes.
In year 12, I exceeded my own expectations and fair-and-square got the score to get into medicine (requiring a TER of >99%). This was against many other private school kids who played music, went skiiing and had the money to pay university students to do their assignments (CATs) for them. I only learned about the cheating rife in an unequal education system well into my degree. The assignment system is now less amenable to cheating.
I did my 6 year medical degree, where I met my wonderful Husband, who also hails from Werribee (born in the UK) and shares many of my political views. I had to support myself during the final 3 years – for a few reasons, I was not able to live at home. I was lucky – I had very cheap rent. With the Austudy, plus a few shifts of work, I was able to pay my own way.
I won a Scholarship to uni for the first four years – universities were putting their HECS fees up and this was a sweetener of sorts. I nearly did not apply for the scholarship, as I did not think I would get it. It was lucky I did, because my mum would not have been able to cough up for the textbooks.
I graduated in 2002 and did internship in 2003. My first paycheck was $3000 (gross) for the fortnight – I had worked the weekend. This was literally 10 times my Austudy cheque! It was life changing.
Fast forward 8 years.
I consider myself advantaged, educated, wealthy and in a position of power. A basic belief that drives a lot of what I do is that the strong and powerful should look after the vulnerable. I feel this to my core, and I get irrationally angry when I see this being breached. This is what guides my politics.
I just cannot understand why gays are discriminated against. Why single mothers on pensions are vilified on Today Tonight and welfare payments tightened. Why we would not act anything but compassionately towards refugees. Why equitable access to education and health should not be a major priority. And if 10 year olds can understand how human actions cause climate change, why can’t Tony Abbott or Steve Fielding?
Access to things like free education and Medicare were hard fought for and can insidiously slip away – we cannot take these things for granted.
You have probably guessed who I voted for (it was not Labor or Liberal)
Anyhow, I had better step off my soapbox now. I just felt the need to put that out there.
I went for a run with the dog today, the first one since my back injury last week. I think I did quite well – I laid off when the back started hurting which was about 25 minutes. The dog had a great time and only nearly tripped me up a few times. When I had a lie down on a bench for a butt stretch, the dog got onto the bench to keep a look out.
I bought a pair of Jeans today – the new Levi Curve Code ones. They are the ducks nuts. They are nipped in at the waist and generous in the thighs – just like me. I even went down a size in these jeans!
I am going to sell some stuff on ebay, as inspired by Kathryn.
I have been booking all of our accommodation for Japan. So excited. I have long been fascinated by Japan, after doing a project on the country in grade 6.
Anyway, I am going to go to bed – my goals for this week is to get early nights (before 1030), not pissfart about on the internet too much and not drink alcohol during the week – I overdid it a bit last night – drowning Tony-related sorrows.