Monday, 11 March 2013

The Prime Minister And The Mummybloggers.

Last Friday I interviewed Prime Minister Julia Gillard for twenty minutes at Kirribilli House. My husband Dave came with me, in his actual blue collar shirt.

 He gave the PM a wooden breadboard with a Riley Renovators plaque on it. I've heard him say in his phone quite a few times now,

"Actually, pretty good ... she spoke like a normal person!"

The interview will be played at the third annual Digital Parents Conference in north-western Sydney on the 20th March. DPCON is Australia's largest online community for blogging parents. My questions to the PM centred around the digital space, being worried about my children accessing hardcore porn with the click of a button, how the word "mummyblogger" is currently being used, and the rising chorus of women's voices in the online world.

The Australian blogging industry is booming. Fashion, food, tech, lifestyle, political, parenting, health, nutrition, fertility, craft, artist bloggers ... we're everywhere. There's as many different blogs as there are different people. It's hard to make a crust online, yet some of us do it and do it well. I suggested that next time she meets with bloggers, it can be a much bigger function with a whole host of people, including some smart and interesting men.

Last Monday night I had dinner with the PM with some other bloggers - Kim Berry, Fiona Purcell, Beth Macdonald, and Mrs Woog. It looked pretty bad that we were all in a private dining room. I really wish someone had suggested we go sit in the bistro for a bit, because the conversation was smart, intelligent, fascinating.

The topics my fellow-bloggers and I cover in our blogs on any given day: Disability, mental health, step-parenting, mothering, education, cancer, addiction, lifestyle, linen cupboards, boys wearing skirts, alcoholism, suicide, fashion, career choices, giving birth to a deaf baby, the media, and pork belly.

Not a crumb for the locals? Or the waiting media?

I asked her about asylum seekers, because seeing the same tragedy being playing out again and again is horrific and wrong. Children shouldn't be in detention. We all spoke loudly and on top of one another. About the NDIS, Centrelink payments, how to fold a fitted sheet, the unpaid contributions of females in society, being married, the politics of blogging.

I got to tell the PM exactly what it felt like to be in an African refugee camp. After the main and before dessert I read out a text from Joy Toose at World Vision Australia, petitioning her government to not cut foreign aid.

We spoke about women having it all ... I think nobody can really have it all. Motherhood has simultaneously given and taken away so much from me. I asked the PM where else was she going in western Sydney that week. I love western Sydney, I remember Penrith Plaza before it was Westfields, and used to work as a barmaid at the Red Cow. 

I'm big on social justice, equality, fairness, feminism. I talk from the heart where Julia Gillard talks with intellect and knowledge and education. I thought long and hard about accepting any offer from her office about anything - because how would that make me look? What would people think? Am I being used as a political puppet, or is it an honour to meet with the current Prime Minister of my country, regardless of what political party they represent? (And who knew so many people out there can't stand to see a woman in power?)

I ended the day last Friday talking on The Project about the proposal to introduce women-only train carriages at night.

I wholeheartedly disagreed. You can't fix appalling statistics of violence towards women with a tin of pink paint. Why should we sequester ourselves away? I vote zero-tolerance.

It's my birthday today. I'm 41. In the past year I've done more things than I ever felt I could be capable of doing. And I've blogged all of it. This strange business of blogging has given me so much, and I will always be indebted to it. (Even though I can't stand to read my old posts.)

So you can call me a political puppet, a bitch, a whore. A dog, a mummyblogger, a nothing. You can even call me a cunt, for all I care. (Just don't call me a dumb one.) If life has taught me anything, it's that once you know who you are and what you stand for, you can be bold and hold your truth. Because there's nothing to hide from.

Not even your shadow.

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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