Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Who would be a politician?

As I listened to Malcolm Turnbull's speech last night, I had to feel a bit sorry for Tony. I'm certainly not sad that he's gone but I do think it's quite horrible just how quick we all are to criticise our politicians. It's a hard job!

My short foray into local politics has cemented for me, that I certainly have no desire to move into federal or state level politics. Yes, you will have some achievements but you will also make some difficult decisions and you simply cannot please everyone. I have spent hours agonising over decisions. I have had sleepless nights worrying about things which I don't know the answer to and I know there is probably no 100 percent correct answer but of course I want to get it right. This is at a local level! I can only assume the professional politicians have similar experiences with a far more visible and further reaching scope.

My four year Council term ends in a few weeks and I'm not at all sad about this. I've stated the reason I'm not running again is because it's hard work with young children. This is true but I have to admit if I was really enjoying it I would find a way to make it work. I have enjoyed parts of my experience but a lot of the time I've felt like the public criticism just isn't worth it. Nobody ever calls to thank me for a decision I've made but there are plenty of people who are quick to criticise when I've made the "wrong" decision and I get really upset about it. I'm not cut out to cope with the criticism.

It's disappointing that I've struggled to make it work. When I had one child it was actually almost the perfect part-time job. The evening meetings worked fine with my husband just making sure he was home in time for me to get out. I would regularly attend events and meet with residents during the day and just take my one baby with me. It was in fact far easier than when I was working full-time because I was available during the day. Things have changed quite significantly though with two babies and a toddler and I simply don't get to as many things as I would like to.

When a journalist called and asked if I was running for local government again, I mentioned briefly that the 6pm meeting times are particularly difficult. This is simply because putting our three children to bed really is a big job and much easier with two adults. Unfortunately the journalist decided to make a big deal of this and it ended up on the front page of our local paper. I had thought the article was quite fine. However, when I read the letters to the editor in the following week's paper I found that as a result of this article someone had decided to personally attack me, suggesting that I was some kind of man-hater who thinks all men are incompetent. This is so completely off base it's somewhat ridiculous. I've actually blogged previously about what a great father my husband is. Clearly the letter writer knows nothing about me. I have no idea who he is except that he doesn't even live in the City of Vincent and he thinks it's ok to publicly write a very personal attack on me. To make matters worse, it's not even about a decision I've made at Council. It's simply a personal attack.

The point is that people are horrible to politicians. It's a hard job. Some are far better at it than others but I really don't think anyone deserves to be personally attacked. I like to think that the majority of politicians start out because like me they want to do something positive for the community or the state or the country. I know some lose their pathway but I think we should all try to remember that politicians are real people with feelings who are most likely just trying really hard to do what they believe to be the right thing.

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