Features Australia

Ellis is not an island

18 March 2017

9:00 AM

18 March 2017

9:00 AM

Interesting timing Kate Ellis. While feminists were busy waxing their broomsticks for International Women’s Day (slash month, slash decades), MP Ellis announced her resignation from Labor’s frontbench. She will leave federal parliament at the next election and will not recontest the seat of Adelaide.

‘This has been a really hard decision for me,’ she said in a statement to her constituency, delivered before she made her media statement. ‘In the end it is a decision that I have made for only one simple reason. Whilst my son could travel with me as a baby, during the next term of parliament he will start school and have to stay in Adelaide. The simple truth is that I just cannot bear the thought of spending at least 20 weeks of every year away from him and the rest of my family.’

Her statement makes perfect sense.

Yet, as we held our breath and counted down from three to one, bitterness on broomsticks flew in.

A flurry of furious feminists fussed: ‘It’s not fair’, ‘it shouldn’t be this hard’, ‘I’m so angry’, ‘See, women shouldn’t have to put up with this’. Grow up.

There are twenty-four hours in a day. It’s only humanly possible to be in one place at one time; therefore every individual makes decisions about how to divide up their allotment. A man is no more able to be at his desk and simultaneously on the couch than a woman. A woman is no more able to be in parliament and simultaneously at home with her child than a man. It’s not sexism, it’s common sense.

The broomsticks drone, ‘It’s 2017, it shouldn’t be this way’.

Thank heavens for Ellis herself pipping up to say, ‘I want to set the record straight. This isn’t just a women’s issue.’ That’s right, it’s time management.

Perhaps if these whirring witches weren’t constantly jumping on every opportunity to push their agenda, they may stop people sprinting away from their cause in droves. Rather than resenting oppression of the fantasy patriarchy, perhaps they could blame a complex combination of biology and natural instincts.

There are plenty of careers that demand time, focus, headspace, commitment and diligence. Politics is not unique.

Another career which demands all of the above is parenting. It is every individual’s choice to make. Where did this overbearing, exhausting, tiresome and misguided concept of ‘having it all’ come from? Feminism is preaching and demanding the impossible; telling women they should be able to raise babies, have a demanding career and earn a full-time salary. Enough. You have one life: determine your priorities, make your choices and accept the sacrifices.

Last week, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released an employment study, which singled out stay-at-home mums as the ‘greatest untapped potential’ for Australia’s workforce. Which wise wizard conjured up such inspired conclusions? How much were they paid for these glittering, astute gems? Surely, the response is, ‘Yes, of course. People doing two jobs would double the output’.

The report continues to assert paid work is ‘important for women’s personal well-being and perceptions of their overall quality of life’. What a ludicrous assumption. Only individuals can draw those conclusions for themselves.

Life is not purely about the economy; there’s also an investment to be made in little humans. There are skills to be taught that aren’t delivered in PowerPoint presentations in boardrooms. There are lessons to learn that involve long-term emotional investment with invisible KPIs.

The wage of raising incredible, resourceful, confident young adults is paid into the most important bank account of all. Why must feminists make everything a competition? Why is there always someone else to blame? You don’t earn money every second you’re awake. Life isn’t all about capital, power and control – it’s also about being true to yourself and honouring your own priorities.

Shorten said in a statement he would be sad to see Ellis go but respected her decision. As a human being, Ellis can only be in one place at a time. Her instincts pull her to her family – and that is no one’s fault. Many male politicians have made exactly the same decision.

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