I remember the first time I went to Canberra.
It was December 1978, I was nearly 12 and our family was moving from Merriwa in the Upper Hunter Valley to Bombala, near the Victorian border.
Our furniture and other belongings had left the previous day, and, as we would later find out, would take another few days to arrive in Bombala- encountering a bridge, a kangaroo, a number of pubs, and the front gate in our new home on their way.
In our little party were my parents, my 3 younger siblings, Beau (our corgi), a red hen with her 8 chickens, and enough luggage and food to last us all a few days. All stacked in the maroon kingswood wagon.
We spent that first night in a red brick motor inn somewhere near Narrabundah, smuggling the dog into the bathroom and leaving the chooks in the back of the car with the windows open.
The next morning Dad drove out of Canberra towards the Monaro Highway, taking us past (what is now) Old Parliament House. I was fascinated. A new adventure was ahead, and we were all different shades of excited.
One thing you mightn’t know about broody hens is that they can hold on to their, well, bowels, I guess, for days. Mother Hen chose not too far out of town to evacuate hers. So there we were- hen and chickens by the side of the road as Mum tried to clean out their box, I had the dog, my siblings were throwing up and my father was heaving and cursing equally.
A year or so later, we were back, this time to check out the sites. We visited Parliament, the War Memorial, saw poor old Pharlap’s heart and drove past some of the embassies. I can still recall the Indonesian embassy with their fish ponds full of colourful carp- it seemed so exotic.
My siblings were bored- I wasn’t. Ok, the War memorial didn’t float my boat, but the workings of government did- and continues to do so.
Fast forward to March 1988, freshly graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and a major in Political Science and I was living there. I moved into town at about the same time as Parliament was being moved to the new house on the hill. I wasn’t involved, but I was there.
I’m not particularly affiliated with one party or the other- although I am definitely left of centre, politically speaking, and there was this one time I helped hand out ALP how to vote cards at Bibbenluke Primary School for the 1983 Federal Election…and I’ve been known to attend Green rallies over the years.
The problem I see with politics at present is we seem to have no choice- both leaders have watered themselves down to appeal to polls, forum groups and everyone who listens to talkback radio. Nor do we have politicians who are prepared to stand up for a cause- well, we do, but they don’t happen to be leading their respective parties.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never wanted to stand or anything- that would mean allying myself to a political party but the workings of it all interest me. And yes, I’m aware that most things get lost in enquiries, and task forces, and backroom manipulations and compromises, but even so… despite this, there’s a part of me that has always wanted to do something. I have no idea what- but something that makes some sort of difference. That’s all.
Linking up on the confessional booth with My Home Truths.