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October 25th 2012 print

Philippa Martyr

Wives and mothers-in-law first

The polls strongly suggest the Gillard government is a sinking ship, which may explain why Labor insiders are lining up at the purser's office to make their withdrawals


It has been a busy week at the trough. First, Bill Shorten’s mother-in-law was given an extension on her $400,000 a year job by the very obliging Australian Labor Party. I suppose this is to show that the ALP government is not the least bit misogynist, and understands just how hard it is to raise a family on a mere $400,000 a year, especially when one of them is married to Bill Shorten.


And then it was really heartwarming to read Bob Carr defending his little woman today in The Australian. Bob Carr takes his wife Helena everywhere with him, which has cost the Australian taxpayer some $120,000 in the last six months (that’s a three-year ARC grant, folks!), and which shows how much he understands just how expensive it is to raise a family, except that he doesn’t have one.

"I am proud that Helena has accompanied me on every trip I’ve done, because while I am talking to the Foreign Minister she is inspecting aid projects or talking to groups of women … I think it is very, very good that Helena has been there with me. She’s done meetings, she’s inspected aid projects … in China she had her own program and she’s made a good contribution … I think every stage in our bid for the UN seat it was an advantage for the Foreign Minister to be accompanied by a wife who was born in Malaysia of Indian and Chinese parents.”

Oh. Well, that’s all right then.

It’s nice, isn’t it, that our unelected Foreign Minister has an equally unelected wife who is allowed to travel at taxpayers’ expense to work on "her program" in China and inspect aid projects elsewhere on our behalf.

And I especially like the last bit, which sounded both sexist and racist, but the press gallery have been surprisingly silent on this issue.

Philippa Martyr blogs at Transverse City