Barnaby Joyce is expecting a baby. Some people, understandably, have some questions, especially given the circumstances.
But what if we asked the same kinds of questions put to Jacinda Ardern when she announced she was expecting? Neela Janakiramanan has a go, in this satirical piece.
Barnaby Joyce should be ashamed. Deeply ashamed. After all he only stood for office in December last year. He must have known that he was expecting a baby. In fact all available bump photographs suggest that this baby was conceived well before the election. And modern pregnancy tests can diagnose pregnancy even before a woman’s period is due. So, despite surely knowing about this expected baby, he still stood for office knowing that he would be letting his constituency, his nation, and his unborn child down by having a child in office.
I mean, this is a man that sometimes is responsible for running a country. This isn’t some part time fast food worker who can just drop some shifts if things get too hard. This is a person who actually needs to be 100% immersed in his job. How is he possibly going to do that when he is up all night with a new baby? What if North Korea attacks us and he is in a very important war council meeting and his partner calls to tell him that they have run out of nappies and formula. How can he possibly concentrate on our national security under those circumstances?
Of course he might resort to things like sleeping in another room, or employing someone to help with the baby. But that is just unnatural. Babies regulate their carbon dioxide levels by the breath of their parents. His baby might die of SIDS if he doesn’t sleep next to it, holding it close. Of course there is also evidence that babies need their own safe sleeping space because otherwise an exhausted deputy PM might accidentally roll onto the baby and kill it that way. Either way, this baby will be neglected at best and dead at worst. All because the deputy PM has tried to combine the impossible tasks of having a baby in office.
Really, how dare he. This is a slap in the face of every person who voted for him. Every person who thought that they were getting a candidate who had completed their family and had older children so he could ignore them like most other male politicians. That would be a reasonable expectation, and certainly the impression that he gave. He should have confessed that he was still fertile, even though he might not have known it himself. Just so we could have made an informed decision.
I mean, why else does the Australian public consistently vote for narrow-minded men? We are cognisant of the conflict of interest in trying to be a parent to a young child and do something as important as run a country, and feel that this demographic is the least likely to be in a position to be offered the opportunity to procreate.
Maybe we should sterilise all political candidates just so we can be confident that their public work will always take precedence. Because honestly, this undermines the validity of every single man in politics. Any of them might just go off and have a baby at the drop of a hat. How can we ever trust men to run the country ever again?
He hasn’t even told us how long he is going to have off work!
There is amazing research coming out of Scandinavia that really shows us how important it is for men to take time off work after their child is born. And not just a couple weeks either. At least six months. All this research shows that the babies are much more emotionally attached and responsive to their dads when they take time off when their babies are infants. And that this bonding has been shown to be associated with measurable improvements in mental well being for both men and their children. I really don’t trust men who don’t take time off to bond with their babies. It’s a classic marker of a dis-attached and uninterested parent, which has clear implications for what they think about the rest of humanity. He can be deputy PM whenever he wants, but he is only ever going to have five or more children. And they are not babies forever. He really should take six months off, maybe a year. For the baby.
And if he does take time off, who is going to pay for it? I sure hope he is not expecting the taxpayer to cover his maternity bill. Because he really should have planned the pregnancy and made sure that he could afford he time off. Having children is a choice you know. And if he didn’t plan it, well that’s just irresponsible. Contraception has been around a really long time. I’d expect the deputy PM to know how it works.
While this might sound like a resounding criticism of Mr Joyce I hope he doesn’t take it personally, and I wish him all the best with the upcoming birth of his child.