As the election campaign drags on, I see the parties vying for our attention as if they know what we want. After all, women and mothers were critical in the 2019 election outcome and may prove to be so again. But as a mother, I feel like the major parties are not listening to me.
My family asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day this Sunday.
Of course, all I really want is for my child to be safe and have a happy future. But I feel like the political leaders are not tuned into this at all. Yes, I want to have what’s best for my child right now – good food on the table, good quality schooling and to be happy. The cost of living is going up and that makes this harder.
The mums I’m talking to, like me, are a bit shocked at the price of petrol. A cauliflower now costs eight dollars at the supermarket. And they wouldn’t want interest rates to go up too much more.
But they’re also aware that all of this change is related to a much bigger issue: climate change. All the recent floods – and before that, the bushfires and drought – are playing havoc with our ability to grow food. No wonder the prices are going up. Things are complex.
So in the end this nagging sense of anxiety we have is because we know deep down that there’s a big global problem and our government is doing almost nothing to try to solve it. What’s been proposed from the major parties just doesn’t seem like enough.
So that’s what really weighs on my mind and the minds of the mothers that I talk to. In a survey of 5,000 readers, Mamamia found that climate change was the top issue deciding how women would vote, with two-thirds of respondents saying climate change would influence them at the polls.
Yes it would be nice to see prices go down – or just stop going up! But it’s so obvious that short term fixes aren’t going to change the ongoing trend.
What mothers really want is security for the future, for our families and our children. We want the opportunities that climate action will provide for our children now and in the future.
We want affordable food, transport and homes, but more importantly, the safety of knowing that things aren’t just going to get worse.
I can’t help but think if mothers were listened to a long time ago we wouldn’t be in this mess, facing ongoing natural disasters and climate chaos.
So if Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and any other politician wants to win the crucial votes of mothers across regions and suburbs of Australia, they need to think a bit bigger than the next few months.
On Sunday, no Mother’s Day gifts like a massage voucher, new blender or flowers will take away my anxiety about the future. But what could help is to hear from leaders who can think like a mother and govern for our kids’ future.