Annabel Crabb on ‘needing a wife’

Annabel Crabb on 'needing a wife'

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales on work-life balance and how women still get the raw end of the deal today in Australia. Hear hear!

It’s also hilarious.

And yes, I do need a ‘wife’… I mean, women need more support so we can do more awesome public work like Annabel Crabb while having families. Because I seriously cannot see men suddenly giving up being CEOs so they can be stay-at-home dads and start shouldering half of the work at home. But something will have to give.

Some fun snippets:

“Yeah. The truth is, having a baby for a man means completely different things professionally from having a baby as a woman. NATSEM [the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling] has got this amazingly interesting research where they’ve done modelling on the different outcomes for average Australian young people starting out on a life of work. They kind of model what happens. They worked out that a 26-year-old average male Australian can expect to earn $2 million over the course of his 40-year career. And if he has children, that goes up to $2.4 million. An average woman age 26 starting a 40-year career can expect to earn $1.9 million. But if she has children, that goes down to $1.2 million. The truth is that men who have children are thought of as better employees, more reliable, more justifying of promotion, better leadership figures, and deserving of a higher income. It’s exactly the opposite for women. Women who have children are assumed to be less reliable, less committed, less worthy of promotion. ”

“LS At the end of the day, I guess women are sizing up, whether consciously or subconsciously, I don’t want to work 80 hours a week and be the primary caregiver, and that’s what I’m staring down the barrel of.

AC Yeah. I think that’s fair. I think it continues to be a very difficult decision for women. Also, there is this not very vocalised but nonetheless very settled expectation in Australia about which jobs belong to whom. When people turn that upside down, and have a female breadwinner and a male primary carer, they have these weird experiences. ”

“AC Yeah, I just pointed the kid down my dress, which was belted, so there was no spillage coming out at the bottom. The disgusting things you do. For the book, I collected war stories. The best one is this woman I talked to who managed to hold up her end of an international teleconference work call at 5.30am while the family guinea pig was giving birth next door. Screams of delight turned to horror when the daddy guinea pig started eating the baby guinea pigs. She dealt with all this while still holding up her end of this call. That’s hardcore. I do think there are a lot of women who do this juggle, have stories like this. I find it a kind of exhilarating part of life. It’s kind of hilarious and a bit madcap. You cry probably more of the time than you should. But it also feels like life, and I think it’s sad that a lot of blokes get curtained off from that kind of experience.”

Dawkins’ final demise

Oh boy he had this coming! And how sadly true it all is. Richard Dawkins is now an ageing posterboy for arrogance. A sad thing to happen to a previously enticing intellect.

Also, do note the wondrous and important point in this article too: science may be one of the pinnacle achievements of the Enlightenment, but you cannot hope to comprehend all knowledge and human achievement through its lens without losing everything you tried to grasp. That would be the supreme arrogance of (natural) science.

Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you?

“Remember when Dawkins was widely respected? When his biggest detractor was late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould? I don’t. Having grown up after Dawkins made the transition from lauded science communicator to old man who shouts at clouds, it’s hard for me to understand why anyone continues to listen to him about anything.

Sure, he wrote some pop science books back in the day, but why do we keep having him on TV and in the newspapers? If it’s a biologist you’re after, or a science communicator, why not pick from the hundreds out there who don’t tweet five or six Islamophobic sentiments before getting off the toilet in the morning? If you need an atheist, there are many philosophers, scholars of religion, and public intellectuals available who don’t refuse to acknowledge the existence of theology.

Dawkins has been arrogant for years, a man so convinced of his intellectual superiority that he believes the one domain in which he happens to be an expert, science, is the only legitimate way of acquiring or assessing knowledge. All of his outbursts in recent years follow from this belief: he understands the scientific method, a process intended to mitigate the interference of human subjectivity in data collection, as a universally applicable way of understanding not just the physical world but literally everything else as well. Hence his constant complaint that those appalled by his bigoted vituperations are simply offended by clarity; feeble-minded obscurantists who cling to emotion, tradition or the supernatural to shield themselves from the power of his truth bombs.

You don’t have to be religious to find this level of hubris baffling. In his review of The God Delusion, Terry Eagleton remarks:

Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.

Dawkins’ narrowmindedness, his unshakeable belief that the entire history of human intellectual achievement was just a prelude to the codification of scientific inquiry, leads him to dismiss the insights offered not only by theology, but philosophy, history and art as well.”

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The 2014 Australian budget

The Guardian calls this budget a ‘massive moral failure’ and that is about right. From the cutting of the foreign aid budget to the further disadvantaging of those who already have little (students, the sick, families, the poor and unemployed), this budget is for the top 1% and the billionaires they aspire to become.

It’s also a huge affront to Australian democracy in general. It would seem that the banks, billionaires, mining companies and an international medical industry has voted in this excuse for a government. Those who tried to punish Labor by voting Liberal are now surely regretting their short sighted decision.

The vision of Australia that is emerging here is a nasty, distorted one that harks back to the pre-welfare era where there was nothing for so-called neo-liberal economics to destroy yet. The same semi-feudal zero-opportunity society that Pikkety’s famous new work describes from the past and paints as our new future: where wealth inequality rules reality and only inheritance determines your life chances. In other words the top 1% get everything and everyone else can toil for little, get sick and die without much help and only a massive societal upheaval (such as the Great Depression and two World Wars) can tilt the order back towards more equality and democratisation. But this time we may not have those forces.

Australia is probably one of the few societies left that can easily afford to play nice internationally, help prevent an environmental catastrophe, keep it’s relative equality and maintain its egalitarian outlook without being utterly misguided about its actual reality. And yet we have again squandered that chance with a ruthless conservative government who is now shamelessly dismantling what was left after the Howard government’s wholesale vandalism.

Looking forward to the revolt. Because revolt we must or risk our future replicating a nasty past we do not want to see ever again.

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