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Larissa at "Women of Letters"

Speeches in Parliament
Larissa Waters 12 Jun 2012

Dear stranger who hopefully doesn’t know who I am,

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I hate my job. Take this morning. A beautiful rainy morning, perfect for croissants on my back deck with my 3 year old daughter, noisy small dog, and long suffering partner. So why do I feel guilty that I’m not watching the Sunday political TV shows? And why did I flip past the only page with actual news on it in the Sunday Mail, straight to the Donna Hay recipes and the Sudoku and quiz page?

I confess, I just don’t want my Sunday morning interrupted with politics. I just want to have a nice morning.


Women of Letters, Brisbane

I worry that this means I am actually crap at my job. Because I groan when at family events I get asked about politics. Frankly, I just want to switch off on the rare occasions when I’m not actually at work.

I was at a schmoozy media event recently, and do you know the bit I enjoyed the most? Not talking to a senior political reporter about the history of Queensland politics – I might have even fooled him that I knew a bit about that – but talking to a female journo I’d just met who worked at a big Sydney paper, and asking about her love life. She’d just booted out her flattie and The Boy had moved in, and it was going really well, and she seemed really lovely, and I was thrilled for her. I love romance. It’s one of those rare things that unites us, no matter what creed or culture or country we’re from. I love that no matter where you are in the world, and whether you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or which pair of shoes to wear that day, we all get a little thrill from seeking love. Is it wrong that I’d rather gossip about love lives than talk about the latest political scandal?

If this politics gig doesn’t work out so well, maybe I should run off and write for Mills and Boon!

But I do think about running off. I think about living on a farm somewhere growing my own veges, cooking lovely fresh healthy food, the clean air, the idyllic lifestyle. Maybe writing a book – maybe even a Mills and Boon – or finally taking up meditation, or yoga, and burning incense. And I know it’s only a dream, and that I’d probably kill the veges if the truth be known, and actually incense pisses me off, and I’d miss the hustle and bustle of the city soon enough, and probably get bored and isolated. But I have to cling to that dream, that dream of escaping to a simpler world, a world where I can just ignore all the problems that in my job I’m somehow meant to be helping to fix.

Because sometimes it’s all too much, I feel helpless to make a difference, frustrated at the lack of progress I’m making, or, sometimes, just over it! Sometimes the greed destroying our planet and our need to keep killing each other over made-up deities - are just too big for me, and I just want to bludge on the couch for a bit. Or go for a nice bushwalk. Or a swim in a crystal blue sea, on a perfect sunny day, without a care in the world. I just want to enjoy the beauty of this world and hope everything will be OK without having to fight for it.

But then I think of my beautiful little girl. And I tell myself that I’m doing it for her, and for the other kids in this world who deserve the brightest future. But it doesn’t make it any easier to not see her much, and to miss any of those precious moments. She gives the best hugs, but you’ve got to earn them. I earned one this morning and felt like the luckiest mum in the world. So my darling girl, please forgive me for missing any of your daily 54 renditions of “Galoomph goes the little green frog”. I’m trying to do my best to make sure that the world is still going to be as rich, beautiful, diverse, clean and fair as you deserve it to be. Sorry if I let you down while I try to do that. And sorry if I fail at that, as well as at being a good mum. It’s a pretty tough gig this, and I’m just little old me.

So, stranger, sorry if sometimes I can’t sustain it, and I just need to switch off and live in a bubble for a bit. Which can sometimes involve crappy reality TV instead of Lateline, or cooking up a storm to Fleetwood Mac instead of Radio National. Or gossiping with my staff about love. Or daydreaming about escaping to an island in the Great Barrier Reef and watching turtles hatch and soaking up the sun and eating fresh pineapple and tinned spaghetti. Not together. But you can’t deny that tinned spaghetti rocks.

Anyway, stranger, you are the Queenslander whom I speak for in federal Parliament. I hope you don’t know who I really am. Or at least I hope you can forgive me for being only human. I am trying to do my best, but sometimes I’ll fail, and sometimes I’ll disappoint you, and sometimes I’ll disappoint myself. And my daughter.

But I reckon it is all gonna be OK. For all my self-doubt, I do think humanity is going to make it, and overcome our selfishness, our greed, our obsession with consumption. I think we’ll find a way to live on this planet that doesn’t destroy it, or each other. I think that despite the fact we’re right on the edge of a global environmental crisis, we’ll pull together and we’ll somehow make a better future for ourselves and this Earth. I don’t have all the answers, and sometimes you’ll find me on the couch, but you can rely on my unshakeable optimism and hope for our future.

So, stranger, I wish you all the best. In love, at work, in yourselves. And I wish you hope. For it’s not just love that conquers all, it’s hope.

But, sorry about all the other lot in Parliament. They tend to act like pork chops most of the time. It bugs me too.


Love, your Greens Senator x

(photo thanks to Talia Cain)

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