Are Traditional Family Values a Good Thing?

Are Traditional Family Values a Good Thing?
The Place of Traditional Family Values
Dog on the Tucker Box postcard c. 1920 via State Library Victoria. The text of the Jack Moses poem Nine Miles From Gundagai on the reverse. (I read somewhere the image was a fan gift, and Jack liked it so much he had it made into the postcard).

Here in Australia, we’re just a couple of weeks away from the Federal Election. Like all elections, the bulk of candidates are campaigning on Traditional Family Values.

Traditional Family Values

Or to put it another way, defining who Australians are, what we stand for, and what our way is.

It’s quite funny.

Most candiates have no idea about what we think of ourselves, so they’re crashing and burning all around. You can’t leave the house for fear of being hit by one as it lands or implodes.

I’m reminded of the duck shooting galleries at the show. Except it’s the politicians going back and forth trying to dodge media bullets.

Examples of Candidate Idiocy:

  • The (right-wing) one who invited conservative Christians to join their party to prevent gays reaching political office.
  • The (left-wing) anti-semitic one.
  • The (right-wing) one who argued Muslims were intending to overthrow the government to introduce Sharia Law. Or the left-wing one who says they shouldn’t even be here if they believe in Allah.
  • The (right-wing) one wanting to buy advertising in return for favourable coverage.
  • The (left-wing) pornography and rape joke sharing one.
  • The (right-wing) one who thinks welfare is communism.
  • The (left-wing) lobby group that upset Surf Life Saving Australia with its representation of a right-wing one.

I could go on and on. And on a bit more.

Women’s Traditional Family Values

Like many women, my original assumption was that Traditional Family Values entailed a monogamous heterosexual relationship based on Christian teachings. Thou shalt not commit adultery and all that.

The candidate whose political career has come to a screaming halt for touching up and making “indecent proposals” to strippers seems to have a more realistic grasp of what Australian Traditional Family Values are. (I have to acknowledge that this sexual indiscretion is just one in a long line of his own failures).

Australian Traditional Family Values

Our “Australian” character was largely developed by the songs, literature and art created by white men during the late nineteenth century. The stuff that glorifies the solitary male life of travelling, binge drinking, and not taking responsibility for their actions.

Like Banjo Paterson’s The Road to Gundagai, C.J. Dennis’ The Swagman or Henry Lawson’s The Heart of the Swag.

Or the bushlife portrayed by Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts.

Historically speaking, women were left out of the national character. Perhpas because they stayed home while the men worked away at farms, down mines or whatever. And when he came home every couple of years, she could look forward to him spending all his wages getting shit faced drunk with his mates, before raping and beating the crap out of her, and fucking off back to work for another couple of years.

Nowadays, most Aussies grow out of it by about 30, when we’re getting stuck into being grown-ups. Shame it’s not sooner and confined to home territories. And that fat old white guys never grow up.

Some blokes will tell you if they have to choose between the wife and the dog, the dog wins every time. (Which begs the question about why marry at all, though that’s a post for another day. I suspect it has a lot to do with hot food and clean underpants).

Blind Traditional Family Values

I’m not done yet. There’s anther kind of traditional values. The kind we turn a blind eye to.

My surviving Aunts are generally quite conservative. It goes with being old and surviving WWII. One of them, has the general assumption that a married man will be unfaithful. They have no self control, so it’s just a matter of time. Her outrage is not so much that fat old white guys espousing Traditional Family Values have lovers, but that they get caught.

I mean, how can you run the country when you can’t even run your personal life?

Which reminds me of the MP who impregnated his employee while his wife was home working on his farm. So much wrong with that, and he still doesn’t get any of it.

They don’t seem to get that they serve the public, taking care of all the important stuff we’re too busy trying to survive to take care of ourselves. Like schools, and hospitals, and roads. Though I’ve complained about that before.

Do note that politician’s penises are not on the list of wider social concerns.

Which reminds me. My MP sent a postcard with a testimonial basically saying I should vote for him because he spends a lot of time hanging out at schools…


Terminal Traditional Family Values

It’s not long until we have a new government. There’ll be some old (and out-dated) faces and some new ones too. Hopefully some of them will not be fat old white guys who think they know what’s best for everyone.

It would be great if there were some black, brown and yellow ones. Maybe some young ones. A few more female ones. Gay ones. I don’t think we’ve got any Buddhists yet.

Maybe we can develop a new kind of national character. One with values as interesting and diverse as its population.


And if I had a canine candidate, I’d probably vote for it.

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