||Issue No. 283||30 September 2005|
Revenge of the Footy Dads
Interview: Polar Eclipse
Industrial: Wrong Turn
Unions: Star Support
Workplace: Checked Out
Economics: Sold Out
Politics: Green Banned
History: Potted History
International: Curtain Call
Review: Little Fish
Poetry: Slug A Worker
The Locker Room
Hrowadís Meixd Msesgaes
Petrol Price of War
Last Long Weekend
Revenge of the Footy Dads
At the heart of the ads is the plight of a footy Dad, being given no option but to trade off his weekends and regular hours, leaving his kid to kick the footy alone.
Who are the footy dads? They can be blue collar or white collar, they can even be Mums! What drives them is that they want to have a life that extends beyond the workplace.
They have built a decent job and life for themselves and want to be good parents. In coaching the local footy team, or running the organs on the sideline, they are committing to their kids and the kids of their neighbours - they are putting in 'social capital', because they know this is what community is all about.
But it is getting harder. More and more they feel themselves being squeezed between being a good worker and a good parent.
And if the Prime Minister really plans to take away their rights at work - leaving them to fight for things like penalty rates, weekend allowances and even four weeks annual leave - then things are about to get a whole lot harder.
This is a section of society that could emerge as the potent political bloc of the next few years, traditional Labor voters who, if only they were given an alternative, would come back to the fold.
In many ways they are Labor's lost generation. They voted for Hawke in the eighties because he was a good bloke and believed everyone had a fair go.
They were a bit iffy about Keating - some stuck with him because they are decent people who believe in giving indigenous Australians respect, but others thought he was pushing the globalisation a bit far, while Howard promised to slow it all down and make them feel 'comfortable and relaxed'.
They were shaken up by terrorism and more shifted to Howard in the Tampa election and, when their mortgage rates were under threat, they had no option but to keep voting for the PM.
Now the PM has the power to pursue an ideological obsession that he never even mentioned at the last election - and its these guys who will make them pay.
They don't want to be enterprise workers or small business people, their primary - aspiration is far more important - to be a good parent - and that means being an active participant in their kids' community.
The 'workers friend' has opened a can of worms, and no talk of opportunity and flexibility, no $20 million spin job, will convince the footy dads otherwise.
A dog is a dog is a dog. And this one has paws.
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