Save us from grown-up government

“Elect the Coalition, and you will have a grown-up, adult government”

– Tony Abbott, National Press Club address, 2 September 2013.

My godson Griffin is a child. I last spent any time with him several years ago; he was two or three years old. He liked sharing things – the play equipment, toys and fun. Check that, he loved sharing fun. He understood that fun expands when it is shared. The more someone else is getting, the more you yourself seem to have.

He liked trying new things. He was curious. And if he found something new – a new experience, new knowledge, new bafflement – he’d share that too. He wasn’t a know-all, but he liked to learn. And when you share knowledge and befuddlement, everyone gets a little wiser.

Sometimes he seemed to talk nonsense. That was okay because he didn’t do it deliberately to deceive anyone; he was just figuring out how to communicate, and working out in language the contradictions he was encountering in the world. It was nice that he didn’t pretend that it all made sense and just bullshit his way through. Well, sometimes he might have, but that was using imagination to expand his conceptual horizons, rather than embracing intellectual shortcomings and making up stories to cover for them.

He had a certain look about him and had a favourite few clothes, but wasn’t obsessed with image. He didn’t practise his look to distract us from what he thought about things. And why would he hide his true thoughts? That wouldn’t make any sense.

People did have to do things for him: cook, clean his mess, drive him here and there. But that wasn’t because he thought himself above those things, nor because he looked down with an entitlement mentality on everyone else. He just wasn’t capable of certain things yet. Didn’t stop him from having a go. Sometimes he’d pretend to do things like drive the car. Not to deceive you into thinking that he actually was doing it and didn’t you now owe him a favour, but in anticipation of the time when he would be doing it, and contributing in the same way everyone else seemed to be.

He was shy, sometimes wary of strangers. But he didn’t demand the park be shut to kids who didn’t look like him or to the ones he didn’t understand. That would have shut it down for pretty much everyone anyway. No sharing fun after that.

Sometimes he got frustrated and upset. He might let everyone know about it, too. Such is life. But he didn’t blame others for his own misfortunes. He would have been well justified to do so on occasion. But even if he had, there would be no lasting grudges over spilled milk.

He got visibly upset when he noticed others in pain. And he liked to spread his food around.

He’d make a good prime minister, but his values are too far removed from grown-up, adult government.