I cried in Parliament House yesterday

Aunty Kate, Uncle Andy, Tess, Lily and Phoebe

Aunty Kate, Uncle Andy and “the cousins”

Yesterday was pretty epic. Aunty Kate gave her maiden speech in State Parliament as the Member for Port Stephens … and my gorgeous offspring were mentioned in it!

But that’s not why I cried.

I also didn’t cry about mistaking The Mint for Parliament House and initially taking the kids to the former not the latter. I just felt VERY embarrassed to have made such an error at age 47 in front of my children. How could I not know where a) Parliament House was; and b) What it looked like?

parliament-Collage

No wonder I got them confused … the one on the left is The Mint; the one on the right is Parliament House.

 

I teared up because I was so proud of Kate as she gave her 20-minute speech, which was wonderful both in its content and delivery.

You can read more about it by clicking here.

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As I sat with my ex, the kids, their cousins and their grandparents in the first row of the viewing area of the Legislative Council chamber, I couldn’t help thinking how brilliant it is that there are people like Kate in the world who care enough to help their communities in such a comprehensive and consuming way.

I am awed and grateful.

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I was also quite hungry during her speech and quietly expressed the hope there would be sausage rolls at the reception afterwards. There WERE! And lots of sparkling wine too. Two of my favourite things! I was in heaven and smiled very broadly in all the happy snaps. (NB: that’s a blood blister on my finger … ping pong table injury.)

Parliament House is pretty cool too – it has this Hogwarts-style library room …

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And Aunty Kate has her own office with a view of a roof garden …

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It was all very spesh and I was thrilled to have a chance to watch my sister-in-law … and former flatmate … at such a proud moment in her life.

I was also quite dazzled by how nice all the politicians on the opposite side of the floor were during her speech – lots of “here, heres” and applause and a standing ovation at the end … some of the opposing pollies were even filming her speech on their mobile phones. Isn’t that nice!

And then my ex explained that it was mainly Labor party politicians sitting on both sides. Ah.

Well that’s confusing.

And the bloke who sits up at the end in the big chair – I think he was a temporary “speaker” because the actual one (who is a Liberal) was busy – was very funny at the end. Kate had mentioned in her speech that her grandfather was a “showy” and held a carnival in his yard during school holidays, where she was entrusted with running the “clowns” (you know, the ones that you pop the ping pong balls in their mouths). So the speaker bloke congratulated her and predicted she’d be encountering a few more clowns in her new role.

Cue guffaws from the gallery.

Long after she was on clown duty in that ramshackle front yard in Ettalong … where I’ve spent many a lovely Sunday … Kate was studying law and moved into my first house in Petersham. My only stipulation for her habitation was that she wasn’t allowed to cook anything … I had an issue with people messing with the contents of my fridge, which were specifically purchased for set dinners I’d planned throughout the week.

Control freak from waaaaaaay back.

Kate was totally fine with that weird rule and we co-habitated – and I fed her nightly – for … I can’t remember how long. My brain is like a sieve these days, but I do remember her always being a force of nature – bold, strong and fiercely intelligent.

And now she’s a politician, where that strength of character will be put to brilliant use in affecting change for her constituents.

ava-parliament

As my dear friend Katherine commented on Facebook when I posted the above pic of the youngest waiting for Aunty Kate to give her speech: “So exciting – an awesome moment! The girls have such great role models in their lives.”

Here, here!

Song of the day: an old favourite, Helen Reddy “I am woman”

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6 thoughts on “I cried in Parliament House yesterday

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