Australia has a new Prime Minister! Tony Abbott.
Love him or hate him, (and judging by the comments on facebook, a lot of people hate him!) the Australian people made it pretty clear that they wanted a change of government. The massive swings to the Coalition and the drop of support for the Greens is, in my view, less about policy and more a reflection of the fact that Australians want their government to govern, rather than to spend their time trying to appease the Greens and a couple of key Independents, just so they can remain in office.
It’s been a week of new beginnings in my house too. I started a new job last Monday, the day after Father’s Day. The start date was significant for me, because earlier in the year we were expecting a baby, our little boy Alexander, lost to us at four months, back in March. His due date was officially August 31, but as both my little girls arrived the day after their due date, I was expecting him on September 1, Father’s Day.
Those of you who regularly read my blog will know that Alexander was not the first baby I’ve lost. He was my 9th pregnancy and I have two children. From past experience, I know the weeks surrounding the due date are always tough. Even if my mind doesn’t consciously remember, my body does. In the weeks before the due date, I will suddenly start having dreams about pregnancy or breast feeding or trying to hold a baby that keeps slipping out of my arms. Once I dreamed that the baby was actually still alive when it was taken away. Sometimes, in a strange moment of physical de ja vu, I will experience the sensations of being pregnant , in the way that those who have lost an arm or a leg can experience phantom sensations or pain.
So when I was offered a job starting the day after my baby would have been born, I knew I needed to seize my chance to have a new beginning. It wasn’t an easy week. There were times when I would have liked to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out. Thankfully, I have one or two friends who remembered, and who phoned or messaged me in the past few weeks to say they were thinking of me. At times, my head was completely back in March. But I was also pathetically grateful to have something meaningful to do this week. Starting a radio show the week before a federal election is an opportunity I could never take for granted.
It wasn’t a coincidence that on my first day in the job, I sat down to talk face-to-face with an Iranian Christian assylum seeker who came to Australia (shock horror!) by boat from Jakarta. And yes, he drove to the studio on the M4, which might explain the terrible traffic that day. 😉
My Mum’s family came to Australia by boat. Rev Ridgeway Newland, his second wife and eight children arrived on the Sir Charles Forbes back in 1839. They were congregationalists, fleeing religious persecution in England and wanting to start a new church in Australia. My Dad’s family came by boat too. They migrated to Tasmania in the years after the Second World War because my grandfather had itchy feet and couldn’t settle back into life in post-war Edinburgh.
I am so grateful to my ancestors, who risked everything when they boarded a boat and travelled half-way around the world to give a better life to their children.
Sometimes you just need a new beginning… Whether you’re an Iranian Christian whose home has been raided, a traumatised soldier, a marginalised Reverend… or even a grieving Mum.
The Australian people chose a new PM on the weekend. Even though I don’t agree with all Tony Abbott’s policies, I’m willing to give the guy a chance.
Maybe it’s just time for a new beginning…