Giving back the baby

THEY’RE not serious surely?

I mean, these are intelligent people. Doctors, social workers, teachers and the like. Politicians, too, but they must have another excuse.

Girls don’t get pregnant because there’s $3000 at the end of the experience. They get pregnant because, as my grannie used to say, a climax is when you can’t stop — even when your mother walks into the room.

I don’t even like John Howard much (I bet he would have stopped!) but at least his $3000 baby bonus has exposed the conservative rednecks in our society — even if they are in the Labor Party!

Dear Mr Latham, I had five children. Well, we, I suppose. But I did the hard work.

I had ’em all — even the first one — in the certain knowledge I was going to be poor for the rest of my life. By the time number five arrived I wasn’t $15,000 richer. I had to sell the car and go to work on a motorbike.

I had the first three because, well… you do, don’t you? I had the other two because we — my wife and I — had a rotten memory.

Believe me, the prospect of money, whether it were more or less, had no impact at all. It was about hormones

Wouldn’t change them for quids (or dollars), of course. But there it is.

Ask mothers. Most of them will tell you it doesn’t work like that.

If it did we could offer everyone — even the men — $3000 on condition they were prepared to be sick every morning for three months, carry an army kit bag around in front of them for the remaining six, and then have it forced out of their backsides. They’d turn it down, though.

I can remember my wife howling when the labour pains began for the fifth time: “I’ve changed my mind!”

By then it was nine months too late of course. But I can guarantee that if I had been able to say, “Well, all right then, but you’ll have to give the $3000 back,” she would have added a bonus of her own.

They used to say the same thing in England: young people would get pregnant — several times — just so they could qualify for a council (housing commission) house.

It was a popular idea among right-wing politicians. The basic principle being, of course, that it wouldn’t be right-wing, conservative teenage children that were the problem. The problem would be poor people, who were also stupid.

If the right-wing politicians had been right, of course, the poor people would have been producing children in ever increasing numbers as they competed for a place at the top of the housing list, and council houses would have needed 20 bedrooms to cope with the demand.

But that didn’t happen. It was just another example of the ignorant, self-serving rubbish that politicians are capable of.

There’s another interesting question, too. If Mr Latham can really believe people will have children for money… where does that leave him and his?

Maybe he had them because it looks good on a politician’s curriculum vitae? Or for body parts?

Maybe he had them because that’s how we’re designed… to want them. Even if they don’t give us money, which would make it a kind of prostitution, wouldn’t it? And politicians would be pimps.

Personally I think John Howard’s policy is seriously flawed. If you were given $3000 for every child you handed back — now that would be a winner. I’d be at least $15,000 richer, I wouldn’t be grey, I could do some work on my house, instead of theirs, and I could drive my own car again.