When serving your country means abandoning your family

Crikey readers discuss politics, atheism and other issues of the day.

Competition winner Congratulations to Cameron Price-Austin, who won an  Audi AD Ambition MY14 Sedan. His winning answer to the question, "which three politicians would you go on a road trip with?" was: "Scott Morrison. The other two are classified as we don't discuss on-road matters." Sacrificing family for politics Michael Byrne, Secretary NSW Democratic Labour Party writes: Re. "'Political feminists' and compulsory voting on Mark Latham's hit list" (Friday). Being a close observer of Mark Latham for over 25 years, it is good to see him continue with contributions to the public debate. One in particular stands out -- that of family life -- and prompts the questions: should the demands of the system of government translate into young children missing the daily presence of their mother or father in their lives? Can "service" to the nation really be a higher calling than service to your young family? Do we as a nation of families, of all sorts of configurations, require such a commitment by such few? Should we as a governed people require of our "governors" such a sacrifice of family relationships and risk of marital breakdown? The Democratic Labour Party, as a political party with Federal Parliament representation, is asking these questions of ourselves as we ramp up our presence in the various Australian seats of government. We are concerned at the cost to family life, and hence personal relationships, of those many who seek their own presence in parliament/ council, and of those who find themselves thrust into it through circumstance. Perhaps it is time to promote the criterion of the suitable candidate to include both the need for broad life experience and a life that can be shared beyond the family with children, at a particular stage, at minimal cost to the family. One feels the correct balance found in the latter will fulfil the requirements of the former. It is a real cost to our nation that people of the age and experience of Latham, Combet, Gillard, Tanner, Costello etc have exited the Parliament. We ask whether our national interest requires us  to compound it by having as the norm, dads and mums of young children, or in potential, filling their big spaces? On boycotts and The Australian Jewish News Melina Smith writes: Re. "Australian Jewish News calls for Fairfax boycott" (Friday). The demographic of The Australian Jewish News is read mostly by an older Jewish constituency. It's not really a paper that's relevant to a younger generation anymore. It's an outdated business model that's in decline and competing with online media. It will have no impact on sales. On cruelty and Christianity Colin Smith writes: Re. "Kids in detention: is Immigration malicious, or just utterly incompetent?" (Friday). Thinking about his treatment of asylum seekers in general, and of their children in particular, I am inspired to remind our Bible-believing Christian Minister for Immigration of Hosea 8:7 -- "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind". However, I don’t hold out much hope that he will get it. Anyone who can so completely miss the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Sermon on the Mount is just too far gone. Very superstitious, writing's on the wall Alan Baird writes: Re. "Razer's Class Warfare: this week in atheist fundamentalist idiocy" (Thursday). I could go all philosophical and take up acres of space but atheism isn't one bit superstitious. You've got to believe in something (preferably with a tenuous connection to a known reality) to be superstitious. What crap reasoning. Cheeses of Nazareth!

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