WHEN WE WERE kids, we loved the ABC newsreader Richard Morecroft. He took care of rescued possums and gliders in his spare time. Sometimes he read the news with bumps under his suit jacket or an animal asleep on his lap. That’s why we loved him – reading the news to the public, with his own secret. He was on TV telling us about the world and he was of the worlds we knew. We were used to people moving between ABC News and our world, and we were used to looking after animals: we’d wake to find poddy lambs shivering in tea chests by the wood stove on the winter mornings. We saw our uncle, who worked for Bob Hawke and then Paul Keating, in the background of a news story occasionally. And we saw our uncle, sometimes, on the weekends. Politics was not distant, or unreal.
When I was a kid, I spent my time in the back paddock. Terrified of snakes, I marched along in the summer, hoping they would hear my footsteps vibrate as I swung a stick through straw-dry grass. The sun split open the dirt, the creek jammed with dumped cars and washing machines trickled downhill, the sky went on and on. The blue hazy Brindabellas sat to the west, quiet. From the back paddock, the country stretched out and taut electricity lines followed, rushing down and then climbing away.
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