Politicians and ‘humble beginnings’… Do we have a right to judge? 47



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Earlier this week the politicians were out in force, tweeting about each other – just for something different! However one tweet from a general Twitter user caught our eye and is making us ask the question, does the upbringing of a politician affect their ability to be humble, connect with the people and ultimately do a good job?

One tweet by someone called, @WorldOfMarkyD said, “Will people stop being ignorant & accept that Turnbull is just like the rest of the Libs?”

This was then retweeted by a user called @apgf2009 who said, “Turnbull certainly is a Lib through & through Forget his alleged ‘humble’ beginnings He went to Sydney Grammar FFS”

This statement is quite true; Mr Turnbull did graduate from Sydney Grammar School. But what isn’t well known is that he was on a partial scholarship to attend the school. It’s also little known that he spent his first three years of school in a public school. It’s also very little known that he was raised in a single parent home from the age of nine after his parents divorced and his mother moved overseas. He also worked throughout his university degree studies part time.

The phrase humble beginnings can be defined in many different ways, but Mr Turnbull’s story is not unlike many other Australian’s. So is it fair to judge a book by the cover and make throw away comments like the ones on Twitter when the facts aren’t right? Should the upbringing of a politician even be a point of judgement?

The thing is, the upbringing of our well-known and well-liked politicians is very diverse.

Tanya Plibersek, acting leader of the opposition party was born in Australia to migrant parents from Slovenia. A hard worker, she went on to become dux of Jannali Girls High School.

Mike Baird was born into a politically active family, as his father was a New South Wales Minister and Member of Parliament. He attended the upmarket Kings School in Parramatta and travelled the world with his studies and work before politics.

Kevin Rudd was born in Nambour and after losing his father at a young age, he lived a very tough life. He went to Nambour State High School and graduated dux. Interestingly, Wayne Swan also attended Nambour State High School three years ahead of him.

Clive Palmer grew up on the Gold Coast in Queensland after being born in Melbourne. He went to school at The Southport School and his father was a successful travel agent and as a family they travelled extensively internationally.

There’s a mix of upbringings there amongst Turnbull, Pliberseck, Baird, Rudd and Palmer and undoubtedly, each one has had a tremendous affect on the type of person they have become. But do we have a right to judge them for that?

At the end of the day, no one has been brought up with a silver spoon in his or her mouth. Whether it aligns with our own definitions of success or not, they have all been successful in their own right, in their own set of challenges they’ve had to overcome.

And at the end of the day, who are we to judge them for something they had no power over? Turnbull didn’t decide to be raised in a single parent home, Palmer didn’t ask to be born into a family with a successful business and Rudd didn’t ask for his tough upbringing. If they had no control over these parts of their lives, then why do we feel it is appropriate to judge? Why do we feel comfortable shaming them for their early life?

Shouldn’t we look to their achievements, ability to over come challenges and hard work when we decide whether to judge? Shouldn’t that be why we create an opinion?

Today we’re curious to know what you think. Does the upbringing of a politician determine their ability to connect with the Australian people? Should we judge them on their upbringing or is that unjust? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. A lot of people are envious of those who have made a success of their lives. They assume that they must be crooked to be successful. We all have opportunities come our way and cannot blame others for making the most of theirs. If it wasn’t for the successful people, our country wouldn’t be as wealthy as it is today. I am putting on my tin hat now as I will get some flak for saying this.

    1 REPLY
  2. No, we do not have the right to judge. It is what they make of themselves and their own lives and, subsequently, their contributions that need to be judged.

  3. Don’t really care about their beginnings unless a direct reflection on their actions now like Abbott once a uncaring arrogant bully always an arrogant uncaring bully

    2 REPLY
    • And that would be the uncaring person who wanted to offer women way better maternity leave and now generous nanny assistance and still gets criticised by the likes of yu whatever they do cause yu still won’t budge off your high horse now that’s true arrogance and lack of care

  4. I prefer politicians who had a career before politics over career politicians. At least they have experienced life and usually worked in an environment where they saw people struggle.

  5. We have no right to judge others until we have lived their life. I admire those who achieve and contribute to society no matter what their beginnings. Respect for others is sadly lacking in today’s world.

  6. A good politician is chosen by the people. Hopefully he uses his past experiences, no matter what they are, to make Australia a better place.

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