Morning Tea With The Prime Minister

On Wednesday I received an email from the Prime Ministers office which said:

“The Prime Minister has asked me to contact you to discuss an opportunity to meet with her at Kirribilli House.”

I instantly checked the email address it came from, thinking it must be some new spam email, but it looked legitimate. I gave the number in the email a call and it indeed did go through to the Prime Minister’s office.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard was inviting me to a morning tea on Friday along with a number of other bloggers and women in the media.

Some quick phone calls and internet bookings later, my very tolerant husband had organised to work from home, a gorgeous friend Caroline was going to look after our youngest so Mr I could actually work and I had my flight to Sydney.

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At 10am the gates opened, we showed our ID to have our names ticked off the list and we entered Kirribilli house.

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The morning tea was held on the verandah and Kirribilli house has the most spectacular views.

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There was tea of course.

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Sparkly macaroons.

And conversations. I had thought a lot about what I would say, if I had the chance to talk to Julia. Would I bring up issues that I was passionate about like refugees and indigenous issues?

The Prime Minister was interested in what women were doing online, how we started and how we interacted with our audiences. I spoke about how what I shared here on Planning With Kids wasn’t ground breaking, but it was stuff that once would have been learned/shared with extended family. Family set up being so different now, women go online to fill the void.

In the end the issue I raised with the Prime Minister was making tough decisions. I don’t agree with all the policies of the government (far from it), but I believe she has made some tough decisions and I thanked her for that.

While on a completely different scale, I said how being Prime Minister is not unlike a parent. You sometimes have to make decisions that the kids don’t like (and she said 5 of them, remembering that I have 5!) for the long term good.

I had made up some small cards with some of my favourite Seth Godin quotes on them, wrapped them in ribbon and gave them to her. The one above being one of my favourites at the moment.

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There were all sorts of wonderful conversations had through out the morning. Eden spoke to the Prime Minister about foreign aid – you can read her post about that here.

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Mrs Woog, who is hilarious, accidentally called the Prime Minister Julia Roberts. You can read her very funny recount of that here.

Kim from All Consuming (on the right) has a son with a disability and she spoke with great emotion on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and how important it is.

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Marieke Hardy (flower in her hair) along with photo bombing, spoke to the Prime Minister about zombies.

Chrissie Swan spoke to her about Australian Rules Football and the controversial question of whether she put peas in her tuna mornay (apparently she does).

Brenda (bottom right) gave her a hug – Brenda is a huge hugger!

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The lovely ladies from Essential Baby handed the Prime Minister pages and pages of issues that their readers had sent in. (You can see my cards I gave the PM in her hand!)

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Kerri Sackville asked the PM how she unwinds. The PM explained that she likes to knit when at home with Tim. The PM said it required enough concentration to switch off, but not too much to make going to sleep hard.

I asked her how much sleep she worked on and she said generally at least 6 hours, but she does try for catch ups when she can.

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And a funny story to end our morning. As it was time to go, one of the women who brought along a plate, kindly asked the PM if she could put the food in another container so she could take her plate home. With enough of a pause for laughter to ensue, the PM went off to the kitchen and came back with the empty plate. The PM saying she felt bad she didn’t have time to clean it up properly! (You can see Chrissie Swan holding up the infamous plate.)

I was thrilled the Prime Minister of our country recognised Australian women bloggers and wanted to find out more about what we do. The PM was an impeccable host, genuinely interested in what we were doing and had a fabulous sense of humour to boot!