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(generated from captions) journalist on the ABC TV and radio. Pru Goward made her mark as a co-wrote a biography of John Howard. 10 years ago, she and her husband began giving the new PM advice At about the same time she on the status of women. Sex Discrimination Commissioner. In 2001, she was made Commonwealth is Pru Goward. This week's talking head THEME MUSIC on Talking Heads. Pru, it's great to have you Thank you, Peter. men are really from Mars Now is it true and women are from Venus? are very different. I think obviously men and women made in the whole equality debate I think one of the mistakes we've the differences don't matter. is to keep pretending that In fact they matter a great deal. debate is all about - And I guess that's what the equality individuals and not stuck in boxes. ensuring men and women can be

around at the moment I know there's a book 'Are Men Really Necessary?'. which has as title whether sex is necessary, I suppose. Which poses the question about makes life interesting. Well, it certainly world it would be very well run, I mean I do think if women ran the a little dull. very tidy, but it would be haven't had much of an opportunity What's been sad is that women really and the running of a country, to contribute to leadership a community, in the past. through their men. They've had to do it what is changing, And I think that is

and it's a great thing to see. Discrimination Commissioner, Now this role you're in as Sex will that job always be necessary a redundant occupation? or is it likely to be necessary for longer than we think. Well, I suspect it might be that women still struggle with I mean I think there are issues struggle with. and that we as a society still There are of course issues for men starting to see emerging - and I think that's what now we are we as a society are recognising that men are recognising and being a bloke. that it's not all great beginnings growing up in Adelaide. Let's go way back to your own early Yes. SWEET MUSIC PLAYS in the early 1950s I was born in Adelaide went back to the homes just after the war when women as a young woman, so my mother, who had worked generation of women who, I think, was part of that after the war. were a little bit lost very quickly But she had four children in 4.5 years actually so there were four of us

'cause I'm a twin. trod all over her. My poor twin. I think I just I don't think I was an easy sister and so intent on having my own way. because I was so competitive Not because I thought I was right what I wanted to do. but because that's just of wonderful white beaches, It was a childhood blackberry picking in the season. in their back garden Everybody had fruit

as she made the jams every year - so you accompanied your mother and quince jam. apricot jam and fig jam careful, very proper upbringing. And we had a very conservative, very going to church was very important, Manners were important, modesty was very important. God was with you, And I think church and knowing that a lot in the house that we talked about God before meals and prayers and grace very secure meant that you were always look after you. because God was going to He was a very nice man. LYRICAL PIANO MUSIC My mother was a nurse. Adelaide family She came from a very old clever... and I thought a wonderful, strong, Oh, I just adored my mother. to be competitive, She taught us tennis, she taught us she loved music. We played a lot of music.

She played the piano and classical music in the house. but there were always records She loved to sing. We went to concerts. And my father?

that we had to worry about Dad. I cannot remember not knowing during the war My father had been ill all our lives, and so he remained really ill on our upbringing. which I think had an impact with him. And I spend a lot of time initially He was a commercial traveller and I worked in his shop and then he ran a hardware business the daughter of a shopkeeper. and I'm very grateful that I was deal with everybody You have to learn to

with humility and politeness

and talk to everybody and I think as a journalist that left me in very good stead. which was then a country town. I went to Morphett Vale Primary at the school. There were 100 children so you could shine well. It was a small school I duxed the school. for a year I went to Willunga High School

got very worried and then I think my mother by boys. that I was going to be distracted I did like boys. So she made us sit a scholarship Girls Grammar School for Woodlands Church of England scholarship and got a half entrance went to Woodlands and my sister and I then and I had a wonderful school life. at a Christian school. It was good to be that I was a girl of some ability The teachers were very conscious but very difficult to manage. I had wanted to be a doctor. the issues were interesting. I'd always thought in my final year at school But I did play up a bit as hard as I should have and didn't work so I didn't quite make that. I did a year of dentistry. face a life Realised that I could not talk back. talking to people who couldn't in economics. And also by then, had got interested My first husband, Alistair Fisher, in third year. I met when he was my tutor sort of person He was a very distant

so I thought he was a bit of a challenge I think. but not too much older. He was quite a bit older And he was very amusing. drove the relationship forward. And I think that was what and having Katie. We ended up getting married And then two years later, when I'd finished my Honours degree, I had Penny. So, your second child, you called Penny. Also the name of your sister. My twin. Yes, that's right. What was it like being a twin? I think - well, it was wonderful for me because I always had somebody to look after me.

I don't think it was easy for her. I think it's very difficult when you have a dominant personality next to you all the time competing for everything. What about your father's illness? How did that shape the expectations put on you because you were emerging, as you say, as the dominant sibling. Character. Yes. Well, Dad - I mean, Dad was wonderful. All the great sayings, little wisdoms that he taught have always stayed with me. He was a great companion, a great storyteller, a great raconteur. Quite a wise person, very blunt. They were very tough parents. I don't remember ever thinking I was doing well. But even at a young age, your dad pushed you forward. Yes, he did. I remember when we went to the John Martins' Christmas pageant and I would only have been about 3.5 and I had my sister, my twin, and my younger brother, and Dad, because he was incapacitated, couldn't take us to the front to sit with the other children to watch from the ground. And he said, "Go on, Prudence. "You're the leader. "You take the others through to the front." And I just remember my heart stopping and thinking, "I'm only little. "How am I going to push my way through "and look after my brother and sister," but that's what Dad told me to do so you took their hands and you pushed your way to the front. And he was right. And similarly at school, the headmistress once took me aside and said, "Now, Prudence, you have qualities of greatness "but you are throwing it all away." Well, I knew about the throwing it all away because I was in trouble quite a lot but I'd never considered the other and that pulled me up too and I thought, "Well, if she believes in me, maybe I can do something with my life." But what was this rebel in you all about - this kicking off the traces? Because it was there from a young age, was it? Yes, it was. Just terrible wilfulness, wanting to have a good time. I wanted to find out about life and I had enormous confidence in my ability to do anything I wanted to do and found it difficult to accept that I had to fit in with other people, including my poor brother and sister. Did your parents have these expectations that you would go far in a career? Yes. So I think they were pretty disappointed when I didn't - I dropped out of medicine and dentistry and did something that they'd never heard of called economics. Where was this going to take our daughter? And then when I decided to have the baby, to have Katie, and settle down in suburbia with a bloke they weren't crazy about - 'cause as I say, he was quite a distant person whereas we're very up-front, intense emotional people - I think they thought, "Oh, dear, it's all over." Did your dad vote one way and your mum the other? Yes. My mother was very sneaky about all of this, I suspect because she didn't want to have a fight with Dad, but I know she voted Labor. And Dad was a very ardent Liberal as was his mother

and that was the overt political complexion of the house, which meant, of course, that I objected deeply to it and decided I would be a Labor voter. So when you think about it your family dynamics had quite a shaping in juxtaposing one thing with the other. You're the rebel on the one hand, but... High-achieving good girl. also stress politeness and good girl stuff. There's Labor and Liberal influence in the household. How did all of that add up to shape you?

Well, I think I'm exactly that, aren't I? I mean I am very much my own person in terms of my beliefs but I do try to be a responsible citizen, I do believe in caring for other people and I have a very strong sense of duty. It's hard when you are very wilful and self-absorbed but I do try to do it. Now, is economics a bolt from the blue? Yes, well I was working as a waitress on Kangaroo Island and I couldn't understand the front page of this new newspaper called 'The Australian' and it had words like 'inflation' on it. And I said to this other waitress, what is this 'inflation' and she said if you want to understand what inflation is you have to do economics. And I thought, "What have I got to lose?" "I don't want to be a dentist," so I did economics. The world got to know you as a journalist. Let's see how that happened. THEME MUSIC One day I was watching 'This Day Tonight' and I said to my husband, "I think I could do that, so I rang up and they interviewed me for the job as researcher and I was very lucky - they gave it to me. I think my economics background probably helped. Something I think about all the time. What are we really here for, entertainment or information? I look back with absolute horror at how confident I was with very little to be confident about. But I always was. I was a researcher for nine months

and then I had the opportunity to go on air and eventually I ended up doing a lot of political reports and doing fairly serious reporting in Adelaide. But the introduction of $500,000 wasn't something the previous government was committed to. On the contrary... But that was also a difficult family period. I had, as I say, two small children, a husband who was very supportive but with, um... ..very firm ideas about the fact that we would always stay in Adelaide. And I guess that gradually wore the marriage down. There were other things, of course, that weren't working as well but um...ah... ..but my frustration and his refusal to leave Adelaide. So then I moved to Sydney. and worked for 'Nationwide', did some wonderful stories. How will they vote on Saturday and why? Pru Goward.

What will it take now for you to make up your mind? Well, to be quite truthful, if one of them... I could see that Sydney was really no place for a single mum with two young girls,

that I probably couldn't manage that and a career in television. And that's when I decided to take a job in radio in what was a relatively small city, Canberra. We're in the Press Gallery, Old Parliament House, where I think I grew up. Every day was exciting and being here, again what comes back is that same sense of excitement. I used to lurk on these stairs because the Cabinet office is directly below, the Cabinet rooms are below. The Prime Minister's office is in the corner. If you hung around on these stairs for long enough you could get a story. Oh, well, the ABC logo hasn't changed. The ABC room used to have 20-odd people in it. Radio, television, everybody, crammed in together. We got a lot of stories from one another and we had to occasionally hide them from each other. I can remember afternoons when you listened to Question Time, get the kids, give them afternoon tea, drive them to a music lesson, come back, interview the Prime Minister, so you're always juggling. So we've been joined now in our Parliament House studio by the Federal Treasurer, Paul Keating. Thanks very much for coming in, Mr Keating. Good, Pru. When I first met David I thought he was very interesting

but a bit scary, but fascinating. And I guess it just gradually grew from there and then it took off into this amazing love affair. I guess the fact that he was a conservative journalist, known to be a Liberal, was very difficult and I do think the day I married David Barnett I probably signed my death warrant with some people.

I did know that it was a price I was going to pay but who cares? You've got to do what's right. Alice was born two days before the Bicentennial Day in 1988. She was a great joy.

I knew it would be only one child and she's been a great addition to David's life particularly, and, of course, to mine. I applied for the job as Head of the Office of the Status of Women when it became available and I thought this was an opportunity to do something different. I was in my mid 40s.

It was time for a change. I should be judged on what I do

and that I think it would be very difficult

for anybody to point in my history to things that would compromise any government with respect to working with me. Pru, let's go back to those days in journalism when you're making your way in journalism and you make the decision to go to Sydney and for a time leave the children behind. With Alistair. How difficult was that? It was obviously incredibly difficult. I went home a lot. But I'm glad I did it because otherwise I'd have dragged them to Sydney,

discovered that life for a single mum working on 'Nationwide' with the hours that were required were extraordinary and the children -

I think our family life would have collapsed and they'd have had to go home. Did you feel as you were working all this through racked by guilt,

because it would be a very typical feeling most parents would have? Yes, yes. And I would say I am still racked by guilt. I still look at anything that goes wrong in my daughters' lives and feel that that was my fault. Do you think mothers get different treatment, are regarded by society differently on these issues when they make these hard choices than fathers? Oh, well, undoubtedly. Is that fair? Well, obviously it's not fair, um...but um... Why are those attitudes so embedded? Why does it happen? Because I do think, particularly in Australia, we still see women primarily as mothers. You know, I mean we are quite Irish, I think, in the value we place on motherhood and whilst that value is a wonderful thing there's also very harsh judgment for any woman found wanting.

Let's talk about the attitudes to women in other ways - to even in a professional sense because you certainly had the reputation of being a feisty political interviewer and whilst on the one hand that earned respect, on the other hand there was this notion - one version of the story is you were sacked because you were too tough. Yes, I think there were a few rules about politics that I hadn't got. I thought your job was to be a demanding interviewer, to be challenging and to not accept the answers if you felt there was another side to be put. Whereas in fact, television, primarily, was about getting the prime minister on. And why would the prime minister come on with somebody who was going to bash him up for five minutes when he could go to Channel Nine or another program on the ABC and get better treatment? That's the bit I hadn't worked out. Was it about you being a woman? I mean - there'd been Richard Carleton and George Negus, I mean, they weren't babies either when it came to being tough. I think that's true. That I was very young and looked very young and had no idea what the dress code was. for example I often didn't even wear a suit, just wore a dress. No woman on television wanting to be taken seriously would do that today. And you can't turn up in your pearls and your frock and then start spitting bile at the prime minister or the treasurer without them getting confused. And maybe the audience was confused that there was just a contradiction in appearance and approach. Television is about appearances and I never learnt that. So what's the bottom line? Did you get sacked? Yes. I did. But OK, it would've been great to have stayed a couple of years longer. Let's refer back to what you said about David Barnett. That when you married him you knew you were signing a death warrant for some people. What did you mean by that? That - it hadn't taken me long when I got to Canberra to discover that, as Malcolm Fraser's former press secretary and the lion at the gate, the guardian at the gate, they he had many enemies. And, of course, the day I got married to him it certainly meant that there were going to be avenues always closed to me whilst there was a Labor government in town.

What, in the end, made you let go of journalism, give it up? I didn't know enough. I hated every day making guesses about what the government was thinking, what it should do.

I wasn't too bad on what it should do, but as to being properly informed about who was calling the shots and the machinations behind a decision or a story, I didn't feel I knew enough. I mean, I used my common sense quite a bit - I guessed what would have had to have happened. But, in the end, I felt worn down by the anxiety of getting it wrong, and I decided it was time that I actually learnt how government operated. Let's have a look at your role today. CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS Well, this is the story of my life really - always rushing, always late, another hotel and another airport. Well, I use driving time for a number of things. It is a great therapy. It's a great way to put music on and not think about anything. Often I look around. I mean, we do live on a farm, we live in a farming community. It's important to see what your neighbours are doing. where there are thistle problems, how much feed everybody's got, how much water there is in the dams, if there's a new development, who's got new stock on their property. I guess we had a little dream of a life change, and that's what this has enabled us to do,

enabled me and I'm very blessed that it has that I also love. to keep working at a job I love its smallness, I love the community of Yass, each other's business, I love the fact that people know watch out for each other,

welcomed me. that the church community has CONGREGATION SINGS

actively Christian - I think, um, growing up and I remain an active Christian - to recommend it. has several things It gives you a discipline.

for at least an hour, It makes me think every week, about people other than myself. and could do better. about what I have done wrong a framework, So, I think it gives you about consideration it gives you a discipline it gives you some rules, that wonderful comfort and it gives you a protector - of knowing that there is that you are not in this alone. to do something mindless. I find the best way to relax is I love cleaning cupboards. like a drug. Quick results gives you a buzz, I haven't had to think about it. although that's a bit slower - Ditto, gardening - baking cakes - and certainly cooking jam, all very relaxing. all those sorts of things - Just found the board. (Giggles) Just there. do I put it? Organic - where I do love to bake. on Saturdays - My mother used to bake 'cause she also played tennis - that was Saturday, before tennis,

as far as I can. and I have continued that tradition, my grandmother's scone cutter, I mean, when I use and my grandmother's cake airer - and I do - I am reminded that that's all been through her hands and my mother's hands, and that these are part of the traditions of being human. What is not relaxing for me is going and lying on the bed. I just lie there worrying about all the other things I have to do. Good boy! I do like the gentleness of country life. I love the clothes flapping on the line. I love looking at the wonderful horizon,

the big landscapes... C'mon, Sally - out you come. and sort of harried person - ..I'm just such a rushed I could ever have... it's probably the greatest therapy In the pen!

..and I'm only amazed that, again, I really looked for or planned - it wasn't something it just came, God's looking after you. and that is when you know an intervening god? Do you believe in changed the way I saw God. Yes, I think the tsunami The tsunami said is so much bigger God's plan for the universe we could imagine - than anything what is going on I don't even try and second-guess and I can feel, now, I've put my trust in God because of the enormity of his plan. It's nice to have roles like a sex discrimination commissioner, it makes all of us think, well, you know... Looks easy, doesn't it? (Laughs)

..on the issue of discrimination something's happening.

But after the experience of having gone through one term of this role, what difference do you feel you've made

or have made cumulatively over time? I think you have to accept a difference in a day that you're not going to make is to keep the fires burning and that one of your jobs in front of people to keep the issues, in other words, to see it differently to encourage people and if I've contributed to that,

because that's my job. well then, I am glad inevitably the dilemma comes up - When you talk to your daughters, and make those things work? can you have fame and also family there will be things you can't have. You can have fame and family but high-achieving success What about success, you've also dealt with that. because in a sense How well do you think you've done in balancing those things? Well, I've seen many high-achieving fathers with sons

and I've often felt that the sons have come off badly, that it's been a difficult thing for them to match, that they've had a sense of personal inadequacy. I guess I hadn't expected that it would affect daughters

'cause I've always felt so close to my daughters and so open that I never thought that they would see me as an achiever or somebody they compared themselves with, but of course, daughters do. What about you, beyond this stage?

do you see for yourself? What sort of future something difficult, I think...I want always always a challenge, and I want it to make a difference. and so far you've said no - Politics has obviously been mentioned a natural at it. but you'd obviously be and I don't deny it, Well, I do feel ready now at the right time arose, that if the right opportunity on a political career I would be keen more difficult or challenging because there really is nothing than a life in politics, leading either a state or a country and it would be a wonderful thing to be part of. Pru, it's been great talking to you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Peter. Pru Goward. And that's Talking Heads for this week. We'll be back with another program same time next week. If you'd like to look at our website, we're at: and I look forward to your company next time. Next week on Talking Heads - I always wanted to do something a little bit different, saying "Ronnie, try this." and all these different people are

And there was one person, my own personal experience and what he offered me was of who I am. on The Cook and the Chef - ANNOUNCER: Wednesday, time to wheel out the barbie. (Both laugh) You get some colour and so do I. Sizzling ideas for your barbecue. Wednesday, 6:30. That's The Cook and the Chef,

This program is not subtitled

CC Tonight - Mulcahy out,

Burke in, the ACT Liberals try

a new look. His disgraced minister quits but Morris

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take stock. Iraq can't stop the

killing as America ponders a

way out. Good evening, and

welcome to ABC News. I'm

Virginia Haussegger. The crisis

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party dumped its high profile

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in a party room spill replacing

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six months during which there

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