Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Compass -

View in ParlView

DINNER IN KELLYVILLE

Summary

Geraldine Doogue goes back to dinner with women across Australia to find out how their faith and
values, hopes and dreams, careers and relationships have fared. A few years ago Compass put the
great Australian suburban dream to the test over dinner in Kellyville in Sydney's north-west.
Geraldine got up close and personal with five fabulous women, quickly dubbed the real desperate
housewives, who were all juggling jobs, mortgages and raising families in the 'McMansion' belt. It
was a lively, no-holds-barred discussion. In this program they do it all again, and we find out how
the women's hopes and dreams have survived the past seven years.

Story

Narration, Geraldine Doogue

Seven years ago I got up close and personal with women around Australia.

Paula, seven Years Ago

Being a single mother living on the breadline, boring

Narration, Geraldine Doogue

There were the "real desperate housewives" busy building the suburban dream in Sydney's north-west.

Janet, seven Years Ago

I fought tooth and nail to hold onto the house.

Stacie, seven Years Ago

It's only, what is it, bricks and mortar.

Narration, Geraldine Doogue

Women of "Power and Influence" in establishment Melbourne.

Ann Peacock, seven years ago

The best thing about growing up in that family is that it was a solid family.

Joan Kirner, seven years ago

When I was premier and we were clearly going to be defeated.

Narration, Geraldine Doogue

And Queensland's "Outback Dames" battling the worst drought in history.

Anne Ballinger, seven years ago

It's not necessarily that we're tough.

Narration, Geraldine Doogue

Fifteen brave women who didn't know each other but turned up with a plate ready to bare their souls
to me and you. We've often wondered where they are now, so we thought it was time to catch up over
dinner on Compass.

Geraldine Doogue

I'm at Kellyville, in Sydney's north-west, home of the modern Australian suburban dream. When we
were last here we met five fabulous women all juggling jobs, mortgages and raising families. We
invited them to dinner to explore what life was like for the real desperate housewives.

Well tonight we're going to find out if their dreams have survived the stresses and strains of the
last few years, and what's changed for them.

Geraldine Doogue, at dinner

Now welcome to you all, it's lovely to see you. It really is. I looked forward to this. Now how are
you all? Janet?

Janet

Okay. Well it was interesting, when you think back about what's happened in the last seven years, I
almost blame you Geraldine because you brought up these topics and then it happened.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

In 2005 Janet was living in Kellyville with her second husband Tim and their four children.

Janet, 2005

I went into the second marriage with my eyes wide open, so it's been hard work and statistically I
suppose we will fail; one out of two second marriages go.

60%!

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

So let's imagine then in your second relationship, which you put a lot of store by, you discovered
that he was being unfaithful to you?

Janet, 2005

And the neighbourhood were talking about it and everybody. I'd ask him to leave.

Janet, today

Well that happened. And because the girlfriend tastefully showed up at his work place they sacked
him, surprise, surprise. So we lost the house. I mean we were living so close to the edge with that
huge mortgage and that huge house that we decided to sell. I mean, we decided to sell before the
bank did anything about it.

Stacie

While you still had control.

Janet

Absolutely. So we sold and I'm renting now with the children.

Janet, 2005

Next time I'm going for a woman.

Paula, 2005

Baby I'll give you my number at the end of the show.

(LAUGHTER)

Paula, today

Well I told you to get my number after the show.

(LAUGHTER)

Geraldine Doogue

What do I need to know about you Paula? I've wondered over the years.

(LAUGHTER)

Paula

I think I'm probably the most boring one out of the whole bunch because my life has just stayed the
same. I am still, God help me, selling fireplaces. I've done a whole circuit. I've moved up to
Kellyville Ridge, Riverstone, back to Kellyville, almost in the same street in the same block.

Paula, 2005

Daniel instead of playing with the sodding cat would you eat your breakfast please we're in a hurry
now.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

When we last met Paula she was recently divorced and struggling to keep it all together as a single
mum with two young kids.

Paula, 2005

I think what creates loneliness is not having the intimacy of a relationship, of having that
special person there.

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

Do you dream of another big love?

Paula, 2005

Yes, I actually think I do. Maybe I just, I'm the eternal optimist and I hope to find that soul
mate.

Paula, today

So my life has not changed. I have dated every psycho in Sydney since then. This is serious I'm
telling you.

I attract men like that. So now I've just given them up as a bad job. So I give you a happy ending

(LAUGHTER)

Geraldine Doogue

Well you look pretty good for it anyway Paula, honestly you do.

and Genevieve what about you?

Genevieve

You know, no one's perfect you know. There would be times obviously where everything's not perfect.
But definitely we have a sound marriage and my husband would have to be my best friend.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

When Genevieve was living in Kellyville looking after her three young children was a full time job.

Genevieve, 2005

And I just tell myself that they're only on loan to me and before I know it they're going to be
gone. And they'll be out of the house and I'll miss them.

Genevieve, today

I moved back to Adelaide probably close to five years ago. So I'm currently there, still with my
family and working full time now. So finished any type of maternity leave or time off, so very full
on full time role, managing the children. So we do a lot of juggling.

Geraldine Doogue

Nav, what about you?

Nav

Things have changed dramatically for me as well. I've probably taken a chill pill, I would say,
since living in Kellyville.

So we stayed in our home for a couple more years after the show and I just thought there was more
to life than just cleaning a big McMansion and working...

Geraldine Doogue

You had about seven bedrooms.

Nav

Yeah. We had a huge home and the mortgage was fairly big at that time.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

Seven years ago life for Nav seemed finely tuned with husband Pat working night shifts as a bus
driver she juggled work ...

Nav, 2005

I love working. I'm very lucky I have a lot of support.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

...home...

Nav, 2005

I enjoy cooking as well. That's the other lucky part.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

...and family.

Nav, 2005

To you guys it must sound like I'm living in la la land, but I just, we love each other so much and
trust each other.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

So I'm interested to know if things are much the same now?

Nav, today

We had two children, both went to work and it was just more to life than work, work, work, clean,
clean, clean. So we sold the house and moved closer to the city.

Geraldine Doogue

Smaller house?

Nav

Much, much smaller house. So I went from this beautiful big home to pink bathroom and yellow
laminate kitchen.

(LAUGHTER)

Paula

But Nav I've got to say, since I last saw you seven years ago, and I don't know what you guys
think, but you look 10 years younger. You seem happier. You really do. You seem so much happier.
You've changed your hair and it really suits you. And I think, you've lightened up.

Nav

It just got to the point, I suppose, that I almost had a nervous breakdown, here at Kellyville.

Stacie

It forces you to re-evaluate.

Nav

Yeah.

Geraldine

You implied that last time Stacie that you were a bit on the edge.

Stacie

We were. Yes, I guess I was.

Geraldine

But keeping up appearances.

Nav

It was.

Stacie

But I think for me, I don't know about everyone else, but it wasn't a conscious thing. Like I
know...

Genevieve

...it's not...

Stacie

...I consciously thought this is what I want to look like. It's just, this is what you do. You know
you get the house, you get the job. Well now you've got the house you better keep the house, so you
do what you have to do.

Stacie, 2005

Okay Mummy's going to work now.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

Seven years ago Stacie's Kellyville dream was crumbling, with husband Andrew out of work Stacie was
trying to keep it all together working up to sixty hours a week.

Stacie, 2005

I love my life, I love everything. We have a great home. I have a great husband. I have great kids.
I love working hard but there's a lot of pressure.

We've had our house on the market and we've just signed up again last night. And we'll be selling
this home and possibly renting.

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

This lovely home?

Stacie, 2005

It's only, what is it, bricks and mortar?

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

We all say that but you know how they say that finance and sex are the two things that stress
marriages.

Stacie, today

Actually we ended up moving from the house and then heading over to the US. And we spent two years
in Maine, and now we're in Florida. We've been in Florida for the last two years.

Geraldine Doogue

Florida, my God that's a long way from Kellyville. Or is it? Is it similar?

Stacie

You know in a lot of ways it is, especially where we live; in a sort of similar family, community,
neighbourhood area. We live in a gated community and so it's very easy to make friends. We have
like a town centre within the gated community with pools and tennis courts and a little cafe and
things like that.

Janet

Isn't that similar to what they're trying to do around Kellyville and all the areas here?

Stacie

I think it is.

Geraldine Doogue

What's the idea of being in a gated community?

Stacie

The high crime in south Florida. Yeah. So when you've got small children you just want to be safe
basically. It's actually got security 24/7.

Nav

It's not until I suppose you step out of that and start looking at other parts of the world or out
of Kellyville, I suppose, that you realise...

Geraldine Doogue

...the world beyond Kellyville.

Nav

Yeah. And now I look at an old beautiful home and see how much charm and character some of the
homes have. I have a different outlook to having the spic and span, no handled kitchen.

Stacie

But it's crazy when you look back on it. It's like why?

Geraldine Doogue

Where do you think you got that from? Was that from your parents, was that from television, was
that from watching Desperate Housewives? I mean really!

Stacie

It probably was a combination of just society and what you experienced growing up. So even if you
have to go out to work, you still feel like if you don't keep the house looking nice, you're
actually not succeeding at your job.

Nav

I was pretty much the same. I actually thought that was what I wanted.

Paula

Yeah I remember when I first came here looking at the house and thinking "oh my God I have to clean
all of this." (LAUGHTER) "I have to do the garden, me, like Ah!" Coming from South Africa where you
always have a maid and a garden boy and your house is always spotless. But yeah it's hard work. And
you get home from work and the last thing you want to do is drag a horrible bloody vacuum cleaner
around the house.

Geraldine Doogue

So if I lobbed the word in "Work, work and family balance", which we talked quite a lot about last
time. And Nav you've pulled back and taken your chill pill?

Nav

I still work for the bank. I'm still a bank manager. I have the ability to work from home so I can
leave if I need to leave. There's a lot more work life balance there.

Work is still really important to me and I really, I actually enjoy my job.

Geraldine Doogue

You work very hard Janet, don't you?

Janet

Yes.

Geraldine Doogue

Six days a week, is that right?

Janet

Yes, absolutely.

Geraldine Doogue

So what time do you start in the morning?

Janet

I drop the children to school and then go straight to my first job if you like, and then...

Geraldine Doogue

And that's selling the insurance?

Janet

That's Pet Insurance. Yes, absolutely. Nobody rings up to say "Hi how are you going?" They all ring
up to say "My pet's dead. I want my money." That type of thing. (LAUGHTER)

Nav

How much cover do I have?

Janet

Yeah. That's exactly right. Just got hit by a car. "Should I take it to the vet?" That type of
thing.

Paula

Can't you get ex-husband insurance? When the miserable turd leaves you, you get a big cash payout.

Geraldine Doogue

That's coming next Paula. We're getting to that next.

Janet

I'd be rich! I'd be rich!

Geraldine Doogue

So you do that to what time in the day?

Janet

Until I go and pick them up from school and then I go and teach. So I get home at about 9.30. So I
guess the children have to be, well not have to be, they are, they're very self-sufficient. They're
responsible.

Geraldine Doogue

Do you get tired?

Janet

Exhausted. I was going to say something like "No, not me!" Of course, I'm exhausted.

Stacie

I don't know how you do it Janet, honestly I don't know how you do it. Hats off to you.

Janet

Because you do what you have to do. You have to pay the rent.

Geraldine Doogue

And you're not bitter about all this, losing the house and everything?

Janet

I can't be.

Paula

No you can't, it makes you sick.

Janet

It does it makes you sick, and it makes me feel so dumb. How can I get it so wrong, twice?

Nav

How long were you married the second time?

Janet

17 years.

Genevieve

Because you don't go into a marriage thinking that's what's going to happen. Because I know I
didn't. So if it did.

Janet

But you do look at yourself. You do hold the mirror to yourself and go "What the hell is wrong with
me?" Of course you do.

Paula, 2005

So I've got a date tonight. I'm meeting him up the road at the local pub actually because it was
just easier.

Geraldine Doogue, narration

Back in 2005 Paula's problem was finding a partner. She looked to computer dating for love and
companionship.

Paula, today

Seven years ago I really thought that I was, I had this whole naive, "I'm going to find Mr Right"
and ...

Geraldine Doogue

...another big relationship.

Paula

And I was thinking that it was going to be a man that was going to make my life come good and all
the rest of it. And I've now come to realise that I can do it on my own and I'm actually okay and
I'm happy with my own company.

Geraldine Doogue

I'm thrilled for you. But I also would love you to have still been aiming for a relationship,
because I think you were very keen on the idea. You were a man's girl it seems to me.

Paula

(LAUGHS). I know but, do you know what? After being on my own for God, what nine years now, I think
I'd really struggle having to have someone living with me and have him there all the time.

Janet

Wouldn't it still be nice sometimes to phone up and share a meal with a man?

Paula

But I don't want him in my bed every night though.

Geraldine Doogue

And maybe you don't have to have that.

Janet

No. No. Not even a live in...

Paula

It's not that easy. It's really not that easy. Trust me darling you're still freshly single.
(LAUGHTER)

Janet

Not that fresh.

Nav, 2005

I have so much trust in my husband and I think he does in me that I just can't, I know to you guys
it must sound like I'm living in la la land but...

Nav, today

My husband and I did have some issues as well. But it was not another woman or anything like that.
It was more along my husband started suffering from depression.

So my mother-in-law struggled through cancer and it was quite a long horrible disease. And after
her death he became a recluse almost.

Geraldine Doogue

So he was really grief-stricken?

Nav

Yeah.

Paula

How long ago was that?

Stacie

Were you still at Castle Hill?

Nav

Yeah we were in that house, in the big house. Part of the recovery was to move and just leave all
that and start afresh.

Janet

Sure. Sure

Nav

But it was still a big strain, because I did start to feel like I'm a single mum and ...

Geraldine Doogue

He wasn't the man you married?

Nav

Yeah he wasn't there. But he was there. So it took a lot to jolt ourselves out of that. It was a
make or break time. But I think it's made our, now what's come of it it's made us stronger.

Paula

So is he okay now?

Nav

Oh yeah. And I think I went into it as well. So it was a two way thing.

Stacie

Because your whole life changed.

Nav

Yeah. And then you do start questioning yourself when things go wrong. Exactly what Janet is
saying, and you start almost having a sense of failure because you're not maintaining all of those
things.

Stacie

You know it's interesting, over the last seven years, our life, as much as it sounds exciting to be
travelling around the world, it's probably been the hardest seven years for both of us. Because,
well you're not grounded, you've got no sense of belonging.

And we've really had to support each other because there's only been the two of us. So I've gone
from all my family, all my friends to just Andrew and I. So he became my girlfriend and he became
my mum and he became my husband. And you know; Andrew's great but he's not a girlfriend. You know.
I talk too much.

Geraldine Doogue

You talk too much. He tells you, you talk too much?

Stacie

From a man's perspective I talk too much or I explain things too much or I repeat things too much.

Geraldine Doogue

You analyse things too much.

Now you're still very involved with the church, aren't you?

Stacie

I am, yes.

Geraldine Doogue

You were Hillsong here?

Stacie

Yes. Oh yeah!

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

Now I'm really intrigued as to whether there's a spiritual basis that sustains you or a religion or
something that is a belief system?

Stacie, 2005

Yeah, well that is where I get my strength from.

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

Religion?

Stacie, 2005

Because I am a Christian, yeah.

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

And you attend regularly Church?

Stacie, 2005

Yeah. We go every week, every Sunday. Yeah, Hillsong Church.

Stacie, today

It's interesting because when we moved to Maine we didn't go to church for a couple of years. But I
sort of felt like I had the faith, so that was okay. But it's interesting when we went back to
church two years later it was like "Wow!" I was struggling, just within myself. I can look back and
see that I was doing life really, really tough without the prayer, the gratitude, praise and
worship. So we found a church. It's called Christ Fellowship and the practical teachings, practical
lessons that for me help me be a better person.

Nav

I still pray every morning. I don't meditate so much, but I do say the Gods name. In the morning,
when I wake up, I wake up to a prayer you could say on my phone. And then ...

Geraldine Doogue

You've got a prayer programmed on your phone?

Nav

Yeah.

Janet

Is there an app for that?

Paula

Before you go to bed?

Nav

No I don't pray before I go to bed. No when I wake up in the morning, I wake up to prayer, on my
own. Because everyone is asleep when I wake up. So again it's just that time for a minute to
reflect and be thankful for what I have.

Paula

I normally do that at night. When I go to bed, when I remember, I do.

Nav

I'm too exhausted at that time.

Geraldine Doogue

Do you have a little reflection sort of thing?

Paula

Just thank you, thank you to the higher being. Thank you that I've got two beautiful children that
are healthy. Thank you that I have a job that almost pays my bills. Thank you for my lovely animals
and thank you for what I've got.

Janet

I'm a bit pissed off with God. I love my family and friends, that's terrific. But gosh I'd like an
easier run. We can all find some poor bugger worse off than us, you know, if we look hard enough,
of course there is. But I just think, "Oh, OK we do from this." Well I'm done learning. I'm done.
So I'm a bit pissed off at the moment. It's like...

Paula

I think it's just our bad karma to choose dickheads my darling.

Janet

Well what have we done?

Paula

I think we were bad in a last life, because we're not that bad now.

Janet

Oh for goodness! Well I must have been Hitler.

(LAUGHTER)

Paula

No I was.

Genevieve, 2005

I actually don't attend church regularly now. .. I don't think that they, that the Catholic faith
and Church has actually moved in line with the times.

Geraldine Doogue, 2005

And you resent that?

Genevieve, 2005

Yeah I do, I do.

Genevieve, today

And I now find that I don't align myself to a religion or a sect. It's more about I'm spiritual.

Geraldine Doogue

What do you mean by spiritual?

Genevieve

Being able to think deeply within myself. It might just be that I'm actually here to be this parent
to these children and this wife to this husband and be this person within this group of this family
unit.

Geraldine Doogue

It's about meaning.

Genevieve

It is. It's about meaning.

Geraldine Doogue

If you had your time over again what would you do differently?

Stacie

I wouldn't do anything differently. I honestly believe that life is tough. No one gets an easy ride
and you have to learn to work through it. And we've given up a house and security and that is a
real problem for us. But I don't think, if that was the price that we had to pay to have the family
unit that we've got, then how do you put a price on that?

Geraldine Doogue

Sounds like maturity to me Stacie.

Stacie

Life is never what you dream about as a kid, and I think there needs to be a sense of reality so
that they're equipped to deal with a tough life. And I think it gets tougher and tougher, because
when we were children it was still part of that traditional roles. You know my mum did work but she
also did the house and you know there were still very defined roles between male and female. And
then we've come up through the ranks and tried to juggle it all.

Janet

When I grew up my family wasn't like that at all. My mother was a single mother. She worked. She
studied. We had to do everything as children. So it was very different and it wasn't the
traditional roles.

Stacie

Actually it's interesting you say that. One of the reasons this is the most important thing to me
is I went through two divorces as a kid. So I went through it as a kid. To me that price that I
paid as a child I had to learn something so that my children didn't go through it. And so hopefully
...

Geraldine Doogue

So the intact family unit for you is gold?

Stacie

It's number one.

Paula

Lucky you were a good learner because I've been through lots of divorces. My grandmother's was
three times, my mum was divorced twice and all her friends were divorcees. And I was really cynical
as I grew up. I really was very wary and cautious of men. That's why I was 29 when I got married.
And I still made a bad choice.

Geraldine Doogue

I mean if I hear what you're alluding to Janet, you're sort of saying in a way you recreated the
very thing you'd been through?

Janet

Absolutely yes, very much so. And I guess it's for my children that I regret it because it's hard
on the kids to go through that as you know. It's hard for kids to do that. Even at the moment it's
hard for my kids at home to have so much responsibility. .

You know I had a moment with my eldest son, and because my second son is in Melbourne. And they're
really close, they're good mates and he said "You know Mum, sometimes I'm jealous of Jack, I really
am. He's in Melbourne with no responsibilities." And he got tears in his eyes. And when your big
boy gets tears in your eyes, I'm trying to suck it up you know. And he said, "Mum you know I've got
to sort of be here for the kids because you're working and this and that." And I said "Mate, you
can go and fulfill your dreams whenever you like. I will support you 100%." But he said to me,
"Mum, I would never leave you."

Stacie

What a sense of responsibility.

Janet

I know but I felt awful because it's not his job.

Geraldine Doogue

Would you do anything differently Nav?

Nav

There's not a lot I would change. I mean I would buy some shares in Apple (LAUGHTER). And probably
healthwise I'd probably look at being more disciplined, eating the right foods and doing exercise.

But I think I'm with Stacie with that if you learn from your experiences then why would you change
them?

Geraldine Doogue

If you had to sum up how your values have changed over the last seven years since I last met you?
Stacie?

Stacie

Mine are stronger. My belief and my faith is stronger. That's what's got me through some of the
toughest times I've ever been through.

Geraldine Doogue

Nav?

Nav

For me, my beliefs haven't changed, but what I value has. What I value around the quality of time
that I have with my family, the materialistic stuff doesn't matter at all. I mean I don't have a
fancy car, I don't have a fancy house, but my life as far as my children and my family and my
husband is very good. Those things have changed a lot.

Geraldine Doogue

Janet?

Janet

I do believe that I have changed, I guess. I value, I suppose turning more towards inner strength,
what we can achieve, what we have to achieve. But I don't believe it was from choice. But when you
are forced it has a different spin on it.

Geraldine Doogue

Genevieve?

Genevieve

I think just finding a more centred spirituality has been really empowering and liberating.

Geraldine Doogue

Paula?

Paula

I don't think my beliefs or my values have changed at all really. My whole essence is about my
children and trying to give them the best that I can. That's my dream, to own my own house. Yeah
and I think yours too. I'm right along there with you.

I'd give anything to have a maid. I would, I really would.

Geraldine Doogue

First of all a mortgage and then a maid.

I want to thank you all for a fabulous night. You were just so honest. You took such risks. I
really thank you all very much.

Paula

We'd like to thank you for getting us back together after all these years. So great to catch up.

Geraldine Doogue

It was indeed and maybe we can do it again in another six or seven years.

All

Cheers to us all to Kellyville.

To Kellyville.