I’ve met some fairly important and high profile people in my time, I’ve worked with them and for them but I’ll never forget my introduction into newspapers. My first day on the job and the Editor (notoriously known for being a rude arrogant pig) stood on the copy desk (where the plebs worked) and he said “get me a coffee you c**t”. He then chortled and nearly chocked on his own spit. Charming. Have never forgotten that one and blame him entirely on my turrets like habit of swearing. To this day, like most, I hate that C word for so many more reasons than I care to list.
As I sit and watch my newsfeed deliver all the doom and gloom of last night’s budget (what did you expect when Ruddo was giving out cash left right and centre, someone was eventually going to have to pay for it), I have just read a piece that one of my fave bloggers has written about Mr Joe Hockey and how he was very rude to her prior to becoming a politician. You can read the article HERE . It’s important to be kind to people on your way up and down the corporate ladder as you never forget someone who is rude and obnoxious and eventually someone will write about it!
I however have a different story to tell about our dear Treasurer. When I was working on The Daily Telegraph and partying the nights away, I was shocked by the drug culture amongst my peers. This was at the same time that Anna Wood had died from taking an ecstasy tablet, the stuff was everywhere. I wrote to Joe, who was my local member at the time, telling him what was going on with my generation and how drug use was prevalent not just amongst my 20 something age group, but within teens whom I used to babysit. They were out on the town at 16 and 17 swallowing “E’s” like they were Mentos. I guess I wanted to know, given it was happening in his constituency, what he was going to do about it? Did his Government give a damn that drug use was not just for the wild and wicked? Everyone was doing it and it was only a matter of time before more kids died.
He didn’t write back. He rang my Editor in Chief and told him about the letter. He told my Editor he was going to read the letter in parliament and have it recorded into Hansard. The Editor in Chief then published the piece as an Op Ed full page piece in the paper. I went on the TV, on ACA, on Today and was interviewed by Alan Jones. In my opinion this was the biggest thing that would ever happen in my career and I was going to be a famous journalist. I was proud, terrified and still young with so much to learn. I went on to work with Joe and The Daily Telegraph on a number of initiatives to do with drug use and education amongst young folk. I went to Canberra, I spoke to hundreds of people, it was intoxicating.
One day, Joe called me in for a meeting. He was offering me a job to work in his office. I was only 21 at the time. He saw potential, told me the benefits that a political life could lead to. How much good you could do and how much value you could add to society. I was so complimented that he would consider me that I thought long and hard about the role. Much travel to and from Canberra but at that time, a very capped salary that wasn’t going to give me the big house with white picket fence and 5 kids that I had planned on having. Yes, I had planned on 5 kids long before the Big Guy knew about it 😉
We continued the talks and Joe must have sensed my hesitation. I was loving my time at News Limited and media was already in my guts. It would have been hard to leave but then Joe said to me “you know what Lara, I’m not going to put you in this role. You’re destined for big things, I think you’re better then politics, it’s a grubby game and you’re better than that. I’m going to enjoy watching your journey from here onwards. Go out and conquer the world your way, because I know you will”
Thanks Joe, I think you did me the biggest favour of all. As I watched you last night and over the course of your career, I’ve seen the hours you have put in, the ups, the downs and now the endless criticism on your budget decisions. Only time will tell if they’re the right decisions but right back atcha – I’m looking forward to watching your journey and hope for your sake that it all works out.