Residents of the southern Sydney electorate of Hughes were given a treat this week, with sitting member Danna Vale sending them a stirring missive on ‘The Power of Praise’ accompanied by a poster on ‘100 Ways To Praise A Child’.
Printed on the back of a letter, from the only minister to be stripped of their portfolio after the last election, the poster features such suggestions as “You’re A-OK-my buddy”, “What an imagination” and “You’ve discovered the secret”.
“We all know the thrill of receiving a word of kindness, encouragement or appreciation every now and then,” the former Minister for Veterans Affairs writes. “Yet because of our hectic daily lives, we often forget to compliment others; even when they deserve it.”
“A father who praises his children can have such a positive influence in their lives. If he calls them champions, they will think the whole world regards them as champions, and that is exactly what they will become.”
“This poster is sent to you with my compliments with some suggestions in praise of the special people in your life. I am sure you can improve upon this. And if you do not have any children at your house, cross out the word ‘child’ and write the name of your special someone and watch the power of praise work its magic at your place.”
“P.S. A hug is worth a thousand words.”
Vale, who was such a popular Minister for Veterans Affairs that someone even formed an Ex-Service, Service and Veterans Party to run against her at the last election, is probably best remembered for her opposition to the RU486 abortion pill on the basis that it would lead to a Muslim takeover of Australia.
“I’ve actually read in the Daily Telegraph where a certain Imam from the Lakemba mosque actually said that Australia is going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years’ time,” she said in February 2006.
“I didn’t believe him at the time but when you actually look at the birthrates and you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year. “
“You multiply that by 50 years, that’s 5 million potential Australians we won’t have here.”
However, many will also remembered Vale for placing herself at the centre of the Alan Jones/ABA scandal in 2004, when she mistakenly faxed a letter of support urging Jones to “stay brave and true” to Jones’ rival John Laws, who then read the letter out to his listeners.
Hughes resident Daniel Fitzgerald was delighted to find that Vale had since moved on to sending less controversial, though no less flowery, letters.
“This is the first letter I’ve received from Danna, and I have to say it was worth the wait”, Fitzgerald said. “I thought it might be something about what she’s been doing for the electorate, maybe telling us what she’s actually achieved in three years, but this is just so much better.”
“Some people will say this is a shameless attempt to build up a positive image in the lead-up to the election or to divert attention away from the fact that she’s a crap politician, but I don’t see it that way. The fact is, people not praising their children is probably the greatest problem facing the electorate right now, and it’s Danna’s responsibility to make sure we do these things.”
“It’s nice to get parenting advice from someone who only sees their kids about six months of the year.”
Vale has been relatively quiet since she was one of four ministers in August to publicly voice their doubts over the existence of global warming.
“There’s great contention amongst the science community about if indeed there is contribution from human beings, or indeed the degree to which there is,” she said.
Many, however, are still looking forward to another few years of Vale, with the 62 year-old expected to retain her seat at the coming election.
“People say she’s an embarrassment to the electorate, but I don’t agree” Fitzgerald says. “If anything her bizarre outbursts have put us on the map. Questionable grammar aside, this letter is a return to form.”
“My one criticism would be that the compliments aren’t in Danna’s idiom. Maybe next time she can have stuff like ‘I’m glad I didn’t abort you out of existence, champ’ or ‘Stay brave and true, little buddy’.”
“I worry too that she’s fishing for compliments a bit, maybe encouraging people to praise each other a bit more because no one has praised her for anything in so long.”
“If I can quote her poster: Danna, you make me laugh.”