She has been condemned for something she didn't say. She said SOME poor were like that, not all. And that is simple realism
A former Liberal MP and the mother of model Tziporah Malkah [Kate Fischer] has been blasted in Parliament for suggesting poor people lack discipline and housekeeping skills.
Pru Goward, who until 2019 was the NSW minister for community services and social housing under former premier Gladys Berejiklian, has been widely condemned for an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review about social divides.
The 69-year-old former ABC journalist and federal sex discrimination commissioner said she 'understood poor people' growing up as the daughter of a shopkeeper.
But Ms Goward recalled there was an underclass among the poor who 'behaved differently' and in her mother's words were 'not very nice', especially to social workers. 'Of course, they are always seen as a deficit,' she said.
What Pru Goward said:
'Social workers, traditionally good young men and women who thought it would be nice to be kind for a living, despair of their appalling housework, neglect of their children and, notably, their sharp and unrepentant manner when told to lift their game by the patronising do-gooder'
'Their children languish in the growing number of behavioural support classes in general high schools where they learn little and teachers itch to send them to the local TAFE to do some form of home-schooling and get them off their books'
Premier Dominic Perrottet condemned his former cabinet colleague. 'I completely disagree with it. I thought the entire premise of it was terrible,' he said on Thursday.
One Nation's New South Wales leader Mark Latham said Ms Goward's column was a 'slurring of all the children' from families that live in outer south-west Sydney.
'It's disgraceful that Pru Goward would write this generalisation, writing off a whole generation, not knowing these success stories,' he told the Legislative Council on Thursday. 'So out of touch, so arrogant, so condescending, so elitist.'
Mr Latham, who lives in south-west Sydney near where he grew up, likened Ms Goward to a Jane Austen novel from the early 19th century. 'You've written an article that is sort of out of Pride and Prejudice, sitting there like someone in a Victorian-era parlour room sneering at the poor,' he said.
In August 2019, Western Sydney University appointed Ms Goward as Professor of Social Interventions and Policy, which Mr Latham said should be reviewed. 'She shouldn't be at that university and she should actually be removed from that position,' he said in Parliament.
Ms Goward's column saw Mr Latham heap some rare praise on his old Labor Party, which he led from December 2003 to January 2005 when he was the federal member for Werriwa.
He gave a special mention to former state Labor housing minister Craig Knowles, who held the overlapping electorate of Macquarie Fields for more than a decade and oversaw the successful redevelopment of public housing at Minto.
'It's a great tribute to that former Labor government and the member Craig Knowles - the Minto project showed the way forward,' he said.
'Because of the renewal of the public housing estate and uplifting of the school, Minto Public, which parents had avoided, now had out-of-area enrolments.'
Mr Latham, who used to campaign against Labor's left faction at party state conferences, found common ground with left-wing state Labor upper house MP Rose Jackson, who had campaigned to have him expelled from the ALP.
'"They are damaged, lacking in trust and discipline, and highly self-interested." No, former NSW Govt Minister Pru Goward isn’t talking about politicians, it turns out this is what Liberals really think about poor people,' Ms Jackson said.
Ms Goward's daughter Tziporah Malkah was previously a model known as Kate Fischer and was the product of her first marriage to Adelaide-based economics lecturer Alastair Fischer. The mother and daughter have had a strained relationship.
Her second husband David Barnett was a press secretary to former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser.