Clare Simpson-Mattingly used to burn bras at University.

She used to march against Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, she she used to dream about travelling Africa to help the kids – but her staunch military father insisted she settle down and find herself a good rugby player with a future in small retailing businesses.

She was introduced to her now husband, Brian, at a rare women-friendly Tattersall’s club event just after finishing a degree in social work that she was never allowed to utilise.

Four kids and a ten-year-long affair between Brian and his mistress later, Clare’s past life of blaring Stevie Nicks and smoking some high-grade Riverina rollie is nothing but a distant memory. She now spends her evenings listening to her husband berate the Labor Government’s reckless spending under Kevin Rudd.

Between her husband’s venomous alcohol-fuelled sprays and social outings with similarly classist couples they met while sending their kids to exclusive boarding schools, Clare’s life is only held together by a blend of shiraz and valium.

Her husband despises gay people for their fast-paced rise towards equality over the last decade while he lost his two electronics retail businesses to the internet and was forced to live of his family’s multi-million dollar inheritance.

Her husband’s hero-worship of Scott Morrison, and his emotionally draining racial and misogyny-charged comments are taking a toll on her quality of life.

Sometimes she wonders where that lovely boy she held hands with during a march against a hike on university fees ended up. Sometimes she wonders what it would be like to eat dinner at a Lebanese restaurant.

However, deep in the middle of this hamster-wheel life she lives of imposed mental illness and TV channel surfing – an ember still glows.

Clare Simpson-Mattingly is secretly donating to the Zali Stegall campaign – and her husband can’t take that from her.

Her husband, the girls at bridge that often criticise her footwear, her local Liberal candidate that often comes around for dinner. None of them know.

“It’s was a real rush entering my card details” she says.

“I felt the chains shatter around my wrists”

“In that one moment I was taken back to the halls of unibar dancing with my top off. I witnessed Brian being savagely beaten by a handsome Aboriginal warrior – I saw gay couples kissing in the street”

“The glaciers froze over again, and that little Biloela family were freed from their cages”

Clare stands up and unbuttons her blouse.

“Fuck this government and fuck my husband!” she roars, while lighting her first Peter Stuyvesant cigarette in 30 years.

“… Because I know plenty of working girls have”

With her phone now ringing non-stop – as Brian calls her to demand she tell him where the fuck she is and why he can’t smell any dinner in the oven – Clare is hooning through the city in his collector convertible that she has never been allowed to touch before.

Shes blaring Fleetwood Mac, she’s waving at council workers. She’s free.

“Now, I swear three days ago I would’ve never pulled a stunt like this, but if you was ever to meet my husband, you’d understand why” she says, as she drives off into the sunset towards the local Ramadan night market.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here