Snapshot: Politicians' kids (meet the other Swannies)

Snapshot: Politicians' kids (the other Swannies)
Melanie, Katie and Tom Swanborough
Erin Swann appeared on ABC TV last week talking politics and music, but ensconced in their home town over the weekend were four other "Swannies", their dad in the running for the Scenic Rim mayoral seat. 

"It's easy in politics to be a little bit removed and not so invested in a party or particular person," said Katie, 26, a primary school teacher. "But when it's your father and it's personal, and obviously you have a good understanding of his character and who he is and what he stands for, it's hard to see the personal attacks in the papers. It's a lot harder to take when it's someone related to you and you know the truth of the man."

A particularly heated campaign, this local election hasn't been a pretty one, but the end is soon to come. On polling night the results were close but erred in the opposition's favour (Campbell Newman ally John Brent). On Sunday morning, awaiting the final result, the Swanborough siblings were out at church with their parents, Derek and Sue, youngest daughter Abbey the only absentee due to school teaching commitments, while The Sunday Mail called a John Brent win.

"In terms of the general aspect of it, we've heard a lot about what the other parties have been saying about Dad, what the local papers and other papers have been writing," said Tom, 25, a mechanical engineer. "It's interesting to see that exposure of someone in your immediate family, but I guess we haven't borne the complete brunt of it, because we're a bit isolated in Brisbane, which has been a good thing."

Did the Swannies have a post-election strategy in the event of a loss or a win?

"No one's focused on the future yet, especially leading up to the election it wasn't about what would happen if he won or if he lost; it was a bit of a touchy subject so we thought we'd just wait and see," said Tom. "Last night, the results were still a little in doubt, clinging to the hope that Dad would get over the line, and even now we're not talking about the future."

In the lead up to the election, politics were a meal conversation but not the main course – hearing about the kids' lives a welcome reprieve particularly for Mum – though the kids rallied around on election weekend and in the lead-up to assist in the campaign.

"It's been a different experience to the last election when dad was running for councillor," said Tom.
"It's been a lot more involved this time. Handing out flyers yesterday in the rain, gauging voters' opinions. I found a lot of people hadn't made their mind up or didn't know who the candidates were, which can be frustrating when you're related to someone running for mayor. It's interesting to see that side of an election." 

But, win or lose, dad will still be dad to the kids, and after church they'll be heading home for lunch and on Monday it's back to work.

"I feel really proud to have seen him go through this whole campaign and how he's gone about it and the way in which he's kept himself a man of integrity," said Melanie, 29, a school chaplain with a nursing background. "I've enjoyed seeing that journey even though it has been tough. I think I've learnt a little bit more about my father that I didn't know."

Girl With a Satchel