Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald on January 19, 2013

‘Mums and dads’ seem to be replacing ‘working families’ as the focus of political concern in Australia. The biggest problem with last week’s hoax media release about Whitehaven Coal, many argued, was its impact on ”mum and dad investors”. The language of mum and dad investors is as widely used as it is meaningless. Gina Rinehart is, of course, a mother of four children. Does that mean she is one of the investors that the commentators and politicians are so concerned about? What about the adults without children who may have lost money? Are we really unconcerned about them or is it just that the emotive language of ”mums and dads” is so attractive to all concerned that its inaccuracy is overlooked?

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