School Counsellor’s Office. Mr and Mrs White enter.
Counsellor: Ah, thanks for coming in.
Mr White: We’re really glad you called.
Mrs White: We’ve been really worried about Harriet.
Counsellor: I understand, but really, it’s nothing to worry about.
Mr. White: Yes, but some of the things she’s been doing. She keeps taking her younger brother’s toys and insisting that he shouldn’t have them until he’s earned them. I mean, I do appreciate a work ethic, but…
Mrs White: But he is only two. And then there was what she said when she saw that the government was helping farmers with the drought.
Mr White: Yes, she insisted that we shouldn’t be giving charity to people who didn’t come from the same house as we did. I said that they were in need and she just said that they didn’t have the same surname so why should we help them. And she locked one of her friends in the cupboard because she didn’t come in the right door.
Mrs White: We’ve been asking her for the key for months now, but she insists that the friend has to stay in the cupboard so none of her other friends come in by the wrong door.
Counsellor: So she does have friends?
Mr White: Well, not so many since she had her thirteenth birthday and told them that they had to make a large donation to sit at the table with her.
Counsellor: Yes, well, I can see how this may seem like a real worry to you. However, I’m just throwing this out there, but have you ever considered that she might be…
Mr White: Go on!
Counsellor: A Liberal!
Mrs White: No, she can’t be. I mean what sort of…
Mr White: Not our daughter surely. I mean, she can’t be. She’s female.
Counsellor: Now I know that you may need some time to adjust to the idea but believe it or not, there are female Liberals. It’s just that they’re much more likely to be hidden away than the type you see in the media, but female Liberals are more common than you might think.
Mrs White: But what makes you think that she’s a Liberal?
Counsellor: Well, one of her teachers noticed that she kept blaming everyone else whenever she made a mistake. By itself that wouldn’t be unusual but then we noticed her complete lack of empathy and her inability to make a consistent argument for anything. For example, when she was doing group activities, she’d insist that she’d done all the work and then when the marks were in, she’d loudly declare that this shouldn’t go on her report because the other students had done it. Classic Liberal behaviour.
Mr White: Is it… Is it something to do with the way we raised her?
Counsellor: Now, you mustn’t blame yourselves. Sometimes these things just happen and because we live in a tolerant society she’ll be able to lead a relatively normal life. Of course, she’ll never be able to make a meaningful commitment or trust any of her friends, but apart from that, she’ll be able to function just like a normal person.
Mrs White: Is there anything we should be doing? Like is there any treatment or help available.
Counsellor: I think the main thing is just continuing to be supportive and remembering when attempts to install herself as head of the household, that it’s the condition and nothing that you should blame her for.
Mr White: So there’s no cure or…
Counsellor: Well, there are people trying a radical new therapy. Apparently if you give Liberals lots and lots of money and keep telling that they’re the adults, they behave politely and only lash out at things like renewable energy or unemployed people.
Mr White: How much money?
Counsellor: All of it, but I only mentioned that to say that people are trying to help. I don’t know if there’s any scientific validity behind the therapy.
Mrs White: But the lack of science wouldn’t matter, would it? I mean, if she’s really a Liberal…
Counsellor: The main thing is not to over-react. As unbelievable as it may seem, there are lots of Liberals out there and if you can just steer clear of certain topics, you might never even be aware that they’re any different from you or me.
Mr White: Is there some sort of support group? Malcolm Fraser inspired a lot of people by showing that you could make an almost complete recovery from being a Liberal.
Counsellor: That’s what I mean. You shouldn’t talk about recovery. You should just respect her choices.
Mrs White: So it is a choice thing?
Counsellor: Look, I’m not an expert. We do have someone at the school who’s very good at understanding they way Liberals think and he’ll be able to give you some strategies for getting Liberals to do what you want.
Mr White: Who’s that?
Counsellor: The school chaplain.