This is Chloe Chant, a childcare worker from Sydney, Australia.
Chloe is being praised by thousands of people online after writing an open letter to a politician about what it means to be a childcare worker.
The letter followed Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm’s appearance on television on Tuesday. Discussing his opposition to a proposed $3 billion childcare reform package, Leyonhjelm said childcare workers do little other than, “wiping noses and stopping kids from killing each other”.
Leyonhjelm’s words provoked an online backlash as childcare workers, politicians and Australian parents took to social media.
However, on Wednesday Leyonhjelm rejected claims he was “slamming childcare workers”, saying he had been misinterpreted.
“That wasn’t what I said,” he said on Sunrise. “The point is childcare is too expensive. We all know it’s too expensive. Why is it too expensive? Because we’re requiring childcare workers to get certificates to do things they already knew how to do.”
“Your ignorance regarding the lifelong benefits of early learning (sorry, a ‘middle-class perk’), arrogance, self-righteousness and hypocrisy as a self-proclaimed champion of enlightened government investment would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damaging to our future prospects as an intelligent nation, and the aspirations of the working class,” she wrote.
Chloe’s post has been shared more than 1000 times, with hundreds of comments applauding her words.
“I haven’t had any contact from Leyonhjelm [since writing the letter],” Chloe told BuzzFeed News. “This issue affects almost everyone in our society. Teachers aren’t getting the respect and pay they deserve; parents can’t afford childcare; employers encounter difficulties resulting from employees not being able to access reliable, affordable daycare.”
“I also believe, contrary to Leyonhjelm’s opinion, that we are an enlightened society that understands the value of early childhood learning and its ongoing, exponential impact on a person’s later success and happiness.
“I hope this letter has given a voice and a newfound confidence to the workers in this industry. Generally speaking, the workers in this industry are not as unionised, outspoken or aggressive as other similar industries. I hope that in the future we are more assertive and willing to communicate the importance of our work.”
In a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon Leyonhjelm said he was arguing for less regulation in the childcare industry.
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