The week before our Prime Minister promised to “shirt-front” the president of Russia, I was at the gravesite of a man who hit his wife so hard she went through a door.
The man was my grandfather, on my father’s side, and the woman he assaulted was his wife, my beloved Nana. When this man died suddenly, aged 51, in 1935, his wife and two sons bought him a hole in the ground but that was all.
In early October his five surviving grandchildren gathered at his unmarked grave in the Catholic section of Adelaide’s West Terrace Cemetery, where he had lain unloved and unlamented for 79 years.
We had decided to give him a headstone.
We did it, not because we had forgiven him his violence but because we have chosen to confront it.
I did not expect that as we grappled with his behaviour and its impact on our family, our country’s political leader would be using a metaphor that suggests roughing someone up is the way to express anger or disagreement.