How young is too young for politics?

Have I mentioned how much I love Bill Leak’s cartoons?

“That’s the woman who steals all our money mummy,” my five-year-old announced one night while we watched the news.
Umm, I beg your pardon, I said, rather stunned to hear these fighting words from a kid usually focused on Bob the Builder.
“There, that woman, the one with the red hair,” he confirmed for me, “she’s a bad lady because she takes all our money.”
Indeed he was speaking of our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Who told you that? I asked.
Grandma said it.
Seems during recent babysitting duties my mother in-law, Grandma Bean, had been doing more than educating the boys on the correct way to hold their knife and fork.
She had been introducing them to the harsh world of politics.
It’s hard to avoid hearing about Australian politics lately thanks to the  Kevin v Julia circus.
Our eldest son is about to turn eight and because he spends a lot of time in my car he has been forced to listen to a lot of news radio.
Therefore we often have discussions about various news items – although my thumb is permanently poised on the mute button in case there’s a mention of something which would lead to tricky questions. I’m thinking rape, sexual assault, child pornography and murder stories.
A few of weeks ago he was fascinated by the argy bargy about men in blue ties, a woman with a red box and THAT lunch menu.
He asked me, ‘What’s the best team?’
Best of a bad bunch, I thought, but decided to give him an impartial overview of what our political parties stand for. And sorry if you don’t agree with my simple explanations, take it up with my editor.
Well, Julia Gillard belongs to the Labor Party, I told my son. They are a party for the workers. They want to ensure everyone has equal opportunities to hold a good job, be paid a good, fair wage and have access to health and education.
Tony Abbott is a member of the Liberal Party and they are a party that’s interested in ensuring the business conditions are such that businesses can thrive and therefore can employ people and ensure everyone is prosperous.
And then there’s the Greens. They want to make sure that we protect the environment and the trees and that we have a good world to live in.
Alex considered all I had said and soon declared: “ I think the most important party, and the one I will support, are the Greens, because without trees there is no oxygen and we will die.”
Thankfully his father wasn’t in the car at the time or a particularly heated discussion would have ensued.
A Facebook friend admitted her son thinks much the same. ‘But he also believes in Santa Claus,’ she said dryly.
How young is too young to talk politics with your kids? I didn’t really have a good grasp of politics until I moved out of home, started paying my own bills and being impacted by the various parties’ policies.
I hate hearing political views being espoused by young, naïve, ill-informed Australians.
That said I am excited that my sons take an interest in the world around them. As a parent I believe it’s my role to provide an impartial overview and let them make their own minds up … with or without grandma’s help.