Opinionated and provocative yet transparent; David Oldfield is one of the most infamous names in Australian politics. He is well known due to his position as the co-founder and deputy leader of One Nation party, founded in 1997. David is also a media personality working on talkback radio stations 2UE and 2GB and making an appearance on Celebrity Survivor, First Contact and the most recent, Hell’s Kitchen. Married to Real Housewife and successful businesswoman Lisa Oldfield, David is no stranger of being in the spotlight.
Though not formally in politics anymore, David’s Twitter feed will give you an insight into his level of knowledge and intelligence, values and morals and his passions. He is very much a hands-on father of two young boys, Harry and Albert (Bertie). He is also a lover of the Australian outback, which he reveals on his Instagram account. David will introduce you to his beloved horses and other pets, while educating you on the Australian fauna that may visit his property or that he will see when bushwalking with his family.
I got in contact with David through his wife Lisa Oldfield, who I was so gratefully able to interview. When I reached out to David I was graced with such a humble person. After an enthusiastic response, a casual invitation to his property to relive my childhood, a few back and forth emails and a phone call to ensure there was no limit to the interview, I am so pleased to be able to share this interview with you. David shares his views on current politics, gives an insight into his successes and the attributes one may need to succeed, a glimpse of his life as a father and husband and a hint of what the future may hold. This is the real David Oldfield through his responses as raw and transparent as he presented.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in politics?
If you actually want to make a positive difference to society, then don’t become a politician – become a revolutionary and lead a revolution! If you want to simply have a career in politics because it’ll mean you’re perceived as important and you’ll have every conceivable expense paid for by someone else, then by all means, get into politics and BTW, you’re a parasite!
When you were in the heat of politics with One Nation, there were often comments about the Party having ‘racist’ views. A lot of this related to people maybe not understanding what One Nation was all about but also a lot to do with political correctness. As a politician, you were often transparent and upfront with your political views. As a citizen who votes, I see Australia becoming a nation that is so swamped down by political correctness that there is so many blurred lines about what individual political parties truly represent and value. What is your opinion on this?
In some respects one might consider my answer to question 1 – very few politicians are genuinely ideologically driven – there are of course those who have good intentions, but many of them are sidelined or turned to the dark side by the system itself. Political correctness is a social ill from which we may never recover because it fits well with the general conduct of politics – such being, secrecy, dishonesty and having to deal with the ugliest of people.
PC fosters well the idea of, going along to get along, and in most cases that is exactly what politics is, “going along to get along” – never rock the boat! As someone once said, “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs”. And therein lies the problem, no matter how anything is approached these days, someone, or some group will be upset – today’s politicians take too much notice of complaints that are not rationally sustainable in the scheme of things, so many issues never get addressed in a fashion that’ll make a difference.
For the record, the One Nation I constructed was never racist – it was pragmatic and nationalistic and those things are often conveniently interpreted as racist. I’ve been out of One Nation for 17 years
– I’m not responsible for whatever it is these days. As for politics in general, it is the dirtiest, darkest and ugliest thing in which one can be involved – it is amongst the very worst of the things that make up human society and it brings out the very worst aspects of human behaviour – it is agendas within agendas within agendas and there is almost no capacity for anyone to trust anyone else.
In your years of politics, you were very open to women in politics and supported women in politics. You’ve made mention that sometimes “blokes are better, just as sometimes women are better” but also have highlighted that at times women would use the notion of ‘gender oppression’ to get ahead. Do you still think that is happening in the workforce?
Not always, but quite often, the best will succeed, be they men or women. The difficulty in Australia isn’t so much gender related as it is mindset related. A dear now dead Friend who moved to America and became a citizen told me, “Americans admire excellence, but Australians embrace mediocrity and fear excellence”. I suggest it isn’t quite as straight forward as that, but my old Mate Bob was on the right track. Australians do seem to band together to thwart the best in the hope that by undoing another they might be able to take their place or make more secure the place they already have. We are renowned for tearing down the tall poppy –regardless of gender, good advice for getting ahead in Australia should include, be diligent, be impressive, but don’t shine too much too soon, especially in the company of competitors.
That said, quotas and the general desire to be seen to be supporting women can in quite a few areas greatly advantage women – the real downside here is that it isn’t uncommon for people, and often women, to be advanced because of what they are, rather than what they’re able to do. The same is also true in the case of numerous minority groups. I don’t see any of that ending well, but then I don’t see the human race ending well either, if indeed anything ever ends well?
As a politician and even now as someone in the media, you expose yourself to judgement whether it is positive or negative. What are some attributes that you need to have to survive the lifestyle?
I’m not sure it’s an attribute, but you only need one thing, Not Caring what anyone thinks! I don’t have that, I’m more, “well I just can’t control the crazy conclusions a lot of people reach”. I still care what the people I care about think, but these days I’ve come to realise the population at large are not generally using any sense, fairness, facts or actual observations in much of what they determine – they are largely coached by external factors that tend to emotively direct their views toward very uninformed conclusions – this is often easily achieved as almost everyone harbours extraordinary bias without acknowledging it is within them.
What involvement (if any) do you have in politics now?
I’m mostly a frustrated observer, but I get the chance here and there to do socio/political commentary on TV and Radio as well as occasionally being motivated to write for a newspaper. There is of course the occasional political advice I give directly (behind the scenes), but that’s done in a way where it’s strictly between those I’ve advised, and me, so it would never be clear those ideas started with me.
Since stepping away from politics, you have had a career in media with stints on 2GB, 2UE and SBS’ First Contacts. These are all avenues where you could still portray your political views; how was the experience moving from politics to media?
It was fairly natural for me to go into a media career – I particularly enjoyed the immediacy of news/talkback. I also enjoy live TV, but when it’s a documentary or anything that will be edited, one has to live with however it’s cut in the end – sadly, this is again a political situation and no-one makes that kind of television without a clear agenda, so often one’s views are portrayed without appropriate context, but it is what it is. On a lighter note, I also did Survivor and Hell’s Kitchen for the Seven Network and I’ve had fun on FM radio with my Wife Lisa.
Fast-forward and you have become a father to your two boys Harry and Bertie (Albert). For those who watched RHOS, it was portrayed as you being the housekeeper but from your mouth, what is your role as father and husband?
To understand my role at home, one must first understand Lisa doesn’t really have one – that is to say Lisa has no specific responsibilities for our Sons, the house or our animals – the exception is the pet snakes – she feeds them once a month and puts in 30 minutes a month picking up their poo and filling their water. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t do anything else, she occasionally cooks, and occasionally takes our Boys out, but the system is such where there are no daily expectations of her. She does wash her own clothes about 50% of the time. Me, I do or co-ordinate everything else, cooking, shopping, cleaning, washing. Taking our Sons to and from school, Rugby, various lessons and other after school activities, taking care of our Dogs, Horses, Chickens and Parrot. I wake our Sons in the morning, bath them and lay out their clothes. I’m pretty much a 1950s Housewife where responsibilities are concerned, except I bought our house and I pay more than half the bills. BTW, I’m not unhappy about that as such, though I get pissed off when Lisa refers to herself as a “working Mum”, because she does not have the responsibilities people generally associate with Mums who hold down a full-time job as well. As for being a Husband – Lisa and I no longer have that kind of relationship – I’m more just the guy who takes care of everything.
As your boys grow up in this world, what do you hope their future entails?
I’m concerned for my Sons’ future because I believe the world is headed for ever increasing strife – race and culture issues, 1st world/white guilt, religious extremism, rogue states, corruption, weapons able to change the face of the planet – the list goes on and on. I’m of the view this and so much more that is going wrong has us on an unalterable course for widespread global conflict. All I can do is prepare my Sons in the best ways possible to survive. I like to think I’m entirely wrong and that my Boys will have safe lives filled with love and happiness – obviously that is my preference, but I strongly advocate that it is, “best to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it”. Some would say, “better safe than sorry”.
Following your exposure on RHOS, you have been on The Morning Show, Kylie and Jackie-O’s radio show and Hell’s Kitchen. How are you finding this experience? What are some highlights?
RHOS was intense for me in the sense that there wasn’t any fun – the other shows, radio and TV have been all about light entertainment and I’ve really enjoyed that – I’m naturally drawn to serious topics, but I’d like to do a lot less of that and where possible, have fun and produce laughs – I should be the straight man in a comedy act.
We saw a glimpse of your lives on RHOS and I was so generously given the opportunity to interview your Wonder Woman wife, Lisa but I have to ask, what is it like living your life as two opinionated, passionate and incredibly intelligent people?
Lisa is too self-absorbed to take any genuine interest in what I do – especially from a daily point of view. We only ever spend time together through the things we occasionally do together with our Boys. As suggested in my answer to question 7, our life together is kind of over, or at least, taking a break – I’m more like a handyman or some other kind of staffer around the house.
Now that you’re on Instagram, we see snapshots of you in the great outdoors with your animals. We know you like to spend time outdoors with your boys. What do your weekends look like?
We’re actually pretty relaxed on weekends – Henry has sport and next year Albert will also start Rugby in the under 6s, but otherwise apart from kids’ parties and related gatherings, our daytimes on weekends are most likely to include some fairly strenuous bushwalking – I get the Boys to carry their own little packs and water – it’s part of their training. We also have fun at home – we have a few acres to roam and of course all our animals and I built the Boys an 11 station military style obstacle course, so always something to do at our house. For me, I love to just sit and talk to my animals, feed all the visiting Cockatoos, chat with my Horses, but I can do that every day, not just on weekends.
Have you found a healthy work/life balance that works for you and your family?
Not really – it’s more about just focussing on my Sons’ needs and those of my animals and whatever I need to do around the house or in generally conducting the business of our lives. I’m not happy in our current circumstances, but I believe I can make improvements and ultimately feel I’m doing a good job as a Dad while also finding time for me to be happy as well. As it stands, I just kind of function somewhat robotically – the joy I have is only that related to my Boys and animals, but lots of people don’t have what I have, so I still view myself as fortunate.
What’s next for David Oldfield?
I expect I’ll do a little more TV, I’d like to do radio again and I’m close to lodging an application for a residential development I’ve been working towards. I’ve also reached an agreement to write a book and while I’ve been answering these questions, confirmation of a contract being mailed out came to me by text, so plenty to keep me busy. However, all that said, my main focus and priority is, and always will be, my two little Sons and I never allow anything to get in the way of their needs.