A week is a long time in politics. Three years is even longer.
I continue to be baffled at the decisions of the new government; and if someone could explain to me the weird that was Q and A last night, I’d be ever so grateful. I should have seen this coming. The government, that is. Monday’s Q and A will always remain somewhat of a mystery.
My political leanings are no secret. If you’re reading this and are surprised, pull up a chair, I’ll make you a soy latte and school you in how to hug a tree, while weaving a mung bean macramé plant holder. Problem is, I’m finding it harder and harder to see the funny side of things.
In the past days we have seen the dismantling of The Climate Commission. Have been told there will be little public information on people attempting to seek asylum, and that the weekly information the public is given will be tightly controlled.
I don’t care if you are not as left leaning as I am. I don’t care if you voted above the line, or don’t listen to as much news radio as I do. But what I am finding more and more difficult to accept is that people are willing to take the, well, it doesn’t really affect me, so whatever, stance.
Our government has decided they will tell us what we need to know about any people attempting to seek asylum by boat. They will decide what, when and how much we will be told. Scott Morrison cites operational reasons.
In opposition The Coalition had a stop the boat mantra going. The incorrect term illegals, was bandied about on a daily basis. They couldn’t get enough of telling people of the crisis and alarming influx of boat people. Now, in government, suddenly, we don’t need to know how many boats are arriving. I have noticed a shift in terminology as well. I’m hearing a lot more of the phrase, people smugglers and their customers. Changing the words. Changing the focus.
I have spent my morning reading a range of opinion pieces and news articles on The Coalition’s take on announcing boat arrivals. Some say it is a good thing the public will be less bombarded. Others talk about a faltering democracy, lessening of transparency. I am yet to make up my mind on whether Abbott and The Coalition have unwittingly done people seeking asylum by boat a service (by stemming the media saturation/sensationalisation/scaremongering of their arrival) or just taken away their last available voice and hope of empathy and public support.
While I have been thinking on this, the dismantled Climate Commission has re-launced. The new seed monied, crowd sourced, people powered Climate Council has, since it’s beginning at midnight, managed a press conference, turned twitter into a frenzy of account suspending, un-suspending and re-tweeting. At last look they had 13, 667 facebook likes, and rising. People, with a voice, at their best.
Men, women and children seeking asylum via boats do not have that same voice. We can not let silence speak for them. Because to me the intent of The Coalition at least seems clear, silence the critics. Silence the marginalised. Muffle the dissenters. Change the wording.
So, while I wait to see what happens this week, this year and for the next three, I read, I listen, I talk, I question. And I run. Not away from debate, politics and policy, but towards it. The need for information seems stronger than ever.
Don’t ask me what I’m going to do about it. I’m not sure yet. But one thing’s for sure, I won’t be quiet. Will you?
Please note: I am not affiliated with any political party. At best, I can be described as a swinging voter. At worst, a dirty, tree-hugging hippy. I’m not bothered by either of these descriptions. This is opinion, and thinking out loud, while I try to come to terms with the current political landscape.