Drunk and Ugly? Not Australia

Drunk Penguin

Drunk and Ugly? Not Australia. Picture from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The phenomenon that is social media. I came to it late. It still gives me a thrill to send messages to friends and get replies within seconds. I feel their warm presences on the internet and I love it. We can share, chat, keep in touch, advertise. It has a multiplicity of purposes. How easy to drop a quick hello to a friend, letting them know you are there and you care.

The Prime Minister is using it to the hilt. And why not? In the same spirit, I would urge him to stop prancing about, issuing challenges to debate the Opposition leader.

We don’t want to hear your clever phraseology, Mr Rudd. We want you to get on with governing the country. We want to know if we can trust you with it. And we don’t need to see your shaving cuts either. It’s not a good look. I know Norman Gunston made a mint out of it, but …

Recent and recurrent personal attacks on celebrities show this wonderful tool has a dark side. I am amazed at the extent of the venom against Julia Gillard, for example, when she was PM. Again the personal attack. Does the office of Prime Minister of Australia hold no inherent respect?

Could the disrespect shown to her by her own colleagues have more to do with the way she shafted Kevin Rudd than the fact that she is a woman? Who disrespects Aung Sung Su-Kyi: the ultimate female politician?

Whatever the reason, personal vilification on social media must not be tolerated.

The Windsor and Oakeshott families called it ‘ugly Australia’, having at great personal cost borne the vilification of the political decisions of Tony and Rob.

We can all get up on social media and vent our spleens. Does anyone listen? Does anybody care?

Well, under certain circumstances they might. Print laws have not caught up with digital media. But they will. And your words will be up there forever, haunting your future. A snare to bring you down when you’ve reached the top.

Maybe we should have a breathalyser on the mouse or the on-button of a tablet to stop disgruntled ramblings after a night at the pub. Young people also need to be protected from using the internet as a photo diary to bare all. Remember, it is up there forever.

There is the much-publicised tweet by a disgusted viewer of the appalling spectacle that is now Question Time in Federal Parliament, telling Australia to ‘go home.’ How embarrassing!

I can remember (just) when politicians were hysterically funny. Question time in the House was high entertainment. They beat each other with fine wit and humour. We admired their clever use of words, enjoyed their ‘duels’.

Then we got ‘scumbags’ etc. The days of gentlemen (and women) in politics were over, with personal vilification entering the lists. Back then, they played the ball. Now they play the ‘man’. Has it filtered down into all our lives?

Just lately, I’ve heard too many criticisms of our beautiful Australia. Drunk, childish, irresponsible, whatever … And all because a few frustrated, incontinent people cannot control their verbiage. Trolls on the internet. Spite and malice are ugly, not Australia. Individuals are drunk, not Australia.

Let’s not forget the doctors, nurses, carers, vets and all the kind people who don’t get on social media and shout their prowess or their complaints to the world. They don’t have time. Like the farmers, they are too busy doing what they have to do for those in their care.

Twitter (Oxford Dictionary) – a succession of light tremulous sounds. I would add: pleasing to the ear.

Let’s not have to rename it.

The Blood on the Floor is Real

As Anne Rouen, I take no interest, whatsoever, in modern politics. Now, if it were historical … However, as an Australian citizen, I find the current penchant for trashing the character of political rivals truly appalling. As an observer of history, I am impartial. Offenders are equally guilty, no matter which standard they rally behind.

Do we pay these people immense salaries to comport themselves like spiteful children when there are, literally, world shattering issues to consider? Quite frankly, it is a spectacle that nauseates me.

A person’s character is his/her most precious commodity; their very essence; all that they are, or have the potential to be – the whole man or woman. Therefore, to assassinate the character …

Should we look on without protest while others systematically and determinedly destroy that person with no other desire than to remove a rival from the political scene? Is that not our job at the ballot box? I, for one, find it a despicable method of reducing the field.

Our pollies talk a lot about blood on the floor. Metaphorically, thank goodness, but it is the same intent to destroy. Back in my time, the blood on the floor was real, pumping from a dying body. If, as we believe, my ancestors were Huguenots – French Protestants – then they knew all about it. The trouble with history is that, now and again, it has a tendency to repeat.

We need to be sure that parliamentary debate is healthy, about pertinent topics that enhance the lives of the citizens of this country; that question time is not a metaphorical Coliseum with the loser thrown to ravening lions; or a mud-slinging contest with the victim drowning in slime.

Wasting our time and abusing our intellects with this type of smear campaign is unconscionable when our economy needs the greatest bi-partisan care and attention to survive.

Wake up, Pollies! The masses are more intelligent than you give us credit for.