I’ve been highly distracted with policy of late (perhaps staring at polling and voter behaviour every day for nearly two years now is finally getting to me…) so I’m just going to write up a little policy rant to try and get it out of my system and get back to work. Policy area of choice: regional development, decentralisation and population.
It has been insanely difficult for me to sit on the sidelines of the Wentworth by-election. Yes, I’ve made many comments on Twitter – most are just observations, or analysis, but I’ve tried hard not to be perceived as favouring any particular candidate.
The hits just keep on coming of late. I knew I’d have to deal with the ghost of Cambridge Analytica when trying to do a voting study. I knew there would be a bit of fringe pushback against anything from a university in general. But the government is oh so helpfully ramping up the rhetoric about possible interference in the election, and right wing commentators in particular saying that ‘Universities have been captured by the left‘ because, shock, a university wouldn’t allow it’s integrity to be compromised by the right wing agenda of the proposed Ramsay Centre. End result? I’m spending my entire day dealing with nonsense.
Moderating online discussion is a tricky business. I put up some partisan ads for the Voter Choice Project on Facebook on Thursday night which may have, uh, inspired some discussion. While desperately trying to walk the fine line of allowing people to speak their views, and not forcibly putting really hateful content into people’s feeds (as this discussion was on paid ads, not in a group they chose to join), I reached a tipping point: the word leftard (and the equivalent RWNJ) is not ok.
Barnaby Joyce is back in the news again for selling his story to Channel 7’s Sunday Night program, reportedly for $150,000. I could say many things. I am choosing to breathe deeply. Like Tony Windsor, I feel for the many victims of Joyce’s history of sexual predatory behaviour, a number of whom I know personally, some of whom have been intimidated into silence, and indeed threatened with financial and personal ruin should they dare tell their stories to the media (for free).
During the height of the Barnaby Joyce controversy I began tweeting a number of local issues in New England, specifically focusing on ones I’d never heard the tenacious local MP utter a word about. I feel the best way to respond to the regurgitation of this nonsense is to collate them, and again remind people that there are many issues in my most beloved home electorate that the Member is either deliberately neglectful of, failing to attend to, or are otherwise just interesting local issues that demonstrate the complexity of New England and why they need an attentive MP working hard for them 24/7.
New England is what matters. Not Joyce. New England locals are welcome to add to the list in the comments.
As we wait for a date to be set for what is being called Super Saturday, I thought it might be a little fun to muse at how very different these five by-elections are.