The Crime of Speaking Up
On Monday this week, the new Labor opposition party met to talk leadership and opposition front bench positions. The leaders had already been elected and now the caucus would elect the members of the Opposition Ministers and then leave it to the leaders to appoint the actual opposition minister positions to those on the elected list.
No sooner had the list being announced, then one of their number, Anna Burke, the previous House Speaker, let it rip as to what she thought of the process.
Anna appeared on Lateline that night and expressed her opinions – see the link here.
Anna was definitely pissed off. She saw herself in a key seat on the front bench given her experience and her recent time as Deputy Speaker and then Speaker of the House of Representatives.
I am not sure I understood all of her reasoning, but one thing I did admire was that she was prepared to voice her opinions. She did it with passion. She did it honesty and openly.
I watched her blurt it all out on the evening news and read the reports. I felt sure that someone was going to slam her and let us all know that she was not worthy of the positions she sought or that there was something about her that we did not know. She always seemed very good-natured in recent interviews and always seemed strong on issues being discussed.
The best way to sum up the reaction was that there was close to deadly silence. Where was the honest debate? Where were the voices to oppose her opinion?
Except for some lame statement from some in the party, there seemed to be no real reaction to her forthright statements. Oh yes, there are always more good people than there are places! Yep heard that one before. But we were talking about a high-profile and popular performer from the former government.
I wondered. Has society become so silenced. I have recently witnessed this myself whereby a few people dominate and the majority go silent.
I was in the middle of writing this piece when I paused and went online to find this well crafted piece in the Guardian by Jane Caro on this very topic.
Jane hits the nail on the head. At last someone speaks up.
But what to do about all those who do not want to or have now been trained to ‘be positive’ and not express their views openly without fear or favour?
Why do people have put on positive spin on events that do not deserve such treatment. If they people are being nasty, uncivilised and two-faced, why not say so. Why not let people know what you think and then let the debate or argument follow.
The nasty types and the bullies get away with what they do because they can – because others stay silent.
So when you hear – Don’t Rock The Boat!
Please, ignore that patronising insult and speak your mind!