and say something that should not need to be said.
There have been some very nasty exchanges and comments about our Federal election campaign on Twitter recently.
Our PM is again being hammered for not being there as a leader when there were fires, then the pandemic, and then floods.
The Leader of the (present) Opposition is being hammered for not knowing some very basic statistics.
Other Members of Parliament and Senators and would be members and senators are being hammered for a range of other sins - real and imagined.
I know all this is part of the political game and, up to a point, we have to put up with it. What bothers me is the lack of informed comment about some of these things. e.g. the PM is not responsible for the fires, the pandemic, or the floods. "Lack of action" on climate change is not responsible either. The response to the fires, the pandemic, and the floods was the responsibility of the states. The PM could not intervene unless asked to do so. This is the way federation works under the Constitution. What is more when we did have a PM who went out there and actually held a hose during a fire (because he was and still is a volunteer in that service) he was heavily criticised for doing just that. He was criticised by the same people now criticising the current PM.
The Leader of the Opposition showed his incompetence when he was not able to state some basic figures. The Opposition probably should have been more prepared for that. There are "advisers" there who know he is not someone who does that sort of homework. All the same there are some who are suggesting it will work in his favour rather than against him.
And then there are all these real and imagined offences by those in both major parties. "He said this" and "she said that" and "X has now deleted" are becoming much too common.
Analyse the news cycle carefully. I know - it is difficult to do this when you naturally want to lean one way or another. That said it is possible. The media is not a straightforward well balanced entity - and neither are those who do the reporting free from bias.
What really concerns me however is the way in which tiny but very vocal groups are managing to get other opinions deleted. They are making not just demands but sometimes threats. They have decided what the "PC" view is and that is the only which they will permit to prevail. People are frightened of expressing anything to the contrary.
So, I will express a position to the contrary here. At the last census in 2016 a question was asked about gender. It was not asked at this census so we cannot compare the statistics and we do not know how the subsequent "debate" may have influenced matters. At the 2016 census approximately 0.0005% of the population indicated they were "transgender". That was around 1,300 people at the time. How accurate that figure might be is anyone's guess but even if it is actually twice or three times that this is still a very tiny proportion of the population.
Despite this the "debate" about providing for this group has dominated the media for quite a while now. People have been threatened for expressing views seen as not supporting this. At least one author of my acquaintance had a contract to publish withdrawn because of the views she expressed - even when they were, if anything, supportive of transgender people. Simply suggesting that there might be more to the debate was enough to have her blacklisted.
What I think or don't think about these issues is irrelevant here. There are two things which are relevant. The first is that there is an attempt to prevent all debate about a very serious and very complex issue. We are simply being asked to believe that there is a big problem here and that anyone who disagrees with certain views is wrong. The consequences of that could be far reaching, especially to the very real mental health needs of those involved.
The other is that the demands of some others getting involved in the debate are taking vital support away from people who need things like medications to actually survive and services to live their lives with dignity. Other vital mental health issues are also being relegated to second place. Should we be allowed to address those issues or are transgender rights more important than this given there will always be less funding than we need?
I know two transgender people quite well. I regard them as friends. Both of them believe their sexual orientation is their private affair. They believe there is a need for greatly enhanced mental health services but they also both believe that those needing medication to survive should take priority over their own transitioning desires.
Is it time to allow debate?