The good news is that the Western Australian Senate elections were a win for the The Australian Greens and a step in the right direction of building a political power base strong and diverse enough to challenge the major parties at both a state and federal level.
Christine Milne said that the campaign to keep Scott has been a truly national effort and it is a testament to people power, with thousands of supporters across the country donating their time and money over the last few months, adding strength to a phenomenal campaign in WA.In fact I think the impact of social media in both this election and the variety of protests around the country may be what has triggered the bad news below.
However just for the moment I want to wave the Victory flag as well as Hope for the Future flag which I must admit has been looking a little sad lately. At the celebration last night, Scott summed up how I think a lot of us were feeling, whether we were there in person or not.
We’ve run the most disciplined, best organised campaign I’ve ever been involved in; it has also been the most delightfully spontaneous, with powerful and creative contributions from people right across the community who made the campaign their own. Western Australia has sent a message to this Government; enough is enough. Now we set course for the 2016 election.
Now for the bad news. In addition to working hard at overturning hard-won world heritage listings and supporting mining practices by a company with a proven track record of environmental damage and poor business practice our illustrious leader has now in his infinite insanity decided to attack the individual’s right to freedom of expression and personal opinion with emphasis on those who work for government departments and their families.
Basically new rules are being brought into play for the public service that promises harsh consequences for those who use social media [be it on their own time or not] to protest government policy or to make anti-government statements. Also part of this new initiative is the dob in your work buddy idea which has shocked a number of people.
If an employee becomes aware of another employee who is engaging in conduct that may breach this policy, there is an expectation that the employee will report the conduct to the department,’’ the policy states.
Breaches include “harsh or extreme in their criticism of the Government, Government policies, a member of parliament from another political party, or their respective policies, that they could raise questions about the employee’s capacity to work professionally, efficiently or impartially,” according to the Daily Telegraph. Also included in this ban are comments that may appear to be a “gratuitous personal attack that might reasonably be perceived to be connected with their employment.”, even if they make no mention of their employment or name. ,Newly appointed Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson dubbed the “Freedom Commissioner’’, has backed the reforms saying:
Anonymity should not justify exemptions because it can be connected back to the individual and their work. Ultimately public servants voluntarily and knowingly choose to accept these limits on their conduct when they accept employment.
To me this says that our government is realising it is losing support from everywhere and yet rather than address the WHY of that loss they are desperately seeking ways to plug the dam and prevent the flood of information that is being spread using the internet and social media. Having the backing of the regular media via Murdoch has meant that the Abbott government has not been overly criticised in this arena and are now attempting to find ways to crackdown on social media posts covers posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, blogs, forums and Wikipedia.
Seeking to censor employees in their personal time for personal opinion is frankly disgusting and reeks of totalitarian measures that have no place in a country like Australia. Our public service does not require political loyalty to a party as it is the infrastructure that lasts from one government to the next and telling these employees that they and their families are not allowed to write about negative opinions or even unhappiness with the current government goes against everything that a free and democratic country stands for and Abbott and his cohorts should hang their heads in shame.