Adele Fisher: Party Games
The responsibility to be heard lie with our elected representative and ourselves, writes Adele Fisher.
With the upcoming Queensland state election I've been wondering: how do we change the collective mind of our government and where do our individual responsibilities lie?
I thought the best place to start was with a local candidate that was prepared to spend some time with me. Jo Briskey, the ALP candidate for Cleveland, was a wealth of information.
We talked through the elements of a grassroots campaign that brings the topics to the community for discussion and the role that our community leaders can play in supporting these discussions. We agreed that negative messages, often couched in fear and sensationalism, are the ones that are often heard by broader society, leaving little room for genuine dialogue. There is a need to engage mainstream society in the discussion and debate to have more heard than just the most sensational new's grabs.
She also believes it is important to be able to persuade people in our communities who may not have formed a clear opinion on these issues, or who may not even be aware of the true impact of ongoing discrimination. A critical mass of community demand is needed, and to gather community support a personal approach helps drive people to action. For example, she spoke about the very strong message used by Shelley Argent in her 2009 advertisement about her two sons, one who could marry and one who couldn't, and how that type of message stuck in the minds of many while personalising a message of inequality to which parents could easily relate.
I was also interested to see how Briskey personally selected and prioritised topics she would give voice to in government. While strong community demand is a logical driver, she believed it was equally important for the representative to step up and take on a strong leadership role, especially when the issues were not considered important by the general public. For example, civil rights for the LGBTI community is a clear example of where a representative needs to consider the overall societal impacts of ongoing discrimination and support for the removal of this inequality.
Her overall view is that the role of a state member is to find out what is important by listening to each side of the opposing views and beliefs and to seek a balance that leads to an outcome that is in the best interests of the community and as a whole breaks down discrimination.
Finally, I was curious to see if she had been contacted during her campaign to discuss current LGBTI issues; sadly the contact has been minimal, in fact nearly non-existent! Ultimately we are responsible for bringing these topics to our representative's attention, so be heard!
[Pictured] Adele Fisher (above) and below, ALP Candidate for Cleveland Jo Briskey.