The problems that slip from the political radar when cameras are off

The problems that slip from the political radar when cameras are off

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Take domestic violence. Both state and federal governments have rightly made a big play of tackling its problems.

The task forces have shown a way forward. Politicians have given more profile to an issue that was rarely discussed a generation ago and resources are flowing towards it.


So why does the important but hard work of setting up shelters for victims fall on the shoulders of willing community workers who spend their weeks and weekends rustling up bedding, spare furniture and the fittings that will turn a house of shelter into a home for families desperately needing a new start?

Can governments honestly not afford the modest investment needed to give victims the comfort they need when forced to leave their violent surroundings?

This weekend, as someone is declared victor, volunteers in Brisbane will still be searching for bedding for brave women who risk their lives to escape violence, as winter closes in.

Or let’s take free speech. Everyone’s for it (particularly their own).


So how come there’s resounding silence when a worker who exercises his right to ask a question of the Opposition Leader is stood down?

Why aren’t both leaders as united on his right to speak freely as they are on the right of, say, Israel Folau, to exercise his free speech?

Move on, as our politicians have said more than once in this campaign, there’s nothing to hear here.

What about the need to protect children from mental abuse and violence?

Everyone agrees – but a Four Corners report on the volume of children being held in watchhouses has escaped political attention.

How this this be? Move on, there’s nothing to see here!

Well, there is something to see here. The children might be accused of vile offences but they are children and our duty is to get them on the right path, not guarantee them a trip on the road to ruin.

Let’s talk about citizenship because both leaders have painted themselves as fair-go Aussies, who look out for the little person.


Apparently that doesn’t extend to a delightful small family from Biloela in central Queensland who – with their Australian-born daughters – have been refused special leave to appeal a ruling they be sent away from the only home they know.

SBS reported this week that the woman, Priya, might now be sent back to a Sri Lankan village where her then-fiance and five other men were burned to death before her eyes.

How can this be right? Our regional centres are dwindling and here is a family that’s welcome and has made a real contribution to a rural community.

Perhaps it’s more important to boot them out so we (whoever we are) will decide who comes here?

The ice addiction that is eating up some of our rural areas.

The anxiety that is gruelling the childhood of 10-year-olds.

The treatment of our parents and grandparents in aged care homes.

The road toll.

Assaults on our emergency workers.

The list of issues goes on and on and at the end of the day, our politicians can call them what they like: a Promises of Australia or a Core Promises or some other fancy promises.

For my vote, I just want – after Saturday – for our government and its leader to keep them.

Madonna King is a leading journalist and commentator who writes for the Brisbane Times. She was an award-winning mornings presenter on 612 ABC Brisbane and is a five-times author.

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