Will you sit idly by and let this world go to the dogs? Well I won’t. I know we are all on information overload, with thousands of issues, causes and opinions competing for attention, shocking images flashed before our eyes before we can look away and paid advertisements, it can be difficult to know where you stand on important issues.
Information is not knowledge. I’ve started this blog so that I can independently share my personal views and partake in social and political commentary on what is happening in Australia and the world. I hope my blog may tease out some of the underlying tensions around what we hear and see and be useful in my quest for a better world, a more humane and caring society and social policies that work on the ground. Feel free to join me.
Those of you who know me, will understand why I am a big fan of social media. For too long, much too long, mainstream media has had a monopoly over the ‘newsworthy’ stories, the opinions of people with power, rather than minority and marginalised groups, and has taken many a liberty when it comes to sensationalising what is going on. In my view, such a monopoly does nothing to reduce inequality or oppression and contributes to a divisive and hostile environment where difference is scorned rather than celebrated. Social media is a powerful tool for minorities to voice their opinions, issues and stories, where others can share and show their support. We’ve seen many times the influence of social media on political decisions and I will write more on this topic later.
Working a lot with governments at all levels, it’s easy to throw rocks at them when things, invariably, go wrong. So how can we overcome the seemingly poor decisions our political leaders make? I always look to what I call evidence-based policy – for me this is a blend of data, academic literature, and most importantly – community consultation. If our politicians took on this approach, it would actually protect them when things go wrong.
Let’s take for example the death of Chloe Valentine in South Australia, the horrific abuse of babies by a Families SA worker. If we had a child protection system based on high quality research and community consultation, we would absolutely know that increased screening for employees, on it’s own, will NOT prevent child abuse. We would not hear hysterical statements that ‘men should not be working with children’. Instead we could stand up and say with absolute sincerity that we have a child protection system based on the best available evidence – not my area but it doesn’t take long to understand that unfettered access to children by workers, an under-resourced child protection system and portfolios and departments working in isolation, ministers that won’t or don’t talk to each other do NOT protect our children.
Similarly, when we heard about the Federal Government’s commitment to domestic violence – were there any preventative measures based on evidence? Not in my book, CCTV cameras in women’s homes, lawyers in hospitals, mobile phones for victims, all too late. Gender inequality in this country must be addressed as a priority through our children and young people to stop the tidal wave of domestic violence.
That’s probably enough for my first blog. I hope you will be one of my readers and engage in the topics, my second blog will be coming soon!
Please also follow me on twitter @DrAliceClark if you like 😉