Critical of a voice in protest? Come at us, bro

Approx Reading Time-10The criticism of the Parliament House protest, but ignorance of the issue has been galling. Perhaps it’s time we welcome them to our homes for an adult discussion.


This morning I came across a quote from the assistant to Malcolm Turnbull, James McGrath, deriding the protesters who interrupted parliament as “budget socialists” and “grubs”, for the absolute cheek of stating the obvious about the Coalition’s refugee problem. In response to the off-hand derision of the opposite voice, all I have to say is: Come at us, bro.

The fact that criticism was met with criticism of the manner of the point being made, not the subject of it, stinks of classic misdirection. Under that logic, we could have made our point, and it would have been registered, had we sat at home and glued our hands to the coffee table.

So, perhaps there is where we’ll stay, but know that the point would not have changed. While the banners go down, the red die is washed out of the fountain, and the news agencies retreat from the scene; the sentence continues to run, and will continue to run, until answered. So, do not mistake this as a threat, but rather a call to meet us on our turf, our side of the fence, the world from where we see it.

If that means in a forum that better suits your assumption of us, we can do that. We welcome you to our slam poetry digs, or to our home-brew afternoons, we invite you to pull up a milk crate, or second-hand sectional to hear us out, in calm tone, and sensible rhetoric. Or four-word slogans.

Whatever you like, it doesn’t bother us. We can wait. There are those who have waited longer.

The current problem seems a lack of assumed humanity on both sides. As the Left sees the lack of sense on the Right, so do the Right of the Left. We see ourselves strictly in the definition of the word, of the lines drawn, but never as people. Our handling of refugees is shameful, and has been appalling, but nothing is concrete, not even on Manus.

In 2016, we stand a deeply divided nation. The glue that should keep us together, sadly, is on our palms, but by offering yours, perhaps we can be joined and adhesively move forward, walking to a policy we can both be proud of. That or at the very least, you can hear us for our words, instead of being easily dismissed as an “interruption” in the public sphere.

I’ll pop the kettle on.


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