Thousands rally in Civic to support marriage equality

CITY NEWS http://www.city news.com.au  Sept 2
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ORGANISERS estimated a crowd of 3000 turned out for today’s marriage equality rally in Civic, declaring it the “biggest LGBTI rights rally in Canberra’s history”.
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The rally heard speeches from politicians including Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Federal MP Dr Andrew Leigh.“Today’s rally was the largest LGBTI rights demonstration in ACT history”, said rally organiser Con Karavias, spokesperson for Equal Love Canberra.“We are determined to use the passion and enthusiasm from today’s rally to step up our campaign so we can achieve a resounding victory.”

“We thank the thousands of ACT people who came to show their support for fairness and dignity at today’s rally.”
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MARK PARTON,DON’T DO IT

By Mike Welsh

My former radio colleague Mark Parton is about to become an ACT Politician. Something he’s coveted for a very long time. He’s well qualified and ready to hit the ground running but I’m begging him not to.Formally endorsed by the Liberal Party on Monday and 3 months out from the ACT election, the former 2CC Breakfast personality is already speaking and acting like a typical Politician.

…..”His comments suggest he’s ready, willing and able to employ the disingenuous dexterity required to be able to stand for nothing while sitting on the fence and toeing the party line”…..

In an article by Kirsten Lawson in the Canberra Times on Tuesday; Mark Parton: An about-turn on poker machines in the casino; probed on his first political back flip, Parton said people were not “born as robots with the party mantra….. and from time to time would hold a different position to their part “…adding….”I think one of the healthiest things about the Liberal Party is that it is such a broad church. I know that there will be some things that we may disagree on. But I’m also a team man”….

Has “Parto” revealed exactly the type of representative he’ll be? In resorting to the well-worn and mealy mouthed broad church slogan (universally the refuge of politicians seeking to escape scrutiny) he’s hinted he may be just another of the many unimaginative and compliant members who consistently inhabit the ACT Assembly. The last thing Canberra needs. His comments suggest he’s ready, willing and able to employ the disingenuous dexterity required to be able to stand for nothing while sitting on the fence and toeing the party line.

The ACT assembly already has more than its quota of dickheads, dopes and duds. What it needs is somebody who refuses to become just another party politician. Somebody who is a genuine representative and advocate for their community.

Parton will win a seat in the Assembly and he deserves to. He’s young, energetic and passionate and could bring something refreshing to politics in the ACT. But does he have the balls to do it? The national electorate just had something very succinct to say about professional politicians and party politics. They don’t like them. The electorate, real people, wants genuine people to represent them not puppets.

Mark Parton has a golden opportunity to become that “real” representative. He knows how to use the media and is well connected to the community. His endorsement so far appears to be a political party opportunistically picking an individual with a strong profile who can swing a few extra votes at the election and then fall in line with the party agenda.

Please Mark, don’t become just another politician. Though if you do who knows, a few years down the track you could end up in the Senate when your party does a “Gary Humphries” on Zed Seselja.

When the Whistle is blown on Bullying

I’VE been been bullied once, that I can recall. An overweight redhead, that perennial schoolyard victim, chose to pass some of the action down the line to a smaller kid… me.

I punched him in the face, got strapped and was never bullied again.

But you can’t punch the bully in the face anymore. So what to do?

The more I know of this destructive human trait, the less encouraged I am of a solution.

The Sydney “Telegraph” recently featured a 40-year-old man who’d been bullied at school. He gave horrendous examples of the abuse he copped in the yards of several schools he was forced to attend.

The ensuing years proved to be problematic, with relationship breakdowns and an inability to hold down regular employment.

There was a positive outcome though, several of his peers, including his own brother, read the article and were shocked to learn of his suffering. Furthermore, several of them got in contact to apologise. They were unaware of the suffering they’d inflicted.

Over my 11 years on the 2CC Drive Show, I have become educated on the long-term and permanent damage done by bullying, including workplace bullying and it seems to me that we don’t mature much once we’re out of the schoolyard.

I assured scores of victims of workplace bullying (largely within the ACT Public Service) that I could protect them should they choose to go to air. But it turns out, I couldn’t in many cases. Whistleblowers are often bullied again.

The standard management approach of “is that really bullying?” or” is he/she just too sensitive?” is wearing thin. Or the old fallback: “Better watch your step, lest you wreck your career”.

If you’re in the foetal position at 3am terrified at the prospect of going back into the battle zone… more than likely, it’s bullying.

If your day brightens up 100 per cent the moment you arrive and discover Bully is off for the day…. more than likely, there’s a bullying problem.

I also urged those who contacted me to get together in numbers But  safety and power in numbers is not always a guarantee. The strategy is to worm out the ring leaders of the “revolt” and put pressure on them. A group of six becomes two, split the two and you may just have “made this thing go away”.

One worker, a big, strong man standing 6’3” told me he was fearful of returning to work in the yard where he’d been bullied.

A woman told me that while she won her case, she would not recommend going down that road, it’s far too painful.

Another woman, who had the guts to make a written complaint, told me that by coffee time, the entire office – including the bully knew. The bullying then intensified.

The ACT Government was lauded on the introduction of a whistleblowing policy which loosely allowed a public servant to go outside (to media) with their bullying and allied issues, if they were dissatisfied with the “usual procedure”. The problem is “usual procedure” usually means their card is marked.

This “innovative” whistleblower policy failed a public servant with whom I’d been speaking earlier this year. After returning from six weeks off air,  I texted her to reconnect. She told me it was “too late”, she was “on the roof”, which I took for a euphemism for getting to the end of her rope.

But she was, in fact, on the roof and ready to jump.

She came down and was admitted to psychiatric ward. Three days later, she took a call from her superior wanting to know why she’d missed work!

Another time, I received a letter from five staff of an ACT Department confirming that what I was saying was one hundred per cent correct. One quote – “So much suffering. So much stress. We wait for suicides, because that is what will happen” – was frightening.

I once tweeted the word “suicide” to shame the Government on bullying. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher tweeted it wasn’t the forum for such a serious issue. What then my Chief Minister is the forum? Or do we wait until after the suicides to formulate another policy?