Liberation & Contempt


I really have no idea what to call this post at the moment, however there are a number of things that have my attention at the moment.

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Gillian Sneddon was again on the front page of the Newcastle version of the Herald this week. You may remember she was the staff member for Milton Orkopoulos who took the phone call that she then referred to the proper authorities. This led to a chain of events culminating in the resignation of the Minister and ultimately to the incarceration of home in Lithgow Gaol for a string of child sex and drug offences. Gillian was abused, stood down, had to fight for even who legal entitlements, and treated shamefully by the Labor Party, and the Government of the Day. Ultimately she did have her day in court and was awarded damages and costs. From Gaol he now jeers, that she can have the short off his back for he has nothing to pay her with. This is wrong. Just plainly wrong because the woman has done the right thing and her life has been not just put on hold, but effectively destroyed. The Premier of New South Wales should step up to the plate and say “No this is not good enough. People who do the right thing will be protected, not harmed.”

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There has been a field day for copyrighters with headlines following the High Court Ruling on the Malaysia Deal, including “Malaysia Deal Shipwrecked”, Julia’s own quote “I’m going nowhere” (and she is taking us with her) but today I smiled to read “Gillard now rudderless” .

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There has been an ongoing heated dispute with residents in inner city Newcastle about the fate of the old fig trees in Laman Street which the council wishes to remove, but which the residents feel are an important part of the Landscape. I don’t live in inner Newcastle so I don;t feel entitled to many views, but Dr Rashke made an interesting point as she has been very involved in the debate and she said “when government treats people with contempt they become radicalised” 

It took me back some way to days when reading of Paulo Freire and his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The central theme of this was based in South America where education had allowed people to understand the world differently, dream a different future, and realise the they were indeed being oppressed. There is a long distance between liberation theology, the the oppression of people in South America and the fight over fig trees in Laman Street, but in a way this post is all about the same thing.

Governments can and do treat people with contempt. 

For my money I would like that to change.

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