Search for truth

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 15-Sep-2017

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THE federal government’s mail out to all registered voters of the marriage equality survey forms is now well underway, with many central Victorians having already completed their forms and having their say on the issue.

Whilst we can continue to bicker about the need for a postal survey, or the merits of the non-binding mail out and its excessive cost, the more important thing we can all do is to vote.

Regardless of your views on the merit of the government’s actions, what’s more important now is the action ordinary Australians choose to take.

Whether to complete the form and send it back is the first action, and we encourage everyone to take part. 

It’s difficult to justify being a critic if you failed to take action and vote when you had the chance to do so, both in this and in any other instance. 

The other repeat message is respect, something we hear from both sides of the debate as being important, but something that at times is also sadly lacking.

One of the most frustrating things we’ve seen on social media these past few weeks has been some of the ridiculous hypothetical suggestions about “what else might happen” if Australia’s politicians eventually legislate in favour of marriage equality.

There must be people in those countries that have since 2001 accepted same sex marriage as part of their society who are scratching their heads or feeling somewhat bewildered at some of the unnecessary suggestions.

So we encourage all Australians to vote.

To show respect.

To show maturity and integrity.

And to our politicians, who will ultimately have to vote again when the issue comes back to parliament for review once the dust settles on the non-binding postal survey before us all.

We encourage you to do all of the above, even more so.

Something else that causes many central Victorians to scratch their head is the endless argy bargy and point scoring efforts over unemployment figures.

Truth is something that can be incredibly hard to gain, but oh so easy to lose.

We live in an age where politicians, the media, the banks and the church are all embroiled in controversy and a lack of trust.

There’s an old saying that statistics can be made to say just about anything – the end justifies the means, but some of the political banter about something so important as employment leaves a lot to be desired.

Every time the latest data rolls out, one side of politics quickly unleashes an accusatory media release condemning the other for the dire state of employment in this state.

That’s not unusual, but almost simultaneously, the government releases its own version of the jobless figures (shouldn’t they be job figures?) telling us yesterday that three times as many jobs have been created in Victoria under the current government compared to the entire term of the previous one.

Taxpayers pay for this – from both sides, and we probably are entitled to think we deserve better.

It becomes increasingly difficult to decipher the real state of play when politics gets in the way of the truth.

And that’s good reason to support the recent manoeuvring in the federal parliament to secure a better deal for especially regional media outlets as part of a much bigger package of media reforms.

The early signals emerging from Canberra yesterday are encouraging that the government, and indeed also the opposition, is being held accountable for the worth and contribution of regional media outlets to the communities they serve.    

Short of mandating that Australian businesses withhold a portion of the more than $4 billion they pay in advertising fees to internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, the government knows it must do something to try and stem the flow of revenue that should be provided for the benefit of taxpayers and not allowed to seep offshore.

And that can only be good.

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