play the ball not the man

Playing the ball starts here

Saturday 28 May 2022 6:35 PM

I have to say I'm disappointed in the tone of social media commentary about the likelihood of Peter Dutton becoming Federal Opposition leader. (And let me be clear; my opinion of the man is not high). Today I found myself in a conversation with two others (neither known to me) who defended with passion the rightness of spewing gratuitous bile about him in public discourse. I was assured that this is the least he may expect.

But it’s also closer to “home”, meaning my own Facebook feed. Right after new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's call for a culture of respect in politics, associated with an apology by a senior government member for likening Dutton to Voldemort, my Facebook feed is displaying an uncanny number of memes or comments making that very same comparison.

It's not that I've been entirely innocent. Indeed social media if unchecked naturally brings out the worst in us all. But our new PM seems to want to change the way we do public engagement. It's one of the nobler intentions I've heard from a politician in quite a while. If we want the pollies to change the game, we really should start with ourselves.