COMMENT: Asking the big questions, awaiting answers

Picture: Twitter @Clintonswalk
Picture: Twitter @Clintonswalk

What does it take to get an audience with the Prime Minister?

Depends who you ask (or who you are) it would seem.

For young marriage equality campaigner Eddie Blewett from Tathra, a Question Time petition and follow up letter to Malcolm Turnbull didn’t get him the answers he sought.

“I thought he didn't answer us at all. He didn't say no or yes in a straight way,” Eddie said following his 2016 visit to Parliament’s public gallery. “Please do your job. We want same-sex marriage without hearing in the playground that I am not normal.”

Undeterred, 12 months on Eddie returned to the lawns of Parliament House this week to a packed media scrum flanked by Labor leader Bill Shorten and Opposition deputy leader Tanya Plibersek.

Despite his tender age of 14, he spoke strongly to the crowd on why, even though he feels the same-sex marriage survey is far from the ideal way to determine the issue, everyone should remember to vote and treat each other as equals.

It’s interesting that while the PM has been outspoken as in favour of marriage equality and the “yes” vote, Eddie is still waiting for an answer.

Also hoping for a better response from the federal government was Clinton Pryor, the “Spirit Walker” who travelled the entire width of this land on a journey to gather stories of Indigenous communities and the struggles this country’s First Peoples endure.

However, when Pryor finally made his way into Canberra, after walking 5581km over 12 months, attracting widespread media and community attention everyone he went, all he felt able to do was turn his back on Mr Turnbull after a prickly exchange in which he was “disrespected” and his demands on behalf of his people “fell on deaf ears”.

It was also reported both the PM and Indigenous Affairs Minister talked over him and other Elders.

Meanwhile, Girl Guides from Bega, Merimbula and elsewhere were given VIP treatment including a tour of Parliament House, a personal meeting with the PM and other MPs, and a photo shoot in the Prime Ministerial courtyard.

Not to take anything away from the girls as they were there introducing a worthy-sounding World Girl Guides Voices Against Violence program. And the Prime Minister is undoubtedly a busy man with a full schedule. But priorities?


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