Everyone has a right to free speech in Australia. Many have fought to protect that right. But up here, it’s all sunshine and lollipops! You hear?!
I’ve been in trouble for posting things, possibly things I perhaps shouldn’t have, on social media. I’m a verbose, slightly obnoxious, loud mouth. And have been since the day I first drew breath. Aaaaaand, I haven’t really learnt from those mistakes because it hasn’t been just once, and now I have a written warning under my belt for my trouble. So my blood ran cold when the phone rang here one day during the rioting, and we were told to take what we’d written about the rioting (factual accounts, not inflammatory or provocative) off social media. “It’s a media black-out up here”. “Does that apply only to staff?” “Nope, anyone in a DECD house.” Damn. That was me.
But I struggled. My finger hovered over the ‘delete post’ button for several minutes. You see, I abhor censorship and those who try to enforce it. But I took the cowardly way out; I deleted my post and waited for the dust to settle, before quietly and without fanfare, re-posted it a few weeks later.
Since then, lots has happened. Lots I haven’t talked about for fear of repercussion. I haven’t talked about it, because it’s accepted that these things are cloaked in secrecy. But I had a moment of clarity last night whilst lying awake, worrying about the fights in town and I came to this realisation;
I will not be silenced.
How can we enact positive change up here, if the same government agencies are maintaining the status-quo?
So fair warning, I will be enacting my right to free speech. I did not sign a confidentiality agreement. And I do not work for DECD. And if it’s fear of homelessness? I’m not afraid of that, either. I’d like to see them try and evict me. I’m not scared; and I will stand up for what is right. Anangu are being dealt a bad hand. Service providers may well be treading on eggshells, but it’s the Anangu that are suffering.