In which our intrepid hero lays down the facts.

Sometime over the weekend, GetUp! launched a new campaign, to draw attention to an Aboriginal Land Rights Bill that’s due to go through the Senate tomorrow. From their blog:

With less than three hours of debate in the House and a measly one-day Senate Inquiry, the Federal Government is trying to take away land rights from generations of indigenous Australians. The public is completely in the dark and most traditional landowners have not even been told.

And now the facts.

The public is completely in the dark because the media gave the process no coverage. A process which—in one form or another—has been in community consultation for nine years. Traditional landowners were consulted during this process, and the amendment is, in large part, based on a joint submission between the Northern Territory government and the Northern Land Council.

The so-called appalling lack of bipartisan consultation is a sham. Labor issued a press release in November last year supporting the bill.

Which brings me to my first point about democracy: if you’re going to speak on an issue, make sure you know what you’re talking about. Do some research; don’t just assume that because it’s on the Internet, it’s true.

Secondly, if a bill is due to be debated tomorrow, chances are, if you call up an MP, they’ll already be in Canberra, busily doing the politician thing. They don’t have time to talk to you.

Thirdly, at best, you’re one of tens of thousands of constituents that any given MP has. They don’t have time to talk to you.

Don’t take it as fact that because you went through the arduous process of puberty, you somehow have the democratic right to monopolise an MP’s time. We have elections, referenda and formal submissions processes to let you have your say. If that isn’t enough for you, tough. Move to ancient Athens.

Fourthly, never, ever ask a politician to cross the floor. Such a move is career suicide; if they’re considering it, then your two cents isn’t going to sway them either way. Imagine if some total stranger rang you up, one day, and asked you to take a steaming dump on your boss’ desk. That’s what you’re asking an MP to do, effectively.

Fifthly, I don’t give a fuck. I’m the guy on the other end of the line, listening to you bitch. You’re wasting my time; it’s my job to ensure that you don’t waste my boss’. But I still have plenty of other work to do, work that isn’t getting done whilst you cold-call and spam the office.

That’s right, you and your mindless sheep friends decide to waste my week, say, hassling my boss to cross the floor on refugee issues. Guess what? That could mean that half a dozen asylum-seekers don’t get their ministerial interventions, are deported to the third-world shithole from whence they came, and tortured to death by the two-bit junta that they tried to flee in the first place.

I’m upset about it, sure, but you have to have a thick skin to do this stuff sometimes. In the end, I sleep as well as I ever have. I wasn’t the one who fucked up the refugees’ lives, after all.

That was you. Bitchy, whiny, don’t-give-a-rat’s-arse-until-GetUp-emails-me, couldn’t-be-bothered-researching-the-facts you.

Democracy is about opportunity cost: someone always loses out, and there’s never enough to go around. Protest, sure. Join a party. Run for office. Just don’t waste my fucking time. I have lives to fix and injustices to massage into slightly less flagrant injustices and people with real problems to deal with.

Rant over.