Monthly Archives

September 2021

The reinvention of the Liberal party as the heroes who "freed" Australia from lockdowns, and the media's happy compliance with this revisionist narrative, is the thing that is finally going to break my brain. Related to this, the way the Coalition is weaponising mental health as a way to position themselves as the lockdown-ending heroes is particularly galling from a party that has shown such flagrant disregard for the mental wellbeing of young people, and the community more broadly. Yes, many young people are struggling and we need to address that. But using their distress for your own political gain, and ignoring everything we know about the responsible reporting of self harm and suicide to hammer your opponents, is reprehensible. Facts matter. I'm hearing many politicians and media commentators say suicides are on the rise in Victoria because we've been in lockdown so long. Wrong. Deaths are actually down on last year. Every suicide is tragic. But it’s complex and multi-faceted. Publishing the names and faces of children who have died by suicide, without the permission of their families, to make a political point about lockdown, when you have no idea of the complexity of that young person's life, is contemptible and nothing to do with caring for kids. And if the Liberals care so much about mental health, why did they oppose the mental health levy, as recommended by the Victorian Royal Commission to fund a broken system? Why does the Coalition demonise trans kids and fight all protections for the LGBTIQ community? Why did they hound marginalised people, sometimes to their death, for Robodebts they didn't owe? What about the mental health of children seeking asylum, locked up in indefinite detention? Why remove JobKeeper when so many are suffering mentally because of financial struggles? What about the mental health of women fleeing family violence, who have nowhere to go because your government has systematically ripped funding out of family violence and homelessness services? You don't get to suddenly claim mental health is a deep concern for you and your government when your track record shows you have actively pursued policies that have caused profound psychological damage to so many Australians. Stop using mental health as a political weapon. []

Jill Stark