Jill Meagher and the opportunism of Robert Doyle

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Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has no shame in using the death of Jill Meagher to push his predictable anti-human agenda, says Carl Scrase.

30,000 marched yesterday in memory of Jill Meagher. Mayor Robert Doyle has used her death to call for more street camera surveillance.

LORD MAYOR of Melbourne Robert Doyle has used recent tragic events to push his agenda for CCTV.

This is an agenda he has been pushing for some time and is the last straw that has broken my back; it has infuriated me, after a year of fighting the injustices this man has been getting away with I want to put this out there: I think that Robert Doyle may actually be a sociopath and is a huge danger to Melbourne.

Before I delve into this controversial provocation, I would like to nullify Robert Doyle’s oddly worded argument that CCTV is a "great weapon for city safety". This assertion runs counter to the weight of evidence that exists, studies show that it just takes the human presence of police off the street and places them behind screens.

Now I have got that out of the way, I want to talk about the role of politics, about the state of democracy, and about the inhumanity of electioneering and media spin. When I talk about this stuff I sound like I am electioneering myself, but it not an agenda, dogmatic theory or a party line I am preaching. It is a philosophy I am trying to live by ― a philosophy built around participation in the co-creation of our communities.

You see, I have been swept up by the worldwide ‘real democracy’ movement that is forming. I am part of something big and it is becoming hard for me to distinguish where my beliefs start and the global communities ends; to me, is just feels like commonsense. From Tahir Square to Wall Street, people are participating in what one could describe as a more feminine form of democracy. A democratic form built around mutual understanding, active listening and community engagement.

I got submerged in the local manifestation of this movement at Occupy Melbourne on October 15th last year. For the majority that gathered, it was because of an intuitive sense that things are not right. That our democracy is under attack, that all our grievances are connected and we need to come together urgently to co-create a better way.

This was hugely exciting to me. I had been researching empathy and feel in love with the direct democracy process and its potential to synthasise and accommodate disparate views.

I thought we had started to fix the world's problems. But my idealism was quickly broken. We experienced the reality that sections of our politics, business community and media are prepared to toss aside our human rights, transparency, truth and democratic processes in the name of upholding the status quo. This shocked me; it meant that I had to examine all my preconceived notions, that I had formed through my consumption of mainstream media.

As far as I know, this was not the intention of the Occupation – to expose the faults in such a dramatic way – but it has very much been the result. Things are coming to the surface. Truths are coming to into focus.

Government and Police responded with violence against the peaceful Occupy Melbourne protests and it started a chain reaction of violent repression around the globe. This was followed by a campaign of victim blaming, spearheaded by the likes of Robert Doyle in his Herald Sun article titled
“Selfish rabble got what it deserved”.

We immediately did the responsible thing and called for an independent inquiry, Councillor Cathy Oke brought the motion to Council, but it was not passed because Robert Doyle controls the majority in the council.

As radio presenter Jon Faine pointed out:
“Why wouldn’t an independent inquiry clear the air if your so sure everything was done that was absolutely proper and appropriate?”

Courts all over the world are declaring the Policing of Occupy as unconstitutional ― and because of the cookie cutter authoritarian response to Occupations here and in America, it would suggest our own case against the City of Melbourne will end up finding the City of Melbourne and Robert Doyle in the wrong.

But the legal system is a slow one. Our calls for injunctions were denied on the basis it was not urgent. But because there was no inquiry, no willingness to accept fault, there has been continued murky Council and Police collusion against the ongoing attempts to continue an occupation. A murkiness that resulted most dramatically in young Sara Kerrison being stripped of her ‘tent monster’ outfit and left naked and crying on the lawn of the Flagstaff Gardens.

This has been traumatic for all – the Occupiers, the unqualified council staff and the Police – who were either brought to tears or steely inhuman silence when made to enforce what they suspected to be unjust interpretations of the local bylaws.

The City of Melbourne elections are currently in full swing. And these matters seem to have been swept under the carpet. Robert Doyle appears to be able to say whatever he wants to say without anyone seriously questioning his intentions. Is it because we accept that politicians are corrupt or biased? Is it because, in the end, we actually would like the city of Melbourne to be run like a business and not a democracy?

There is only one female candidate out to the nine running for the top job of Lord Mayor, Dr Allison Parkes. She is also the only one running on a platform of true democratic reform. At the moment, she has no chance of getting back in. The disproportional voting system in Melbourne, that sees business get two votes, means anyone running on any platform like that does not have a chance. It is a road the Kennett government laid that does not appear to have an exit.

I hope this little rant will act as a motivator for decent people to act and get involved in local politics. Viewed in isolation, Robert Doyle and his type may seem to be harmless enough, but I ask you to really step back and start to connect the dots. While white privileged men who covet power are running our communities, are we really going to be able to address the problems that all lay their roots within systemic inequality between class, race and gender?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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