Now, this is not a political blog, and I hope to rarely mention political issues here, but sometimes a politician behaves in a manner so outrageous that I just can’t help myself. Those of you in Australia who’ve been listening/watching the news this morning will know exactly what I’m talking about. The Hon. Danna Vale MP. (Its beyond ironic to preface her name with Hon. after the way she’s been carrying on).
The background is that our Federal Government is currently debating whether or not the Government (in particular, the Health Minister) should be able to control access to the ‘abortion drug’ RU486 – whether or not the Therapeutic Goods Administration had reviewed and approved use of the drug (which they haven’t even had the opportunity to do at this stage).
To date, there has been quite a lot of hysteria-inducing behaviour and talk of women dying from taking this drug and carry-on designed to scare the general public into believing that it is an evil drug and should never be allowed in Australia.
Assuming that the news services are quoting her correctly, then Danna Vale, a Liberal (Govt). backbencher has taken the discussion to an all time low.
“A certain imam from the Lakemba mosque actually says Australia is going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years time,” Mrs Vale said.
“I didn’t believe him at the time. But when you look at the birth rates … we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year. You multiply that by 50 years – that’s 5 million potential Australians we won’t have here.” news.com.au
Is it just me, or is this the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard. ‘Aborting ourselves out of existence’ – well, if that is the case then this drug is not going to change that behaviour one bit because we’re not selling them down at the corner shop, or even at the chemist. The process for obtaining an abortion will still be exactly the same if this drug is approved – its just that women won’t require an ncomfortable and invasive procedure.
And, the race/religion thing. Seriously. Do we have to drag that up everytime we want to scare the general public into submission. Its bloody embarrassing, which is nothing on how hurtful it must be to not only the Muslim Australians, but to whichever ethnic or religious group might be suitably ‘scary’ next time.
If I thought that it was just Danna who was utterly ignorant of the issue she is debating and all the associated statistics that show that she is talking utter crap, that would one thing. What really bothers me is that there is a very good chance that this was a carefully designed statement, and the clincher was that they got it delivered by a woman.
To think that, years ago, I used to want to be a politician. Now I’m embarrassed even to vote for them.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me